Copyright © 2023 Saymore Barauta

Published by Saymore




Ethren always had an untouchable air about him. I knew that, I sensed it all the time. The whole time I had known him, it never really occurred to me just how massive that aura was. At the fundraiser, I got to see it. The man stood out like a gilded monument. Everyone and everything faded into the back ground in his presence. 

      He exuded magnificence. It dripped from every pore. 

      People were interested in him, I could tell from the number of eyes that followed him. But they were afraid to approach. He introduced me to three couples. His business partner, his lawyer and the head of some advertising agency he dealt with and their wives. It was grossly apparent that they were shocked to see him with me. Not sure why exactly. The business partner and the lawyer were overly excited, I heard them whispering something about Ethren finally deciding to stop being a loner. Naturally, I was a bit nervous how his friends were going to react to me being with him. I mean, he was wealthy and he was with me at a place I could clearly see was full of only the wealthiest in the city. They were wonderful towards me though and made me feel very comfortable around them and their ladies. 

      I was shocked at the amount he donated on top of the dinner itself. It became clear to me that he was a man who cared for other’s well being…he had taken me in…a pauper he picked up at the beach and stashed in the luxurious penthouse that I now shared with him. He was good in the sense that he never allowed anyone close to me or left me alone. I was grateful for that. When I excused myself to go to the bathroom, he accompanied me and waited at the entrance to the passage. 

      In the bathroom, a woman approached me. “How in the hell did you manage to catch him? In the two years he has been in this country, no-one has ever seen him with anyone.” It was asked in a severely scathing voice. It was just quite demeaning.

      Obviously she had wanted him, just like most women that had hovered close to us. Their body language when they were close; striving for his acknowledgement, without success. And here I was…a girl from the ocean, with nothing to commend me except my power, which no-one could ever know about, on his arm and commanding his attention. Had she ever tried to get him and failed? I wondered. I had the good sense not to respond. Smiling lightly, I went ahead with my business. Of course, I could have told the truth that I wasn’t with him or he was just sheltering me but I didn’t know how Ethren would take his private life being on display. A man of such stature, was obviously under a lot of scrutiny. I didn’t want to put him in a position where he would have to talk about his life. Not everybody liked being a meal to be chowed on in the media. 

      Ethren understood that his way of life and his world were something new to me. Every now and then he would lean towards me, which got a lot of people’s attention, to explain the proceedings and everything about charity. I was fascinated and impressed by the way these dinners go. Millions were raised for the poor and hopefully they all would get it. 


“That’s early for you Oarkenheart.” Miller, the lawyer, observed when Ethren said our goodbyes. “We haven’t done drinks yet.”

      “Yes, I would like to get Shira home. All the excitement has wearied her.” He stated. 

      And he was right, I was mentally fatigued. Everything I had experienced was just too much to take in. Not in a bad way, only because it was all new to me. I was grateful that Ethren was so attuned to my needs. When his arm arrived at the small of my back, saccharine pleasure spread from where he touched me. We had just turned away from Miller when he planted his hand there. One foot was still mid air when I posed just a tick and quickly recovered. Thanks to all my training, I was quick. No one noticed except him. To everyone who was watching us, nothing untoward happened. I pretended to fumble with my clutch bag.   

      “Are you alright?” His voice low and his head leaning into my side. I could swear his lips touched my ear. 

      A deep inhalation helped me calm and I nodded. I didn’t want to use my voice incase it betrayed the emotion coursing through me. This was the second time he had ever gotten close enough for it to be intimate. The first time he held me, I had just emerged from the ocean. There was always a respectable distance between us everytime we were together, even when we cooked together. Though I never really paid much attention to it, I admit that I’d found Ethren  attractive from the day I first saw him. Being around women that wanted him and were obvious about it made me see him in a different way. His attractiveness had just become apparent to me and now it was stuck in my head. 

      Helmut was opening the car door for us as we approached the car. Mentally, I vowed to work hard not to see Ethren the way I had just begun to. He was way out of my league and I had work to do. 

      “Thank you,” I said to Helmut and got into the back seat. 

      When Ethren slid in after me, it was with a smooth fluidity that I noticed without even meaning to. I looked out the window and started listing the massive differences between us. He was wealthy, he was in a gilded league of his own. Not even one guy at the fundraiser could compare. The way every eye kept on darting to him, it was clear his presence commanded the room. I came from a middle to low class life style. Apart from the differences, there were so many secrets between us. Speared by the need to understand his power, I was still trying to figure him out. If he was a threat to humanity, I was going to kill him. And when I find the dark being I was looking for, I was also going to obliterate him. There was no way or time to be getting attracted to any one. It would only be a distraction. 

