Issiryth's Curse

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CHAPTER SEVEN

Dreams and Wishes

Away from the throws of a wild fantasy, I was observing a woman on the beach on a warm summer evening. With long golden locks of hair hanging down around her flushed complexion, she wept. She knelt down next to man’s lifeless body in the sand. Her fingers intertwined through the roots of her scalp, grabbing fist-fulls of yellow wisps of silk as her somber, grimacing expression eluded to tragedy. My trembling hand reached out to her shoulder if only to show a bit of compassion in the wake of it all. I paused as she collapsed down over him in her sobbing.
“I loved you, Sid. I’m sorry it’s come to this,” she said as she arranged his hands across his chest. She gave him a gentle kiss on his cold, dead cheek.
“There, there. It’s going to be alright,” I comforted, stroking her silken hair.
Her body jolted upward from the softness of my touch, very startled from the interruption. Her head spun around as her icy, blue eyes cut through me like a knife.
“Liza!” she exclaimed. “You can’t stay here.”
“I just need to get my kids back, but Blane...” I started. Her arm wrapped around her belly as she held it tightly.
“Blane,” she repeated. Her voice was soft, yet harsh as she uttered his name. “You shouldn’t be here Liza.”
“What? How do you know who I am?” I asked. As my breath hit my lips with the emerging questions, the woman’s face began to fade away into the blackness of night. Soon the images of the beach dissolved away into nothingness until I found myself lying in a soft, cushioned pile of bedclothes. It was apparent I had been dreaming.
For a small, gentle moment as the sun squinted through the blinds and covered my eyelids, I thought I may be back in my own bedroom. Disappointment soon filled my emotion as my surroundings revealed the nightmare was still alive. At my bedside was a new tray filled with bacon, eggs, and pancakes. A small off-white card with gold lettering laid next to it. The intensity of my boiling blood at the sight of it would not allow me to comply with this friendly breakfast. My hand slipped under the corner of the tray that hung off the ledge as I sent it flying upward into the air and crashing down upon the ground. Picking the card up off the floor in my rage, I crushed it within my fist and sent it flying across the room. In the ruckus Leila came rushing in, careful not to make any sort of eye contact with me. She swept and cleaned the floor, returning the note to my hand.
“Liza,” she said with her head down. “Blane had to go to the village. You know? Because he’s the King? Well, he wanted you to read this.”
“Where’s my mother?” I asked. “Leila, please don’t be scared of me.”
“Your mom is laying out by the pool,” she responded still not looking at me. “Just read the note. Blane asked me to make sure you read it and I never fail him.”
“Okay Leila,” I responded. “Okay, I understand. I’m sorry.”
Without a word, she turned to leave the room with the contents of the broken breakfast dishes in her arms. I felt guilty for hurting her because she seemed so fragile. This place had been her comfort zone for so many years and I was causing her to question it. Was I disrupting her oblivious state of mind? The crinkles of the card had imprinted in my palm with my white-knuckle grip. Releasing each finger, I opened it.

My Dearest Liza,
I’ve gone into the village to take care of some business. Please don’t be angry with me. I promise I will help you find a passage across to the other island when I get back. I hope you enjoy your pancakes as you barely touched your steak. I will see you soon my beautiful princess.
Love,
Blane

Of course, he couldn’t help me today. I thought to myself. Why would he? Helping me would mean he would actually have to do what he said he would do. I rolled my eyes at the thought, realizing it may be time for me to clear my head a bit. Perhaps I could go to the beach and try to find a way to get across to that other island. Rummaging through the closet of clothes, I picked a long red dress with giant pink tropical flowers on it. I had spotted a large wide-brimmed hat on the bedpost of my bed, which I grabbed to complete my ensemble. My bare feet thudded against the hardwood floor of the hallway floor as I scurried out the back door and slid on a pair of flip-flops. My mother was all sprawled out in a lounging chair, enjoying the sunlight and a cocktail by the pool.
“Mom, I’m going down to the beach for a while,” I said with an artificial smile.
She simply smiled and waved at me as if she had not a care in all the world. So with that, I made my way down the hill to the sandy beach. The warm breeze on my face, tickled my senses in the most pleasant of ways as I sank my bum into the sandy shore. The waves were swishing to and fro as I sat collecting sand in my fists and releasing it back into the air, watching the wind carry it away. My toes buried down in the warmth of the blonde grains of the beach as the soothing sounds of the ocean waves calmed my spirit. I knew I must resist the temptation of being drawn in by the beauty and splendor of it all. I squinted my eyes as I looked out onto the horizon viewing the other island that was so close by. A large gust of wind caught my hat in its path without any forewarning, causing it to separate from me.
It tumbled and danced across the beach, remaining just out of my reach as I tried to capture it. Spinning and dancing along the sand, it made it’s way around a mountainous bend, revealing a cove that I hadn’t before noticed was there. Inside the cove I noticed a small rowboat was tied up, bobbing around in the water with a man accompanying it. My hat had stopped its dance long enough for me to capture and secure it on my head once again, but the boat had intrigued me. If I could convince the man to let me use it, perhaps I could row across to the other island. It couldn’t be that I hard. He hadn’t noticed I was walking toward him as he lied down on the beach to rest. Soon I had made my way over him, standing over what appeared to be a sleeping man. I wasn’t certain if he was sleeping or not, however, but I figured it was important enough to wake him.
“Hello? Hello, Sir?” I pressed.
He opened his eyes and looked at me, then sat up. His hair was as golden as the sun and his eyes were as green and dazzling as an emerald. He was tall and built, with athletic thighs and muscular biceps. A bit taken by his idyllic physique, my words became a bit hushed and reluctant.
“Well hello there. Who might you be?” he responded, but I was unable to speak as I stared off into space. “Ma’am, are you okay?”
“Oh, yes,” I said shaking away from the trance. “I’m sorry. I was deep in thought. My name is Liza. I was wondering if you could help me.”
“I’ll try,” he said.

