The shadow was cold, Charlie noticed. Cold and it had a very strange smell. Sulphur and cheese, he decided, with sour milk, or something sour anyway. Or fishy; or a mixture of the two.
He felt as though he was flying. He couldn’t feel the ground beneath his feet, and could feel the wind pass around his body. He wasn’t sure if he was upright, however.
He soon realised he was, as the shadow left him at a cliff edge, with ferocious waves crashing into the jagged rocks below.
“Yikes!” he shouted, and jumped backwards once his realisation took hold, to a safer point on the cliff top. He noticed a lighthouse a few hundred metres away. He also noticed that where he now was, it was raining.
“Great!” he said “I’ve been dropped off close to a lighthouse in the rain, so I’m surmising my search must be somewhere near or inside there.”
“Helllllp meeee…” wailed a pitiful voice, from the rocks below the cliff top. “Helllp meee…”
“Who?” Charlie said as he heard the woman’s weak cries for help. “Where are you?” he shouted.
“Down here…” waves crashed into the rocks once more. “Please, help me. I’m weak. I can’t hang on for much longer. Pleease…”
“Hold on. I will try to get down to you.”
Charlie peered over the cliff’s edge once more, and sure enough he could make out the woman’s figure clinging to the jagged rocks below. Another wave crashed into the rocks, and for an instant the woman vanished. He then saw her scrabble back to her original spot.
“Please!” she cried once more.
Charlie noticed roots growing out from the side of the cliff, and thought he could use them to reach the woman. If she was strong enough to hold onto the rocks with the waves, he thought, she would be strong enough to cling onto him as he climbed back up.
But how did she get there? He thought, as he clambered down to the first root.
It’s a trap! Boomed Psychic Sue’s voice.
“Yaaargh!!!” Charlie screamed and almost lost hold of the root. “Sue? Where are you?”
Use your thoughts, Charlie. Think. I can only hear your thoughts. Sue, this time, wasn’t as loud within Charlie’s mind.
Thanks for that, Sue. I came to within an instant of my life twice at the same time there!
I am sorry, Charlie, but the psychic link was only opened once you made a cognitive thought. Think logically. This is a trap. How could a woman be on those rocks in such a weakened state in these conditions?
But she is asking for help, Sue. I cannot, and will not refuse anyone help who needs it.
Beware, Charlie. Now the link is open, I will remain with you, but I cannot do any more to help, should you need it. And also remember you are searching for a red diamond. Above all else, that is the most important part of this quest.
“Please, help me…” cried the woman once again, sounding all the weaker.
“I am almost with you. Please, try to stay calm, and be ready to grab a hold of my hand when I reach you. I will be able to get you up to the top, but you will need to use that strength of yours to hold on to me.”
“Thank you…” the woman was now speaking in a whisper.
Charlie clambered further down the roots, and reached the point on the rocks where the woman was clinging. He looked up the cliff, thinking how easy it was to get down using the roots.
He turned to the woman, who had now climbed further up the rock, and was lay at his feet, her legs still hanging over the edge of the rock. Even in the darkness he could see that her long blonde hair was dry.
“OK, Miss, please take my hand and…”
The woman looked at him and her face morphed into that of a fish. Her mouth opened wide, revealing sharp, pointed teeth and a forked tongue.
“You. Are. Coming. With. Me.” Rasped the creature, as she swung her tail up onto rocks to get herself closer to Charlie. Her hands were claw-like, and had a scaly appearance.
A mermaid! Charlie thought, looking at the ‘mythological’ creature in front of him. Amazing!
He noticed the creature’s face and body become humanlike again, and she appeared to be struggling with something – almost convulsing on the rock. She then stopped, and looked at Charlie.
I can see you now, Charlie. Take the creature with you, so we can also be with you. She will be of no threat to you as I am controlling her mind; you can return her to the rocks once your search is complete.
Sue, you do realise that means me carrying a semi-naked woman around with me on this mission. I don’t normally do that.
Charlie, there is always a first time! Now hurry. Time is of the essence and is swiftly running out… and this creature has a strong mind. Controlling free will comes with grave consequences.
OK. First things first – let’s climb back up these roots. I thought it was too easy to get down. Annabeth – hold on tight – I don’t want to have to come down here for you again just yet.
It’s better than referring to her as the creature – or the woman… and she looks like an Annabeth like this. In her other form, she looks like Jaws or Nemo or something. I’d rather keep her human.
OK then. Charlie, the diamond is in a reinforced room beneath the lighthouse. Be on the lookout for the lighthouse guards. Although knowing you, you’ll probably want to name them as well. They are banshees, apparently.
“Obviously”, Charlie said to Annabeth as they reached the cliff top, “It’s Hallowe’en!”