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Chapter 1: a novel I am working on
Posted by amy, Nov 6, 2008. 818 views. ID = 1981

Chapter 1

Posted by amy, Nov 6, 2008. 818 views. ID = 1981
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This post is Part 1 of a writing series titled Out of Slumber.

Chapter 1
I was no more than fifty feet from the shoreline. I had been treading water for what seemed like hours in between my failed attempts to swim my way back to shore. The air was thick with the essence of the impending thunderstorm’s fury. I could feel the electricity charged air blow across my face as a warning of what was yet to come.

I had no clue how I got in this precarious situation, nor how I was going to get out of it. The storm sent the waves crashing over my head again and again. My lungs burned from holding my breath longer than I could handle. I could no longer feel my legs-they were now rubber beneath me. I began sinking, down into the murky abyss below. I had given up the fight, acknowledged that it was my time to go, and prepared to meet my maker.
Then HE came, materializing in front of my eyes. . He pulled me out of my watery grave, took my arms and hooked them in a circle around his neck. I rejoiced in the familiar feel of his body pressed to mine as he swam me to shore. It had been months since he came to me in my dreams. I concentrated on hanging onto his rock hard body so that I did not succumb to the grasp of the ocean’s deadly waves. He laid me down in the sand and walked retreated without a word. I struggled to run after him as I had countless times before. I begged and pleaded with my rubbery legs to let me stay upright and catch up with him. I screamed, pleading into the storm “Come back! Please Come back!”
My voice was barely audible, it was swallowed by the wailing wind and crashing waves. The heavens opened, and a flood of rain poured from above. The rain slowed me down even more, and there was no chance that I would ever catch up to him. “Why do you keep doing this to me?”I bellowed.

I knew what would come next. I was unable to manipulate the outcome of these dreams. He would not turn back. I would be without him, bereft and empty until the next time he visited me in slumber land and he was there to save me. I would never know who or what he was, or why he continued haunting my dreams. I willed myself to wake up, to escape from the torture he plagued on me, and just before I came out of the haziness of slumber he turned to me. I saw his face for the first time and cried out with joy and frustration.
I sat up with a start, my neck sore, my hair wild and drenched with sweat. It took me a moment to get my brain to register where I was. My car. The rest stop. It all came back to me. I waited for the last bit of sleep to roll off my brain. My head was pounding, and my eyes burned from the pain. I needed food, coffee, and an aspirin. I would not allow myself the luxury of those mostly basic human needs until reaching my destination.

I turned the key in the ignition and pulled out of the parking spot at the rest stop where I had been sleeping for the past five hours. I needed the fresh scenery the open road would provide to help me think. Never in the fifteen years that he has been haunting my dreams have I ever been able to see his face. Seeing him for the first time both delighted and terrified me. The dream used to come almost nightly, tapering off to about once a month when I reached adolescence. I could only count a handful of times that he had made his presence known in the past year.

As a young girl, the dreams of him were blurry, never seeming to make much sense. I was not an active participant in them at first, I was watching myself go through the actions, but not feeling anything. They traumatized me, being in open water and seeing nothing but sky and ocean before me. I would always be saved by the same man, and though I could not see his face, I felt the same electrifying sensation. The dreams got more vivid as I got older, and at times they still terrify me. Sometimes he is almost too late. I awake, my throat and lungs sore, swallowing as much oxygen as I can possibly take in.
But now, finally, his face will be forever etched into my memory. The image of him flashed in my head like a film reel stuck on the same frame. I welcomed the frequency of the brilliant image my mind had captured. I had always known he was godlike. Sandy blonde hair, wet and tousled, a little over 6’ tall, body thick, hard, and rock solid. Eyes blue grey- the same color as the angry ocean that tried to swallow me alive time and time again. His eyes were not happy or welcome, but angry like the ocean had been. That was definitely something worth pondering.
“He is probably tired of saving me.” I said aloud to myself. I jumped as the sound of my own voice startled me, and then laughed at myself.

