I am Pure

Read about inside - was too long to fit in the 'About the story' bit. (HINT: it's about Sirens, but not as we know them...)

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5. Pursued

Pursued

 

I woke gradually, slowly registering the ache in my arm, and the crick in my neck.

I stretched the stiffness from my muscles and took a few moments to recollect my thoughts, letting the fleece blanket fall to the floor. My auburn hair felt heavy on my head. Kale had been right – I needed to shower. The sunlight pouring from the glass doors leading to the balcony was a clear sign that it was still very early. I glanced at my watch – the time was 7:09.

I groaned. Surely it wasn’t too early to shower. I needed to desperately as I was still in yesterday’s clothes. I stood up, pausing to let the blood flow more easily, having spent all night in a horizontal position. Ignoring the blanket, I padded down the hall to my room.

Before I even opened the door, I could hear the heavy snores of my dear brother. As I entered, I almost ran back out again. How could one boy create so much mess in less than twelve hours?

Kale was lying in bed, face down in his pillow, and completely out of it. Perfect. When he was in a state like this, not even WWIII could wake him, let alone a shower.

I seized my bathroom essentials and went to the on suite, dreading the fact I had to share a bathroom with a boy. Just for a week, I told myself, just for a week. I prised my tracksuit off my body and stepped into the cubicle.

The warm water soothed my tense muscles, and rinsed my skin of all the sweat and oils. Using shampoo felt like a privilege, as I massaged the foam into my scalp. Here, I was free to think. The smell of strawberries reminded me of splendour, and made me think of how the girls at school smelt – mature and appealing.

With a shock, I remembered the four girls from the previous day, and the dreams resurfaced. Suddenly, I wasn’t feeling the shower anymore, and my mind was filled with a single thought.

Find them.      

I cut the water and quickly dried myself. I dressed right there in the bathroom, not wanting to strip in front of Kale, even if he was asleep. The air was incredibly warm, spray from the shower still lingering in the air. I hastily pulled on my lightest top, an extremely loose white tee with long sleeves to cover my worst assets. I teamed it with a pair of grey flares, which together didn’t exactly match, but I was covered, that’s all that mattered.

I looked in the mirror, and even through the condensation painting the glass, it was obvious how tired I looked. My eyes – again, my thoughts were drawn to last night – were darker than usual, as if belonging to a sunburnt corpse. I guess they kind of did.  

My locks still damp, soaking my back, I ambled back to my bed, avoiding the sea of mess carpeting the wooden floor, to again dump my stuff. I glanced back at Kale, now rolled over onto his back, drooling. He looked so young when asleep, taking off years by the way his face relaxed. I sighed.

I hardly knew him, and we had never been close. We had certainly not played together as kids, and he didn’t go raging if some guy hurt my feelings. That is, he wouldn’t if any guy ever talked to me, as I had never even come close to looking upon the male of the species. I didn’t have a social life, the only times I came out of the house were to go to a school, which only housed girls. Rose Banks was a total virgin, and had a long way to go before she even got close to being the opposite.

I entered the living room, glad to have the next couple of hours to myself. To my horror, Reed was sat where I had slept just minutes ago, slouched, and only wearing his underwear.

He turned at the sound of me, and for the first time in years he looked at me as if he was happy to see me. He lifted his bony arm and I moved forward, thinking he meant for me to hug him, but stopped short as I noticed a twenty pound note crumpled in his out-stretched fist. I faltered, cursing myself inside for being so naive, and hid my disappointment.

“What?” I asked.

“Rose, love,” I raised my eyebrows at his poor attempt at persuading me. “Nip to the shop and buy me some breakfast. We’ve nothing in.”

He shook the note encouragingly, and I took it reluctantly. It looked as if my hunt for the mystery girls would have to wait. He beamed.

“This isn’t even in the right currency,” I sighed. “You need dollars.”

“You can change it, can’t you?”He closed his tired eyes to end the conversation, and his head lolled in mock sleep. I rolled my eyes and went to leave, stopping to slip on my orange flip-flops. No-one would be out at this time, would they? I thought. The last thing I wanted was for everyone to see me with wet hair and luminous shoes. I wanted to stay where it was safe, but I had no other option. I had to feed myself too.

