Tyler hadn’t seen Tessa around town recently, and it bothered him. She was a wonderful girl in every way that a girl could be wonderful, at least it seemed that way. It worried him, since he knew what kind of creatures lurked and preyed on pretty little girls like her. He looked over towards the treeline and spotted something rush behind a tree at his notice, and continued to stare at the spot it had been just in case it surfaced again.
In his intense staring contest with a tree, he didn’t notice Tessa lying on the ground. He tripped over her and fell onto the grass, managing to grass stain his clothes in the process. He muttered a few choice words before moving to sit next to her, leaning back on his elbows. “Well, hi.” He chuckled, giving her a little smile.
Whenever the guy tripped over her, she flipped over and landed with a ‘oomph’ onto her back. Her book lay strewn somewhere by her feet and her side hurt just a bit from where Tyler’s foot had impacted with her body. She closed her eyes and sighed heavily whenever she felt him move towards her and placing his elbows on the grassy area beside her head. Tyler was… interesting to say the least. Somehow, she had agreed to go on a date with the handsome fellow and seemed to be connected to him because of that choice. She couldn’t get rid of him even if she tried. No, she didn’t consider him a nuisance— she sort of enjoyed the attention she received from him. It made her feel wanted/desired in more than just-a-friend way. And it had been a while since she had last felt like that.
Tessa opened her eyes only to see his face looking down at hers, giving a rather adorable smile. She licked her lips simply because they were getting dry and replied with a small hello. Who knew what he was up to and why he was in the park in the first place.
Every now and then, Tyler would think back to his past life. Soldier of the north in the Civil War, he had been a good man, right? If that was the case, how did he end up spending 50 years in hell? Well, 5 months. But in hell it was much longer. Just the thought made goosebumps form on his skin. It had been a horrible time, always hot and thirsty and hungry. He assumed hell was different for each person who was there, playing off of their individual fears , but for him it always felt like he was nauseous but there was never anything to eat. That was the worst part.
When he came back to earth, he was in love with lust. He had been before his demise as well, but now it was even more overpowering, and he could manipulate others to have the same feelings as him. All of his time in hell had payed off. The thoughts raced through his mind as he ran, running away from some kind of monster. Only joking, he was just out for a run through the park. He kept his eye out for any unwanted creatures or anyone he may know, careful not to trip as he went along.
Tessa Charlise Kent had never failed in recognizing strange shifts of the air and the people of an area. This what attracted her to Tybee in the first place. How it was so different and things could either go great or bad in your life depending on what sole decisions you made. It was a complex way of living due to its simplicity. Did that make any sense? It didn’t matter. She was in love with the idea of love, though had never come close in experiencing it in its true form. It was all an alluring mystery that tempted her to no edge, but caused her courage to wane a bit. She was a normal human being that thrived on the thrill of being herself. Something that she, as stubborn as they came, took pride in.
Today, Tessa had lain down in the grass, flat on her belly, feet in the air, elbows propped up, and hands holding one of her favorite novels so that her emerald eyes could read the text in the natural sunlight. She was at the park. She was alone. She expected today to be like any normal day, but boy was she far from the truth.
Nick’s first instinct as the nymph came closer to him was to back away, but he didn’t want to make any sudden movements that would anger the creature. He could feel his heart pounding out of his chest as the creature brought her hands up to his face. He was staring right into her piercing eyes. He was breathing fairly heavy. What the fuck is this thing?He heard the creature say that there was very few men who cared about other people on this island. This came off as a surprise to Nick because everyone cared about everyone just a few years ago. How come everything was different now? He noticed that there was more drama, but that shit happens sometimes. Nymphs though? Creatures that just travel through freezing cold water like it’s nothing? These kind of things only happened in dreams. This didn’t happen here on this island. He tried to convince himself that he was dreaming, but deep down he knew that this was real.