The dreams of him were the only ones that I remembered other than the prophetic visions I had of my future, and those I would or already did interact with. The dreams of drowning have caused me to be extremely nervous and on edge whenever I am near water. I keep waiting for the time to come when drowning is no longer a dream, but my ironic reality. Each time I see him, the dream is altered in one way or another, but he has remained the one who saves me just before the ocean claims me as its next victim.

I looked at the clock on the dashboard and cursed to myself that it was only 5:00am. I had an early start, and would reach Atlantic Beach in the next six hours. That would put me at the doorstep of the rental house at 11:00am, four hours earlier than I was expected. I was always early, but four hours was a little ridiculous.I supposed that I could stop by The Ocean’s Fury and meet my new boss first

I yearned for the comfort of a bed to sleep in. I had slept in my car off and on for the past week. At one point in time, I almost caved and got a hotel room, but I didn’t want to waste my money. There were more important and pleasurable ways that I would be spending it in the near future. I showered at truck stops and campgrounds, never stopping long at any one place.
I could not afford to live alone as I preferred; instead I would be living in a rental house with three other girls who were all also employed at The Ocean’s Fury for the tourist season. I had dreamt about them before finding the ad they had placed on a website for the room for rent. At first I was annoyed at the thought of sharing my living space with so many other people. The more people, the more likely I was to connect with someone, or for someone to think they are connecting with me, which is what I have avoided at all costs throughout my life. But the more I dreamt of them, the tiny spark of excitement in my gut took on a life of its own.
Melissa was tall and trim, with golden hair spilling down her back, eyes deep brown and inquisitive. She was twenty-three, the same age as me. She was the maternal one of the group. Her level headedness kept the other two in line. Her sister, Tanya, was only twenty-one, with the same golden shade of hair, but instead of long flowing locks, she kept it cut at chin length to frame her heart shaped face. I only had a glimpse of her in the dream, as if she was simply a part of the background, or possibly being protected by the others.
The third girl, Lauren, was twenty-five and had been Melissa’s best friend for ten years. Her skin was the color of rich caramel, her French Creole features were flawless. She had vivacious curves in all the right places. She was the outgoing, vibrant one of the bunch; the leader of the pack of lionesses.
All three of them were presently single despite their beauty. They enjoyed flirting with their customers, getting dined and ravaged by the pick of the litter on their nights off. Their rules for the dating games they played were simple: no dating someone one of the other girls had previously dated, no fighting over who gets which guy. Let them chase you, not the other way around. My dreams of them made things much easier when searching the online ads. Theirs practically jumped through my computer screen and bit me on the hand. Their application process humored me, and I filled it out with pure honesty and an open mind. It contained questions regarding previous work and dating history, likes and dislikes of movies and literature, and even religious beliefs. I felt that it was a fair exchange for me to have to answer their questions since I already knew so much about them without their knowledge. However, I did answer their questions with the most simple and basic answers as possible. I did not elaborate on anything so that I could create an illusion of a very boring person.
After passing their written application with flying colors, I had a phone interview with each of the girls. Each of them asked me a completely random series of questions. Thirdly I had to send them a picture of myself. This was no big deal, as I had already had to do this in my application for employment at The Ocean’s Fury. That application process was much simpler than the one to have a room in the rental house.

Once they finally accepted me as their roommate, I felt that same sense of uncharacteristic elation building up within me again. Lauren seemed surprised that I did not need to ask for directions, I already knew the way. I could picture the room that would be mine; pale yellow walls and a whole wall of windows with a view of the Atlantic Ocean. The other girls loved the view, but liked to sleep in, which the sun prevented them from doing despite their efforts with blinds and curtains. So I, being the low man on the totem pole per say, inherited it. I did not really want the room with the ocean view either, but for other reasons. The ocean terrified me. Being anywhere near it sent chills down my back as if someone was walking on my grave.

