Amber was sure she'd die. She could see nothing but the moonlight fading fast above her. Then, the pressure on her leg released, strong arms wrapped around her bare waist, and she was pulled back to the surface. She gasped for air as her head broke through the water. Her glasses were gone; her world was abstract. At first, she thought Ash had come back for her after all, but she quickly realized the figure on the shore hadn't been in her imagination. A very strong, very naked man was swimming her to shore. She couldn't quite see his face. Relief mixed with a new fear in her mind.
Amber's body hit the shore, and she crawled onto the rocky beach. The man's arms were still around her, supporting her as she tried to catch her breath. Her body was shaking, and, with the adrenaline leaving her body, pain erupted in her leg. She gritted her teeth and bore it without a sound. She had three older brothers. She'd learned a long time ago to never cry uncle.
Then, squinting in the moonlight, she saw it. The same scar on the palm of this man's hand as she'd seen on the man in the cafe. She lifted her blurred vision to his face and found the same dark eyes. He was unsmiling, eyes narrowed, suspicion etched in his every feature. What was he doing here? Who was he? Why was he naked in the woods at night, staring across a lake at a college party?
He grabbed her shoulders and pushed her back so that she was sitting on her butt. His grip was powerful, sending a jolt through Amber as her body complied to his will. Her injured leg stretched straight out across the ground. Fear sreaked through Amber's veins. She would never be able to fight him. But even as he held her fast, he didn't seem to have any intention of harming her, only questioning her.
"How did you know?" he asked sharply, holding her arm in one hand and pushing her dripping hair aside with the other, examining her face, searching for...something.
"How did I know what?" she answered timidly.
"You said it. You called for me. How did you know?"
Amber's eyes were wide. This man was crazy.
"I don't...I don't remember. I was scared. I just...I saw you..."
"And you yelled my name."
Amber searched her brain desperately, trying to satisfy this man's questions so he would just let her go. But pain and exhaustion muddled her mind. She glanced at her leg for the first time, but all she saw was a red blur. She couldn't tell how hurt she was. And she didn't know what had hurt her. The man followed her gaze, and his concentration moved immediately to her blurry, bloody leg.
"Shit," he muttered.
Without a word, he ran into the woods. Amber was left alone. But she didn't move. She didn't know how to get back to the other shore, she couldn't see, her leg ached. So she just sat there, in too-short shorts and a ridiculously pink bra. Had the man left her there? Was she free from him? She couldn't decide if it was a good thing or a bad thing. Then she heard something, coming from the water. A great splashing and a long, low hiss. A chill ran down her spine.
She wished the man would come back. And a moment later, he did. He knelt down by her leg. The splash and hiss sounded again.
"What's that noise?" Amber asked breathlessly, fear making it difficult for her to speak.
"The lake monster."
Amber stared at the vague shape of a man in front of her. He must be joking. And what exactly was he doing down there? He'd donned a pair of jeans, and the sudden flash of pain through her body told her he'd just tied his shirt around her wound. Yes. He was definitely crazy. But her fear of the unknown, of being stuck there alone, outweighed her fear of him. He came close to her, remaining shirtless, holding the military-style jacket she'd seen earlier in his hand.
"Now answer me," he demanded. "You shouted my name. You shouted 'Raven' across the water."
"Raven," she whispered, as the faint memory resurfaced. "I don't know how I knew."
He stared at her for a long time. Was he angry? She was telling the truth. It must have been a lucky guess. All she knew was that the experience had been something like a dream where her life should have been flashing before her eyes.
"You're the girl from earlier. From the coffee shop," he observed.
Amber nodded. Raven grasped her hair again, moving it aside again, examining her face again, smelling her scent, if she wasn't mistaken. She wasn't sure how to react, so she didn't. But as he occupied the intimate space, she was able to see another hourglass scar, identical to the one on his hand, on his shoulder.
"What is that?" she whispered.
"Another type of monster."
As always, be sure to check out the other flashers!
Lindsay Klug (M/F) Victoria Blisse (M/F) Pia Veleno (M/M) Rj Scott (M/M) Julie Hayes (M/M) Lily Sawyer (M/M) Sui Lynn (M/M) Pender Mackie (M/M) Ryssa Edwards (M/M)