There was something strange about him, but it wasn’t because he was acting strangely, it was because it seemed like he was acting normal. There was no big cheesy grin on his face and he didn’t seem too overwhelmed or enchanted with Blane’s world as the others were. He spoke in a normal tone rather than an excited one. It was refreshing and a bit suspicious at the same time.
“I need to borrow your boat sir,” I said with a trembling voice. “You see, my children are trapped on that other island with Blane’s mother and I have to get them back.”
“Wait a minute,” he said putting his hands up. “You’re new here aren’t you? I can’t let you use my boat. It’s dangerous.”
“Yes, you can. I will do anything to get my kids. Please, please you don’t understand,” I responded.
“Listen: Liza is your name? I don’t know who you are or where you’re from, but I can tell you don’t really understand how things work around here, especially if you think you’re going to go over to that island and face Blane’s mother.”

Without another word, I marched through the water and over to the boat, with the man on the beach following close behind me.
“Lady, what are you doing? Stop!” he pleaded as I boarded the little rowboat and sat down crossing my arms.
“I’m going to take this boat to the island. You can either help me or not,” I said in a matter-of-fact tone.
Accepting my challenge, he picked me up by the waist and slung me over his shoulder, planting my feet back down into the squishy wet sand.
“Listen here little miss, ain’t nobody going over to that island and that’s final!” he yelled pointing his finger down into my face. What the man on the beach didn’t realize, was that I was perfectly willing to accept his challenge as well.
Without hesitation, I grabbed an oar and bashed him over the head, knocking him unconscious as he splashed down into the shallow water. I grabbed underneath his armpits, wrapping my arms around his barrel-like chest as I drug his limp body back up to the beach. Pressing my ear to his lips I ensured that he was still breathing. Good. I thought. That ought to hold him for a while. I set out on a deliberate march to the rope that tethered the boat. I untied it and pulled it in as I boarded once again. With all my might I rowed as fast as I could out of the cove and away from the sleeping man on the beach. I was just hoping against hope that he wouldn’t come after me.
I propelled myself further and further away from him and even more importantly, further from Blane’s island. As my arms labored to get me further out into the ocean water, I could see the man’s disoriented figure coming to. He buried his head in his hands as if he had a massive headache, then made his way to his feet again. He stumbled a bit as he stepped to try to gain his balance. It was apparent he came to the realization that I had stolen his boat. He was waving his arms, trying to get my attention to get me to row back. Like hell. I thought. There’s no way I’m giving up now. Not after all I’ve been through. I rowed and rowed, further and further away from him. He rounded the mountainous bend at the cove to find a more efficient entrance into the ocean as he dove in and started swimming toward me. What a waste of time. I giggled to myself. I was way too far out for him to catch up to me now.
In that boat I felt powerful. Even the man on the beach couldn’t stop me. I had finally grabbed the bull by its horns and taken control of the situation. My arms screamed out in pain as the waves beneath me pushed the boat and down with a more treacherous disposition. The strength it took to continue on was a bit more than what I had anticipated, but I wasn’t about to let that defeat me. I pulled in the oars to rest for a while, when out of the corner of my eye I saw a movement in the water. I looked down to see what may be lurking beneath me but saw nothing. I rested back down, letting out a sigh of relief as I pressed my palms against my forehead. The man from the beach was still swimming toward me, yelling something I couldn’t quite decipher. I stood up to look at him, shrugging my shoulders, but as I did so, something hit the boat with purpose, causing me tumble down from my standing position.
It was then that I observed a large, blue tailfin coming up on the other side of the boat and slapping it with great ferocity. Again, I tumbled about on the floor of the small boat, grasping both sides of it with my hands. At first, I thought it was simply a very large fish, but the movements seemed much more evocative of a shrewd mind. I could see the man swimming toward me with more concern and determination, still yelling something at me that I couldn’t understand at all. Soon the large, blue tail struck again on the other side of the boat. Slap! The boat teetered and tottered about. Again, slap. Slap, slap, slap.
“Stop!” I shouted, attempting to show I was strong in this situation, but the assault on the small boat didn’t cease.

