1. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Past Contest Submissions CLOSED for contest #160 Theme: Mermaids

    Discussion in 'Bi-Weekly Short Story Contest Archives' started by GingerCoffee, Jul 23, 2014.

    Short Story Contest 160
    Submissions & Details Thread
    Theme: "Mermaids" courtesy of @BookLover

    Submissions will be open for ~2 weeks.

    IMPORTANT: PLEASE READ THE CHANGES!

    If you wish to enter the contest post the story here directly in the thread. It will show up as an anonymous author.

    This contest is open to all writingforums.org members, newbies and the established alike. At the deadline I will collate all entries and put them forward for voting in a separate thread. The winning entry will be stickied until the next competition winner. As always, the winner may also PM me to request the theme of the subsequent contest if he/she wishes.

    Entries do not have to follow the themes explicitly, but off-topic entries may not be entered into the voting.

    Word limit: 500-3000 words
    Deadline for entries: Sunday the 3rd of August, 2014 1600 (4:00 pm) US Pacific time

    There is a 10% word-limit leniency at both ends of the scale. Please try to stick within the limit. Any piece outside of the suggested limit may not be entered into the voting.

    If we reach 20 entries, the maximum number of stories for any one contest, I will consider splitting the contest into two. Only one entry per contest per contestant is permitted.

    Try to make all your entries complete and have an ending rather than be an extract from a larger one and please try to stick to the topic. Any piece seemingly outside of the topic will be dealt with in a piece by piece basis to decide its legitimacy for the contest.

    A story entered into the contest may not be one that has been posted anywhere on the internet, not just anywhere on this site. A story may not be posted for review until the contest ends, but authors may seek critiques after voting closes for the contest. Members may also not repost a story anywhere, or bring attention to the contest in any way, until the voting has closed.

    Please remember to give your piece a title and give its word count in brackets [xxx words ] at the top of your story.

    If there are any questions, please send me a PM (Conversation). After the entries close, posting in the thread is open for comments.

    ***And thanks to even more long hours put in by our very special mod/member @Wreybies, winners are now awarded with olympic style medals displayed under their avatars.

    Thanks, and good luck!

    Be sure to preview your entry before you hit 'reply'.

    Check italics and bolding as sometimes the end code for bold or italics doesn't copy/paste affecting large stretches of text. If you need to fix the formatting, hit 'control a' to 'select all' and clear all bold and italics code. Then re-add it back in using the board's font controls before you hit 'post reply'. Same thing with extra line spaces, delete them directly from the post before hitting 'post reply'.


    Bear with me as we try this new format. :D
     
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  2. kittie_pie
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    kittie_pie Member

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    A Sacred Gift

    My sisters and I had been hunting dangerously close to shore. Because of the vast size of ships now, we even had to go ashore several times. This trip, we were lucky. We found a lone fisherman. My eldest sister, Shila, surfaced and began her song. One by one, each of us surfaced, ready to do our part, but as my eyes fell on the man, my voice faltered.

    The man didn’t notice, but he kept asking us if we needed assistance. Shila reached forward, and I hissed at them. “Stop!” I yelled in our native tongue.

    Shila glared at me. “What?” She responded in kind.”

    “Don’t you see it?” I moved closer to the boat.

    “All I see is a meal.” Eva grumbled.

    “There’s a light.” I touched the man’s face.

    I don’t see anything.” Shila said.

    I knew I wasn’t getting anywhere with them. “I claim him.” I announced.

    Vera moaned. “Come on. Don’t do this.”

    “How many times have you claimed a kill?” I glared at my sisters. “Now it’s my turn.”

    Shila sighed. “Let’s go.”

    My sisters left as the man looked at me. “Do you need help?”

    I laughed and spoke in English. “You have no idea what just happened, do you?”

    “I’m a bit confused.” He offered me his hand.”

    I took it and let him haul me onto his sailboat. He gaped as my tail turned into legs. “I just saved your life.” I stated.