Outside, it was like an oven. The cream painted stone walls radiated heat, and for the first time I noticed a plus to the house – air conditioning.

   My t-shirt was already sticking to me and within ten paces I was panting for breath, as the air was hot and dry. I got to the path, looked both ways, and then realised something.

I didn’t know the way.

The road was forked, one directly in front of me, and two on my either side. The one ahead was the path the four girls had taken, I remembered, and I crossed the road to go there myself, my excuse that I could multitask. The way led to a distant shore, appearing so different from how it had looked the previous night. Tiny dots rode on the water’s surface, perhaps yachts or surfers making the most of the tropical paradise. The coast was lined with buildings, surely housing an off-licence or grocery store somewhere. My only drawback was that there were most likely people there, but I needed to overlook that in order to prevent dying of starvation. I realised I hadn’t eaten since the previous breakfast, and my swollen stomach gave a well timed roar. So much for my diet, I sighed as I set off towards the beach.

The road was barren – no pedestrians or innocent joggers. They were most likely sheltering from the heat, I mused, as I plodded down the road, beads of sweat dripping from the end of my nose. It was quiet too, the silence deafening me as I swayed from the intense heat.

Suddenly, a group of boys around my age emerged from a hidden alley, blocking my way. All of them were clearly local, all tall and dark and tanned. In a haze of smoke, one of them spotted me. I froze.

He nudged his mates, and one by one, they all held my gaze, theirs intense and holding something I had never seen before. It looked a cross between longing and desperation, and it scared me. One of them stepped forward, and I stepped back in response. Soon, they were all walking, running, and I turned on my heel and did the same.

The sun was blazing, burning my back. My hair, still quite damp, streamed out behind me as one foot succeeded another. I had never been a runner, hating the way my muscles ached and wobbly limbs bounced, as the momentum of my sprint carried them faster than I was actually going. I was getting tired more quickly, the rays of the immense fireball in the sky paralysing me. I could hear the cat-calls and yells of my chasers, and nothing they were saying sounded decent or civilized.

I was nearly at the end of the road, and I could see the slab of ugly concrete containing my family. I felt this would be the first time I would be glad to see it. My pulse racing, my heart pounding, I glanced over my shoulder. They were speeding up.

In my haste, I wasn’t watching where I was going, and as I reached the corner, a man rounded it from the other side. He was young and tall, wearing a freshly pressed suit, his dark hair clipped short and respectable. He would help me.

“Please sir,” I breathed. “Help me, these boys–“

“I’ll help you with anything,” he purred, and to my horror his eyes were filled with the same desire as I had seen in the other men’s. His hands grasped me, running them over my body, feeling where I didn’t want to be felt.  “I’ll be anything you want me to be. I love you.”

I felt firm, rough hands grab at me from behind, and I screamed, muffled with my sobs and howls. My hair was yanked, my top was being lifted, hands crawling themselves along my thighs...

“HEY!”

The voice was female and forceful, and sounded extremely familiar, “Leave her alone, you bastards, or so help me I’ll–“

She didn’t need to finish. Hands retreated, and disappointed moans filled my ears. I crouched down; arms over my face, to hide myself from the world. My chest heaved, up and down, up and down...

“Hey, are you OK honey?”

I looked up, to see a pair of amber eyes filled with concern and anxiety. The girl in front of me was golden blonde, curls falling like a waterfall over her shoulders. My saviour was one of my four girls, and I didn’t know whether to be relieved, or petrified. She ran a tentative hand over my back. The action was soothing, and I replied to her question with a sniff.

“God, how new are you?” She asked, ending with a sight laugh. When she saw my blank expression, she made a sympathetic noise, and pulled me into a tight hug.

I felt like belonged in her arms. She smelt of peppermint and fruit, an odour so alien yet so right.

“Ww-ho are you?” I stammered as she drew away.

“I’m Violet,” she replied, pretty features twisting into a smile. “And you look like you could use a drink.”          

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