I never meant to kill my first one. It was passion first, an accident second. After that, though, all intentional.
I lived as a wanderer, always. To succeed in my detached lifestyle, I needed to acquire certain skills. I could have, like many other women in my position, fucked my way to safety every night. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my share of whoring, it works. But these girls who did it exclusively were being taken advantage of. I don’t like being the weaker party.
I was a robber, mostly. I’d sneak in, or I’d worm my way in through pity or smarm, whatever it took. If I got nothing more than food and supplies from the people, I was happy. I never took more than I could use or sell quickly. I wasn’t looking for riches, I just wanted to be in charge of my own life. If things got too hot to handle, I’d bolt. Someone woke up, or confronted me, I’d drop it all and cut my losses. I’d never fight; I didn’t count fighting to be part of my skillset. I was a coward, truly. A mouse stealing bread crumbs from the pantry. My skin was worth more to me than whatever I was taking.
I was at the docks one day, doing as the dock ladies do. The regulars were giving me dirty looks because I didn’t dress or call out like them. I wasn’t a professional, I didn’t care what they thought clients wanted. So I stood apart. A little out of their range. Let them snigger, let them complain. Guys who know what they want can go to them. I’ll be here for the timid ones who don’t want to want to dive into the dark alley of gaping holes.
On the outer edge is where I met her, though. My first one. She was dressed head to toe in white lace and jewels. Far overdressed for even the nearby market. She walked directly to me and said, “Come with me. You look cleaner than the rest.” She continued walking, but not back the way she came.
“I don’t do housework,” I called after her, thinking she’s making a mistake.
“I know what you do,” she said without turning.
I shrugged and followed. She did not turn to acknowledge me, but she knew I was there. She made a point to only walk where there would be enough room for me to trail behind without having to look for her.
We left the docks, and followed a well worn dirt path to the rocky shore. There, she entered a split in the rocks. I stood back. The hairs on my neck prickled in apprehension at the thought that this could be a trap.
“It’s not a trap,” she called out.
“Yeah, real comforting coming from the trapper,” I called back. She laughed.
She wore a glowing pendant that lit the way in the narrow cave. I held her hand so I’d not get lost. It was soft, as if she’d never done anything but put cream on them all day.
I tried to remember which directions we were turning; just in case I needed to get out in a hurry. It was hard, I never even felt the walls to know if there were any breaks to get lost in. She moved like she’d memorized this path.
Soon, she reached a wooden door. She tapped it with a finger and the door opened.
I panicked. I knew I shouldn’t have followed her. Glowing gems, magic doors, she’s a witch! She’s going to cut out my eyeballs and use them in potions!
Her grip was unnaturally tight. I didn’t move an inch. “Get inside,” she said, her voice soft and strong. I stilled and obeyed; I’d certainly lost my advantage. She released my hand and I looked around, trying to study my surroundings. I needed to know a way out.
This certainly wasn’t a witch’s cave—the room was tall and white, with ornate sconces dotting the walls. One wall was entirely glass panels. I saw the sea and sunset clearly.
My panic subsided and I pieced together where I was. From the docks, I had seen a tall white mansion where they said shipmaster lived. “Are you the dock warden?” I asked.
“I am the Sea,” she replied.
“So his wife,” I said.
She smiled. “You are a clever one,” she said. She explained that her husband was out to sea often, and rarely home to please her. She couldn’t bring in lovers through the front door, so she found a cave and connected it the house.
That’s what she wanted me for. Fine, I thought, I can do that, and then rob the shit out of this place. I didn’t normally steal for wealth, but this was too good to pass up. The docks would be easy enough to get to, and then get away from.
Yet, I stayed for days. I lived like a queen with her. I was her little secret to keep from the servants, she said. I never saw any, though. She brought the food and drink. So the servants either knew enough to stay away, or there were no servants. I refused to believe that her word alone kept them from her bedroom without suspecting a guest.
There was something else keeping me there, though. I could taste it every time I kissed her; she was the Sea. Her lips tasted of the salty ocean; her touch was soft like the waves lapping the shore. Every breath I took near her felt like I was inhaling her strength. She was intoxicating.
My vision changed at each encounter and all was a dream around her. Colors left, and the void was filled by thoughts of her. Of the Sea. I saw only her power—the ocean and the stars and the sky. She controlled me with them, just as I suppose she controlled her husband. I think perhaps it was his fear of her that kept him away. If he even existed.
She washed over me constantly—I no longer had an advantage, but at this point did not care. I had only a desire of drowning in her; soft and salty and strong. It was impossible to tell if I was dead or alive; to know if I was rolling in bed sheets or in waves. I don’t even know if what we did constituted sexual pleasure anymore. She both filled me and exhausted me.
I awoke one morning to find myself hungrier for her power than ever. The world looked dark and colorless, but I could tell it was already well into the morning. I looked at her, lying next to me, and she was sleeping.
I stared at her face, and, for a moment, saw a shimmer of color. It intrigued me. I held her face, positioning it to see the shimmer again. She awoke and smiled; I suppose expecting a kiss. At the time I had no interest. Her face, her lips, were darkness. I needed that shimmer. But her lips were the way to get it. I kissed her passionately, and the shimmer moved into me. I could feel it. It washed over me, filled me with the warmth of the surface of the sea. I closed my eyes and felt it seep in.
I breathed deep, and opened my eyes.
The world was still darkness.
Her eyes were closed.
I had swallowed the Sea.