“Sometimes a prompt word doesn’t create a story. Instead it gives you a name. From there it’s the character who tells you the story. Let’s go and meet Sawyer.”
I wrote this story in answer to the following prompts:
Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie– Photo challenge — The picture above by – Francesco Ungaro
Word of the Day Challenge — Oxymoron
Ragtag Daily Prompt — Sawyer
‘The worst feeling of all is the sensation of being watched when you’re all alone.’
Sawyer wrapped herself in a beach towel and climbed onto the deck of her white 1969 Avenger motor yacht. The thirty-nine-foot fibreglass vessel had become her home this summer.
Having just turned twenty, Sawyer reckoned she must be the youngest person to live alone on a yacht.
Taking a deep breath of sultry sea air, she gazed about herself and shuddered. This island dock she’d rented for the weekend was supposed to be private. There was no other vessels or even building’s in view from here. Yet there was a presence, something or someone was watching her.
Sawyer scanned her dark eyes over the palm trees, bamboo and undergrowth which made the centre of the island of forested paradise. Other than the pelicans and a pair of red-billed tropicbirds in the coconut palms, nothing untoward seemed to be nearby.
Turning her gaze to the sparkling blue waters, she could see one other motorboat a few miles out on the serene rolling waves. “Get a grip of yourself!” she said as she stepped down onto the dock.
Another cursory glance left her feeling more at ease. She dropped the towel on the dock allowing the afternoon sun to kiss her bronze skin. With the smile at a passing frigate bird, she adjusted her ice-white swimsuit and tightened her plaited blonde pigtails. Happy she stepped down into the warm ocean.
A set of eight sea-worn steps led under the crystal-clear water. The dock legs grew out of a reef shelf. Marine corals grew all around them creating a mesmerizing habitat for thousands of fish.
Sawyer took a deep breath and dove beneath the waves. She’d always loved the water and could swim as well as a dolphin. Curling her lithe body through the water, she was immediately surrounded by schools of zebrafish.
‘You may have taken my house. But I landed in paradise,’ she thought as she surfaced, took a breath and dove beneath the waves again. With gentle strokes, she rolled around the warm water enjoying the fish about her.
‘What was that rhythmic knocking noise?’ Sawyer gazed up to the sun-dappled surface.
A long shadow blocked a narrow section, then vanished as more knocking noises echoed into the water.
‘Someone’s walking on my dock!’ Sawyer felt her heart pounding in her chest as she stroked back towards the steps. Curling her fingers around the lower post, she knew she had to climb out of the water to see whether a friend or foe had arrived. Yet in doing so, she’d be at her most vulnerable.
With no choice, Sawyer hauled herself onto the lower steps and cautiously broke the surface. Nothing and nobody was visible. The smell of tobacco smoke polluting the pristine air was unmistakable.
Sawyer climbed more steps raising her torso out of the water. The dock was devoid of humans. He was stood with a black boot disrespectfully on the chrome gunwale of her yacht.
Clad in a stained white vest and khaki cargo pants, the unshaven man put his head into the wheelhouse. His red bandanna and large silver earring completed his modern-day pirate look. “Where are you, mermaid?” He called in a voice that was just too friendly.
Caught in two minds, Sawyer was frozen on the steps. Should she try to run, could she fight him off?”
A large splash erupted close at hand.
Sawyer watched a couple of dolphins spine-hopping nearby.
The man had seen them too. Worse they gave Sawyer’s position away. “There you are, mermaid!” he drawled as he leapt from the boat. Landing at the top of the steps, he gazed upon her like a Rottweiler looking at a juicy steak.
Sawyer fixed him with a disdainful stare. “That’s my boat. This is my dock — go away!”
The man threw back his head and laughed, “Feisty, aren’t yer?”
“I said go away!” Sawyer pointed toward the palm trees.
“Get out the water. You’re coming with me.”
“Like hell I am!” Sawyer moved down a couple of steps. Lowering herself back into the water.
“Get up here, now!” The man drew an old revolver. He made a show of spinning the ammunition barrel. Selecting a loaded slot, he snapped it back into the barrel and aimed at her.
“Who are you? What you want?” Sawyer folded her arms refusing to move. She felt she’d rather be shot dead over going with this creep.