      A warm hand covered mine. I turned to look at our hands the moment I felt his warmth. Facing the window, I’d been brooding looking into the dark. Of course, it had alarmed Ethren. Usually, I would be asking questions about the event or just making observations about what I had seen. Yes, I was like a child who had just discovered new things sometimes because spending over a decade below the ocean was just an awful long time to be away from civilization.  

      “You are quiet Shira, did the event tire you too much? Or maybe you didn’t like the outing?” he asked, his voice brimming with concern. 

      Looking in his face, I didn’t answer immediately. It was dark in the back of the car except for the occasional light filtering in from the street lights. He started rubbing my knuckles lightly with his thumb. The intimacy of the whole scenario almost made me forget myself. I was about to adjust my eyes to see in the dark because I just wanted to look into his eyes. Eyes that could linger on me with tenderness, sometimes admiration and other times with pity. The pity look vexed me. Instinctively, I quickly stopped the change, they would go a bright topaz. The intimate atmosphere that infused the car was so dense it was almost tangible. I loved the feel of it. It was dangerous, I knew that but I wanted it and basked in it. 

      Letting go of the clutch bag I held in my other hand, I covered his hand. 

      The deep inhalation that sounded from him made me aware that the feeling was mutual.  “Not at all, it was wonderful. Thank you so much for taking me with.” I retracted the hand that covered his. We turned away from each other and looked outside the windows. With a little pressure on my hand he still held, he kept the connection intact. 


It was just before eleven when we got home. Getting out of the enclosed space we had been in weeded me of the feelings that had sprouted. With great effort, I kept the feelings at bay. My job required me to stay lucid and not have a fog of feelings clouding my judgment. I declined the offer for a cup of coffee he made when we got inside his penthouse. He stood in the space between the sitting area and the kitchen with his hands in the pockets watching me, intently. It was one of the looks I was now used to and I wondered what was going through his mind. 

      “Good night,” I said and walked away. 

      “You look lovely tonight, Shira.” His low voice drifted to me when I was about to turn into the passage that led to the guest bedroom. 

      For a second, I thought of pretending that I didn’t hear him. After all the sensations I had experienced in this night, I was running. Without volition, I stopped and looked over my shoulder. This time his dark eyes smouldered. The man had just disturbed my entire body system, I placed a hand on the wall for support. My insides were dancing to a tune I wasn’t familiar with. Before we left for the event, he had just looked at me as if he wanted to devour me and said nothing. Only now did he decide to tell me. Deeply, I inhaled, “thank you,” as I exhaled and I walked away. 

      After a quick shower, curiosity got the better of me and I decided to look him up on the internet. Probably something I should have done when he moved me into his apartment, but I never thought of it. I was so intent on finding my target that everything else took a back seat. It was concerning that Ethren only came to light two years ago. The amount of wealth the tabloids hinted at must have taken years to accumulate. So where did it come from? There was nothing on the internet about Ethren from before two years ago. In all the pictures he was alone, no pictures of him and friends or with a girlfriend. Who was Ethren, the mysterious philanthropist who’s home I now shared? I searched till my eyes were sore just for some clue about his past or where he came from. I was surprised that not even one person ever asked about where he originated from. Was I the only one who found this suspicious? For the first time since I came on land, I had the most restless night. 


The night was still like a city of the dead. An occasional thumping of tires on the road is all the sound I could hear. It was just after midnight and I was in the city. I made sure to stick to the roof tops. Portside Tower was the tallest building I could find. I sat in a lotus position and retrieved my shell from the black track pants Ethren gave me when I first moved in. It was clever of me to not have given them back, though I never thought I would ever have any need for them. Well, in the past three nights and tonight they really came in handy. My entire wardrobe was white courtesy of Ethren, I would be spotted easily if I wore white. What his fascination with black and white was, I had no idea. With my shell in my hands, I breathed in deeply a few times and transported myself onto the spirit plane. Reaching far and wide, I searched.  

