Catching Her Drift
She hung, suspended in a state of no time, no space, no future or past. No more pain.
Rising and falling, a face looking sightless at the stars, surrounded by a sargasso of gold hair streaked with blood. Naked, mindless, a child of the currents and swells.
Then came the nip on her ankle.
Then the slickery slide around her legs, the caressing brush by her buttocks, the playful nudges in her stomach, then her groin.
Then the big, muscular body surging up from beneath her, forcing her dangling legs apart. The tensile fin raking across her crotch.
And her eyes opened again.
Slowly, she moved her arms forward, dragging through the resistance of the water, moving like sluggish bottom creatures, all soft and slow. She felt a slight touch at her knees, then the sleek torso rubbing up her abdomen, rubbing her breasts as she moved her arms around into a barely conscious hug. A hug she held for a long moment, clamping herself to that big, streamlined body. Then she was pulled underwater, a quick shallow dive that shocked her awake, brought her to the surface coughing and sputtering. She loosened her embrace and looked at the conical head riding the surface, nudging her throat, laughing at her. “Bruto!” she yelled. “You made it!”
There was not even the hint of her directing anything or calling any shots. After she had greeted the whole pod one by one–the males crowding playfully in, the females reticent, but sliding by to greet her, Mayab nuzzling her head as if concerned about her wound–they started moving away and she rolled prone in the dark water to attempt to move with them. She was stiff, weak, finless. Pinoccio, the big alpha, pressed up from below her, sliding under her stomach. She grabbed on, letting her hands slide back to the base of his flippers, extending her elbows until she lay on his back, head beside the dorsal fin. And he moved out in a powerful lunge, his flexing trunk moving beneath her chest. His pistoning flukes brushed her calves until she raised her legs to the surface, spread wide and trailing behind as he led the pod west.
She’d ridden Caruso and Bruto and Gitmo, lying in rapture on their backs. They’d come for her! She hugged them tight to her heart as fragments of the night came back to her, crashing into her head unbidden. Those fuckers had left her for dead! And God knows what they were doing to MeiMei. She’d killed some of them. Good. They’d left her dead in the water! But her true friends, her real lovers, had come for her. She shuddered on the undulating back, salt tears streaming down into the sea. They came and rescued her.
A hour later, she was laughing into the night, howling at the moon. The instep of her left foot was pressed against Pinoccio’s fin, the right foot on the throbbing back of Yaqui, standing erect with spread legs as they blasted her forward through the night like a water-skier. They’d done this dozens of times at Discovery, Curtsy’s looks and figure quickly vaulting her into the showpiece slot for riding on dolphin beaks. But this new pose worked better for long hauls and the beasts were practically frisking with the fun of romping her across the water like a moonlit golden goddess.
They passed a small boat, very low in the water, and the people seemed very excited as she blew past, waving. Later she waved to a fisherman, who damned near fell out of his boat. They were close to shore then, she could feel it. When she could see the dark shadow of land, strung with human lights like a diadem of sparks, she looked for landmarks. And finally made out the park at Tulum, the unmistakable ruins. When she saw the lacy white break line at the reef she jumped off the backs of Guido and Bruto, almost pulling off a flip before hitting the water.
They were all around her at once, whistling and nudging. She laughed and stroked them all, slapping the guys on their melons or shoulders. “This has been so great, guys. I wish I could just take off with you, hang out forever. Come back when I’ve got my fin, okay?”
Pinoccio bumped up under urgently, but she chuckled and disengaged.
“I can’t let you take me inside the reef there guys. There are already going to be fishing boats out and they just blast around at top speed inside there. And might even shoot you.” She waggled a scolding finger, “You keep biting fish out of their nets, you’re not making any friends.”
Finally, she swam towards the reef, which was close to the surface at this low tide, getting nudged and bumped and felt up the whole way. Once her feet brushed the reef, she knew they wouldn’t follow her any further. She could make it in from here easy. Get some clothes and food and… They Came For Her!
She paddled until she hit a gnarly head underwater, found footing on it and stood up, raising her out of the water from her nipples on up. She clapped her hands and saw a dozen beaks break water, looking at her. She felt like singing them a song. She blew kisses and waved, “Good bye, dudes. And you’re welcome for all the fish.”
She made it about halfway to shore, tiring and in a dicey state of mind as she did her lazy crawl. So the panga was on top of her as soon as she heard it.
She reacted too slow, diving as deep as she could, but not deep enough to avoid the bottom skeg on the outboard motor hitting her head and grooving the scalp right down to the bone, like a plow. For the second time in eight hours she drifted in the water like a corpse; tawny naked flotsam the waves hustled towards the beach south of Tulum.