Copyright © 2023 Saymore Barauta



    Published by Saymore Barauta




Slowly, my head broke through the surface of the water.

      Water trickled down my face as my eyes took in my surroundings—there wasn’t a soul in sight. The sun had not come up yet but it would soon. It was light enough for me to see the most advanced settlement I had ever seen in my life, across the road from the beach. Beyond the residential area, I spotted mountains, green and majestic…a seriously impressive view. 

      My eyes reverted to the splendid architectures. The world had changed. That realization made me slightly uneasy. I couldn’t bring myself to move…a strange feeling had unfurled at the pit of my stomach. I focused internally; Dread. It spread and coiled around me to the point I thought of sinking back into the ocean. But, only for a moment. I had dreamt of this day for over a decade. So I tamped the dread, summoned all the courage I possessed and moved towards the beach. 

      I did another sweep of the beach with my gaze and decided I needed to get a move on. People liked to go jogging early in the mornings, it wouldn’t do for someone to find me here, especially at this time of day. Steeling myself to face the world, I emerged from the ocean. With vigour, I got on my bare feet, took a step and hit the ground on the second one. I sat up, staring at my legs as if I had never seen them before—panic rising. Then I remembered that I had not used them in a very long time, so it was to be expected that they wouldn’t work. 

      Trying to figure out what to do next, I let my gaze wander from the legs to the ocean. Captivated by the flowing and ebbing of the water, I sat quietly for a few moments then noticed the first rays of the sun start to appear. Reflected in the water, it was quite a sight. I lifted my gaze in the direction of the sunrise and watched with silent awe as one who had not seen the miracle in a long time. And indeed, I hadn’t seen that magnificent spectacle in over a decade. 

      A distant sound intruded on my reverie of the sunrise breaking the surreal moment. That’s when I felt the tears streaming down my face. Tears of joy and wonder at the beauty that had my attention a second ago. After a glance at my legs, I planted the back of my spear on the ground and used it for support as I got up. 

      Yes, I had a spear and a shell in my pocket. 

      Another reason why I shouldn’t be seen by anyone. They would wonder what I was about. Tentatively, I took a step and then another. It took grim determination to keep them moving and for me to stay on my feet. I focused on putting one foot in front of the other and wobbled on. 

      The sound of a car stopped me after a few unsteady steps. I had almost forgotten that sound. And the car was a slick thing that screamed extravagance. I realized that I was giddy at the prospect of figuring out what else had changed in the world this past decade. Rocks on the left caught my eye as my gaze followed that slick piece of machinery. Deciding it was a good place to hide while I gave my legs time to cooperate and figure out what my next step would be, I struggled over to them. I kept on peering down at my legs as I walked, I couldn’t help it— maybe because I felt they were letting me down. 

      At some point, my mind drifted back to a conversation I’d had with Mairena the night before.

      “But I don’t know where to go or what to do.” I’d whined.

      “Hush now, do not start in with that nonsense. You will be guided. I have warned you, repeatedly about doubt. Stay positive, you will see your path.”

      My mood lightened, a smile spread my lips just remembering my mother of sorts’ chiding. Forgotten was the struggle with my legs. 


I’d just reached the rocks when footsteps sounded behind me. Pivoting my head, I turned. A man stood a few steps away from me—staring at me with eyes that seemed like a black void of space. 

      I tried to read him but there was nothing…no aura to detect—as if I stood there alone. My head canted to the side, my brow pleating. This was odd, I hadn’t sensed him approach. I hadn’t sensed anything for that matter. How in the depths was that possible? The man just appeared from…nowhere. Strange indeed. Baffled and my brow still pleated, I stared back. 

      Silently, he scrutinized me from head to toe. Pivoting his head, he turned and looked out to sea. Suddenly his gaze became hard. After a moment, he reverted that silent appraisal on me and seemed to find me wanting. 

      My back stiffened at the judgmental stare. But I just as soon ignored it—it didn’t matter. 

      “Are you alright, girl?” his voice like a slick car’s engine purring to life…low and smooth. 

      My insides quivered causing a deep inhalation, though his voice had been devoid of concern just like his spectacularly good looking face. I focused on the sensations his voice had caused.

      It had been so long since I heard a voice. It had sounded beautiful to me. I let my gaze roam all over his face, then his body. He was such a magnificent specimen. His angular cheek bones, a beautifully carved mouth, perfectly shaped stubble and black eyes set in a warm ivory toned skin, made him quite good looking. He looked to be in his late twenties but the shrewdness in his eyes hinted at him being worldlier. His body was moderately built, encased in a black ensemble that made his skin tone pop. Really, he was very pleasing to look at.

      “Yes?” he said in question. Looking at me as if I was a simpleton.

