We dart through nighttime waters, close to the sand ridges along the bottom. I clutch Hvrēssē’s hand in mine.
In our wake, alluvium swirls up, and then drifts down to the ocean floor. A pattern will form and be washed away, form and be washed away with each wave or tail flick.
The vial of blood in my other hand flashes silver in the moonlight. The pull of land sings like a tsunami from the palm of my hand all the way to my beating heart. Hvrēssē grins at me, sharp teeth and delight. We swim faster until we feel the water around us change. It grows lighter and freer of brine. The river current ripples through our hair and over our fins.
“Almost there,” Hvrēssē says. She gulps the last of the true seawater past her gills. “Hurry.”
I admire her sense of urgency. Admire the way her pale flesh melds into the gray of her tail. The dark stripes that almost go all the way around but leave her underside gray like the stormy skies far out to sea. Like home.
My muscles burn as I try to match her powerful strokes when she dives into the fresh water. It’s warm and light. Sweet and deadly.
“Get out your knife,” I shout above the sound of the river fighting against the open sea.
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The cold is intense, to my bones, but I’ve never been happier freezing to death. Her breath hangs front of me, solid as everything I know, soft as everything I need. Waves rake the shore with something like determination and the sand is tiny shards of ice under my bare feet. The winter sea wants to swallow us, and I’m keen to let it.
Heavy music blares from the glowing phone in her coat pocket, electric and wild. She dances to it, looking for all the world like the sun in the middle of a December night, and I want her. My mouth cracks into a half-smile, and I have to look away as heat colors my cheeks.
We dance together. Not with hips and hands, but with smiles and running and catching and running again. She brings my face to hers with fingertips under my chin, and presses her lips to mine. Before I can even think that this is crazy, my hands find their way to her slender neck, gently pulling her closer. She rakes her fingers through my hair, and her lips move against mine, soft and warm, all nectar. Her hand trails down my spine, clutching at my hip, sparking heat on ice. I sigh into her mouth, leaning in with wanting, wanting, wanting. I’m freezing cold, but I’ve never ever been warmer.
Stay tuned for Audrey’s response to this month’s prompt on Monday and extra content from Anne next week!