A New Ally
Inside these loving arms, my worries were tempted to diminish into oblivion as if they had never existed. I remembered, of course, that I was missing my precious boys, but the urgency to get them was of slight less importance. It’s a sad thing for me to admit and even more devastating to imagine had I really allowed myself to get completely swept away. Luckily though, these moments where I would forget were fleeting. I couldn’t underestimate their power over me. Each good feeling I had, was a more dangerous step toward leaving my sweet boys behind forever. As Blane got up to ready himself for the day he encouraged me to sleep in. He stroked my hair as I rolled over away from him.
“Sleep well my love,” he whispered.
I sprang from the bed, hugging him from behind, with the classic smile was plastered on my face. Blane was amused. He wrestled me down onto the bed, giving my lips a soft kiss. Both of his hands were wrapped around my dainty wrists. His dark eyes looked into me. I could feel the rush of butterflies. Thump, thump, thump.
“My precious Liza. You make me the happiest man in the world, but why don’t you go back to sleep. The sun isn’t even out yet. I’ll have Leila bring you a breakfast tray,” he said, brushing the hair out of my face.
“I want to have breakfast with you darling,” I said looking up at him. I batted my eyelashes with a coy expression.
“Very well then,” he said helping me up off the bed, “Let’s go.”
Blane led me to the breakfast nook in the kitchen where Leila was making eggs, bacon, and pancakes. She had squeezed a fresh orange from the orchard into a pitcher sitting on the counter-top. The aroma was heavenly. As the senses tickled through my nose I began to feel joyous. I really should have felt guilty, but I didn’t. Leila’s face was stone-cold as she looked down at the eggs. She steadied her trembling hand as she attempted to scramble them. I could see her wiping away tears, trying to conceal the flooding of emotions that were quite obviously coming over her. As she hadn’t cried in over 234 years, it would be obvious to Blane that something was going on. I must distract him. I thought. Leila served up our dishes showing very little enthusiasm.
“Leila, are you alright?” Blane asked looking at her and holding on to her hand. “You don’t seem happy.”
“Oh, I’m okay Blane,” she said looking up at him and putting on a flimsy smile.
She must not have realized that she wasn’t smiling in the first place. This in itself was troubling because it would be more difficult to conceal our ploy. Blane was unshaken by this anomaly because his focus was no doubt geared toward me. It was my power over him that he underestimated. We often push back and ignore the red flags that are staring us in the face only to have the experience that we long for. In an instant gratification world in which you refer to yourself as the king, I imagine it’s quite seamless to fall into such a trap. Blane was no exception to allowing emotion to overrule him. He nodded as if he agreed that there was indeed nothing wrong at all.
“Excuse me,” Leila said with a curtsy. She placed her head in her hands as she walked away.
“Have a wonderful day darling,” I beamed, wrapping my arms around his neck. He absorbed the experience like a sponge. I could feel his energy pulsating throughout me as we embraced. It was almost as if he and I were experiencing love for the first time. He gave my lips a soft kiss. His eyes were warm as they scrunched up to look at me.
“I’ll miss you, sweetie!” I said.
“I’ll miss you too baby,” he replied.
We watched from the window to assure Blane had gone. We saw him helping my mother into the car and taking off down the driveway. Once we were assured he was out of sight, I turned to her.
“Leila?” I said. I could see her troubled eyes. “I just want you to know that I think you’re right. Blane isn’t a bad person and I love him with all of my heart. After I get the boys, I’m going to come back here and stay forever.”
“What?” she asked astonished. “I can’t believe what I’m hearing. Liza, you can’t. You have to go back to your home and life. Now that I’m remembering the life that I had, I feel horrible that I left my mother behind. I miss her so, so much. I really need you to try to find her when you get back and tell her that I love her and I’m sorry.”
“But Leila, you’ve been here 234 years. I really doubt anyone from your life would still be alive at this point,” I responded as tears began to form behind my eyes.
