Watered Down

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Chapter Nine

Four more souls were gone because of us.

I can still hear the screams of the girl who was with the guys on the jet skis.

Levi, Cassandra, and I had swam over, and nearly immediately the boys were in our trance. The girl kept screaming at her friends, asking what was going on as one by one they jumped into the water, never to return. I felt so bad for her as she called their names out and begged them to come back. The three of us haven’t really spoken to each other since.

Even though I’d done it before, it didn’t make it feel any easier to kill innocent people for no good reason, and the girls had a really hard time with dealing with it. For the next week Levi mostly laid around on the beach of the tiny island, only coming into the water when she had to, and Cassandra has been spending all of her time under the water watching the fish absently.

I’ve spent most of my time sitting on the rocks in the cove, until time for Theon to come, then I join Cass under the water so that I can avoid him and his glares.

As I heard Theon’s boat approaching, I quickly dove into the water, all the way down to the ocean floor to be alone. The longer I spend here, the more my whole life seems pathetic. All of the things I thought were important were so trivial and now in this constant solitude, it made me question who I am. Maybe Theon was right about me. I’ve never done anything for another person. I’m not selfless like Cassandra, or brave like Levi, and I’ve never been overly interested in other people’s lives. Realizing that you’re a kind of shitty person is no fun.

I feel like I wasted seventeen years of my life taking everything so seriously. Instead of spending $4,000 on my pageant dresses, I should have been helping the poor or something. I don’t know what, but something more than partying with my friends and being shallow.

I laid down on my back in the murky sand and looked up at the water’s surface up above me. The sensation of being able to breathe under water was still hard to deal with at first, every now and then I still hold my breath, afraid of drowning again, but right now I feel pretty relaxed. I could still see Theon’s boat, which was weird. He doesn’t usually spend so much time here, but there was no way in hell I was going back up until he left, so I just watched the millions of sea creatures, wondering what it’s like to be one of them, and not being able to stop the thought that soon enough I’ll know the answer because at the rate we’re going, we’ll never collect 100 souls.

A bright glowing red to my right caught my eye and I turned to see Armela swimming around. “Hey!” I called to her, sitting up.

She stopped swimming, staying suspended in the water near me. “Hi.” She responded. “Alana wants to see you.” She whispered, her long red tentacles mesmerizing me.

I stood up slowly, displacing the cool water around me. “Ok.” I said, starting to walk in the direction of the eerie underwater cavern. “Can I ask you something?”

She waited a while to answer and I was just about to walk away when she finally spoke. “Yes.”

I sighed a little. “Did you even get anywhere close to collecting 100?”

“No.” She whispered. “In two years I barely was able to get 25, and that was years ago.” She told me softly. “People just don’t come through here anymore.”

I chewed my nail. “Yeah, I’ve noticed that.” I said. “How did you deal with the…”

“I didn’t.” She said sadly, understanding the guilt. “I still think about every one of those people every day. Especially since it was all for nothing since I am still here.”

“I’m sorry.” I whispered.

“Yeah.” She responded before swimming away into the darkness.

I took my time, walking slowly to the cavern, not really wanting to go at all, but as I walked, a thought came to me and I picked up my pace. I stopped for just a second outside of the opening, counted to ten, and then rounded the corner to smack right into Theon.

“What the hell?” I asked, jumping back from him.

He looked surprised to see me, then immediately ashamed. He didn’t bother speaking to me, and then he quickly shoved passed me to leave the cavern, swimming for the surface.

“Serena.” Alana purred to me, and I finally turned away from the opening to walk in the cavern with her.

The large green orb was just as alluring as I remembered it being, and I had to fight my urge to walk to it and touch it. I tore my eyes away and looked over at Alana where she was sitting in a large throne like chair that looked like it was made out of a mixture of coral and bones. Her perfect features struck me again and her silky looking black dress looked like it was painted onto her body. “You wanted to see me?” I asked.

Alana nodded her head. “I did.” She whispered. “Tell me, Serena, how are things going?” She asked. “I hope well, seeing as you girls have been on a vigilant watch and avoided me.”

I dropped my eyes from her pointed glare, trying to sort my mind back out. Seeing Theon down here had thrown me off course. “Yes, well, we want to do well for you.” I said softly. “Collectively we have six right now.”

“Very good.” She whispered.

I kept my eyes down and sighed. “I wanted to talk to you.” I said quickly.

“About?” She asked curiously.

“I’d like to quit.”

She was out of her chair and in my face in an instant, her hand wound into the hair on the back of my head, yanking it hard, making my scalp feel like it was bleeding. She pulled it so that I looked her in the eyes. “You’ll never say such a thing again!” She shouted and her voice bounced around us. “We made a deal.”

I winced from the pain. “I know we did, but-.” She yanked harder, making my eyes sting. “I will stay here with you, and you can turn me into whatever you want, but I don’t want to be responsible for killing anymore people.” I said rushed, bracing for what she might do to me next, but she surprised me by laughing and letting me go.

“It seems I mislead you into believing you had some kind of choice here, darling girl.” She smiled. “I thought you wanted to go back to your one true love.” She reminded me and the orb lit up with an image of Asher laying on his bed in his room. He was staring blankly at the window on the other side of the room, and my heart hurt so bad not being able to touch him or tell him I’m ok.

“I do.” I said softly, then forced myself to turn away from him. “But wanting to be with my boyfriend isn’t worth killing innocent people.”

“Oh, I see.” She murmured. “The dumb girl has grown a conscience.” She laughed. “Too bad it’s too late.” She snapped, turning the full power of her glare at me again. “You will do what you promised, or I’ll kill him.”

My heart sped up. “What?” I asked in shock and she looked passed me over to the orb, holding out her hand. I turned around and saw Asher grab his chest, his face turning to shock and pain. He sat up in his bed and he was making awful sounds like he couldn’t breathe. He turned in his red t-shirt and it looked like he was looking right at me. “Stop it!” I shouted. “Stop!”

“Are you going to behave yourself?” Alana asked.

“Yes!” I screamed. “Yes, just stop!”

She put down her hand, and Asher coughed, sucking in air. “Fine.” She smiled at me and the orb lit up green again. “Now go.” She said, her voice still sounding angry.

I walked quickly for the exit, my heart still pounding. I stopped right in the middle of the opening. “Alana?” I asked and she glared at me with her dark eyes. “Why was Theon here?”

“Silly girl.” She cooed. “He works for me.”

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