      The shell amplified my power, I could cover the entirety of Capetown. Anger, hate, greed I felt it…there was also fear, sadness and hurting. Pain was the worst. The world was full of it and it was overwhelming to the point of nearly crippling me. I had to pull myself back onto the physical plane just to take a breather. For a few moments, I let myself relax and let all the energies I had absorbed vacate my system. All that shit was not something I wanted to retain. 

      This was the fourth night I had been out and still I had found nothing. Two nights ago, I had to stop a break-in and entry that I just happened upon before they actually managed to break in. Frustrated with my lot, I created a violent air vortex. I was in the mood for a fight but I just chose to swoop them up and deposit them far so I wouldn’t go after them. I wonder where the vortex dropped them. Hopefully that experience would force them to change their profession. 

      The second time I entered the spirit plane, I avoided all the emotions swirling around the atmosphere. I focused on power, any form of power. All the powers I sensed were powers that I had learnt about. Nothing major or suspicious. When I was about to pull myself out, I was suddenly drawn deep into the core of the earth. There was something there. It was unfamiliar to me. I‘d never learnt about that kind of power. I tried to focus on it, to get a better feel of it but it was too deep. In any case, there were plenty of strange things that happened deep in the earth and I had never been taught about such places. Yes, I knew they existed but it was not our dominion. Before heading home, I reminded myself that when the time was right, I would crack this thing, just as I had been told. I reminded myself so I wouldn’t get discouraged. 

      The vortex I created to carry me home, was peaceful and as high as the Portside Tower. I made sure to stick to areas where it would not pick up debris or dust. One could never be too careful even though it was late at night.

      From the top of the building, I reduced the vortex to lower me to the guest bedroom window. I couldn’t very well use the lobby or go in through the parking on the roof because of the guards. The penthouse was quiet since I was home alone. Ethren had been gone for four days now. 


After the night of the event, I woke up to find pictures of Ethren and I on social media. The one that was favored most was when he leaned close to me. We had looked into each other’s eyes as he was explaining something to me. That scene in a photo was beyond intimate. It showed devotion, admiration and we seemed to have been absorbed into each other. 

      I remembered the morning as if it was just a few hours ago. The fear that went through my body when I saw the pictures, was rending. After getting myself under control, I went in search of Ethren, laptop in hand. I didn’t want my picture in the media. What if my family saw and come looking? That could not happen. I could not let that happen. If this task was to go south my family would be in danger.  

      There was a traveling bag in the sitting room when I walked in. Ethren stood by the glass wall looking towards the beach. He turned when he heard my footsteps, concern carved in his face. 

      I turned to look at the traveling bag again. “Morning Ethren.” Was I going away? No, he was. My clothes were still packed nicely in the guest bedroom wardrobe. 

      “Are you alright?” he asked. 

      That brought my eyes back to him. “Yes, Why?” I asked confused. 

      “No reason.” He said and turned to look back through the glass wall. 

      Panicked voices alerted me to something that was happening outside. I walked towards him to see what had his interest. A strangled sound came from my throat. Courtesy of my most eccentric disposition, I had created a vortex without realizing. 

      Ethren turned ever so slowly this time and raised an eyebrow at me. 

      Hell, I had actually caused a bit of a mess. Uprooted trees lay scattered by the road and

front lawn of the building. And the neighbouring buildings. By the state of the beach, it was clear I had also created a waterspout. Shit! “What happened?” I asked to mask my guilt. 

He sighed very lightly, I almost didn’t hear it. I wasn’t meant to. Then he headed for the kitchen. “Whirlwind, just came out of nowhere,” he said with his back to me. “Do you want some coffee?” 

      Ethren knew it was me. The way he was acting, I was certain he knew it was me. My charming disposition had finally gotten me in trouble.  

      “Shira!” his voice low and deceptively calm. That’s when I noticed it, the repressed violence—he was raging, a ferocious tempest that was trying to let loose but was being held on a leash. 

      “Yes, thank you.” I went to sit down and waited for him to ask or kick me out. 

      After handing me the cup of coffee, he went back to surveying the damage I had caused outside. I was imploring the depths that I did not actually hurt anyone. My emotions were going to be the death of me. They always said in the ocean that I would fail because I struggled to control that part of me. 

      “I am going away for a week. Business. I was thinking of letting you stay alone but now I am not so sure.” 

      “What do you mean?” I held my breath waiting for what he would say next. 