“Who knows how time passes back in our world? We know it’s different from here. I don’t know if I’m alive or dead to them. I don’t know if my disappearance is a mystery or a closed case. There’s a lot I don’t know, but what I do know is that when you promise Blane forever, you have to stay and that’s that. Please just don’t do that. Not now. Not when you’re so close to being strong enough to leave this place. I didn’t have the strength nor the determination that you do. Do it for all of us here that left our families behind to chase our dreams. It’s not that I’m unhappy here with Blane, it’s that there’s a big unknown that I can’t undo. Do you understand?”
“Yes, I suppose I do. If this causes you so much pain, why don’t you just allow yourself to forget again? It can’t be all that difficult,” I offered.
“You need me right now to help you navigate through all of this. If I forgot, I’d be leaving you behind. I won’t do that to you. You’re too precious to allow that to happen.”
It was amazing how in Leila’s weakness came the most amazing amount of strength. She too had realized that despite emotional gratification, some things were simply more important.
“Thank you, Leila,” I said, giving her a tight hug.
“You’re welcome,” she responded.
“I’m going to go down to the beach for a bit if that’s okay,” I said. “I just need to feel the sun for a bit. I haven’t been outside in days.”
“I understand,” she laughed. “I’ll finish cleaning up. See you soon Liza.”
“See you soon,” I nodded as I turned to walk away.
She had given me some things to consider. The sun was coming up, offering a dazzling array of pink and purple throughout the sky. It was like magic made for my eyes. The sand on my toes and in my hands was soothing me beyond expectation. I inhaled the sweet scent of the breeze coming off the blue, shimmering ocean. This time of the day must have been the most tranquil and enjoyable because not a sound was there to disturb me, only the pleasant noises of the ocean waves tumbling about on the shore. I closed my eyes, surrounded by the experience as I laid my head down in the sand.
Suddenly, my peaceful experience was disturbed by the sound of laughter. It was a woman’s voice that I could hear from around the rocky corner that separated Blane’s private beach and the cove with the man and the little rowboat. I wanted to discover who it might be laughing without being seen myself. I didn’t want to get into any more trouble after all. It was important that I slipped beneath any sort of radar that may be monitoring my behavior. Peering around the rock, careful not be discovered, I saw the heads of a man and woman kissing one another and tumbling about. I couldn’t quite see the entirety of their bodies as they were concealed by the rocks, but they definitely looked very cozy with each other.
I saw the man sitting up, shaking his blonde hair out his face, but could only see the back of the woman’s head. Her hair was long, dark, and wavy. It was damp as if she had been swimming in the ocean. As her head moved away, I could see the man’s face in its entirety. It was the man I had stolen the rowboat from. I slithered to the next rock to see the couple more clearly, careful to only peek around the rock without being seen. She giggled a bit more as he got on top of her and gave her a passionate kiss. She was topless and her giant breasts bulged out the side beneath his chest as he fondled her. As I lunged forward to see if I could get a peek at the rest of their bodies, I slipped on a rock, making a noise. Their heads peeked up. It was obvious they had heard it. At that point, they were both staring at me in amazement that I could be spying on them. I got a good look at her face and immediately I recognized her. It was the face of the woman who so maliciously spit on me and tossed me into the ocean; it was the mermaid.
Startled that someone had been watching them, she grabbed a hold of the sea clothing that covered her breasts and dove back into the ocean, swimming away without a single word. He threw his hands up in disappointment that I had disturbed his play time with the hideous creature. His eyes narrowed as he glared at me. It was apparent that I had once again ruined his perfect day. He got up, not speaking a word to me, and began to make his way back to the cove. I had too many questions for this man to allow him to escape me. So, I of course, followed behind him trying to get him to acknowledge me.
“Wait! Wait!” I exclaimed. “Come back! I need your help.”
“Oh no! I’m not getting caught up with you again. You’ve done nothing, but cause me trouble. I’m lucky that Blane hasn’t followed through on his promise to deal with me later,” he said putting his hands up in quotation marks. He again turned from me.
“But I need to ask you some questions. Who is that mermaid? Why don’t you sting from her saliva? Do you have sex with her?”
He turned around and looked. He raised one eyebrow and cocked his head. His expression said it all.
“She has a fin....”
“Well, I know, but it looks like you guys were getting pretty close to me.”
