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ShardanaThis is a story I wrote for the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future contest. It didn’t place, but I feel it has merit regardless of its success. This isn’t like anything else I’ve written. I have no idea where the idea came from, it just sort of started in my head and this is how it played out. So kick back, relax and enjoy the world of Jase and Shardana.

She walked through the garden, the soft light warm on her opalescent skin. Cobalt blue hair cascaded down her back in tumultuous curls. Shaking her head, she laughed, the sound ringing and echoing around her like bells.

Shardana had never seen a bell. She didn’t even know what they were, but he knew. He hadn’t heard bells in awhile, he missed them sometimes. But he had her laugh, on the rare occasions when she was happy, and that was almost enough.

The river roiled over boulders, falling off the cliff to rumble and tumble on the sharp rocks below. Shardana yanked her hand away from his grasp, rushing headlong for the lip of the land. He wouldn’t join her in her swan dive to the lower river. They’d learned long ago that his body couldn’t handle the trauma of either dive or water pressure as well as hers.

Instead, he lingered to examine a rare and beautiful flower from a safe distance. Another thing he’d learned, much to his chagrin, was that though the plants here were beautiful and exotic, many were as deadly as the mistress of this place. Shardana was not a soft and cuddly plaything. She was as lethal as she was lovely. Dangerously beautiful, she ruled undisputed over her domain.

Jase was the interloper, the alien being, a stranger here. Entering at her invitation, he was here only as long as Shardana endured him. Most days she was glad of it, today, for example. Others, she wasn’t, demanding he leave. He couldn’t go entirely, but he had a place to stay on his own, away from her. He locked himself inside against her wrath.

Shardana’s fury was as formidable as the water rushing over the cliff, her ire as deep and primal as the river below. Jase bore the scars of his mistakes, learning quickly not to cross her.

The distant splash heralded her landing. Her voice echoed eerily up to him. “Jase! Come to me, my love!”

Jase was surprised that he could hear her over the sound of the waterfall. Either she was incredibly loud or she had augmented her words with a psy-call. He suspected the latter. Instead of trying to answer, he merely followed her voice. She was about a quarter mile from the falls when he caught up with her. Floating on her back, her pearly skin glittered in the filtered light.

Shardana dove below the surface, leaping out of the water about twenty feet before splashing in again. She was far more agile in her element. On land, she was somewhat awkward, her body not really made for that environment. Her lithe, sinewy figure cut through the water in graceful arcs.

She leaped high once more, purposely splashing him. Looking like a split caudal fin, her feet were long and bony, the toes fully webbed. When she was wet, he could see that her hair grew along her spin like a dorsal fin. Having snuck a sample of her DNA as she slept, he discovered her people were descended from fish. Not that it came as a surprise. Considering all the chemicals man had dumped into the waters of the world, he’d have been more shocked not to find a humanoid being like Shardana.

© 2015 Dellani Oakes

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