    The man handed me a shirt. “Would you like to cover up?”

    “We’re in international waters, yes?” The man nodded. “Then, no need.” I sat. “My sisters and I were ready to kill you.”

    He just stared at my legs.

    I laughed. “Yes, they’re real.” I put his hand on my knee. “See?”

    “You’re a-” He sunk into another seat.

    “A mermaid, yes.” I brushed some seaweed from my ankle. “Would you like to know why I saved you?”

    “Why?”

    “Because you have a light within you. I have only seen it in one other being?”

    “Who?”

    “Myself.” I tucked my hair behind my ear. “I’m inclined to give you a gift, but you must answer some questions first. Be honest. I will know if you’re lying.”

    He nodded.

    “Do you have a family?”

    “I was orphaned.”

    “A wife?”

    “No ma’am.”

    “Children?”

    “No, it’s just me and my boat.”

    “Do you like the sea?”

    He smiled. “I love the sea.” He looked away. “I can see it in your eyes.”

    I paused. “I can lengthen your life beyond your dreams, and I can let you spend that life in the sea. Forever.”

    “Is there a cost?”

    “Some would say your immortal soul, but that’s just superstition. The only cost is you life as a human.”

    The man shuffled his feet. “What about you?”

    “What do you mean?”

    “Where would you go?”

    I stood and touched his cheek. “If you wish, I will go my own way. I will hunt with my sisters. Or,” I sat on his lap, fingers tracing his brow. “I can stay with you.”

    The man thought for a moment. “I have a question of my own.”

    “Ask away.”

    “What do I call you?”

    “My name is Clara.”

    The man smiled. “I’m Damien.”

    “Have you made your decision?”

    “I have.” He looked at me “Yes.”

    “You’re sure?” I placed my forehead on his. “A mermaid’s kiss is a sacred gift.”

    “As long as I’ll be with you, I’ll always say yes.” He looked into my eyes. “I think I can see that light you were talking about.”

    “That’s a good sign.” I put my legs over the side of the boat. “Come, time is wasting. Bare your body and follow me.”

    Damien stripped and slid into the water with me. “Will it hurt?”

    “A bit, but it will be worth it.” I swam to him. “Are you ready?”

    “Yes.”

    I smiled and kissed Damien. As the transformation began, I plunged into the water. Damien cried out as his legs joined, turning into a tail. Soon, though, he calmed.

    His first words were in my native language. “I feel different.”

    I chuckled and responded. “You look different.”

    “Now what?”

    I grinned. “Now you try out that tail.” I bolted, Damien close on my heels. When he got close enough, he grabbed my waist and held me against him.

    He looked into my eyes, and his jaw dropped. “I see it. The light. It’s beautiful.”

    I smiled and kissed him again. “Now to hunt.”

    End
     
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  3. qp83
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    qp83 Member

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    The Last Day [638]

    The glass mermaid sitting on the window sill filled the room with curves of light in all of the rainbow's colors.

    One of the curves shoot across her sleeping face.

    John sat down on the bed next to his sleeping sister. He pulled a few strands of her long dark hair from her face. Her skin was pale and her lips which used to be so pink, were now almost blue.

    "Wake up, sleepy head," John said and shook his sister's shoulder lightly.

    Her eyes slowly opened.

    "Good morning," he said and greeted her with a caring smile.

    "So what do we have planned for today?" he asked.

    His sister reached for a piece of paper lying on the nightstand and handed it over to him.

    The piece of paper contained a list of seemingly ordinary things. He had himself helped her write the things down about a week ago.

    "Sunday: Ice-cream... Baseball game... Hamburgers...." The list went on. "Is that all for today?" he asked.

    She shook her head and looked out the window, her gaze reached for the ocean that was down the hill and far in the distance, hiding behind the roof tops and the trees.

    "So it's time..." John said. A sad expression flickered across his face.

