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. continue reading …
Five months ago, I tricked Rosa into kissing me. I’ve been lying to her ever since. That’s not entirely true. They’re not lies. They’re omissions. I omit pieces of the truth because she hunts creatures like me. So far she doesn’t know what I am, so well rehearsed are my stories. I kill hunters like her, but none of them ever caused my pulse to thrum at the base of my wrists. None of them had salted caramel taffy skin, sun-warmed, and soft. Soft in the way only a fawn’s coat should be soft.
We sit shoulder to shoulder at the edge of a neighbor’s pool, water laps against our knees, passing a cigarette back and forth. Sunlight glints off the water, off the drops running down her bare arms. Over the sharp chlorine and cloves, she smells like a field of sunflowers and coconut sunscreen. Rose kicks a leg and water sparkles in an arc. The splash silences the hum of cicadas for a split second.
It’s taken five months to convince her to break into backyards with me. The danger didn’t keep her away, no. She stayed out because she respected the people that live here. She hid her Scout motorcycle along the side of the house. Rosa relaxes against me. Like she’s home.
“Ever been skinny-dipping?”
Rosa laughs in that deep throaty way that’s only for me. I kiss her neck, drag a canine along the tender skin at her throat. Her laughter catches between my teeth.