Slithering beneath me like a snake, I could see the silhouette of a woman with dark hair swimming away from beneath the boat. When the rest of her body revealed itself, I knew this was no woman, but a mermaid. She popped her head out of the water, taunting me and rocking the boat with her scaly hands.
“Stop!” I yelled again, raising an oar to strike her.

She laughed a condescending laugh, catching the oar mid-air and tossing it away. She then reared back her head and spat on my arm with an acid-like substance that burned through my skin like a cigarette on paper. Writhing in pain from the burn, I grabbed my arm screaming out and unable to steady myself. Falling down into the belly of the boat once again, she saw it as an opportunity. She furthered my disability, rocking the boat in a full-on menacing laugh causing it to capsize beneath me. As I descended into the water, my only struggle and focus was to keep my head up and continue swimming to my destination. My arms burned with pain as I labored to push myself through the water. She managed to stop me in my tracks. Dragging me under the water by my hair, she rendered me helpless in this watery world where I couldn’t take a breath. The world around me grew dark.
“Please wake up Liza,” I heard a voice say.

I could feel the sandy shore beneath me as warm, soft lips met with mine, blowing air into me. Then, I felt the pressure of compressions on my chest. Water gushed from my lips as I coughed and gagged. Sitting up, I met the green eyes of the beautiful man on the beach who was cradling my head with one hand and touching my leg with his other. He had saved my life.
“Are you okay?” he inquired.
“What happened?” I asked in a daze.
“Looks like you met a mermaid. I told you not go out in that rowboat,” he touted.
“Well, I don’t understand. I thought mermaids were supposed to be beautiful and sweet,” I responded.
“Really?” he laughed. “Well, it looks like you’re mistaken.”
“I have to get over to that island,” I said looking up at him.

As our eyes met one another, we sat it in silence, admiring the beauty. I felt a bit flustered and speechless that this man had saved my life after I had knocked him out and stolen his boat. My hand reached up and touched a lock of his golden hair, brushing it out of his face. He was still cradling my head and our faces approached one another in an almost touching position.
“Hey! Stay away from her!”
Surprised, we quickly pulled ourselves apart from one another as Blane came rushing toward the scene. In an angered state, he pulled the man away from me by his shoulders, causing him to fall to the ground and commencing an unforgiving punch to his face.
“She belongs to me. I won’t let you hurt her,” Blane said.
“Blane, stop it!” I pleaded pulling him away the best I could, but he continued to assault him anyhow. Admittedly, the man was defending himself quite well, but I couldn’t continue to allow the brawling.

“Blane, for God’s sake! Stop! He saved my life!” I exclaimed.

“What do you mean he saved your life? He looked like he was about to try to take advantage of you,” Blane responded turning around. The man was visible behind Blane, wiping the blood from his lips.
“Blane, I nearly drowned. A mermaid attacked me and he saved my life!” I reiterated. Blane became angry by what I had said. He narrowed his eyes at me as if I had done something horrible.
“A mermaid? Mermaids only attack when you go beyond the boundary. Did you go out into the ocean Liza? Did you take her out into the ocean?” he asked the man.
“No! She stole my rowboat and took herself out there,” he responded.
“I’ll deal with you later,” Blane said looking down at the man.
“Come along Liza,” he commanded, grabbing my arm and dragging me behind him like a child. He walked up to the house without saying a word to me, still grasping my arm tightly. I was a bit frightened by his actions, but I followed him anyway fearing a far worse consequence than that of the mermaid.
“You’re walking too fast, Blane,” I said out of breath. “I’ve nearly lost my life, can you please slow down.”
Still, without a word, he slung me over his broad shoulder like a caveman. He made his way into the house and dropped me down into the big plush couch like a rag doll. His looming over me like a helicopter was met with sharp eyes. I felt anxious about this as I knew he was angry at me and had no idea what he was truly capable of doing.
“What were you doing with that man Liza? I don’t like it when other people try to take what belongs to me. Do you understand?” he said, beginning to pace back and forth in front of me and wiping his own lips.
“I don’t belong to you Blane,” I responded.
“Oh yes, you do. You agreed to my terms, you gave me your body, and we traveled through the portal. You live and die by me now and you don’t get to that island unless I take you there. Do you understand me, Liza?”
“No Blane. I don’t understand, ” I cried.
“Liza,” he said in a stern voice, holding both of my shoulders and looking me square in my eyes, “I love you and I’ll do anything to keep you safe. You don’t understand the dangers that are out there if you try to travel to that island alone again. I keep the people here safe, but my mother doesn’t want anyone going back and forth. That’s for the mermaids and the mermaids have their own agenda. Liza, promise me you’ll stay away from that man and out of the ocean until I come up with a way to get past the boundary.”
“You don’t even know how do you, Blane?” I asked.
“I will find a way, Liza. Now come, let’s get you back to your room. Leila’s drawn you a bath. You must rest.”
“No, no...” I said in a tired, defeated voice hanging my head. He had weakened me to the point where I could no longer resist. He gave me a soft kiss on my forehead, scooping me up and carrying me away. In the bathroom was a bubble bath with the perfect ratio of water to bubbles. As he placed my naked body inside it, his lips drew close to my earlobe.
“There now, my love. All better,” he whispered.

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