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Jan 31, 2015

The Cove


I started this for a contest at one of my clubs over at DA. I began working on it a few days late and I went over the deadline by weeks. But it's no biggy since they would have told me that I couldn't enter it anyway. They were looking for drawings of creatures. Even if they did accept it, since it didn't say in the rules that it had to be a drawing, I'm not sure how may would have bothered to read it.

But I finished anyway because I like the premise. Of course I liked the premise, or I wouldn't have started it.

I wrote this in DA's Stash Writer. My first time ever outside of a journal. So when I copied it over to Open Office I found out it was just about 4 pages long. Not bad.

There are no warnings of any kind. It's not even gay. Let me know what you think.

Oh, the prompt was "Exotic Creatures". Sexy might have been in there too. I don't remember anymore.

Let the story begin.

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Why was I out here? No, really. Please tell me why I just spent ten days, with a seemingly crazy horse, on a trek through a barren wasteland to find a cove, that I didn't hear of until the night I left town. Why?

Because you have no money, I told myself. 

That is why people get a job. Fix houses. Carry tea for the Clintons. Ride shot gun for the stage coach. 

Us? Work? Don't make us laugh. Every time we go looking, we end up in bed with someone. At least we had somewhere to go this time, my mind spit out at me. 

"That Doesn't Explain Why I'm Baking In This God Forsaken Sand Trap!" I shouted before realizing that I was looking at a cactus until the needles pointing at me came into focus. 

Because you believed what the bartender's wife told you before you fell in bed with her, I reminded myself. I stopped the horse and hoped it would stay that way as I reached down and pulled a canteen out of the saddle bag. I tilted my head upwards to get the last drop out of my third canteen that I had been nursing for about three days now I think. I had already been through two others so I stretching this one as long as I could since I knew I only had one more and not how much longer it would be until I could get them filled again. 

I was squinting my eyes against the sun, it's heat and it's over bearing light when I saw something move. I lowered the container and looked for it. I hoped it wasn't a buzzard and I whooped out loud when I saw that it was a sea gull. This is when the horse got spooked and jumped its way into a gallop. I was too busy trying to hold on for the first five minutes before I was seated well enough to pull it back under control.

When I looked around to find out where this beast had taken me, I found myself in a much greener area then where I was a few moments ago. I stood up in my stirrups and looked around for any kind of out cropping. I saw where I had come from before I turned around as I looked for something that let me know that was headed in the right direction. I peeked a small dome of rock off to my right and turned this creature in that direction. I could still feel the nervousness in him under my legs, so I pushed him into a quick trot towards the rocks. I felt moist warm air as it hit my face. There was water and it didn't smell salty.

The horse must have smelt it too. I found myself no longer steering it in the direction and more just holding on for the ride as it ran in that direction on its own. As we neared the rock I realized that it was the top of a cave opening and saw the vegetation thin out around it. I was about to wonder why, when I heard my horse's shoes clink on rock instead of being muffled by earth. Instead of galloping into the cave, the horse stopped. I guess it didn't think the water was worth a full charge into the enclosed space. I couldn't blame it as I slid out of the saddle and held his reins to pull him forward as I walked a head.

Sunlight reached the pool easily causing it to be reflected off the rippling surface and dance on the ceiling over head. I fell to my knees and lowered my face to the water's edge. There was nothing floating there and the water itself smelt fresh and healthy. There were even tracks leading up and away from the pool as more proof that it was safe to drink.

I drank until my belly sagged with the weight of the water I had consumed. The horse had drank it fill a while ago and had wandered back out to nibble at some grass or what ever it thought it could eat. I was using a rock as a pillow while I rested in the cool shade of the cave. I heard a splash which at first I thought was just a rock falling into the pool, but then I heard it again and looked around to make sure I wasn't there in time for a cave in. I heard a splash further in and got up to see what it was. Maybe I wasn't the only one in here. I didn't see any boot prints, but the wind could have blown them away and there was the fact that the floor was mostly stone. It didn't lend that well to leaving large human size prints. 

