I watch quietly as goes through the motions of her ritual, closing her rope circle and starting her metronome. As she starts singing in Latin, I can feel the song pulsing through my body and start swaying with it as if in a trance. It feels good to relax a little…
Is something wrong with me that I’m relaxing to someone casting a curse?
Stop it! You can’t think that way – the only way to survive is to keep your image up.
Right – nothing affects me – I just go with the flow.
As I remind myself, I lose the feeling of the song and startle out of the trance just as Erica breaks her circle with the silly Magic card. “Cool” I tell Erica, hoping she didn’t notice. “What was that stuff you were singing? Latin, right? Sounded pretty hardcore.”
“’One Way or Another’, by Blondie.” she replies. I help her gather up her supplies, including returning the Magic card to her.
“Very cool.” I offer her my hand to help her walk out of the shack to join the rest of the group.
I need to figure out a way to relax – the stress of all this is getting to me.
I know – I need a project.
“We should totally get hammered after this is over.” I blurt out.
That will help.
“Heh, seconded” Erica just sounds exhausted.
Oh no, she is not handling this well.
“So this was pretty crazy stuff today… Do you have a way to unwind after all the stress?”
Erica tries to hide her surprise, “Was I that obvious?”
I smile – I know she can’t see it, but it filters into my voice. “Don’t let any of them fool you – we all deal with the stress differently. Why do you think Conor is so into the girls and his music? Jamie – well, he deals with it medicinally, if you get my meaning.” I pause and let her sit down on the hill just above the water line. “Even me – I just act like it doesn’t bother me, but that is all part of the façade I always use. Just don’t tell the guys, kay?”
The water looks really cool.
Take a little dip – there’s time before we leave.
As I take a step into the swamp, I start to feel the weird pulsing from before come back, even though no one is using magic that I can see. My vision goes all wonky, and I hear Erica saying something – I can’t make it out, but she sounds scared. My ears feel like they are all plugged up… like when I’m swimming or…
Yeah, that’s it. Underwater.
Wait, why is the hill so far above me…
The hill is the least of your worries.
Suddenly I realize that I’m not just underwater… I’m in the water…
I AM the water?
I so need to have a talk with Dad. I’m terrified and exited all at once. When I try to tell my arms and legs to swim, I feel myself.. well, oozing through the water. I get up onto land, and I can hear everyone a bit better – and they are freaking out.
Come on, concentrate – I need to see if I can return to my normal form.
Who says this isn’t your normal form?
Dammit, my human form!
Suddenly, with a pop, my hearing returns. I’m sitting on the hill next to Erica, everyone gathered around me… naked. My clothes float in the swamp where I first shifted.
Really? It’s not like this is the first time…
I smirk at Conor, wink at Jamie and Matthew – blushing choir-boy Matthew – and quickly Glamour myself some clothes as I retrieve my real ones. “Gimme a minute, guys, and I’ll be ready to go.”
They all stare at me, expecting an explanation for what just happened. “Duh – water sprite?”
Never let them see you sweat… appearance is everything.