“Are we there yet?” Katherine playfully griped as Orpheus turned the car on to yet another dirt road. They had gotten up at dawn to drive out to the mountains for some private training. The problem of Orpheus’s inability to navigate on back roads and dirt paths had reared its head and resulted in them being thoroughly lost. Katherine had taken to pushing his buttons to pass the time.
“That’s it, I’m doing this the old-fashioned way.” Orpheus exclaimed as he shut off the GPS and got out of the car. Without another word, he looked up and shot into the sky. As he began to fall he turned his body and looked around. When he spotted the place, he had been looking for he shot back down. He stopped a few dozen feet from the ground and stutter-fell to the ground. “Found it.” He said as he climbed back into the seat and threw the car into reverse.
“What was that?” Katherine asked confused.
“I launched myself into the air and did repeated launches to land safely.” Orpheus chuckled, remembering his training “I was not a happy camper when James taught me about that one. I think I launched him into another province when we were done.” Katherine couldn’t stifle a giggle at the thought of Tank being launched and potentially landing in someone’s living room. She played out the scenario in her head and it was just too silly. “Here we are. Aside from a few old fishers no one really knows about this place.” Orpheus said as he pulled around the bend to reveal a scene straight out of a travel brochure. The lake that they were specifically here for was incredibly clean despite being ringed by trees and the peak of the snow-capped mountain was reflected in its mirror-like waters.
“It’s beautiful.” Katherine whispered quietly. She made a mental note to tell Sarah about this place and come back when they weren’t training.
“I thought about moving to a place like this one day. I figured I would retire to a place like this and spend my twilight years writing a book or learning to knit.” Orpheus sighed and went back to business “Stand in the water and try to splash me without moving.” The objective caught her off guard and she tripped. She fell face first in the mud by the edge of the lake and grimaced as Orpheus started laughing. He helped her up while laughing and commented “I can honestly say that I didn’t expect that. I thought I would be training with Lily when one of you did a face plant into the dirt.” He looked her over “Your nose isn’t broken and you don’t seem to have any cuts. New plan, try to clean yourself off with your power.”
Katherine focused her will on the water and tried to bring it to her. The water started to slowly flow towards her hand but just before it would come in contact with her skin it stopped as if it was hitting a wall. “What’s going on? Why can’t I get it to touch me?”
Orpheus voiced seemed hollow and distant when he spoke “You are afraid and your power knows it.” He placed his hand on her back and she shot out to the center of the lake. As she started to sink he called out to her in that same otherworldly voice “You will have to conquer your fear.” She sunk to the bottom like someone had filled her shoes with concrete.
Orpheus sat down and began to meditate on the shore as Katherine struggled to get her footing against the slick ground at the bottom of the lake. She could feel the water all around her hovering inches from her skin. She wanted to deny what Orpheus had said about her being afraid. She wanted to say that she wasn’t afraid of anything so mundane. She wanted to say that but she knew she would be lying to herself. She could say that it was any number of things that made her not like the water but it was the death of her uncle that had caused it.
Her uncle had been the metaphorical black sheep of the family. Before she had been born he had had a big fight with her father and had walked out of the family. The news articles she had read at the time suggested that he had a gambling problem and had been caught embezzling to pay for it. On her fifth birthday, he came back and begged for her father to take him back but he had said no. Katherine wasn’t supposed to have seen him but she had snuck in to try to steal a piece of cake and she saw him begging on his knees with tears in his eyes. A week later they found him at the bottom of the river. Someone had attached weights to his feet and thrown him in. Ever since the day she had found that out she had had nightmares about drowning. She had never bothered to learn how to swim and had avoided pools when she could.
“But that was then.” She muttered to herself “I’m a superhero now. I better start acting like it.” With a cry, she mustered her courage and thrust her hand into the water. It felt cool to the touch and it flowed over her wiping away the dirt from her earlier fall. She felt panic begin to set in before she realized that she wasn’t drowning. She wasn’t exactly breathing but she could tell that she was still getting oxygen. With no fear of drowning she propelled herself up towards the surface.
When she breached the surface, she found the sun was already high in the air and Orpheus hadn’t moved. “Good job, now come get your sandwich before it gets too hot.” He called out to her, his voice back to normal. He was holding the sub he had made for her before they started driving that morning.
“You’re an asshole.” She said playfully as she took the sandwich from him.
“True but you aren’t afraid of water, anymore are you?”
“No, I guess not.”