      “Well, I don’t know what caused these winds. It might not be safe to…” 

      “I will be fine,” I quickly interjected before he decided to find me a minder. This was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up on. With Ethren gone, I would be able to do my thing with out worrying about getting caught. “I am sure that,” pointing towards the glass wall, “is normal and I don’t think it ever gets severe that one should worry.” I reasoned. 

      He turned, one hand in the pocket another holding a mug and he looked down his nose at me. His face expressionless. If ever there was a time I wished I could read minds and read Ethren properly, it was this moment. I could sense Ethren’s power and his emotions, sometimes. But I had never been able to read him properly and I was sure his power deterred me. 

      “Right, Helmut will be available. Anything you need, he will make sure you get it. There is a bank card on the kitchen table and the pin number is there as well. Stay safe Shira.”

      Blessed depths, I wasn’t going to be cast out. 

He was about to walk out when I remembered the pictures on social media. “Oh Ethren, is there something that can be done about this?” I turned the laptop in his direction. “I really don’t want my picture on social media.” 

      He ambled towards me. When he took a seat next to me, he rubbed his arm against mine. Ethren was too close. Inhaling deeply, I worked on not reacting to the close proximity. The deep inhalation raised my chest and shoulders so I had already failed in that endeavour. His scent filled my nostrils muddling my brain, the feel of his arm rubbing against mine caused heat to sinuously trek all over my body. He was hard, so solid that my muddled mind conjured up ideas of how one could depend on such a strong man. The laptop was on my lap, I grabbed the sides so it wouldn’t topple over and made to move. Before I moved an inch, his arm went over my back and he clutched my side holding me in place. He leaned in and started going through all the pictures on the page and reading the comments.

      I was ready to scream. If I had thought he was too close before, now he was just one with me. The feel of his body and the comforting heat stemming from it beckoned me to lean into him. I had to go to war with my body so that I didn’t embarrass myself and go lax in his arms. 

      “No one knows your name. They are just intrigued, it will blow over soon.” Ethren said. 

      It took me a few seconds to understand him. He just went on going through the pictures. 

      When I finally understood, “Ethren really, I don’t want my picture on social media.” And I didn’t think it was going to blow over soon. They were indeed intrigued and would not let it go until they knew who I was and what I was to him. These were reporters for crying out loud. The animals that fiercely hunted for gossip. 

      He looked in my face then, for a long time. What ever he was sorting out in his head, was a mystery. But I could feel his brain working. “I will deal with it.” His purr low and thick caused a heady rush to go through me. His gaze moved to my lips. 

      My tongue darted out to release the imaginary pressure that I felt there. Whether it was my imagination or it was really happening, I couldn’t be sure but it seemed the gap between us was closing, our breaths were mingled. 

      Then his phone rang. I drew my head back and turned to look at the laptop. Reluctantly, he released me and reached in his pocket for the phone. He pressed the answering button as he got up and walked to his traveling bag. When he spoke, it was in a language I had never heard before. I frowned. It’d never occurred to me that Ethren spoke some other language other than just English. Briefly, I wondered again where he came from. 

      Shira, you will be safe.” Not sure if it was a question or a statement and he just expected me to make sure I was safe. 

      I just nodded. 

      The moment the lift door closed, I actually felt bereft. It was odd. Was it because I knew he would be away for a week not just until late afternoon as I was used to or had I enjoyed being in his embrace that I wanted it, badly? The next day when I got on the internet, there were no pictures of me and Ethren. Whatever magic he’d worked, I was grateful. 


Using my power always left me a little hungry. I went for a late night snack after changing into my nighty. I sat to watch a bit of television while I ate. My nights had been spent going around the city on top of a vortex looking for the deity who was intent on destroying my world. It didn’t help that he knew I was looking for him. The knowledge alone made it difficult to find him. It also terrified me. I was looking for a being that knew me but I didn’t know him. The scale was unfairly tipped. He had the advantages that I didn’t have. As deity, he would be more powerful than I. When I once voiced it out, she told me fighting physically was not the only way to do battle. There were plenty other ways to do battle. That remained to be seen, if there was any other way to defeat a deity.  

      As my nights were spent roaming around the city, my days were spent resting, sleeping. Helmut came to check on me every mid day and at the end of the day. It really vexed him that he found me tired every time he came. Sometimes I was short with him because he was disturbing my sleep. What he would tell his boss when he got back, I wondered?” It was almost three in the morning and I was still not tired enough for sleep, since I slept during the day. Laying on the couch, I watched a few more programs.

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