Watered Down

By Shelby_Painter All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Romance

Chapter Forty

You’d be surprised just how quickly two years’ time can slip away.

I was proud of myself still. I’d done everything I promised myself that I would. I haven’t stolen a single soul, and though I’m probably considered at least an accessory to the thirteen murders that the other girls were able to accomplish in their time here, I took absolutely no part in it. I finished my high school GED, and then quickly enrolled in business classes and finished up my associates degree in business management three semesters early since I had nothing but free time to get the work done. I’ve still not once regretted trading places with Tally. Knowing that she is out there in school, learning like she loves so much, and getting to spend real time with a brother who doesn’t have to break his back trying to provide for them anymore, just puts a smile on my face.

I’ve also not spoken a word in two years.

The last thing I ever said was, “I’m ready,” When I walked back into the cavern after saying my goodbyes to Theon. Alana had made it quick and painless to steal away my voice, although it wasn’t quite the conventional way I had thought it would happen. In my mind I had imagined that she’d take my voice from my throat while I sang or something like in movies, but instead, to ensure I didn’t speak, she took my tongue.

Two years without a tongue definitely took some getting used to. I had actually cried when I realized what she’d done, and of course Alana took great joy in it. It didn’t hurt, but having a literal piece of your body taken away was just jarring. Alana told the other two girls that I had been punished for not cooperating, so I was basically a scare tactic to keep them in line.

I don’t know what became of them.

We never got close like I had with my own siren sisters, for reasons more than just the obvious that I couldn’t speak. They feared me because I had been here before, and they banded together and left me out, which was fine because I had promises to keep to myself anyway. I wasn’t there on the day they were summoned to Alana for not completing their tasks, and I haven’t seen them since.

Of course I try to research as much as possible, trying to see if there were any loopholes to get through, but I’d never had any luck, as I suspected. After the first year or so, I really began to give up on that whole endeavor anyway. I just worked on myself, did my time, and tried my hardest to enjoy each beautiful day that came and went.

I visited the little house often, and I now thought of it as my own and not Theon’s. I hadn’t changed much, but I did add little touches of me to make it feel homier to me for when I was there. I tried to keep feeling as human as I possibly could, and doing things like washing the blankets, or brushing my teeth really did help keep everything in perspective for me.

Today is hard though.

I do have bad days from time to time, but now with the other girls gone, I feel utterly alone. Even though we weren’t close, just having them around was a comfort, but now it is back to the complete isolation and solitude that I have never been a fan of.

I swam ashore and made my way up the little path that led to my house, hoping to watch a little TV to have some voices in my head other than my own. As I was unlocking the door, a hand fell on my shoulder and I jumped back, startled by the touch.

“It’s alright, dear, it’s only me.” Ms. Kay whispered to me. I widened my eyes at her and looked around for anyone else. I hadn’t seen her since the last time I asked her for help here. “Are you being watched?” She asked quickly. I shook my head and then shrugged. I don’t think I am being watched by Alana, but I know that she can and I’m not ever sure when it is happening. “You’re not sure?” She asked skittishly. I shook my head. “What’s wrong with you, dear?” She asked. “Don’t you remember me?” I smiled and nodded, then opened my mouth wide so that she could see inside my mouth. She widened her eyes and gasped. “She’s silenced you.” She said in horror.

I finished unlocking the door and let her inside while I went to grab a pen and some paper. What are you doing here? I wrote.

She took the paper from me and smiled quickly. “I have been torn up with thinking of what you’ve done for that sweet boy and his darling sister.” She said. “I’m very sorry to you for treating you rudely before, I should know more than most not to judge a person’s character so quickly.” She apologized. “I know it has been some time, but I just don’t feel right letting you take this on.” She said scrunching up her long nose. “I want to help you, and I should have sooner, but I fear the witch, as most of my kind do.” She whispered.

I furrowed my brows. My kind? I wrote down. You think you can help me?

She pulled me by the wrist over to sit on the little couch. “I’m a wiccan.” She whispered. “Not anywhere near as powerful as the force you’re in trouble with, or even very powerful at all, but I think I can help you.” She nodded. “It would be a risk to you, but I didn’t know if you would want to know it, even if you might not survive.”

Her words shattered the little hope I’d had building in me. Not survive?

She sighed and patted my knee. “You may not be willing to try, but I couldn’t know what you’re thinking on all of this was, so I felt I should come and at least make your options known.” She explained, then leaned in closer. “If you were to do this, you could…end the witch and her reign of terror over the people of this island.”

END HER?

Ms. Kay nodded. “I’m not allowed to meddle in her magic, or even strong enough if it was allowed, but I want to try something.” She said, obviously as nervous as I am. She reached her hand up and placed her palm on the center of my forehead. “Just relax.” She whispered as she closed her eyes and began humming.

I gasped as images popped up in my mind, pulling me in like I was standing in the memory beside myself.

There was tally telling me “She can’t” when she was trying to tell me the secret that Theon had told her to remember, and something about, “Promises or deals”.

Then there was all the many times that Theon had tried to tell me something about Alana, something he said was important. Then Armela trying to tell me something similar.