He watched the creature as she rested her hand on Tessa’s head. He jumped back just a bit, moving her away from the creature, when he heard Tessa scream in pain. “Don’t hurt her,” he said as he gritted his teeth together. He was fighting the anger that he had trapped inside himself that he wanted so bad to release. This wasn’t a good time for him to release that anger. He was relieved when the nymph told him that Tessa was gonna be fine, but he was even more relieved when the creature disappeared from his sight. His legs were numb from the cold temperature of the water. Without thinking twice, Nick pushed his way through the water, determined to find a way out. He found a rock that was pretty large that hung a bit over the water. He looked back at Tessa. “Hold on tight,” he said as he gripped onto the edge of the rock and used all of his strength to lift them both up out of the water. It took everything it had out of him, so it made sense that he was completely exhausted after pulling them both to safety.
A short while after the encounter with the nymph, Tessa woke up, eyes pointed upwards to the brilliant, blue forested sky. She gasped for air suddenly and felt a ringing pain in her head. “Ow,” she mumbled as she started to sit up. What had they been through? All she remembered about the day was her morning with Nick and then falling into the pool of water across from her. Across from her. Somehow, she had made it to an area of dry land. But how? She rubbed her hand behind her head looking for the source of the pain.
Nick couldn’t keep his eyes off the creature that stood before him, and he didn’t plan to. He wanted to be prepared if whatever it was charged toward them. He was awaiting a response from the creature when he mind quickly flashed back to when Tessa was telling him about the tales that were attached to this waterfall. “Nymph,” he whispered quietly to himself. His eyes traveled from the water below them, back up to where the beautiful creature was standing. This had to be dream. It just had to be. These things didn’t exist. But it did. There it was, right in front them. Nick shook his head from left to right when the nymph asked him if he was trying to trick her. He didn’t dare want to get on her bad side. He had no clue the power that she held, and he didn’t want to test it out. “No, no trickery. My friend here hit her head, and she’s fading fast. Please just help us out of here, so I can get her some help. You won’t see us again, if you just help us out of here. Please,” he begged. He knew that Tessa was getting weak because he could feel her arms becoming more and more relaxed around his neck. Talking to a nymph and carrying a girl who was on the edge of passing out was not exactly what he expected to do on his first night back at the island.
The nymph’s white, flowy dress spread around her making the appearance as if she were resting in the middle of a flower/lilypad as she waded gently towards Nick and Tessa in the water. Her ivory skin held a faint blush on her cheeks, showcasing that she obviously was not feeling the cold temperature they had both suffered through. She came nearer to Nick with a stare that could only be considered as curiosity. “A man who cares..” she whispered bringing up her fingers to hold his face, “So very few in this island..” then she shifted her emerald eyes to Tessa who was currently out cold. She gently held a hand to the back of her head searching for a tender spot. When she found it, she slowly rubbed her fingers on it, earning the revival of Tessa and a hiss of pain. The nymph shushed the girl and finished whatever task she had sought out to do. She then stepped back as Tessa’s head fell back onto Nick’s shoulder and said to him, “It was just a nasty opening. Nothing to worry about with a little of my help. Be warned, male, I am the kindest of my type in this forest. Do not cross paths with me again or there will be dreadful consequences.” And with an intimidating glare she turned around and seemed as if to disappear right in front of Nick’s eyes.
Nick heard Tessa say that she was fine, but he still couldn’t take the chance of letting her walk through the water on her own. Passing out in the water would just be a disaster. All he could focus on was the creature that he saw right in front of him. It was strange. There was no possible way that she was human because she was making her way through the freezing water with no sign of being uncomfortable about the temperature or anything. He also couldn’t help but notice her beauty. She had dark hair, piercing eyes, and a supermodel face structure. He backed up slowly as the creature made her way toward them, asking them if they needed help. “What are you?” Nick was not gonna take any chances. For all he knew, the timidness could just be a front. This thing could kill them.
