I have looked out of this window every day of my life. I have seen every mood of the ocean and shade of the sky conceivable. The tide has washed many trinkets and curios upon the stony strand, but never before a man.
I watch him wade the shallows, the surf rolling and dragging at his sodden cloak, foaming like playful kittens around his knees. His stride is strong and purposeful, and I know he has come for me. My heart beats faster, louder than the flurry of my footsteps on the tower’s stone stairs, as I rush to meet him.
He has tugged his boat well above the water line. He is not fooled by the benign fawning of the waves upon the shore.
“My father will kill you,” I say.
His eyes are blue as the gentian which flourishes on the cliffs, and as wide as a summer sky. “It is worth the risk. I came to see if the stories are true.” His bright gaze travels from my hair to my lips to the curves beneath my gown. “And I see that they are.”
The thick gold light of evening paints him with the glamour of the Otherworld, and when he pulls me to him, I have no will to resist. The taste of salt is sweet on his tongue. Water drips from his flaxen braids, and the dampness of his cloak is cold on my skin, but I am heedless.
Tomorrow, he will be gone, and I will go back to my long lonely life. Must I die an old woman who has never known a man’s love? No; I will take all he has to offer.
In the morning, my window reveals a world transformed with fury, as the sea lashes against the cliffs, filling the air with stinging spray and the sound of thunder. The tiny coracle lies beached on the pebbles, well beyond the ocean’s briny grasp.
“Your life is forfeit today, if you think that frail craft will carry you safely home.”
He just laughs. “The old man of the sea will bear me through the storm, have no fear.”
He speaks with bravado, full of the conviction of youth and his own power. He pulls a gold ring from his finger and presses it into my hand. He seals my protests with a kiss.
“If you ever escape, come to me.”
I let him go. I could have stopped him, for I have power of my own. I slip his ring onto my finger and rest my hand against my belly. He left me with something far greater than gold and a promise.
I wrote this story for Sue Vincent’s #writephoto writing challenge. If you want to take part, here’s how;
Use the image to create a post on your own blog… poetry, prose, humour… by Wednesday 1st June and link back to Sue’s post with a pingback. Please make sure that the pingback works and if not, copy and paste your link into the comments section of Sue’s post. Don’t forget to use the new and shiny #writephoto hashtag in your title:)