No telling how far I'll go; anyone

It was late, Elina held the lantern tightly, lifting it above her head to illuminate the path ahead of her. Something small scurried into the light, paused and dived back into the long grass. She never thought she'd have been so pleased to see, to be able to see a shrew. Her vision had been improving steadily since the day on the beach. It wasn't perfect, things had the habit of sliding in and out of focus and bright lights had the habit of setting her back a few days improvements. Floaters were a constant irritant. She felt like she spent half of her days blinking, and she still wasn't any closer to finding out who she was. Her memories, whatever they were, however she had come to lose them, remained as elusive as ever. She hadn't had any flashes since the day she'd met Calvin and Peets.

Tired of grey, Elina had stolen a plum-coloured dress from someone's washing line. It was a little tight across the hip and chest, but anything was better than looking like a slave fresh off the boat. She'd acquired a looking glass too; had brushed her hair, her fingers dancing through it to produce a series of neat braids close to her scalp on the right side. She let the rest cascade of her right shoulder. Elina had reddened her lips, found some kohl for her eyes and finally the hidden her seemed contented. Apparently, she'd realised as she sat by the fire one evening, whoever she had been, she'd been vain.

"You lookin' fer me, love?" a voice rasped at her from the darkness behind her. Elina turned sharply, holding out her lantern. It fell across a roguish face, sneer glittering with golden teeth. His eyes took Elina in greedily, lingering a little too long over her chest to be polite.
"That depends," she purred, "are you Murray?"
"Fer you swee'hear' I'll be anyone you want." Elina smiled at him prettily, clasping her hands together. Her upper arms pressed against the side of her boobs, pushing them together until they seemed apt to tumble over the neckline of her stolen dress.
"I need your help, Mr. Murray," she said, "I need a ship." Murray licked his lips.
"I ain't got no ship, love. Yer'll be wantin' the king fer that." Elina feigned disappointment.
"And where will I find him?" she asked, a single tear falling from her eye.
"Come inside," Murray told her, pushing past her and striding towards his cabin, "I'll getcha a map."


Elina paused, waist-deep in the water to wash the blood from her dagger. Perhaps in future Murray would be warier next time when it came to considering allowing his hands to stray up lady's skirts. At least for a while he'd have to make-do with the other hand. Elina pushed it back into its stolen sheathe and took a final look at the map, committing it to memory. It wouldn't last long in the water, but she tucked it into the top of her dress anyway. Murray had been quite elaborative with a knife at his throat. Apparently the world hadn't always been covered in water, and when the floods had come everyone had found themselves gifted with a power to help them survive in water. She wasn't entirely sure what that meant, but she was happy to put it to the test. Somehow she knew she was a strong swimmer. Without a backward glance at the beach Elina waded deeper into the sea.

Murray might have been a snake, but his map had been flawless. Elina followed the coral beds, keeping the kelp forests on her right hand side. She didn't know if the real her would have been surprised about the gills which had appeared on her neck as soon as she had submerged her face in the sea, but they were undeniably useful. Every gulp of cold water carried much-needed oxygen to her lungs. The top of the castle bubble revealed itself first. Elina swam closer and when the castle itself loomed into view, her jaw dropped. She'd definitely never seen anything like that before.

Soaked to the skin, Elina wandered along the castle corridor, dripping her way along the carpet. She'd found a guard kind enough to let her through, telling him that she was really dying for the loo. He'd also given her directions which she had largely ignored. The king, apparently, wasn't seeing any petitioners today. Elina had no idea what that meant, other than that she wouldn't be asking him for a ship anytime soon. The castle itself had attracted her attention and she had set about exploring with wide-eyes. It was beautiful. She'd have loved to live in a place like this. She wondered if the real her would have felt the same way. Elina stared up at the elaborate vaulted ceilings as she descended the staircase and didn't notice the person coming the other way. Apparently, they hadn't been paying attention either. She collided with their chest and when she stepped backwards she discovered that her wet dress and hair had left a mark behind.
"You look wet," she grinned at them, tucking a stray strand of hair behind her ear, "fancy that."


photo by Tosa Muuat flickr.com


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