So here ends Chapter 1/Act 1/whatever. Which is not to say this project is over, just that you’ll be seeing a different subheading moving forward, but it’s the same story. We’re still following Rilla and Marius as they figure out what in the hell is happening between them, and other supernatural influences insert themselves.
Lightning on the Sea, concluded
Approximately thirty feet away, through two walls, a painting, and a mirror, Rilla washed her hands and took a deep breath. The night wasn’t going badly, per se, but she had stuck her foot in it with the glove question and now didn’t really have a clue how to pull back out. From next to her, she heard Karin sigh.
“It’s not that bad,” Karin said after a minute as Rilla shut off the water. “Though honestly, and I’m not sure how to say this, but I don’t know that he’s on the market as it were. Even if the woman he came to the show with really is just a friend, he’s seemed distracted all night.”
They all finished their goodbyes, and Karin pulled Chris away as Marius and Priska made their way out of the club, following a good portion of the crowd but not all of it. It didn’t take long to get back to the lot where they had all parked, and Marius opened the door for Priska as he felt any gentleman should. Once seated, he started the car and was pulling out when he decided he’d let her ruminate for long enough.
“Well?” Marius asked.
“You were right,” Priska said with a sigh, leaning her head back against the rest. “I don’t know how it’s possible, but you are very much right. She has the Song.”
On the other side of the wall, walking down the sidewalk towards the door, Chris was being introduced to Priska.
“So have you know Marius long,” Priska asked as they dodged a drunk moving dazedly past.
Chris grinned. “Yes and no? I met him the first time while working on a Naval salvage contract. He was the expert brought in to confirm they’d found what they were looking for, and I was one of the overseers making sure the dive crews didn’t break anything. We didn’t actually start spending time together until a couple years later when I moved to Seattle.”
So, real talk, I don’t like Marilla’s stage name. It’s actually the third version of her stage name, because the first two were a little too flowery. I’m still not happy with this one. I like La Sirène as a surname, but so far we’ve gone through Lorelei, Nereid, and now Nerissa, and I am still not happy. Willing to take suggestions.
Lightning on the Sea, cont.
The rain continued through the night and well into the next day. This was unsurprising for this time of year. The combination of the weather, and the fact that the shop was closed Sundays and Mondays during the winter, helped Rilla reach the conclusion that there was nothing she should be doing other than staying at home where it was warm and tea was plentiful. When work eventually forced her to venture back out into the world, the early week and no pressing engagements meant that she stuck remaining in a warm, tea rich environment. By Wednesday the rain had subsided long enough to give way to fog, but at least promised to remain dry.
The heavy fog outside the window was matched by a heavier blanket of fragrant steam inside. Rilla lounged in the scented pink waters of the old clawfoot bath, her hair pinned up and wrapped in a kerchief. A bathtub large enough to soak in had been the primary draw to this location, aside from the price. The bathroom in this older home had never been updated other than to replace some of the leaking pipes, and it was the first time Rilla could think of where that worked in her favor. The huge, ancient tub fit her not-precisely-tiny figure just fine, with room to wiggle and stretch out. The heavy, perfumed peace was interrupted by a knocking on the door.
I’m keeping my initial edits pretty light until we get to the parts where I need to add significantly more material. That said, I’m looking over some of this and going “oh, this is so bad, my sentences are so even, and they’re all long!” Somewhere Mr. Rich is shaking his head at me, and I can hear him cheerfully explaining how to convey action in a story by varying sentence length. I’m sorry, Kenneth. I’ll do better.
Lightning on the Sea, cont.
Rain can seem to form patterns on windows if you study it long enough. Living somewhere that rains so often, you typically get the chance. Downtown, in a bar just off of 1st, Marius considered the rain and the patterns he thought it made as he drank quietly and steadied himself for the task at hand.
It was perhaps a little absurd, but in his time being what he was, Marius had never become completely comfortable with feeding. Well, that wasn’t entirely true. He’d never become comfortable feeding off of strangers. The process was very intimate, and despite the attitudes of the modern age and the freeness some people indulged in, he came from a time where casual encounters were largely frowned upon. Sure, as a former sailor, Marius had his moments in the past, but he’d always felt guilty after. Whether it was his own morals or the leftover threads of cultural conditioning, he just never felt right about it. Of course, the necessity for staying alive combined with the fact that he wasn’t strong enough to take energy from the humanity around him meant at least twice a month he had to get over himself.
Fun fact! The shop that Rilla works for – Love Letters – was actually my final for my Small Business 101 class. I got a 4.0 on that project – and for that class – and if I had a clue how to put together the capital, probably would have tried to open the business.
Lightning by the Sea, cont.
A few hours later, a bit further north and to the west of I-5, Nerissa was desperately trying to ignore the war between the gulls and the pigeons that was being staged on her balcony in the hopes of acquiring a few more moments of sleep. She wasn’t succeeding.
The battle of the birds aside, the bedroom itself was quiet save for the steady breathing of the woman lying still in a bed that seemed too large for what little it held. She groaned and rolled over to stare at the gauzy canopy that obscured her view of the ceiling. The bedroom around her was a study in creating atmosphere, though it was the thrifty DIY version. Aside from the canopy draped around the bed, mirrors from import stores decorated the walls and various Moroccan style glass lamps hung from the ceiling on chains, and furniture that probably once graced a second hand store had been repainted a deep mahogany with touches of gold gilt. A great deal of work had been put into maintaining a particular look in this room, which made the very modern alarm clock all the more out of place. At 8:00 am, the seemingly anachronistic clock began to beep shrilly, and Nerissa reluctantly sat up.
Lightning by the Sea, cont.
The two men turned away and headed back out of the theater and into the lobby. Chris grumbled for a good deal of it, but it seemed more for show than anything else. After retrieving their coats and Marius’s hat, they waved farewell to the woman closing box office and headed back to Chris’s car.
“So am I just taking you home, then,” Chris asked as they climbed in.
And we’re back! You may notice that the sections posted are not all going to be the same length. Like, not even a little sometimes. This is in part because I switch perspectives as the story goes, and I plan on ending posts before the perspective switch. That won’t happen every time, though. These next two will both be from Marius’ perspective, because it’s a longer segment and I wanted to break it up. Look, we’ll figure it out together.
Lightning by the Sea, cont.
Outside the theater, running through the rain and bursting in the door came two men, both looking to be somewhere near thirty. The first, in leather trench beaded with water, laughed as he shook the excess rain out of his hair. The second, not laughing but still looking very much amused, removed his hat and flicked drops off the brim at his companion.
“Marius, come on, I said I was sorry,” the laughing gentleman said as he wiped the new water from his face. “How was I supposed to know the bridge would be closed?”
So then! I am not an artist, but I like the idea of MerMay and other month themes that push you to create something every day. This story is actually one I began in 2011 and abandoned, but I really liked the idea. It’s not about mermaids per se, but it is about aquatic beings, and touches on a number of similar themes. Well, eventually. In the beginning it feels more like a vampire story, and there’s a reason for that, that hopefully I won’t need to explain. Anyway! Let’s attempt this daily postings in May business.
Also! I didn’t ever have a name for this story, but I was going to group the different acts (not chapters, longer than chapters) by names of different songs involving the water. Go with me on this.
Lighting by the Sea
“Five minutes to curtain!”
“Thank you, five!”