As I walked deeper into the cave, I remembered why I was here in the first place. I started to look in the shallow parts of the pool as I walked next to it. I wanted to believe the story, but I've never had that much good luck before and I didn't really expect it to change today. The space around me slowly dimmed with every other step I took. I was about to go back and see if I could make a torch when I saw a faint light a head. 

I gave up searching the edges of the water as I sought to confirm that there was an opening at the other end of the cave. By the time I was sure of it, the cave no longer felt like a moist tomb and glanced in the water's again. I was just doing it so I could tell myself later that for once I didn't give up, but I just expected to see what I saw before. Wet sand and small ripples on the water's surface. I was wrong. 

The sand was still there, but under smooth pebbles of different colors. The ripples were like waves as they hit against the pebbles. I was surprised that I hadn't heard it. But as I looked at the motion, the white crest and the demise of the little wave on the miniature pebbled shoreline I heard it very clearly. But it was easily drowned out by the larger waves that I heard outside of the cave. But even that was lost to my senses as I looked down at a small white orb that was too perfectly in line with two others. As I crouched down something yellow flickered in the water just beyond the pearls. I reached out to touch it and it stayed. I felt it. The pearls were real. I lifted the three of them and a whole rope of the white gems emerged from the water. They were there, it wasn't my imagination. It was a pearl necklace and knotted into the stand was a gold chain.

The treasure was real and it was here. It's Here!

"YES!" I shouted as giddy excitement and reality flooded my body and mind in a cold wave. It rang in my ears as it reverberated down the cave walls and into my frantically beating heart. When I found myself looking at the water again, my hands plummeted into the water that was just beyond the shallows. The treasure was there, I was looking in the wrong place. As I reached around all I felt was sand rocks and things that felt like small branches. I pulled my hand up and for a moment I doubted what I felt. The two necklaces couldn't be it. 

The light found something in my hand to shine off of as I pulled what I held up to the surface. I felt my jaw go slack as I saw jewels and finger bars of gold being pulled into even more light. Some of the gems had been cut, but most looked raw. I let the sand and water run through my fingers as I now looked at the bars. The stamps looked Spanish. I was expecting Chinese, but I didn't care. Gold was gold. 

I didn't realize I was laughing until I heard it echoing back at me. I then clamped my hand over my mouth. I coughed violently and repeatedly as I tried to dislodge and bring back up bit of the treasure that I threw down my windpipe by accident in my haste to keep anyone who was near by from knowing I was there too. If the bartender's wife knew, and I knew, who else knew? When would they come back?

I couldn't get it out. I tried to continue coughing, but I started to need air and I felt it being sucked further down. I started to panic. I couldn't die now. I coughed and wheezed and I hit my chest as I tried my hardest to get it out. My sight started to darken, my body felt denied as my lungs burned. I was starting to black out when I felt someone put their arms around me.

I would have fought them off, but my body couldn't do anything without air. As if I wasn't panicked enough, I was further dismayed as I started to realize that I was being pulled into the water. The middle of the pond was deeper than I was tall. I felt no floor under my feet and I believed that I was going to be killed. One way or another, I was going to die from the lack of air. 

I was pulled back against a body as their joined hands made a fist that was held under my ribs. My arms flared as they did it again. I kicked backwards and felt a strong body. Maybe it was another man that followed me. Maybe it was the bartender himself. I felt my ribs being bruised as I repeatedly choked with his arms around my waist. I then coughed. He did it again and I felt the jewel as it hit the tip of my teeth as it was shot out of my body. I coughed violently before I dragged a deep sneering breath into my lungs. I coughed and gasped at the same times. I sputtered and burned my lungs with more fresh air. 

With each breath the pain in my lungs decreased. I was so grateful to be alive. To easily breath the cool slightly salted air. To see the light that flooded the world. I started to laugh until I felt the water around me. I lifted my dripping hands as I wondered what I was doing in the flowing pond that held my riches. 

