Wednesday, March 19, 2008
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It seemed only seconds after her thoughts went blank that she heard a man’s voice yelling in her head. At first she thought it was God, welcoming her through the gates. Then she realized the likelihood of her heathen-ass going to hell and knew it had to be someone else.
“Hey there, lass. Dinnae go oot on me yet. Ye were nae supposed to droon.”
His thick Scottish accent seeped into her waterlogged brain, sufficiently drawing her back from the brink of extinction. A mouth closed over hers and air filled her lungs. Then a heavy palm pressed on her chest.
An upheaval of water gurgled in her throat. Candi gasped and coughed in an effort to breathe. Inhaling a mouthful of expelled liquid, she began to choke.
“Careful noo, lassie. Cough it oot.”
He rolled her onto her side and patted her on the back as she continued to cough. Expelling the last of the water from her lungs, Candi finally took a deep breath. She had an overwhelming urge to vomit.
The acrid sensation of stale alcohol burned her throat as she emptied her stomach onto the soft grass. When she’d finished, she rolled onto her back, exhausted. It took a lot of energy to die.
Pain wracked her body. Her entire chest cavity felt bruised and beaten, as though she’d been pummeled. Her arms and legs trembled from exertion.
“There noo, ye gave me quite a scare. Most of ye swim to shore. When ye dinnae come, I got concerned. Thought maybe ye’d been eaten.”
Candi cracked one lid in an effort to see her savior. A shadowed visage hovered above her. The blazing sun overhead made it impossible to see his face.
“Thank you,” she murmured, her numb lips garbling the words. “For saving my life. Are you…Surius?”
“Aye. That’s what human folk call me. I ’ave many names.”