Nereid

Water always makes her happy. She floats in the ocean away from the shore as she bobbles up and down with the water currents. The water is colder today but it feels nice as the sun shines on her skin.

The currents are getting stronger, the beginnings of the signature waves are forming. As the water now has the bearing of white crests. She dives under these waves. It is exhilarating to swim and with them. There is not fear. She has swum in oceans and been in the water all her life. Even though she can no longer swim in them like she used to but she is still undeniably an excellent swimmer.

 She looks at the sun and realizes she needs to leave soon. So she dives under and swims all the way to shore. She stands up waist deep as her toes squish in the watery sand as she makes her way to her things.
 
She dries herself with her undershirt as best as she can. She puts on her dark jeans, t-shirt, and hoodie. Her sports bra and boyshorts will be uncomfortable as they slowly dry but she doesn’t mind it. The water was worth the comfort.
 
She slings on her bag as she makes her way to the bus stop.
 
—–
The air is icy but it is the wind that makes it sharp. Like invisible knives that cut into her cheeks as she makes her way up the street. The bar she walks into is warm and but the customers are lacking. She sits on the stool and orders a cheap beer. It’s a bad idea but she needs something to loosen her up a bit.
 
She’s almost done with her beer when a man walks out of the back. He spots her at the bar and walks over.
 
“Hey Ezra, your turn is coming up. You need to finish and come to the back.”
 
She nods and downs the rest of her beer. She pays and gives the bartender her bag to keep under the bar. As she follows the man into the back.
 
There is a strong smell of sweat in the air and the heat of the bodies made the room almost unbearably hot. She goes to a chair and takes off her t-shirt and hoodie. She looks at her pristine hands for a second before walking to the center. It is a large crowd tonight, larger than what this bar is used to. They all came to watch and bet on the spectacle. The prize fight between Ezra and the Bull.
 
The Bull was a decent fighter, big with a lot of power but Ezra has fought better fighters in better places.
 
Three weeks ago she fought a man, known for his knockout his opponents. The fighter was good but he couldn’t knock her out. She ended up needing time to heal but it was a satisfying fight.
 
“Alright, time to wrap you up.” A man stated and started to wrap up her knuckles and wrists. It is a rule for the fighter to have their hands bound right before the fight to cut down on the cheating. Everything from plaster bandages to metal wires was found on fighters before. It resulted into much blood and too little money. Some wanted to go back to bare knuckles but that idea died out quick. A fighter’s life is their hands and serious injuries end careers and a loss of profits for sponsors. Wrapping protects the knuckles but doesn’t reduce any pain. When the man is done she walks to the ring.
 
A few in the crowd gawk at her for a second. She doesn’t look like what they expected.
 
The announcer walks to into the arena. “In the right corner we have the Bull and on the left, we have the Wraith.” The crowd cheers at the announcement. She has no idea when the nickname The Wraith came from, considering she isn’t one. The Bull gets into the ring, holding his hands up in victory as he struts around. Ezra steps into the ring and the spectators are quite down. It is funny how quite a crowd can get watching her fight, especially for the first time
.
“What the fuck? You said I was fighting the Wraith.”
 
The Bull said as he glares at the announcer.
 
“That is the Wraith.” The announcer states.
 
The Bull looks at her in disbelief. Ezra is a popular fighter but people tend to forget what she looks like. It is understandable. She doesn’t look like a someone with her fighting record and to be called The Wraith. The swirling blue ocean tattoo sleeve doesn’t help either.
 
The Bull is still arguing and the crowd is antsy. She needs a fight. There is another fight happening in the city but she picked this place over the other. Hoping for of a decent fight. While her usual arena was still prepping. Ezra turns to leave the ring. She hopes she can catch the other fight since it seems that The Bull wants to yell more than fight. The Bull sees Ezra leaving and takes offense and says something really stupid.
 
“Come back here you cunt.”
 
Ezra goes still and turns towards the Bull and fixes a blank stare on him. There is a loud humming from the crowd and someone yells fight. As soon as he puts up his hands. Ezra shows no mercy. The Bull’s left-hand tries for a punch and he doesn’t cover his face quick enough. It gives her an opening for a straight right. She broke and dislocated his jaw but Ezra holds back not wanting to end the fight yet. Then with her left hand, she gives him a hard body shot leaving the man on the floor. The bull is not knocked out but he is on the floor in pain, the fight is over and there isn’t any satisfaction.
 
The room is silent and as she leaves the ring, the crowd parts for her. People tend to forget how powerful she actually is but they’re reminded soon enough. She walks to the bookie and immediately he hands over the phone. She gives it back after the money is transferred. The prize is decent and the bets are in her favor. Many like to bet against her. She hasn’t lost a fight in over eight years but people love a gamble.
 
Ezra slips on her clothes and walks out the door. She walks to the bartender and she hands over Ezra’s bag. Ezra thanks her and pays for her trouble. The other customers are still sipping on their drinks as she walks out the door.
 
She looks down at the wrapped hands looking the blood soaking into the bandages. She undoes them and looks at her bare hand. They are pristine. She needs to go for a swim.
 
—–
 
The water is dark and cold but it is comforting. The water is always comforting. She floats in the water, relaxing in the water. The looks at her tattooed arm. The ink is swirling around like the ocean currents. Some of the currents glow on her arm as the swirl around. It reminds her of the sea in the Maldives.
 
In the distance, she sees the lights of the beach home light up. Ezra smiles and swims towards the house.

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