Part 4

JC hauled himself onto the rocks and scanned the treetops. It had been three days since he had last seen the pretty wood sprite. He wondered how his leg was, the algae should have worked by now, the man-thing’s poison should have been stopped. JC stretched out, relishing the heat of the morning sun. He ignored a rustling in the bushes and closed his eyes, waiting.

“I could have been human, Jace!”

The nymph smiled lopsidedly and rolled onto his side to face the creature that had spoken.

“Man-things smell of death. You smell of flowers.”

Chris trotted into the clearing his hooves clicking on the rocky ground. He sat down on the side of a boulder and lifted his pipes to his lips, playing a soft tune. The nymph sat listening, riveted by the sweet sound.

“Pretty,” he said simply. “Play more. It lifts my heart.”

Chris played two more tunes, one slow and lulling, its melody haunting and eerie. The second was lighter, the notes floating around JC’s head, lifting his spirits. The water nymph hopped to his feet, swaying in time to the sound of the panpipes. Chris carried on playing, mesmerised by the beautiful creature as he twisted and turned in perfect sycrinisation to the music. The satyr marvelled at his friend’s long slender limbs as they rippled and gleamed in the dawn sunshine. Chris played one song after another his eyes drinking in the graceful loveliness of the aquatic. He stopped playing and JC spun around and around, his arms spread wide, his shoulder length sea green hair plastered to his head with sweat. He fell to his knees in front of the satyr, his eyes sparkling bright as he panted with his excursions. The half-man, half-goat leaned down, cradling the nymphs face in his palm, stoking his thumb over his lips. JC nuzzled into the rough hand, relaxing into the tender touch. He looked up at Chris with his grey-blue eyes, innocence shining through as he gazed puzzled at the _expression on the woodland creatures face.

“Oh Jaycee, if only you were a creature of the land, a satyr like me. I would make you so happy.”

JC smiled, “You do make me happy Chris.”

The satyr chuckled at the nymph’s lack of understanding, then leaned down kissing JC’s soft green-tinged lips lovingly, shuddering slightly at the salty flavour. “You are such a simple creature Jaycee.”

JC cocked his head to the side, considering the satyr’s words. “Thank you,” he said, not really knowing what the word simple meant, making Chris chuckle again.

“Dance more for me JC, let me see your beauty.” Chris lifted his pipes to his lips once more, silently adding “let me dream of you in my arms.”

Chris spent the whole morning playing for the lonely nymph, watching through delighted brown eyes as the playful man leaped and writhed to his tunes. The dancing only stopped when JC, dehydrated by his exercise had to return to the cooling, refreshing waters of his lake. The nymph dove deep, snagging a fish in his long pointed nails, clamping it firmly between his teeth before spearing another for his friend. He broke the waters surface, the fish still wriggling between his jaws. The satyr paled as the fish was placed in his hands. Chris gulped, and hid the lurching of his stomach. JC always forgot that the gentle woodlander was vegetarian, and could never eat another living creature. JC looked up expectantly. “Good,” he said, expecting Chris to tuck in with the relish he, himself was.

Chris held the fish by its tail at arms length. “Jaycee, my sweet child, thank you for your kind offer but I can only eat berries and fruit that grows in the bushes.”

JC looked hurtfully at the declined fish, a small pout on his lips. “It was very sweet of you JC, and I know you gave me the biggest one. If I could eat fish I’m sure it would be the best tasting fish in the entire world.”

The nymph beamed, his ego soothed. “I know berries, I’ll hunt berries for you.” He leaped to his feet and ran to the surrounding bushes, stripping handfuls of blue-black fruit from the branches, returning to Chris a grin plastered across his face. “For you,” he said pleased with himself as he dropped the slightly squished berries into Chris’ open hands.

“Thank you JC, they are lovely berries.” The nymph sat back down proudly, he had fed his friend. He picked up the dead fish from the rocks and bit off its head, sucking out the juice and Chris fought the urge to gag. He really needed to convince JC that seaweed tasted just as good.

They spent the rest of the afternoon curled in the sunshine together. Every now and then JC would sit up and sniff the air, his nostrils flaring, his eyes darting around his nervously, before he would settle back in Chris’ strong arms. The satyr sighed, knowing that the nymph had suffered at the hands of humans, wishing he could help him. Making a decision, Chris hugged JC close to him, he would go and see Joey, the centaur could travel great distances at speed. Maybe he knew of a lake where the water children still lived and played, a place where JC didn’t have to sleep alone anymore.

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