Call me when you get there.
The Eddy speaks.
“They are waiting for you, Salvatore.” The Eddy speaks, though he doesn’t sound as he did before. Gone is the salted croak, the blood-curdling malice of his wretched screams. He speaks as though through a velvet veil and Salvo must armour himself against the smoothness of the words.
“Don’t you want to join them, Salvatore, your brothers and sisters. They cry for you, don’t you hear them? They long for their long-lost brother, the kin of their own kind, they want to give you everything you desire, and more.”
The Eddy steps closer, cocks his silken head. His skin glows a greenish opaque, the molten transparency of stained glass, the rough cut distortion of sea glass. He moves like he is floating.
“We know what you want, Salvatore. We have heard your cries, those pent up feelings and thoughts of us, of our home. We have watched you, you know. Have felt you come so close to reaching us, so close to coming home to us, and now here we are.”
“What do you mean?” Salvo screams at the man. His voice carried barely through the building of the storm. Desperation slings its step in his words and the quiver of his throat is real as he shivers in the cold. “I have a home, this is my home. My mother will be worried about me, she will be looking everywhere, and she will come here, soon. My father-”
“Your father!” The Eddy shrieks, suddenly running towards the boy, reaching him in a heart beat and clasping his face with his scaly hands. Salvo cringes away but the fingers hold fast, long fingernails puckering the soft skin of his cheeks. “You speak of that man as your father? Think, Salvatore, think! Do you really believe that that man is your real father? The one who raised you, fed you, taught you to dip and dive and ride the currents of the sea like a bird on the crest of the wind’s tail? You think that man, that big, bulking land dweller is the one you should be calling father?”
Salvo shakes his head, desperate to brush off the words, to disagree, to yell his disbelief and tell the Eddy that he is wrong. But something niggles, a barely laid tadpole of a thing. A uncertainty, an inability to claim that he does not feel the distance between himself and his father. The way he would catch him staring at his son, this darkling little thing, and there would be no kinship in his blue, furrowed eyes.
“The sea,” Salvo says slowly, winding back the little hints, the small feint markings of something that had never quite been right.
The Eddy nods softly. “He kept you from us, always. We tried to call to you, to make you hear our voices and remember, remember the place you came from – your true home – but he always stopped us. Finding small ways, he kept us from you and locked you away.”
And Salvo remembers. The summers spent under the watchfulness of his father, the insistence that he should be moved to the room at the back of the house, facing the mountains and away from the sounds of the rustling sea. His father’s unwillingness to let him join him on his boat, the way he was always relegated to the cage of the shore, the sandy banks, forbidden from venturing close to the teasing waters. A terrible dawning lodges itself in him. He suddenly sees.