“Let’s just say. I have contacts who’ll pay good money for someone like you.” Blam! The man fired a shot, creating a splash beside her.
Sawyer flinched but did not scream. “I’m not for sale, who …” her mind flashed to last night. She’d gone to the mainland for groceries and a couple of drinks in the bar. He was there, drinking rum and coke. The bartender called him … “Roddy … That’s who you are Roddy rum and coke!”
Roddy sneered, “Someone’s got a good memory.”
Sawyer took a deep breath.
“Bad luck, that means if the sale is not completed.”
Sawyer filled her lungs deep and fast.
“I’ll have to make you disappear. Now, I won’t ask again. Get up here or I’ll kill you right now.”
“Goodbye!” Sawyer threw herself into a beautiful backflip.
The bullet whizzed past her hip as she dived beneath the water.
Zebrafish scattered like an underwater explosion.
Sawyer swam through them in a flurry of bubbles and kicked strongly past the steps. Coming upon the hull of her boat, she ducked underneath and surfaced on the seaward side.
Taking a couple of calming breaths, she bounced on the waves, caught the gunwale and hauled herself up onto the deck. Through the wheelhouse window, she couldn’t see Roddy.
“I need to get —” Sawyer froze as the barrel of the gun pushed through her hair and pressed into the flesh of her neck.
“Nice try mermaid,” Roddy whispered in her ear. “Looks like you’ll be found missing now, doesn’t it?”
“Ha! What an oxymoron!” Sawyer scoffed.
“What?” Roddy said dumbstruck.
“You can be found missing.”
“Shut up and let’s Gahh!”
The loudest crack tore a scream from Sawyer’s lips. She fell to her knees as the debris from a shattered oar rained down upon her.
Roddy fell away from her, bleeding from head wounds.
“Hallo, Rodriguez, you, creepy sea-slug!” said a new voice.
Sawyer looked past Roddy. Another man she recognised from the bar, stood there. Julio was the bartender. He was unmistakable with his surfer dude blonde hair, and wild pineapple Hawaiian shirt.
Julio winked as he raised Roddy to his feet and cracked his jaw with a stunning boxer’s uppercut.
Roddy fell again.
This time Julio dragged him from the vessel.
Sawyer took a breath of relief and stood on shaky legs. She watched the bartender dragging her would-be kidnapper away into the palm trees through teary eyes. That was the closest she’d ever come to death, the scariest thing she’s lived through too.
The sound of an engine putting away from the island reached her ears after a few minutes.
Not long after, Julio reappeared on the dock. He scooped Sawyer’s towel from the top of the steps and approached the yacht. “Permission to come aboard, Señorita?”
“Please. Thank you for saving me,” Sawyer smiled at her saviour.
Julio approached and wrapped her in the towel. “I’m just glad I got here in time,” he said as he kissed her hand. “Are you, okay?”
“I will be now, thanks to you.” Sawyer hugged the towel around her. “How did you get here?”
Julio perched on the gunwale. “I overheard that scumbag making a deal to kidnap you. I followed him to his boat and watched him from there. I must have fallen asleep because he was gone when I woke up. I jumped in my boat and began perusing the islands for him.”
“It was you I saw way out there earlier?”
“Yes. I saw your yacht first. Then circled the island to discover Rodriguez had beached his on the other side. I put mine to shore and came after him. I’m sorry I didn’t get him before he reached you.”
“Hey, you got him before he could hurt me,” Sawyer ducked inside the cabin and collected two bottles of water from a cooler. Returning she handed him one.
“Thank you,” Julio grinned as he sipped his water.
“I can never repay you for saving me.”
“It was nothing more than me being a proper gentleman,” Julio winked.
“Where’s Rodriguez now?”
“Oh, heading out into the Bermuda triangle at about forty miles an hour. With a bit of luck, he’ll disappear for good.”
Sawyer smooth her hair and giggled. “I hope so too.” She put her arms around him and nestled her head against his muscly chest. “Stay and protect me tonight, Julio?”
He raised her chin allowing their eyes to meet, their noses to touch, and their lips to impart the first graces to love. “Your wish is my command, Señorita?”
‘Welcome to paradise!’ Sawyer thought with a dreamy smile.
Thanks for reading my friends.
Have a great day!