      There was that sound again. I sighed inwardly at the same time realizing that I had not answered. I ought to have been ashamed that I was ogling but presented with the gorgeous vision in front of me—I couldn’t be bothered with morality. Briefly, I wondered what Mairena would think of me and brushed the thought off. I opened my mouth to speak but there was no sound. I closed it and tried again. Panic gripped me. I couldn’t speak anymore. By the depths, what the hell? Hyperventilating with fear, I stared at the ground. Trying to come to grips with the fact that I had lost my speech. 

      Like a flash, I remembered my legs. I exhaled, audibly with relief. Like my legs, I had not used my voice for over a decade. I looked back at the man, already calming down. 

      But he had noticed my distress and was now advancing towards me with his hands stretched as if to comfort me.

      Immediately, I took a step back and almost hit the ground, again. I quickly planted the back of the spear on the ground for support. 

      He stopped advancing the moment I became defensive. “It’s alright, calm down. We can figure this out.” 

      Staring, I was confused at what he meant and then remembered my muted vocal cords. My mind had already moved on to defending myself. 

      “Why don’t we do this; I say something, you nod or shake your head. Is that alright?” 

      I nodded. 

      “Delightful.” He took a beat. “Are you lost?” 

      My gaze moved to the houses and flats across the road and the mountains beyond, pondering on the question. The area was not familiar to me, but I knew this is where I was  meant to be. I shook my head in response. 

      “Are you alone?”

      Sadly, I nodded. I was alone…in some way. I had to be, my path required that of me. 

      “Do you need help getting somewhere?” 

      My gaze drifted back to the mountains and residential area opposite the ocean as I shrugged my shoulders. Without my speech, I couldn’t tell him what I wanted. Not that I would even if I could speak, in any case. 

      The man was quiet for a moment, sorting something in his head, I imagined. “Will you be alright if I take you to my place?” 

      I turned ever so slowly to look at him…suspicious. 

      He was raking my body with his dark eyes, in a way that made me very aware of how disheveled and pitiful I looked to him. “You can get cleaned up and we can contact the police.”      

      No, that was certainly not going to do. Having people asking questions and probing into my life is not what I needed. I started to shake my head. 

      Lifting both hands to stop my response, “before you refuse my offer for help, I mean you no harm. If I let you wander about on your own and something befalls you, that would be a tragedy. So let me help you.” 

      Only after I had nodded accepting his offer did I realize what I had done. Strange, I felt transfixed. His offer seemed genuine enough, though.     

      “My place is over there,” motioning to the direction, “across the road,” then gestured for me to walk and he followed a step behind me. 

      I hated that anyone had to see me struggling to walk but there was no help for it. The slope in front of us brought me to a halt. My legs were not going to carry me up the small slope.

      Stock-still, I just stared at it. 

      Realizing my dilemma, “I can carry you, if that’s alright.” He offered. 

      Slightly embarrassed, I nodded accepting his help. 

      He moved with cultured grace coming towards me. Yes, I noticed it. The spear got in the way when he tried to carry me. “You want to throw that away?” he said in question, amusement dancing in his eyes. 

      My grip only tightened on the spear, a daring look settling on my face. If he tried to get rid of it, I might very well use it on him. No way in the depths was I going to leave it behind. 

      He chuckled softly, moved to my left and picked me up. His scent enveloped me—of something dark and sinfully delicious. 

      Nestled in his arms, I was aware of his firm, built body, the strength in his arms. I couldn’t help but breathe-in his scent, it was just too divine. Without shame, I leaned into him for warmth, his body heat so inviting, probably because I had not felt temperature for the longest time.                                   

      “Are you cold?” he asked, unfazed by my actions, his voice slithering all over my senses and making everything I was taut. 

      I chose not to respond. How was I going to explain what I felt in the moment. It was quite surreal for me. Thankfully, he seemed unbothered by the whole scenario. 


At the entrance to the building, he put me down and opened the door. 

      A security guard sat behind a desk in the lobby. He frowned gaining his feet when he spotted us, clearly confused. “Good morning sir, I didn’t see you going out.” His gaze sliding to me. His eyes flickered then he stilled. 

      The man didn’t break his stride or look at the guard. “Morning George, I didn’t see you either.” 

      George came out of his trance. He didn’t respond but his eyes followed us as we headed for the elevator. I was certain he wondered why his sir had a girl looking as pitiful as I did, struggling to walk, in tow. I cursed inwardly for having relied on the ocean to carry me, instead of using my legs often. His eyes never left us until the elevator door closed. 


The elevator doors opened into an opulent penthouse with a grey, black and white palette. He ushered me in watching me intently, but my attention was on my surroundings so I paid him no mind. 

      Impressed, I couldn’t stop my eyes from roaming all over the place. It was the most magnificent place I had ever been in. And then I felt it—the coldness—not of warmth but of a place that’s not homely. I shivered as a strange sensation slithered on my skin. 

