I was going to post this as a Flash Friday, but I've got another post scheduled that day...so I'm going to post this now. I absolutely love Florence and the Machine. When I heard this song, a story instantly formed in my head.
She broke through the surface, falling deeper into the abysmal blackness. Her hands were bound at her back; rocks tied to her ankles; the pockets of her dress filled with stones. Fire claimed her lungs as she struggled not to breathe. Convulsions wracked her body with an urgency to swallow the first sip of death. The bastards hadn’t even given her warning.
Wriggling her upper body, Ginny fought to free her hands. Numbness blanketed her limbs and she could hardly sense her fingertips. Winter’s frost had finally stretched beyond the river bank. Muscles in her legs burned with the dull ache of exertion as she kicked her heavy feet. A scream rattled in her brain. And then suddenly fell silent.
This is where I will die. Ginny looked up at the surface above her; out of reach and drifting farther away. An unexpected calmness swept through her body, warm and merciful, as liquor through her veins. Deeper she fell; keeping her eyes on what little light from the moon reached down to her and slowly dimmed. A dark and lonely casket awaited her below.
Her descent came to an end at the bottom of the river. She closed her eyes; her lips parting while the fluids seeped through with the fervor of taking new life. The first breath beckoned her lungs.
Something hooked beneath her arm. Ginny’s lids flew open. Up she rose.
Panic swelled inside of her while the last bubbles of oxygen expelled from her like a hydraulic blast that trailed below her. Spasms shot through muscles, begging for air while she dangled from the arm of her savior. He stopped, peering down at her through the waters. She frantically shook her head and squinted her eyes; the promise of rescue still so far away. No please!
With a jerk of her arm, he pulled her in to his bare chest. The stranger held her suspended a few feet beneath the surface. She squirmed in a desperate bid to save herself. He tipped her twitching head back and pressed his lips to hers. She stilled. The sweet breath of life filled her lungs. An intense craving to suck every last drop of air in his body consumed her. Tightening her knees around his waist, she held close; hungry for more of him. He willingly gave her what she needed, never resisting. Her chest swelled with enough breath to carry her to the surface.
Ginny opened her eyes. Captivating orbs of violet stared back at her through the murky darkness. She peeled herself away from the stranger; her body now sated with oxygen. He continued his ascent, dragging her through the waters beneath him.
They broke the surface and the bitter cold of winter stung her face. Ginny gasped and coughed, kicking with heavy legs to stay afloat. Ice seeped into her bones and she shivered, trying to keep herself from sinking again. Light from the full moon danced off the caps of the agitated waters. The stranger pulled her to him. She wriggled from his grasp and kicked away. White puffs of frosty air rose with each heaving exhale; not a single vapor emerged from his mouth, as if the cold had no effect on him. His violet eyes studied her and he tipped his head, as if curious. It was then that she noticed his unearthly beauty: a square jaw and wet strands of black hair that hung over his eyes. Divine. Rivulets trickled down the ridges of his chest muscles. He’d just saved her life. But why? The weight tugged at her, pulling her head below the water. In spite of her protest, he reached for her. She emerged once more in a choking fit.
“No!” She rasped; her voice weakened by the crushing wall of icy fluid closing in around her. But he pulled her to him. His body radiated warmth and Ginny’s writhing gave way to the overwhelming comfort of being wrapped in his arms. She calmed and rested her head against his shoulder. “Who are you?”
He stroked her long auburn locks of hair that clung to her drenched clothing, peeling the stiff and frozen strands from her face. “I am Nic.”
Nic. An odd desire settled over her; sudden and out of place in her current state. Ginny lifted her head; her eyes riveted by his soft lips only inches from her face. How badly I want to kiss them.
“Then I will kiss you,” he said.
Her parted lips welcomed his. With one arm firm around her waist, he grabbed her hair, gently tipping her head to expose her throat. Ginny closed her eyes while his opened mouth explored her neck; his hot breath falling against her skin. Mmmmm. His moan rumbled. “The taste of human flesh is exquisite.”
Her lids grew heavy. “What are you?” she whispered, delirious.
Voices rose in the distance. As if the world had silenced and sounded again. She snapped her head forward, looking past Nic to the shoreline. There stood the men with torches. The same men who threw her into the waters to drown. “They’ve come,” she said.
“Then go, love. Let them see that you are pure.” Nic released her from his grasp; the warmth dissipated into the frigid waters. He gave one final kiss to her cheek. “I shall see you again.”
Ginny felt the gravely bank of the river beneath her feet and smiled. Flush with the heat from Nic's body, she stumbled toward the men. They stood lined at the slope, the flames of their torches flickering against the black sky. She lumbered onto solid ground; hands still bound behind her and stones bulging in her pockets. The rocks tied to her ankles dragged behind and her wet stockings slipped against the frost. Sopping fabric from her dress clung to her body. Ginny stood upright, facing the men.
An elder with grey hair stepped forward and rested his hand on her shoulder. His mouth formed a hard line. Shadows from the flames danced across his face. “Witch!”
Ginny's eyes grew wide. Shaking her head violently, she backed away. The men rushed toward her, clutching flailing limbs as she fought them off. “No! I lived! I lived!”
“It’s not your soul that lives, child,” said the elder, “you rose from the waters with breath in your body and warmth on your skin. Only a witch is capable of such magic.”
Tears spilled onto her cheeks. “I was saved! Someone saved me.”
“Your sins will burn along with your body.”
Ginny craned her neck, looking back toward the river as the men carried her away. Standing in the shallows, the stranger with his violet eyes watched; a wicked grin stretched across his face. His voice carried on the chilly air, “I’ll wait for you, love.”
“He’s there! Do you not see him?!” Her struggle was futile. A thick wooden post impaled the ground, already garnished with kindling. The men held her against it, winding rope that bit into her skin.
“Please! I was saved!” She sobbed.
The elder stood before her. “You will never be saved, child,” he said, and tossed the torch at her feet.