Sunday, March 1, 2015

Enchanted Skye

Enchanted Skye

     Late afternoon sunbeams shone through the crevice and partially lit the ground as Alex dashed through the passage. From the outside, the hidden entrance to the sea lay mostly submerged between three jutting crags. Waves buffeted these with intermittent cascades of seawater. In the light of day, this sunlit water bathed the cave in an eerie blue-green glow.
Waterskin tucked tight under his arm, Alex stripped from his clothes as best he could on the run. He entered the rocky cavern naked and breathless. Flinging the smooth skin over his shoulders, he hunkered down. The transformation was instantaneous. Dynamically streamlined flippers appeared where arms and legs had been a moment before. He flexed his muscles and arched his back, then turned his head from side to side to fit more comfortably within his second skin. At water’s edge now, he took a deep breath and plunged. Emerging on the other side of the sea cave, he broke through the water’s surface and went to the rocks where a half dozen seals lay sleeping in the sun. From this vantage, he saw Jenna’s little red car in the distance.
     Hey, yer blocking my sun. Surprised, Alex turned to find his elder brother sunning on the rocks just below.
     With no voice by human standards, the brothers spoke telepathically. Alex asked, So why are ye here Lachlan?
     I felt like a swim.
     Alex eyed him skeptically. Is that so? A swim ye say? I don’t know if ye’ve noticed yet brother, but you’re dry.
      Lachlan laughed, the harsh sound not unlike that of a loud barking dog with a smoker’s cough. He was there for one reason, to be sure Jenna was still friendly toward their brother, for as Bea said, a loving relationship could start on friendly terms. The alternative was too painful to consider. A terrible strain existed between Alex and Jenna just days ago, and though they’d had a slight improvement since the evening of music at the Spùinneadair-mara, they weren’t taking any chances. He said, Well maybe I wanted to see where my little brother was headed like a bat out of hell. Following Alex’s gaze, he caught sight of Jenna’s car in the distance. Ah, now I see.
    Climbing onto higher rocks for a better view, Alex watched Jenna’s car make the bend where she’d nearly fallen to her death. The road was safer coming than going. He poked his snout in her direction. It’s crazy because we’ve only just met. But Lachlan, I think I’m in love with that woman.
    I can tell ye are, Alex. We all can.
    Alex barked a chuckle. That obvious is it?
    As plain as the whiskers on yer snout. But ye must move slow, Alex. Only a special woman would care to return the love of a sea creature, aye? What do ye think she’d say to see you in your waterskin? Ye can’t go and scare the poor lass by being impetuous. Ye got t’ give her time to know ye. Once she does, it won’t matter. Tell me ye understand what it is I’m saying, brother.
    That was the most Lachlan could say. If Alex and Jenna never discovered their love for one another, Alex would die. If Alex knew it was the charm that instigated his feelings, he would doubt them. In his doubt, he’d to shy away from the love promised. He’d end his life to escape the longing.
     In that moment, Lachlan wished his father were home. His father knew personally the charm that snared Alex, for it was his mother’s tears that stole the elder man’s heart. In these many months since they’d scattered her ashes on the waves, his father’s broken heart sought to ease its grief in the forgetful sea. Their parents knew deep abiding love for all their lifetime spent together. Lachlan wanted a love like that for himself and he’d yet to find it. It was their example that kept him single all these years.
     Alex told him, I do understand, Lachlan. The last thing I want to do is scare her. I can’t express what her shunning felt like. He explained a little of what occurred before the scotch arrived.
     Lachlan barked a laugh. Whatever were ye thinking, ogling her like that?
     Damned if I know, I lost my head. She’s beautiful, aye?
     Pleasant enough. He looked at Alex skeptically. Seems like a small reason to spit fire though.
     Alex shuffled uncomfortably and looked away.
Reading there was more here than his brother wanted to discuss, Lachlan said, Well, she seemed better about being locked in with ye at tea, no?
     Aye, a bit. We’d just started to talk when ye came back with the car. She was fixed to leave.  Alex looked toward the lighthouse again.
     Lachlan considered him. From what he knew of the charm, Alex’s preoccupation with Jenna was expected. I dinna think Uncle Angus would mind if ye stopped by to visit.
     Alex gave him a whiskery smile.
      Butting Alex into the water, Lacklan barked, What are ye bothering me for when all I want to do is sun myself? Get a move on before she gets there!
Minutes later, his clothing gathered and put back on, and his seal skin tucked safely away, Alex walked the brisk quarter mile to from the MacNeal property to the lighthouse, and knocked on the door.

The following scene picks up after Jenna and Alex share dinner with Uncle Angus

    Jenna headed down to the small tidal pool, and Alex followed. Facing the rocks where the seals lay like speckled blobs in the sunset, she said, “This was where I scattered my grandmother’s ashes. My uncle said he played here with his sister when they were children.”
    “It’s a fine place. Mary Margaret would have liked that.”
     “You knew my grandmother?”
     Alex shook his head. “Indirectly. Angus was best of friends with my grandfather. I was raised on tales of their childhood.”
      “So that’s why you all call him ‘uncle.’ I thought it was just a term of respect.”
       “It’s both. He’s a lovable auld fellow.”
       She smiled. “Yes he is.”
      The largest seal slid from the rocks and swam toward them. Jenna pointed at him. “Are they usually so, so…friendly?”
     “They are, and they’re overly curious too.” Alex watched his brother slowly making his way toward them. He asked silently, What are ye still doing here, Lachlan?
     Goin’ for that swim. The seal barked, his nostrils opening and closing, making his whiskers swing to and fro.
      Jenna jumped and grabbed onto Alex’s arm before releasing it just as quickly. She took several steps backward. “Are they dangerous?”
      Alex narrowed his eyes at the creature who now floated on his back, scratching his belly with his flipper. “They keep to themselves and are harmless if you leave them be.”
Surprised by his lecturing tone, Jenna quickly assured him, “Believe me, I wouldn’t dream of bothering them.” The seal did a barrel roll on top of the water then blew bubbles. It made Jenna laugh. “They certainly are funny animals. My grandmother and I used to love watching them at the zoo.”
      Alex chuckled. “Aye, nature’s clowns.” To Lachlan he said, What d’ ye think about living in the zoo, brother? I might be able t’ arrange that for ye.
      The seal blew raspberries.
      Alex turned to Jenna. “So if I asked ye to give me a ride back to the house instead of making me walk, would ye say yes? Even though it’s obvious ye despise me for dousing you in ale and for other things?”
     Jeanna laughed nervously. “I don’t despise you. I’ll drive you on one condition.”
      “What condition?”
     “You drive,” Jenna said, and tossed her keys. “When I saw, in the light of day, where I’d buried that car—”
     Catching the keys cleanly, Alex laughed. “Ye get used the roads after a while.”


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