Sure, I liked water…the chlorinated kind with a measurable depth that you could see all the way down to the bottom of. The vastness of the ocean and all of the mysteries that it contained could remain mysteries as far as I was concerned. I felt the sick rush of panic each time I thought of living on Atlantic Beach for the summer. The bar that I would be working at was ironically named The Ocean’s Fury. I should have seen this as a sign to run the other direction and not look back, but my intuition had yet to fail me, so I continued in the direction that my dreams told me to. I did not question what brought me to this place; I just let my premonitions guide me to my next destination as I had been doing since I was seventeen.
I inherited this feeling of restlessness from my mother, Carly. Unlike her, however, I had a keen sense of the direction I was supposed to be headed in. She just got in the car and drove until she found a town that she thought was cute. She wouldn’t ever take my advice on where our next destination should be, and after a while I barely bothered speaking to her. It did not matter, because she was afraid of me; afraid of what I could see.

I stopped telling her about my dreams around the age of ten. She was extremely frightened by my visions. I tried to explain to her that I couldn’t help it, but she would not listen. She used to threaten to send me to a doctor for a lobotomy. I was only nine years old at the time, and didn’t have any inkling as to what exactly that meant, so I looked it up in an encyclopedia at a library. I hid in the bathroom at the library and refused to come out. I told the librarian that my mother said she was going to have a doctor stick an ice pick into my eyeball and hit my skull with it. The librarian threatened to call social servives, but my mother fed her a line of bull about me having a habit of causing scenes like that to get attention.

Carly Grant was raised by a Baptist minister in the heart of Baton Rouge, LA. Her father kicked her out of their home at the age of sixteen when she gave birth to me, and would not reveal who the father was. She blamed me for having to live in homeless shelters and beg for money to keep me clothed and diapered. She never failed to remind me that I was the abomination who caused her nothing but hardship. I used to wonder why, if I was so terrible and worthless, she didn’t just leave me at the hospital or give me to someone who wanted the responsibility.

She never even told me who the man who helped create me was. I wish that I had a name, a face, even just a family history so that I could know that I inherited my gift from somewhere, from someone. I once thought of going back to Baton Rouge to see if my grandfather, Reverend Grant, would recognize me, or have found through his own investigation, who had fathered me.

I stopped at the first gas station that I came to in the city. I took my cosmetic bag inside with me in attempts to straighten myself up. I raked my fingers through the wavy tangled mass of jet black hair atop my head. I usually let it lie where it may, not worrying much about it. The wild mane fit me, so I did not attempt to tame it. I applied a second coat of deodorant as a precaution in the heat, and then glanced back into the mirror. My bright blue eyes stared back at me. Though I had gotten little sleep throughout the past week, my eyes appeared bright and alert. I splashed my face with cold water and returned to my car.

I drove through Atlantic Beach to get a better feel for it. It was part of the Crystal Coast; located at the Eastern end of Bogue Banks where the historic site of Fort Macon State Park was located. I had to admit that it was breathtakingly beautiful, no matter how much I detested the ocean. There were tons of restaurants, shopping venues, hotels, and long stretches of beautiful beach. I would be here from mid-May until the end of September. That left plenty of time to fully explore the area.

I found The Ocean’s Fury with no trouble at all. I had already memorized it in my dreams. I would bartend and waitress there Tuesday through Saturday evenings 7:00pm until 3:00am. My roommates were also my coworkers. There would also be Ben the bouncer, and Steve the manager. I would likely not interact with them very often, unless there was a problem with one of the patrons. I saw a car in the parking lot, and I recognized it as being Steve’s Grand Prix, so I stopped by to introduce myself.

“Hello?” I called as I entered. It was very quiet, and I began to think that maybe Steve had left to run an errand.

“Can I help you?” The voice of the person behind me was clearly annoyed.

I turned around quickly, upset with myself for being startled by the sound of his voice. I reached out my hand to him and gave him my most dazzling smile.
“Keely Grant.”