Tessa was now bordering on the unconscious. Before she lost all focus, she remembers the final smile of a deathly angelic girl and the words following, “I’m your worst nightmare if you dare cross me. Though you seem to be in a disadvantage which could either be a trick or a sign of peace. Do not lie to me, handsome stranger, for I have enough to assume you’ve hurt the innocent girl. So which is it? Trickery or peace?” the female urged with a surprising monotone. Tessa hoped with all her life that Nick would know exactly what to do. Maybe the stories of nymphs weren’t such fantasy after all…
Nick was freezing. It was hard to believe just how cold this water was considering they were in Georgia, and it was summer. He no longer doubted that there was something special about this place. He still didn’t believe in mystical creatures, but something was up with this place. Water that temperature here in Georgia just didn’t make any sense. Tessa had a much smaller frame than he had, and he knew that she had to have been even more cold than he was right now which seemed quite impossible. He looked down at Tessa when she explained that she was fine, but there was obviously something wrong because she didn’t even finish her sentence. He wasn’t sure if that was because she was so cold and could barely move her mouth, or if something was entirely wrong. He looked at her with a concerned look on his face, trying to figure out what was wrong. All he cared about right now was trying to get them out of the mess they were in.
When Tessa said that something was wrong with her head, he looked around her head to try to see if he could find a place of injury. He noticed below him that the water was a pinkish/reddish tint around their area. “Oh no,” he mumbled to himself. “Here, get on my back.” He wrapped Tessa’s arm around his neck because he knew that she must have hit her head pretty hard, and that she might not have much strength left in her to make her way through the water. He kept one hand resting on her arms to make sure that she didn’t let go as he pushed his way through the water, looking for a place to climb out. It was dark out, so it was hard to see, but a light up ahead caught his eye. “Help,” he yelled as he made his way closer to the light. “We need he-.” He stopped mid-sentence as he tried to look closer at what he saw up ahead. “What the hell is that?” He glanced over his shoulder at Tessa and then looked back at the creature. He had no clue if it was even a good idea for him to move.
Before Tessa knew it, she was making her way through the woods on Nick’s back. “Really.. I’m-I’m fine..” she mumbled as she let her eyes close and rested her head on his shoulder— much the same way she had at Mike’s Bar. It was odd considering the day had seemed so normal at first. The chain of events that followed after the suggestion of leaving the bar sure proved to be consequential. It felt like ages since they had fallen in the water but it was actually maybe 5 minutes ago. She peeked out of her eye and caught the stare of a pair of divine bright green eyes. The creature standing before them had raven hair that stopped about the waist. Only one word could describe the women dressed in floral ornaments and that word was divine. She looked timid. “You need help?” the young girl asked as she took a step closer and tilted her head to the side. What struck Tessa as even strange was that the girl never took her eyes off of Nick.
When Tessa told Nick about mermaids, dryads, and nymphs, he honestly just wanted to laugh. Of course she wasn’t serious. He sure had hoped she wasn’t serious. “You’re kidding,” he said as laughed pretty hard. He could tell by the look on her face that she wasn’t at all kidding. Of course that didn’t mean that those creatures existed because it was just something that was rumored, but he’d just have to wait and see if the tale is indeed true. He couldn’t help but wonder if mermaids truly existed. Mermaids were creatures that he watched movies on when he was a young child. Embarrassing now to think of it, but most young kids watched that mermaid movie when they were young. He was pretty ecstatic about the thought of catching a glimpse of one, but surely that wasn’t gonna happen. Mermaids just didn’t exist.
His thoughts were set on the dryads and nymphs that Tessa told him about. That scared him a bit, but he tried not to get too worried. “Come on now. Please don’t tell me that you believe in killer nymphs and dryads.” He looked at Tessa as she turned around. As she slipped on the rock, he tried to grab her and pull her to safety, but the slippery surface underneath his feet caused him to lose traction as he tumbled down with her. It was just about a five foot drop, landing in about four feet of water. “Holy shit,” he yelled as the coolness of the water shot through his body. “This is fucking cold.” He pulled Tessa in to keep as warm as possible, looking in every direction to find a way out of the piercing cold water. “Are you okay?” He looked down at Tessa to make sure she was okay after the fall.
