The League (Superhuman Book 2)By: Suzanne D. Williams
Uneven ocean waves blew skyward in the harsh sea winds, tossing the small yacht frantically in the bay, and the girl standing on the bow lurched forward, catching herself with one hand on the silver rail. The man at her back shoved a gun between her shoulder blades, forcing her toward the edge again, and her breath caught in her throat.
The biggest fear she’d had since childhood was water, and here she was facing that very thing. She trembled with it, unable to comprehend such a horrible fate. She didn’t want to die, much less like this.
“You can go on your own, or I’ll help you,” the man said.
He had a weak voice, feminine. She’d remember it anywhere … if she had any hope of survival. She didn’t, but she pled for her life just the same. “Please … I … I won’t say anything.”
He laughed, a girlish giggle, then swinging his arm, smashed her in the back of the head. She squawked and fell overboard, headfirst in the water, sinking beneath the surface like a stone. No amount of struggle, not the strongest kick or the swing of her arms, made any difference in her fate, and her life, nineteen years of memories, slowly dissolved in the current.
Gone were Christmases in New England from age five to twelve, the summer she’d spent with a friend riding horses in Texas, the Valentine’s Day dance where she and Ted Fulmar shared her very first kiss. None of that mattered, but faded in the face of her pending death.
Her breath squeezed out, her lungs filling with water, and she floated helplessly downward, surrendered to her fate.
The glance of fingertips, the twist of masculine legs, stopped her progress. Embraced from behind, her weight shifted from the water’s grasp to that of the young man at home with the waves. He seemed unperturbed by the ocean’s pulse, unafraid of its tug and pull, and unwearied by any effort to swim against it. Clasping her to him, his arm tight across her chest, he rose upward, in no time, breaking the surface.
And there, turning her face toward the sky, he covered her lips with his own. Not sexual or from any attraction, though in her darkened vision, he was handsome. But from deep in his core, he breathed life, drying the water in her lungs in an instant. Her skin pinked again, her fingers spread, and with a heave, she gasped, the final rays of the setting sun shining heavenly in her vision.
Anchor Dawkins suspended the girl on his chest and swam backward toward the shore. She was awake, but weary, as he’d seen in so many others, her throat most likely sore from inhaling so much water, and therefore, unwilling to talk. It was best if she didn’t, so he said nothing to encourage her, and continued toward land.
He was efficient when immersed in the sea, able to direct himself against the current through some inborn ability. He could also strengthen and relax his kicks to plow forward in the worst weather, or surf by undetected. His lungs held a capacity outside of normal humans, his skin able to assimilate oxygen from the waters. Yet, he had no gills, no sign of his abilities, save a sheen to his skin when he emerged.
It faded with time spent on dry soil, and he appeared like anyone else his age. But inwardly, at his cell structure, then deeper into his DNA, he was nothing like other twenty-five year olds. He was superhuman, but to flaunt it went against his purpose. He was created for rescue, sent out regularly to save those lost in the deep. He could hear their cries from afar off, could detect their movements and locate them in milliseconds. It was echo location, and yet it wasn’t. That description was far too simple.
The girl, however, he’d seen from shore and followed behind, waiting for her to fall. He regretted not preventing her fear of death, regretted he’d been unable to stop the moment of terror from happening, but he was no match for weapons, the outer layer of his skin made sensitive to water.
He neared land and slowed, lifting her in his arms once his feet hit bottom. She was light, almost fragile. He’d carried much heavier. She was also more stunned than he liked. He paused briefly to consider his actions. He wasn’t supposed to care for his rescues, but release them to the proper authorities. The girl, however, for a reason unknown to himself, called out to him. He couldn’t explain that, why it seemed like her body spoke to his, not sexual, but from some place deep inside.