“Right. Keely. I see that your picture did not do you justice. Great to see that you have made it to town. I knew I was doing right by taking a chance on you. I don’t have you on the schedule until Tuesday. I didn’t want to start you on a Saturday, but if you have time tonight you are more than welcome to come check things out and get a feel for the crowd.” Steve said getting right down to business.
I could tell that I was going to like him already. Straight to business, not stopping to mess with the getting to know you crap that so many of my former employers have insisted upon in the past.

“Of course.” I replied gratefully.

“Stop by after 10:00pm, which is when things start to liven up.” Steve added.

“I shall see you later tonight then.” I said with a smile and a wave. Steve was clearly not one for small talk. I hurried back through the door that I had entered through. I could feel Steve’s eyes appraising my backside as I walked out the back door. I rolled my eyes, but was not worried about his attention. Steve was a bit of a pervert, but nothing to be feared. He was very protective of the girls that worked for him, and would not let any man take advantage of them.

I drove the ten minutes to the rental house thinking that I could perhaps walk home from work on days when I was too keyed up to sleep. I would have to walk along the beach, but the risk would be worth it. I pulled into the winding driveway, taking the spot next to the red convertible that the three other girls shared. They had pooled their money together at the end of last season to buy it. I almost felt guilty for knowing so much about them prior to them even meeting me. I promised myself that I would feign ignorance when they told me the story.

I started towards the front door, but changed my path when I heard their playful banter. They were sunbathing on the stretch of beach behind the house. All the other houses within ten miles in either direction were also short term rentals and time shares. The first ten houses on both sides of ours were all a varied pastel color. Ours was a lemon yellow; the others were purple, a hideous sea foam green, blue, and even peach. I was thankful that ours was yellow. I liked the idea of a rotation of different neighbors coming and going, it kept things interesting and impersonal.

At first, none of the three girls noticed me, but as I made my way closer to them, Lauren let out a squeal of delight and ran over to greet me. Melissa and Tanya followed close behind her as Lauren embraced me in a genuine bear hug. I could tell that I should not have worried about being earlier than expected. Lauren was so excited she must have been on the edge of her seat with anticipation the whole morning and into the afternoon.

“Keely! We are sooo glad to finally meet you! Let me grab my shoes and I will help you get your things inside the house.” Her caramel skin was warm, and her eyes were sparkling with mischief. I was startled by her very exuberant greeting, and took a step backwards.

Melissa and Tanya were equally genuine in their greetings of hello, but did not hug me quite as enthusiastically as Lauren had. They sensed my hesitation in her boisterous greeting, and altered theirs to make me feel more comfortable.

“I really don’t have that much to carry in. I think I can manage on my own.” I replied guardedly. I felt my cheeks flush with embarrassment over the fuss they were making over me.

Lauren already had her shorts and flip flops on and was halfway to my mazda before I got the words out.

“Tanya, can you grab our towels and the radio?” Melissa asked her younger sister.

Tanya did not reply with words, but rolled her eyes and then sprinted out to their spot on the beach to retrieve their things. Her lanky body was tan and toned, it did not take her long to reach their things.

“You will have to excuse Lauren,” Melissa said under her breath, “she has been talking non-stop about you all day. You’d think she just got a new puppy.”

I appreciated Melissa’s point of view, and gave her a thankful glance for her level headedness regarding my arrival. “I just hope she doesn’t jump off of a cliff for excitement when she realizes how utterly boring I am.” I found it easy to joke with her.

“I can hear you guys!” Lauren chided. “And I think that we can all tell just by looking at you that there is nothing boring about you.”

Good luck with your detective work ladies, but my history is sealed away, I thought to myself. I did not let me face show any reaction at all to her statement.

Tanya had rejoined us and shared her surprise at my lack of luggage. “This is all you brought? Do you have the rest of your things in storage somewhere?”

“I warned you that I am very boring. This really is all that I have. I move around a lot, so I have found that it is easier not to get attached to anything that won’t fit into my car. It is the only practical way of life for me.”