      He gestured for me to go to the couches and I wobbled over to them. Beyond the couches was the view of the ocean through a glass wall. Majestic view, I thought but there was a pang of resentment deep in my gut. When I took a seat, I turned to look at him. 

      Standing in the open-plan with his hands in the pockets, he was still watching me. His black eyes, shrewd as if he was trying to peer inside me. Then his gaze moved past me to the glass wall and the ocean. Infinitesimally, his brow lifted. With his eyes still watching the ocean, “Can I offer you something to drink?” he asked. 

      This was the second time he had a strange expression on his face when looking at the ocean. I was trying to figure it out when he turned to look at me, because I had not answered. I shook my head. 

      “Something to eat then, surely. I am going to make breakfast, in any case. But first, I will fetch something for you to wear after you have cleaned up.” He walked away as my eyes followed him noting that cultured grace he moved with…fluid and smooth, it tightened my insides. I was getting mesmerized when he disappeared into a passage way. 

      Slightly, I shook my head, frowning. This was also the second time I seemed to be entranced by him. Strange, very strange indeed. 

      Left alone in that beautiful, cold room, a sense of loneliness settled on me. It was magnified by the coldness—the place felt almost like a void. My gaze moved to the floor in front of me, then towards the glass wall and I stared at the ocean longingly…not resentful this time. 

      Shocking, that was the last place I ever thought I would long for. Maybe because I found myself in a strange place and no idea how to proceed. At least, in the ocean I had never been alone, or afraid, well that’s once I settled in. I was surrounded by love and I knew my place. Here, I wasn’t sure I knew what I was about anymore. But, it was way too soon to tell. So, I shrugged the sense of loneliness and the longing off and waited. 

      The man walked back into the living room with clothing in his hands. “Come, I will show you to the guest room.” 

      From the living room, we turned right into a different passage from the one he had taken. We walked into a room decorated in mostly white and a bit of light grey, the right side of the guest room was just glass with the stunning view of the ocean. My eyes zeroed-in on the bed. Not that I was afraid he would want to get into it with me, but because I had not slept on a bed in a very long time. 

      “Bathroom is over there,” he pointed to the door on the left. “I am sure you can find a spot for your…eh spear and shell.” He turned, his face full of humor and walked out. 

      I looked at the pocket that held my shell. It was clear there was a shell in the pocket. The material wasn’t much of a cover, terribly flimsy. I was certain he thought I was an imbecile. Who goes around with a spear and a shell in their pocket? Until I sorted myself out, I might be carrying the spear around a lot so it was best that I learnt to ignore the strange looks. 

      Feeling strange and out of place I stood rooted to the position he left me in for a while. Even with the knowledge that I was in a building with someone, the sense of being alone still lingered somewhere, slightly out of reach. I had thought I managed to get rid of it. 

      Sighing, I finally moved and went straight for the bed. I sat on it…oh, it felt so soft and comfortable. It was actually a pleasure to sit on it. I placed my spear on the floor and took out the shell. For a moment, I held it—looking at it, my mind drifted back to when Mairena gave it to me and a smile spread my lips. After placing it on the floor, I stretched on the bed and allowed myself to enjoy the simple pleasure of laying on a bed. 


The moment I entered the bathroom, I inspected the clothing he had given me and frowned at the black colour. Shaking my head, I placed them on an ottoman, the only black object in the room. My reflection in the full length mirror caught my attention. I ambled closer, a frown setting deeply on my face then horror wiped it off. A sound escaped my mouth and I quickly clamped a hand to cover it. 

      I had just noticed the colour of my eyes. They were now topaz instead of a deep brown. I did a quick once over of my whole body noting what else had changed. After a few seconds, I sort of felt myself accepting the topaz eyes, the micro locks that reached the small of my back and a new exercise and fighting honed body. I actually started admiring my physique. I looked more like a warrior goddess; donning a short white dress with a slit on the left side. 

      Oh, but I looked pitiful. The material was thin and the dress stained from the beach sand. No wonder he’d looked at me strangely earlier. 

      After the shower, I wrapped myself in a towel and sat on the ottoman. My brain started

working, trying to formulate plans. Which was difficult considering I had no idea where I had landed. This was a day I had dreamt of for eleven years, a day I could finally go home. It had come but I wasn’t sure if going home was the right thing to do. At least not anytime soon. I had been given a task to complete. Chances of this task bringing danger to my family were high. As much as I had been looking forward to this day…I decided waiting a bit longer was best. 

      Was I going to succeed though? Others had failed. What made me special that Mairena thought I could do it. Then I realized I had started to doubt and worry. That was never allowed. Worry, fear and doubt they said was the quickest way to failure. And also conjuring up negativity. I removed worry from my mind, got dressed and left the bathroom.

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