“I’ll leave it to your sweet, little imagination as to why or how I might like playing with a mermaid. As for her venom. It only really affects those individuals who are weak minded. Apparently, that’s everyone on the whole fucking island.”
“Why in the hell did she try to kill me? She seems pretty tame with you.”
“Well, I assume it has something to do with you trying to go beyond the boundary in the ocean. Look, I’m not really supposed to be talking to you. Blane’s companions are off limits to the lowly peasants,” he said, extending out his arms. He gave me a sarcastic bow.
“I’m not his companion. I’ve lost my children to his mother on that other island and I just need to get them back. Blane promised me he’d help me if I just went through the portal with him.”
“Yea well, Blane offered me a new life here and so far all I’ve seen are dumb, blind sheeple walking around in a happy bubble. I don’t trust that mother fucker as far as I can throw him and I don’t really think I can trust you either. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go spend a relaxing day in my boat....alone.”
“Please, don’t go,” I pleaded grabbing his big, strong arm. “I was hoping you could help me figure some things out. You see, I haven’t forgotten my past like the others. I haven’t let Blane take me away into a state of bliss. He’s been keeping me locked up. The only way I could escape was to convince him that I was cured.”
“Okay lady, I’ll bite. What do you want to know?” he asked.
“I want to know who Blane is and how I get to Issiryth’s island,” I asked. The waves picked up and roared against the shore in a violent rage. With one swoop of his strong arm, he pulled me away, barely escaping the wrath of it. We fell together on the sandy beach. For a single instant, I was caught up in the gaze of his green eyes as we lay there facing each other in close proximity.
“You shouldn’t say her name. You know?” he said rising to his feet and helping me up.
“I’m getting that,” I said.
“Blane is some sort of a deity or something. He makes his playtime by bringing unhappy souls from the earth to his island where he can make all their dreams come true. The catch is, they have to promise him they will stay here forever and if they do, then he makes them a happy little life here and all their troubles diminish into nothingness. The thing is, if you just hang out here without promising him a thing, you’re the one with all the power. It really didn’t take me too long to figure that out, and since then, he’s kind of just left me alone to my own devices as long as I didn’t cause any trouble. That is until I met you. He doesn’t plan to lose you without a fight. That’s all I know. Can you just go away now?”
“I will, but I have a few more questions for you before I go. Like, who is Blane’s mother? Why did she take my children? How do I get over to that other island?”
“Nobody knows too much about her. All I know is that nobody here travels between the islands, not even Blane. The only ones who can go back and forth are the mermaids. She makes an appearance here sometimes, but nobody cares enough beyond their own lives to ask her what she’s about. Blane certainly won’t talk to her either.”
“When is she coming next? How do I talk to her? Can I talk to your mermaid friend?”
“Listen, I can’t help you anymore. I don’t really know anything else. I don’t plan to stay here any more than you do. So, when you find a way out, can you let me know?”
“Of course. If I can I will. What’s your name anyway?” I asked looking up into his beautiful, emerald green eyes. Thump, thump, thump.
“They call me Stark,” he said. I shook his hand entranced by the splendor of his beauty. His face was chiseled and the grip of his hand was steady and strong.
“Stark. Okay, well thank you for your help, Stark.” I said still a bit taken by his appearance.
“One more thing Liza. There’s a library in the village. It has a book called The Story of Us. If you can get it without Blane knowing that you have it, it may help to explain a few more things about Issiryth and Blane. The people in the village won’t care that you have it, but they won’t know where to find it either. You’ll have to look around. I hope you have a good day,” he said and turned to walk away.
“Wait,” I said again reaching to feel the muscle of his arm.
“Yes?” he asked puzzled.
“Thanks,” I said.
“Yea, don’t mention it,” he said.
I let him go to his boat where he could drift about without the worry of his worldly troubles. It took a lot for him to overcome the obstacles of being promised a better life and realizing it may not be all it’s cracked up to be. I had thought about the things that Stark had said to me. His words were helpful and I felt as if I may have found another ally, even if he didn’t want to talk to me. Whatever I did, I knew I had to get a hold of that book.