My lack of earthly possessions and attitude regarding them only peaked their curiosities. After a brief tour of the house, all three of them followed me up the stairs to my bedroom to help me unpack my things. I figured that if they insisted on helping, I would put them to work by unpacking my clothes. They were very quiet, but I could read their body language as they passed my articles of clothing to one another. I turned from them to hide my smile.

“Keely, I am a very straightforward person, and I like to keep it real. So… please don’t be offended by this, but… you can NOT work at The Ocean’s Fury wearing the clothes that we have seen so far. You are in desperate need of a wardrobe makeover.” Lauren said with a look of contempt at the dingy jeans she held in front of her.

“I just assumed there would be a uniform.” I said this just to upset them. I knew there would be no uniform, and knew that they were dying to take me shopping which was why I specifically did not prepare by shopping beforehand. This was the kind of thing they lived for.

“You can’t be serious!” Exclaimed Tanya.

I pretended to look hurt. “Well, I did save quite a bit of money for a new summer wardrobe. Could you give me some sort of a clue as to what I need to be shopping for?”

Melissa and Lauren looked at each other and grinned.

“Shopping is what the two of them live for.” Tanya warned with a roll of her eyes.

“We will shop on Monday.” Melissa planned, “You will need something to wear tonight though. I think that black skirt will work. Tanya, can we use your blue halter. The one with the sparklies?”

“Of course, it will really make her eyes pop!” Tanya joined in with the attitude of “if you can’t beat them, join them.”

They let me finish unpacking my books and toiletries on my own as they continued to plot our shopping trip on Monday. I had $500.00 saved for their shopping spree. I knew that it was going to excite them when they find out exactly how much money they would have at their disposal. There were only hoping for half that amount. I giggled to myself. I enjoyed making them happy, and saw myself fitting in, whether I wanted to or not.

They were the kind of girls whose feelings would get hurt when I leave them. They will feel abandoned. They consider themselves, and even me, a family. That is why they were so selective in their process to find a fourth roommate. I had to be extremely careful to keep my distance as time went by so that they would not take the blow of my absence personally. I knew how to go about it; I had done it

several times before.
I hadn’t eaten anything all day, and my hunger set in when my stomach growled at me angrily. I was dying for a shower and a nap, but my need for sustenance
won over my desires for sleep and cleanliness.

I told the girls that I would be going to the market to stock up on a few things and would be by the bar around 10:00 that evening. I knew that they would have my outfit and shoes laid out on my bed with specific instructions on how to wear my hair and makeup. It made me giggle again to think that I was amusing them with my feigned need of a makeover. I wished that they could see the clothing I had in Aspen.

Before showering, I took my digital camera outside to take pictures of the house and the view of the beach from my window. I had been keeping photo journals of all of the places I had lived in the past six years. I kept them hidden in a box under my bed to avoid answering questions about my past. I could only hope that the girls here would respect my privacy and not snoop enough to find them. A little snooping was to be expected, which was why they were in a box labeled legal documents. I skimmed through them, letting the flood of memories wash over me.

The day I finished my last high school correspondence class I left my mother. We were always moving, so attending high school like normal kids my age was not realistic. She had met a man who called himself Gabrielle, who was the leader of a religious sect; aka a cult; in Northern California. He was extremely charismatic, and sucked vulnerable women and their children into his cryptic way of life.
He made us live off of the land, only eating what we could grow ourselves, and shunning all technology. Gabrielle preached that technology and scientific discoveries were the source of all of the world’s current evils. They believed that natural disasters were a punishment from God, and all would stop when everyone followed in their footsteps, and took on the same set of values and beliefs as they did. My mother truly believed that Gabrielle was a prophet sent to spread the word of God and invoke a change in the hearts of the people.
I felt sorry for leaving my mother in his sadistic clutches, and I tried relentlessly to persuade her to leave with me. My attempts were futile, and she stayed with Gabrielle and the other followers. She betrayed me, her one and only child, and told Gabrielle about my visions and my attempts of trying to get her to leave. She refused to say goodbye, telling me that I was heading straight into the devil’s arms by leaving. Gabrielle isolated me from everyone, telling me that it was so that I could not spread the devil’s seed to the others.
I left on foot in the middle of that cruel night, with nothing but a picture of my mother in my pocket and twenty dollars I had managed to keep hidden from Gabrielle in the three months we had stayed with him. I was afraid of what they might do to me if I stayed any longer. My mother was clearly not in her right mind, and had already sold me out to Gabrielle once. I had no doubt in my mind that she would do it again.
I walked for an entire day before a car finally stopped to help me out. I was not worried or nervous that help would never come. I was simply waiting for this particular car- it belonged to an off-duty policeman and his wife. I had dreamt of them the night before I decided to leave my mother and her cult. I knew that he and his wife would take me into their home and give me a place to live while I sorted my life out.

