Saturday, April 12, 2008

Caribbean Blue by Dahlia Rose

What is that singing? Eli passed it off as his imagination until he heard it again, and this time laughter accompanied it. He sat up and looked toward the open doors. He heard the tinkling laughter again, like water babbling across rocks, and he smiled at the infectious sound. Curious to see who it came from, he stepped out onto the verandah and looked down to the beach. He saw no one on the sand, yet the laughter and another line of what he assumed was an island song came to his ears.

I have to know where that is coming from. He started down the steps that led to the beach. Each step brought the melody louder to his ears and it began to captivate his senses. He was reminded of the Greek myths where men's ships were led onto the rocks by the sensual Sirens' songs. He reached the rocks that made the wall of the cliff and looked around to the other side of the beach. Still no one came into sight. Where was the singer who charmed him with her tempting song?

He walked farther down the sand and found another set of rocks. He let his fingers trail around the damp stone as he walked. The surf came up and the warm water washed around his feet. That alone made him want to take a swim. But not now--he was so close to discovering where the voice was coming from.

There she is. Eli stared at the beauty in front of him and his breath caught in his throat. Her hair was long, tight curls of black flowing down to her waist. Her skin glowed from being kissed by the sun, but her eyes were only a few shades darker than the sand at their feet. Around her neck was the smooth body of a snake, and she held its flat head in her hands. She sang a few lines of the same song to her pet, waiting silently as if she was listening to the snake talk before laughing out loud, throwing her head back and letting the sound flow from her. He had never seen anything so unrestrained and free.

"Hi there. I like your song. What's it called?"

She swirled around to face Eli, and it was then he saw the full beauty of her oval face. The side view did not do her justice. He walked over to her slowly because her green eyes were filled with wariness. She began to leave, but somehow Eli didn't want her to.

"Hey, hey, don't go! I won't hurt you. I just heard you singing, that's all." He kept his voice gentle, hoping she wouldn't be afraid to stay.

"I was singing to Columbus."

Eli wanted to roll his eyes in pleasure as her voice washed over him like the waves on her bare feet. "Columbus is your pet?" he asked, referring to the nine-foot yellow boa she had around her neck.

"We take care of each other. He's not my pet."

"What were you singing to him?"

"A song I was taught as a child. It's about mermaids that come on land to play with mortals and make hibiscus crowns." She looked around as if she heard something that Eli could not hear. "I have to go now. Goodbye."

"Hey wait! Don't go!" But she dashed off between the rocks and trees and was out of sight before Eli knew it. He went after her; the urge to follow her was far too great to resist.

He heard her tinkling laughter from behind a tree, and when he looked behind it, she ran behind the large trunk of another tree laden with fruit. A grin broke out on his face. Each time he looked around a tree, she was already gone and peeking from the one right next to it.

"So, what's this game we're playing?" Eli asked.

"Who says we're playing a game? I go, you follow. I can't seem to lose you," she said with merriment dancing in her eyes.

He moved again and she twisted quickly, evading his hand as it barely missed her arm. "What's your name, island girl?"

"And why should I tell you?"

Shoot, just missed her! He leaned against the tree trunk and laughed softly. He was having too much fun playing with this unknown woman. He felt like a teenage boy again.

"Tired?" Her head came around right above his shoulder and Eli was staring into her beautiful eyes.

"I'm an old man. I can't go running through the jungle chasing a strange woman."

"I left, you followed, so where is the chase? You aged rather well, old man. How old are you anyway since you call yourself old?"

"I'm thirty-five, so I have to be much older than you. I'd say you're about eighteen."

"You flatter me with the compliment, but I'm closer to thirty. Twenty-eight, to be exact."

"Are you going to tell me your name, island girl?" Eli cajoled softly. This was one of the best conversations he'd ever had.

"Questions, questions. I'll tell you next time ... maybe," she replied. She touched him on the nose with one finger before she scrambled up and ran off.

Eli watched her go with a huge grin spread across his face. She was amazing, moving as if her feet never touched the ground. Eli didn't know who she was, but he swore he had just met one of the mermaids she was singing about coming to play on the island.