I then felt lub-dub-lub-dub-lub-dub against my back. I realized that I was leaning into the hands that I believed were going to drown me a few moments ago. I scraped at them as I now tried desperately to get away. Their scream of pain reached my ears as I reached the edge and pulled myself up onto solid ground. That is when I turned back to look. The sound was almost...feminine.I saw huge lidless eyes looking back at me. Her pupils were as large as my own eyes. I watched as transparent skin flicked back and forth across the surface of eyes once as she looked back at me. I looked back in a awe as I stared into their depths. My nails itching were an odd enough experience that I broke eye contact and looked at my hands again. There were large scales sticking out from under my nails. As I pulled each out out the irritation faded away. I looked back up at her and she slipped her hands under the water. I now saw more than her eyes. Most of her body was covered in these large scales. They were mostly clear, but as I looked at her I saw brown lines, that went up her body, on a slightly yellow background. She reminded me of a female peacock.

That had me looking around for others. Like males. I pressed my back against the cave wall to keep out of their reach. They shouldn't be able to leave the water right? Things that had scales had fins not legs. Right? I wanted to run, I wanted to live, but I wanted the treasure too. I looked down at the few bars, red and green jewels and the necklaces that I dropped when breathing became important to me. I then looked between her and the riches as I tried to think if it was worth reaching down for them. She looked at them too. Her face was expressionless, but the gills that started below her jaw and ended above her collar bone flared before she dunked herself down into the water. Did she leave? I moved closer to look in and make sure. 

Why are you looking in there your moron! She's gone, we should leave too before she brings back more of her kind! Grab what we have and consider ourselves lucky! I shouted to myself as I looked in thinking that it couldn't be that deep. I saw her smooth head as it came back out of the water and I scrambled backwards, but this time I reached for my meager findings. I wasn't going to leave empty handed if I could help it. 

I was back against the wall as she looked around. I looked to see if she was still alone before I gave her my full attention. I realized that she didn't really have any ears. At least not on the outside. As she came closer to the edge I tried to become a part of the wall. I think I saw her... smile before she raised her arms out of the water and laid some more treasure on the sand in front of me. She looked for the other bits that were there before and followed the marks in the sand to behind my boots where I had kicked them as I stood up. 

She pushed what she brought up in my direction before she swam backwards to stood, or should I say float, against her own wall. She bobbed slightly in place as she now looked at me. I looked at her a bit more now that I was starting to think that she wasn't just some beast set on killing me. She appeared thin but healthy. Her breasts were so small that I could have taken her for a young man, I think. I wasn't sure what her males looked liked and honestly I didn't want to find out. I looked back towards the ocean end to make sure none were coming. Not that we saw her coming before. 

At the time I was a bit busy, I told myself.

I reached down and grabbed the few bits I had saved before and shoved them in my pocket before I moved towards the larger pile. At first I reached for bits at a time and filled my pockets before I held an arm to my body and stacked the rest of it there. I even placed a few of the necklaces around my necked or looped them over my other hand to make sure that when I stood, I wasn't leaving any behind. It was highly unlikely that I would ever find my way back there again and that could be a good thing. I walked backwards along the path as I continued to look her. She had moved away from the wall and followed me slowly until she stopped to look at the water in front of her. 

It's too shallow. She can't come any further. Run! I heard inside my head. 

Why should I run? She can't hurt me. She can't get out of the water, I reasoned. As I though of turning my back to her and leaving I found myself opening my mouth. 

"Thank you," I told her. She properly didn't understand me, but she was still a female and she did help me. "Good bye," I added before I turned and walked back to my horse and saddle bags. 

"Goood byy," I heard her say before the loud splashing of water. By the time I turned back around, I just saw large ripples in the water to show that she had left again. 

I was now in the possession of two stories that I couldn't tell anyone. Not to save her or the rest of the treasure, but to save me from the being sent to the mad house. 

I dumped the contents of my hands at the mouth of the cave before fetching the horse. I took the canteens out of the saddle bags and filled them with something just as precious. I then filled the empty canteens with water from the shallow end of the pool and hung them from the horn of the saddle. I took one more drink from the pool myself before I climbed back up into that leather seat. 

I think I'll head north, I told myself. 

We don't know anyone up north, my inner self answer back. 

Exactly.  

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Thank you for reading. If you have a DA account, you and read and fave it there also at this link. The Cove - Deviantart Link. :) 

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