Somehow, it knew at one time the land was more important than the water, but in the vagueness of its brain, in the vestiges of humanness that remained, it strained to pull that memory forward. All the creature knew now was that the shore and the land was dangerous.
As the creature floated closer to the shore, flashes of memory grew more frequent. A boat. A man. An embrace. Water.
She was not a water nymph, not even a mermaid. Perhaps a more accurate description would be a combination of the two, but with a macabre bent. The creature had hair that closely resembled a human’s, a torso that resembled a merged human and octopus, and a slash of a mouth with sharp-pointed teeth. Not exactly the look of fairy tales.
As it moved closer to shore, the creature felt bursts of pain in its head. It was as if the flash of memory was telling it to go back to the open waters. The last bit of human that resided in its brain was trying to come out. It didn’t want her to remember.
The creature closed its eyes and let the memories wash over her.That’s when a clear picture of the man appeared. It was confused – the man didn’t look like her. It looked similar from the head to the waist except he had two legs instead of eight. Shaking its head against the memory, she saw the boat.
As she floated closer to the shore, pain filled her head, and she remembered…
The little boat, just offshore was slowly drifting. She had been taking pictures of the shoreline, intent on getting the right shot for the magazine layout. She had heard a splash. Thinking it was just a fish jumping to catch flies, she ignored it. Then she heard another splash and a voice that startled her. It was as if the voice spoke in her head, and not out loud.
“Look at me.”
It was a seductive voice that made her turn her head. It was a man.
Turning in the direction of the voice, she dropped her camera startled at the presence of him. She wondered how he got there as there were no other boats around her. She was alone on the water. Fear made her heart pound in her chest as she stared at him.
He again spoke in that voice that resonated in her head – she never saw his lips move.
“May I join you in the boat? I am tired.”
As she nodded yes, she noticed that he was without a doubt, the most beautiful man she had ever seen. There was no other way to describe his perfection… until he was fully in the boat. That’s when she noticed his multi-legged torso. Fainting with fright, she fell out of the boat.
The man slipped over the side of the boat and embraced her. They floated seductively through the murky depths completely entwined. As she struggled to breathe, the man with his multi-legged body covered her mouth with his, seeming to breathe for the both of them. It felt like the kiss of lovemaking. She started to relax and let him continue his embrace.
As they continued to float, the kiss that was so seductive at the start changed. It turned into something menacing. He had started to draw her breath into his mouth. It was as if he was drawing her essence, her soul, out of her body. He was “taking” her and there was nothing seductive about this at all.
After what seemed an eternity, they headed to the surface. He had disengaged himself from her, but she felt him guiding her. She felt different, heavier somehow. Something had changed. As she looked around her, the murkiness of the water was gone. She could see the bottom of the lake, plants growing, fish…and with a start, other creatures. She didn’t understand.
As she looked at the man guiding her, she noticed that he no longer had multiple legs, he looked completely human. She looked through the water at their bodies and saw she now had his body. She was confused, but surprisingly wasn’t scared. It never occurred to her that she was breathing while submerged in the water.
She tried to speak but couldn’t find her voice. The man shook the water out of his eyes as they broke the surface. They barely made a ripple in the calm water next to the boat. He looked at her and spoke out loud for the first time since their encounter.
“You cannot come with me,” he said. “You must stay in the water with the others, they will take care of you.”
“You must never go near the shore, as it is dangerous…for you and for the others. You will die if you leave the water at the shore. Your memories will fade soon and all you will remember is your time under the water.”
“You are safe here,” he said. Again he repeated, “Stay away from the shore.”
She tried to speak out loud but only heard her voice in her head. “I don’t understand, why did you do this? I have a life, people will miss me.”
He looked at her for a long time before answering her. “I have been patiently waiting for a thousand of your years for a human to hear my voice, so I could go ashore and find a mate. Today was finally my turn.”
This week’s Indie Ink Challenge came from Hannah Pratt, who gave me this prompt: “The sea creature wrapped himself around her waist. Then he emerged from the boat with legs.” I challenged MRMacrom with the prompt: “There’s a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure the truth… Maya Angelou”