Tessa couldn’t believe how clumsy she was. If it wasn’t for her, they wouldn’t be shivering in the depths of the fucking Arctic Ocean. When she felt Nick pull her towards him, she gladly complied the offer for warmth, and hurried into his arms. “Yeah, yeah! I’m fine it’s just..” she mumbled into his chest until she realized the sort of position they were in. They had only met for a brief moment, and here they were already drenched and shivering. What a grand first impression. She looked up at him in bewilderment. Her vision was sort of starting to blur. Maybe she had hit her head after all. Tessa Charlise Kent was horribly independent and it embarrassed her to think that she was a damsel in distress currently, what with the awkward situation. A blush tinted her cheeks and she prayed that her wet hair was hiding them. “My- my head,” she stuttered due to the water’s temperature.
It wasn’t until Tessa had pulled him off the road and into the woods when he got a little suspicious. He didn’t know Tessa that well, and he was already following her to some unknown location in the woods. He just laughed the idea off. It should be a fun little adventure. It was gonna be funny when Tessa found out that these tales that she heard of was nothing but a fluke. He followed closely behind Tessa, moving tree branches that came close to his head. “I hope you know where you’re going,” he said before chuckling a bit and ducking because he hadn’t noticed a low-hanging tree branch until he was right there on it. It wasn’t long after their walk in the woods when he heard the sound of water.
He knew that they were gonna walk through the forest, but he had no idea that a waterfall even existed on the island. He was pretty excited, but he wished he would have known about this years ago. It would have made an awesome place to camp out. He was just following the sound of the water when he looked up to notice the waterfall right in front of his face. “Wow,” he said as he looked up, amazed. “This is awesome.” He reached his hands out to feel the water as it smacked against his skin. This was such a wonderful sight, so he was curious as to what tales could have possibly been told about the place. “So what did you hear about this place? Unicorns or something?” He couldn’t help but smile at his question.
Tessa threw her head back in laughter as she turned towards Nick with a warm smile. He was funny and she could tell that he was starting to feel thoughtful about the area. Maybe reminiscing in old memories had here? If this place was new to him, she would definitely be shocked seeing as he was a local and must’ve had some sort of advantage over knowing the terrain better than Tessa. But it must’ve been a pleasant surprise since Nick’s face marveled at the sight before him. She looked around and had to admit that the feeling of being in the woods refreshed her mentally. She closed her eyes, leaned back on the rock and took a deep breath, enjoying the smell of the mystic outdoors. “Actually no,” she smirked as her green eyes locked with his, “But things just as fantastical,” she replied. Here, Tessa kicked off from her position and walked on the edge of the rock, arms held out in the air on either sides. “Mermaids.. beautiful seductive women waiting to lure men in for the kill.. dryads and nymphs.. blending in with nature, observing us mere mortals..” she said aloud a tad dramatically.
After her little monologue, Tessa spun around to face Nick, only to lose her footing on the rock. She tilted backwards and desperately reached out her arms to grasp Nick before she fell into the water below. She succeeded in grabbing him before tumbling but the only bad part was that he was caught off-guard, causing him to lose his stance on the rock also. They both begun to drop down into the water. Tessa let out a scream, half from thrill and the other half from fear.
Nick knew most of the places around on the island since he grew up there, but when Tessa mentioned a forest that held many tales, he was completely oblivious. He had never heard about it, so maybe those tales were new, or maybe nobody ever told him. He liked trying new things and exploring places because he was quite adventurous. He couldn’t help but laugh a bit when Tessa said that she didn’t have the nerve to go there alone. “It can’t be that bad,” he said as he was pulled off of the barstool by Tessa. He nodded his head up and down when Tessa asked if he was coming. “I’m up for it,” he said enthusiastically as they made their way out the door. He was pretty excited, but then again, he was very curious about those tales.