All I was getting from everything was that Alana can’t, but can’t what?

“Do you see, child?” Ms. Kay whispered and I shook my head. “Think very hard, Serena.” She whispered to me as she closed her eyes again. “You have to come to this on your own.”

I closed my eyes with her as another memory popped up. It was me in the cavern, almost drowning after I had messed up Alana’s deal with those two girls. “Alana, what are you doing?” Armela had yelled at her. “You can’t let her die.” She called again. “Alana, your deal!” She said. Why was there so much urgency in it? Why did it matter if I Alana killed me or not?

I opened my eyes and stared into Ms. Kay’s. She was peering at me hopefully.

I grabbed the pen again, my heart pounding in my chest.

Alana can’t break a deal? I wrote and Ms. Kay smiled and nodded. What would happen to her if she did?

Ms. Kay leaned in. “She would be no more.” She whispered. “Alana has her own deal to keep with the one who gave her the power over you girls. All magic comes at a price, and hers is that she cannot…She can deceive and trick all that she wants, but this is the one thing she can’t do. Without her deals, she’s nothing. She’ll be stripped of her power, truly cursed finally to live alone in the oceans that she was banished to.”

Tell me what I need to do, and I will do it.

She looked at me carefully. “There is a group of us who are willing to help you if you want us to, but you have to know there are no guarantees here. You’ll need to force Alana’s hand….I was thinking, maybe push her nerves with you until she is angry enough to kill you.” I nodded now, understanding why this was not something she wanted me to take lightly. “If she does kill you, then she has broken your deal. Once that happens, she will lose all of her power.”

I waited for her to add more, but she didn’t.

So the plan is for me to die?

“Don’t take this decision lightly.” She said. “I wanted to give you your choices. If you want to take her down, my friends and I will do everything we can to try to revive you, but we’ve never done something so big before, so there is no promise that we’d even be able to do it.”

You would try to bring me back to life afterward?

She sighed and nodded. “We would certainly try our absolute hardest, but I can’t make you any promises, dear. You very well could die if you chose to do this.”

I nodded. Sure, dying would suck, but if my dying means that no more girls are ever brought here to become sirens, and that in turn no innocent people’s lives are stolen away to be given to Alana, then how could I say no? I can’t turn down a chance to save countless lives, just to save my own. It’s not like mine means any more than any of theirs.

I’m doing it.

“Take time to think about it, dear.”

I shook my head at her eagerly. No time. Needs to be done. Can your friends come now?

Ms. Kay narrowed her eyes at me and thought for a long minute. I was afraid for a moment that my over eagerness may have made her more reluctant, but finally she nodded. “I will gather them.”

Thank you.

She took my hand and squeezed it. “I loved Theon and Tally like they were my own.” She said. “You gave them life, and I want to help you in any way I can.”

I gave her a quick hug and she told me that she and her friends would be on the beach in half an hour, ready.

I walked through the trees with new purpose. I was going to put an end to Alana one way or another, and I would do it with a smile on my face.

I said a little prayer, my first in a long time, as I waded out into the water, looking up one last time at the moon, just in case it really was the one last time. I thought about everyone I love as I went down. My parents, Levi who was now thriving and living her life to the fullest, Cassandra who was now happily engaged to the guy she had told us about all those years ago, and of course I thought of Tally and Theon. I imagined them someplace safe and happy.

I love you all

I entered into the cave and was immediately met with the questioning glare of the sea monster’s beady little eyes. “What do you want?” She snapped. I just shrugged my shoulders and walked around her little cavern, smiling at her all the while. “What are you up to?” She asked again as I eyed the little holes all throughout the cave walls that were filled with her little vials with her potions and souls. Again, I shrugged my shoulders and pointed to my neck, reminding her that I couldn’t answer her even if I wanted to.

She swam closer to me, the greasy blackness off her hair covering her face for a moment and I took that opportunity to reach my hand up into one of the holes in the cave wall and toss out the vials, stomping them between the cave floor and my bare foot, ignoring the pain that shot through me.

“You little bitch!” She wailed. “What are you thinking?” She screamed.

I ran away from her, quickly to the other side of the cave, throwing out more vials, secretly loving the wailing sounds she was making as she was forced to watch me destroy what had taken so long to gather.

I stopped enjoying it when my air supply was cut off and I dropped to the bottom of the cave, her body looming over mine. “I’ll kill you!” She yelled threateningly, and I was glad no one else was around to talk her down this time.

I had to make sure that she would go through with it, so I shot out my hand, slapping her across the lopsided and slimy face.

I knew that would put her right over the edge and that she would end me.

I quickly closed my eyes, picturing Theon’s face one more time before Alana’s wrath rained down on me.

I don’t know if Ms. Kay and her group of witches will be able to save me, so I know in this moment that it very well may be my last, and I wanted to spend it seeing the person I love.

I knew I was about to die, and I had accepted that fact and the fact that I may or may not be being brought back to life.

One thing was comforting in all of this though, and that was that my actions here were going to put a stop to Alana no matter what.

That was more than enough for me.

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