So here’s a story I wrote a about six weeks ago. It’s sort of a mix of prose with elements of poetry, as I wanted to see if I could weave the two together into a cohesive piece. It was inspired from a visual prompt of an eerie scene of a body of water, rocks and a tree. About 1000 words. Hope y’all enjoy it. 🙂
Hooks. Harpoons. Bullets.
Scorching pain tore through her body. Rivulets of mystical blood mingled in the cold, wet murk.
The red-clouded water stuck in her gills. Metallic-tasting, it washed over her tongue. If she could smell it, it’d reek like rust.
Beside her, his beautiful, silver-hued body, now hopelessly marred, floated facedown. Dull blue eyes stared into the void below, while brown locks waved at her amidst the bubbles kicked up by a shower of bullets and grasping hooks. The strands spread around the restful face, silken threads all around.
He was gone.
Rage dulled the pain eating its way through her flesh…
That night marked the beginning of her thirst.
Her desire to feed, inflamed.
She dreamed of it every night.
‘Can you stop throwing rocks?’ Ham avoided Pete’s gaze, focusing instead on popping open a can of beer.
Pete snorted. He glanced at his friend, picked up another stone and threw it into the waves that lapped at their island of clustered rocks. ‘The ocean’s full of them. What do you think we’re sitting on?’
Ham shook his head. ‘These rocks have always been here. They belong. What you’re doing…what if you disturb something?’
Pete threw his head back to laugh, causing his shiny black hair to dance in the full moon’s light. ‘What? Are you afraid of sea monsters now? Is a Boogey man from the Salty Deep going to attack me cuz of this?’ He tossed another rock into the waves before leaning back on his elbows. ‘Man, you have to stop reading those fantasy books. They’re messing with your brain.’
‘How can you deny the strange singing we heard? How do you explain us ending up here?’
‘You’re saying we were drawn here? By singing?’
Ham stared down at the boulder, absently swirling around the dregs of beer. ‘Remember last month? What we did?’
‘Shut up!’ Suddenly sober, Pete sat bolt upright. ‘Don’t talk about that!’
‘But, Pete! We did something terr–‘
Pete grabbed Ham by the shirt. ‘I said shut up! No one can ever know. You got that? Besides, there were no witnesses. If we keep quiet, it’ll blow over. When the body washes up, they’ll think it’s just another hobo.’
Letting his friend go, Pete sat in moody silence beside him and stared at the restless water below. He hurled his beer can into the waves. It hit with a slap.
My prince, my love. Butchered by animals. With a fine, bone comb, she dressed her silver hair while listening to the muted sounds of the ocean. She sat, passively tending her gnarled features while awaiting the moment designated by Triton himself.
‘You will have your revenge, daughter,’ he’d promised.
She had been patient, but time was passing. The chasm of bitterness inside her was growing. Her vengeance must be sated. It must feed, or she would die.
Unusual sounds trickled towards her through the current. Unusual, yet familiar.
Trembling, she set down the comb. Triton had delivered.
‘For the last time! We didn’t kill a mermaid—or merman—or whatever! There’s no such thing!’
Beer had made Ham bold. The two argued while standing on the boulder’s uneven surface. Cold wind pulled at their clothes. ‘It had a face! And a torso and a tail. I’m sure of it!’
‘No, Ham. You were drunk! Like me and the others.’
‘I know what I saw!’
‘You didn’t see anything!’ Pete roared, stabbing the hand holding a beer at his friend.
‘So, what? It’s better we killed a man, then? Is that it?’
‘He should have known better than to go swimming at night!’
‘No. We should have known better than to go shark hunting at night.’
‘Shut up!’ Peter shoved Ham, sending him into the waves. Pete blinked when icy water hit him in the face. He hadn’t realized how hard the waves beat against the rock. If he didn’t hurry, his best friend would be pulverized.
‘Grab my hand! Ham, I’m sorry! I-I don’t know what—‘
‘Pete! Help me! Oh my—!’
Ham was gone. Not because of the waves crushing him against the rocks. Not because the current was too strong.
It was something else.
Pete rubbed his eyes and looked again. The sea was angry. One sacrifice wasn’t enough. He shook his head, hardly believing that Ham’s far-out stories suddenly made sense. What sea creatures were in those books again? Leviathans? Sea serpents? Mermaids?
He almost laughed. Mermaids weren’t dangerous. They sang and swam with schools of fish. Isn’t that how they were portrayed in movies and cartoons?
But Ham needed help. Pete wouldn’t leave him, not after the last time when they had injured that man and left him to die.
Pete scrambled down the side of the boulder, managing to hold onto a crag with one hand while lodging his feet into shallow holds. ‘Ham!’ he shouted over the roar of the waves. The spray hit him in the face again, stinging his eyes and skin like venom. ‘Ham!’
The waters surged and parted. Relief flooded through Pete. ‘Thank God! I thought—‘
Knobbly hands shot out of the waves, latching onto his jacket. A horrid, grey face twisted with rage lunged towards him. A ferocious tug tore his fingers from the rock. Water closed over his head.
There was no time to scream. No time for one last breath.
Bubbles sounded at his ears.
The moon drew further and further away.
She dragged her prey into her domain where it was cold and dark. A minute or two more and the man would stop struggling, just as the other had. Soon, vengeance would feed on his dying breath. Soon, she would be complete.
The bubbles stopped only her pain did not.
Two sacrifices were not enough.
Triton’s daughter smiled. Her father was with her. He understood her pain.
Eager and hungry, she let the dead man go.
Triton’s spirit buoyed her as she broke the water’s surface.
And all the ocean rejoiced with her as its Daughter returned to the land of men to feed.
Copyright@ 2013 by Dyane Forde