As he walked out the door of the bar, he looked toward his truck. Tessa mentioned that this forest wasn’t that far away, so he figured they were walking to their destination. He wanted so bad to ask Tessa what she had heard about the place, but he also didn’t want to ruin the surprise. He didn’t believe many tales that were floating around this place. He believed in ghosts, but a lot of stories that he’d heard were obviously bullshit. As they walked toward wherever Tessa was leading him, he looked back to see the lights that were coming from the bar disappear in the darkness.
Tessa wasn’t one to be cowardly. And when Nick laughed at her mentioning of being afraid, she couldn’t help but find her statement ridiculous as well. The things Ellie had said surely couldn’t true.. of were they? Tybee had unbelievably ancient roots so who knew what history it contained also. But the very idea of supernatural beings was quite sketchy. Maybe the folks here weren’t in their right minds. Oh, well, who was Tessa to judge anyways.
When Nick agreed to her suggestion, she felt joyous. Finally, a solution to her curiosity! Usually, her wonderment got her into all kinds of trouble but in this case, she could only hope for the best. And with Nick tagging along her side, nothing could go wrong, right? She begun to lead the way out of the bar and into the forest with a sense of fascination towards all the little things found so far on their way to the waterfall. She was going off based on tiny details Ellie provided her with such as an overgrown mushroom, a clutter of half-fallen trees, etc. in order to find the location. Never looking back, she caught the noise of water toppling down over the edges of solid rock. She stopped in her tracks as she realized that they were both standing near the middle of the waterfall, so close they could easily reach out and touch the spray with the tips of their fingers and hands.
As Nick sat there on the barstool with his fingers pressed up against his eyes, memories started flooding his brain. During his high school years, the years that he spent her on Tybee Island, everything seemed perfect. His parents were still together, and he knew nothing but pure enjoyment and fun. It seemed like everyone in school practically loved each other, and now after briefly talking to a few of his former friends from school, he could tell that it just wasn’t the same anymore. There was a lot of drama now, and he wasn’t expecting to come back to that. Yeah, he was still excited to be here with the people he shared so many good memories with, but it seemed like there was gonna be a lot of drama that he would have to maneuver around. He hated drama, and he refused to take part in any of it. He also refused to have anything but fun now that he was back.
Nick raised his head up as Tessa began to speak, asking if he’d like to go somewhere less hectic. Nothing was wrong where he was at, but maybe somewhere a little bit more quiet would allow him to calm down just a bit and think about better things. He looked over at Tessa, flashing her a smile. “Sure, what did you have in mind? It’s been a few years since I’ve been here, so maybe you can show me the new hotspots.” Nick maneuvered himself on the stool so that his body was now facing Tessa. He admired that she was able to tell that something wasn’t quite right with him. She kind of reminded him of himself in that manner, able to read people’s minds to some extent.
Tessa started to swirl side to side a bit on the stool, all the while thinking of the perfect location to take Nick. She’s done her fair share of exploring the island but far not enough in the few days she’s called it her home. One night, during a fest of horror movies and talks, Ellie begun to tell her of a story of this legendary area of forest said to hold supernatural aquatic creatures by this one waterfall. She’s never been there, of course, but she decided that Nick might be a good enough buddy to visit the place with. Sure, Mike’s Bar was lovely and all but just maybe this mysterious waterfall was even more so. Who knows? They could even go for a swim if the mood struck right.
"There’s this one nook of the forest that I’ve heard countless tales about. I know the directions and everything but have never gotten the nerve to visit alone…" she then stood up from the barstool, waved a friendly goodbye to Rudy, and tugged on his hand for him to follow after. "It’s not that far away. You coming?"