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Strange Scales

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“Hey Jon, get over here and check this out. It’s freaking crazy, man!”

Dave chuckled, as he continued to prod the defenceless hermit crab with a stick. The little creature had taken residence in a Rainier’s beer can and was happily scuttling across the rocky shore. Happily that was, until Dave intervened. Now it danced in panicky lines for his amusement.

“Stupid crab,” he said, while the sky overhead darkened with rain.

The beaches around Port Angeles were nothing short of beak this time of year – a far cry from the sunny shores of the Californian coastline – but hell, they had their uses. Like this secluded spot, it provided an excellent safe haven for underage drinking. And despite the fact that the shore was littered with masses of beer cans and cigarette butts on a near permanent basis, cops still didn’t check the area out.

Dave and his mate Jon were regulars here. Here they didn’t get kicked out for using fake IDs, here their moms didn’t hassle them, here they could wander the shore uninterrupted and completely and blissfully pissed.

Dave chuckled again. It wasn’t that funny – a hermit crab in a beer can – but he’d drank so much at this point that anything was amusing.

The rain, which had previously been nothing more than light drizzle, began to pick up and Dave’s hair was rapidly becoming plastered to his face. He didn’t notice or care. His position, perched on a rocky outcrop overhanging the sea, was precariously close the dark, deep water beside him, but again, he just didn’t care.

Swigging another gulp he continued his merciless taunting. The crab fell off the rock in fright and rolled onto its back, its legs kicking uselessly in the air. He chuckled at the sight, and jumped as another giggle echoed behind him. That laugh wasn’t Jon’s. Spinning around, he found that he was not alone.

Her laughter was like the chiming of bells, delicate and alluring.

“Whoa,” he murmured, the can slipping from his grasp to clatter on rocks.

The sound echoed in the vacant air as he stared at the girl before him. Pale hair framed an exquisite heart-shaped face and hung in silvery sheets around her bare shoulders where she hovered in the pool’s edge. The girl was young, maybe sixteen or seventeen, and floated with her arms folded over a large rock, completely at ease. Dave’s heart picked up; setting a frantic new pace it thudded against the wall of his chest, reaching out to her. Only her head, shoulders and arms were visible, the rest of her concealed by the murky water. Aphrodite, she could have been Aphrodite herself, descended from Mount Olympus to grace the mortals with her presence. Where had this Sea-Goddess come from? At that moment he didn’t care, as long as she was here nothing else mattered. She was the epitome of beauty and his eyes greedily drank her in.

“You’re gorgeous,” he said. His words, though kindly meant, seemed somehow… insufficient.

No matter though, the girl beamed at the compliment and the boy gasped anew at her beauty – it shone all the brighter when she smiled, like sunlight breaking through storm-clouds. She was soaking wet, he realised. Her sodden hair clung in tendrils to her face and neck. She must be freezing, especially with the weather which was not kind in this region. And she had little if no clothing on – of that he was very aware. Why would such a beautiful creature be out here in the cold and wet, near naked no less?

Trying to shake off his drunken stupor, he pulled off his thick winter coat. It was frighteningly inadequate but he would give her more if she asked, he would give her everything. “You must be frozen.” He offered the coat.

When she made no move to take it he shuffled forward on the rocks, inching closer and closer to this Venus. His proximity did not appear to frighten her and that buoyed his confidence. Gently, he reached over and wrapped the material around her icy form, realising as he did, that she was, in fact, wearing nothing at all… Oh dear lord…

His hands rested on her delicate shoulders and now they were there he couldn’t seem to make them move, they rebelled at the mere thought.

She looked down meekly, almost shyly, and he scanned her features in question. Her eyes caught his then, flashing up from under dark lashes and locking in place. They were… enthralling. Under their weight he found that he could no longer move, no longer breathe. He had never seen such eyes: emerald and sapphire and gold all at once.

He leaned forward, not of his own volition, drawn by a force beyond his comprehension or control. Her lips lay so close to his, a mere breathe away, and that was too much. As he neared she tentatively drew back. His body screamed in protest at the unwanted distance and instantly moved to close the gap, but as soon as he did she moved again. They continued in this teasing dance until her face barely surfaced the tide. Hair seeped out around her in a halo of delicate gold, making her beauty ethereal…

“Dave,” a voice yelled, “did you call me, man?”

Jon… Dave thought, and blinked, almost shaken from his spell-bound haze.

Something, some innate sense of alarm was ringing in his head. Something was wrong with this situation, with her… Her eyes gleamed with an almost predatory light.

Jon… Call Jon… He turned, with every intention of doing just that, but her hands lashed out, quick as a whip, to latch onto his face. Cheeks in hand, she locked his gaze back on hers and the alarm, as faint as it had initially been, was completely smothered.

Almost lovingly, her arms wound around him. Delicate fingers caressed the skin of his neck and wound in his hair. She coaxed him forward with faint whimpering’s and smiles filled with promise… gradually leading him into the depths.

He followed her willingly. He would follow her anywhere.

Together and with barely a sound, they descended into the dark waters.

“Dave?!” Jon’s cry issued far behind him. “Dave!”