Officer Todd Campbell and his wife Maria were very understanding and compassionate people. I told them from the beginning that when it was time to go, I would go. I did not like goodbyes, and things would be easier for them if I just disappeared. They pretended to understand my notions, but they could never quite grasp what I was trying to get them to believe about me.
Todd did some research on Gabrielle and the cult, but could not find anything to indicate that they had violated any of the local sanctions. He did, however, find out that his name was not Gabrielle, but Robert Findlay. Mr. Findlay was wanted in the states of Texas and Illinois for six counts of child molestation. My heart still burned for the children I had known while I lived there. I could not imagine the horrendous things that happened to them behind closed doors. The FBI went to raid the cult’s campsite, but they were gone and no trace of them was left behind.

Todd figured that if I ever decided to look for my mother in the future, I would need every piece of the puzzle that I could get. He did his best to keep a record of everything he had learned about Robert Findlay, aka, “Gabrielle.” He didn’t believe me when I told him that I had no interest in ever seeing Carly again. I tried not to refer to her by her first name in front of him, because I knew that he saw it as being disrespectful. I imagined that if he had grown up with her as a parent, he would understand. I had come to accept a long time ago that she was no mother to me, just simply the person who gave birth to me.

Shortly after the Campbells took me in, Maria found out that she was pregnant with their first child. She was buoyant and glowing, full of maternal love and adoration for her unborn child. I confided in her that I had a habit of dreaming things that happened to come true. I did not go into detail, but gave her the idea that it was more of a sensation of de ja vu. She wanted so badly to know what her child would look like and whether it would be a boy or a girl, and she wanted me to tell her. She did not understand that I could not will myself to dream about any one thing or person in particular. If so, I could tell the FBI where to find Carly and the other followers Gabrielle held captive with threats of the impending world’s end.

The Campbells were very financially well-off, and bought me a car my first week in their home; a jet black Mazda 626, brand new and hot off the lot. I could not understand the Campbell’s desire to purchase me material possessions. I had always had to scrape by in the past, and was embarrassed by their gifts. Now seven years and 160,000 miles later, it was still puttering away. I had a savings account specifically for the purchase of a new car. It was my goal to buy it straight off the lot all on my own this time. My dream was only a few thousand dollars away.

I left the Campbells three months before their baby was born. I left them a very long letter thanking them for the car, the clothing, and the money they had set aside for me to begin my new life. I had dreamt of my next adventure, and knew that it was time to move on.

I pushed the rest of my memories aside. I placed my focus on showering and dressed according to my very specific instructions. Silver eye shadow, very black mascara, skip on the eyeliner and sparkly pink lip gloss that was left on my bed as a gift from Lauren. “Gel wet hair and leave down- it will make your hair ultra wavy and sexy” Melissa had written. I was happy that they had not directed me to put my hair up. I would have hated to disappoint them, but the only time I put my hair up was to jog. I preferred to let my tangled mane hang down and provide some security from curious onlookers. I liked working during tourist seasons because then I did not stand out like a sore thumb amidst all of the locals.

I took a cab to The Ocean’s Fury so I could allow myself to indulge in the full experience by having a drink or two. I couldn’t indulge too much or I would dream too vividly, and even sleepwalk. I had once hoped that alcohol would knock me out cold and prevent me from dreaming. It did the opposite, and enhanced my dreams. Sometimes when I drank too much I would wake up in odd places and be confused as to how I had gotten there.

