Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Pass the Plot #1, Scene 2

Rhea-Anne steadied herself with another deep breath and closed her eyes. She could do this—she had to. But the feel of that claw…She shivered again, just thinking about it. That hadn’t been in any of the stories her Grammy had told her. Still, she was born to do this.

The night sounds had fallen silent, like the whole world was holding its breath with her. Not even the boat rocked. Only the breeze tearing at her cheeks moved. It cried mournfully through the trees, reminding her that somewhere behind her was Lucas, her fate, and the fate of everything she held dear. She would do this.

Opening her eyes, she turned.

He waited three feet from the edge of her boat, his dark eyes on her. She expected to see the scales she’d felt, but his skin was smooth and so pale it glistened in the moonlight. His hair, soaked with water, streamed over his shoulders to form rivets of darkness in his pale chest. Only his torso was visible, his hips disappearing beneath the dank water.

This was it.

Rhea-Anne shrugged out of the thick leather jacket. The bathing suit she wore underneath did nothing to stop the night breeze, and a chill immediately sank below her skin. March was a stupid time to jump into a swamp in the middle of the night.

She hesitated, dreading leaving the boat behind. Lucas’s eyebrow arched, his head cocking to one side. “This is your choice, Rhea-Anne. You must decide to make it.”

She nodded, swallowing hard. “I know. I…” Her mind blanked out. How many times had she imagined this night. She cleared her throat and started again. “I, Rhea-Anne Baker XIII, am here to fulfill the blood-pact my family holds with your kind. I have full knowledge of what I am doing, and I accept it.”

A smile cut across Lucas’s face, a dozen needle pointed teeth flashing. “Good. Come then, Rhea-Anne.” He held out a hand, beckoning her into the inky darkness of the still swamp.

She clenched the locket one last time, and then let it swing loose against her sternum. She could do this.

Choice made, she slipped over the side of the boat. The water lapped at her chest, numbing her legs, her lungs. She kept moving.

His hand wrapped around hers, his skin rougher than it looked. Sharp claws pressed against her wrist, and she cringed. When she hesitated, he tugged her forward.

“I suggest you hold your breath.”

It was all the warning he gave her before he dragged her below the dark surface of the swamp.

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