I took a look around at the packed parking lot and was thankful that I had taken the cab. There was a line to get in at the front door, so I took advantage of knowing the management by entering through the back. Steve heard the door open and came out to investigate. He saw that it was only me and nodded. He returned to the storage room where he pulled out two bottles of vodka and one Malibu Rum.

“Let me give you a hand with that Steve.” I rushed to him. He handed me four bottles of my own to carry, I didn’t take the time to see what they were, but followed him behind the bar.

“Here you go ladies.” He stocked the bar with his bottles and then took the ones I had been holding and did the same with them. He nodded at me again as headed to the front door to greet a friend who had just arrived.

Lauren was the first to see me, and after giving me a once over she winked in approval. The bar was packed, and none of the girls had time to sit and talk. I took the one empty seat at the bar and waited for Melissa to take my order. One vodka with cranberry…I barely got the words out of my mouth as she mixed my drink, and got three beers for the guys next to me in less then a minute.

“The first one’s on me sweetheart, the man next to me interrupted as I reached out to pay.”

I nursed my first drink while I looked around. It was bigger than it had seemed in my dream. The dance floor was packed with people gyrating to the music. There was a band playing tonight. There would be bands most Fridays and Saturdays, which was when they drew the biggest crowds. Wednesday night was open mic night for amateurs, which Melissa had ensured me would be quite eventful. I wondered if I would be able to keep up with the pace of the weekend crowd.

I tried to stick to my standard two drink maximum, but men from various parts of the bar kept the drinks coming. At times, I didn’t even know what type of drink had been bought for me. After several lemon drop shots, Tanya saw that one man in particular had the wrong idea about me, and rescued me from my drunken stupor.

“Dave, I am glad that you have already met Keely. She is the newest victim of The Ocean’s Fury. She starts Tuesday, so go easy on her, eh?”

The man looked at me with a sigh. He knew that there would be hell to pay if he tried to take advantage of one of Steve and Ben’s girls. I felt a moment’s worth of pity for the poor old man for wasting so much of his time getting me wasted so he may have a chance to take me to bed. Then I decided to make his night somewhat worth it by pulling him on the dance floor. This seemed to satisfy him for the time being.

When I drank alcohol, my body and mind relaxed, I let down my guard and let people in. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirrored dance floor wall and hardly recognized myself. My usually pale cheeks were flushed, and my eyes were bright with excitement. . I didn’t know who this person dancing with Dave was, but I was enjoying her appearance. It felt good to let loose and have fun with a complete stranger.

Dave could not keep up with me on the dance floor, and he apologetically left me with a group of guys closer to my age. They all had crew cuts and bulging biceps, so my guess was that they were part of one branch of the military or another. I vaguely recalled passing a sign that indicated military headquarters, but could not recall which one. It was very unlike me to forget details, no matter how trivial. I attributed my temporary memory loss to the large quantities of alcohol that I had consumed.

The group of buff men were distraught when I left them, and one followed me outside, his eyes never leaving me. The noise had gotten to be too much to handle. We tried small talk, but it was too loud for us to even make out each other’s names over the band. I waved with a look of apology, ran through the bar, and out the back door.

My head was spinning with the mixed effects of alcohol and the adrenaline of a natural high. I needed to make my temples quit pounding before my head exploded in my hands. Lauren had seen my escape and signaled to Tanya to get one of the guys to run me back to the rental house. His name was Scottie, and he was overtly gay. He didn’t drink much, and was always there as a designated driver for those who needed him. He explained all of this on the ride to the rental house. All that I could concentrate on was not vomiting in his car, and how nice it would feel when I finally got to lay my body down in a real bed.

Copyright 2008 amy. All rights reserved. has been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work. For permission to reprint this item, please contact the author.

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This post is Part 1 of a writing series titled Out of Slumber. The next part of this series can be found here: Chapter 2.

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