    She grabbed his hand and gave him a reassuring smile. He wanted to return to being that hopeful person he was just a second ago, but all he could think about was the coldness of her hand.

    "Okay, get dressed!" John said and abruptly stood up. He was just about to head over to the closet where she kept her clothes, when she began coughing. Badly. At the end it sounded almost like she was suffocating.

    "Here, drink this." He reached out a glass of water to her.

    She immediately grabbed the glass and began drinking the clear liquid inside.

    The coughing has really gotten bad the past few days, he thought. And her skin... it's almost white. Today really is the last day... The last day he will see her smile, the last day he will feel her warmth, the last day...

    He thought back 7 years ago, when his parents brought this quiet seven-year-old girl with them home. They had found her wandering on the beach all by herself. Her parents were never found and a few months later she was officially adopted. It all happened so sudden, but despite that, they immediately got close, close like a real brother and sister.

    "Let's go!" he shouted back at her as she stood by the entrance of the house.

    The two of them had the best of days. There was ice cream, a baseball game, and they saw this amazing street magician downtown, and they ate hamburgers, and most of all, they laughed, they laughed so hard their tummies hurt.

    "We're here." John said and squeezed his sister's hand.

    The ocean spread out its vastness infront of them and moved like an animal from another dimension. The orange sun sat low above the horizon behind a thin layer of clouds.

    His sister threw herself into his arms and he embraced her. Her body had become so thin and frail he pulled her close, afraid she might slip into nothingness. This is really happening, he thought to himself. I'm never going to see you again.

    He watched as she stepped out into the cold water and without hesitation took one step after another, moving further and further into the dark depths. He wanted to call out to her, or run after her, but he couldn't move, he had promised he would let her go. He saw the top of her head slip under the surface and disappear, for a moment he expected the next wave to show his precious sister again, but no, she was gone forever.
     
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  4. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    Mermaid, c550 words

    1857, Singapore. Down at dockside I walked the planks strung between the junks and the scum. I watched a flotsam of discarded infants drift past the opium decks, and smelt the hashish pedlars with their pig tails and their crazed, staring eyes. This was no place for a lady, unless it was a lady you were looking for, or a ladyboy, or a boy, and I tell you my brothers I have had them all, in my days at sea and with time in port a man comes to thinking about his experience, about that special memory he might pass to a grandchild on his knee, one day.

    It was a dark night and the old Javanese took me by the wrist.

    ‘Fish,’ he said, ‘fishy fishy. You want fishy fishy?’

    I turned to Topeye, my sailor. I said,

    ‘He’s got the fishy fishy.’

    ‘I love fishy fishy,’ said Topeye.

    Only a lantern lit the floor space of the bamboo shack. It rolled with the tide, gave lubbers the sea sickness, but not me. I’m a Jack. I am a Jack tar.’

    Sat cross-legged I could see the faces: Asian, Palomino, Russian and only us two Americans sat in the farthest corner. A sitar player crossed from the doorway and he took his place aside of the main performance floor, and I have to tell you...us men, there were maybe twelve of us, we were stripped to our underpants, or the complimentary performance thongs, when they slipped into the room.

    ‘My God,’ I said to Topeye. ‘I can smell them both.’

    There were only two, and at first it was finger nails I saw, waving through the air, mesmeric fingers that trailed an exotic weave in time to the pluck of oriental sitar music. Damn fine, I can picture it now. And then I saw her face, a siren more appealing than any waitress in New York harbor, any libertine of Bordeaux, any hula lady of the Sandwich islands.

    I felt the volcanic stirrings in my loins. Loins for so long dormant, encased in the rough hemp of hammock, hemp that strained almost to the planks of a deck. For months I had tossed and slept on my back.

    Like seaweed and rolling rice she danced on her belly, a perfumed beauty of the South East seas. Professionals, they took half a room each and our side, not that I looked so much, our faces were shrouded, mouths dripping in the halo of a tabacca smoke that breathed. I gasped as lifting her chest I saw the vision of her long blond locks resting on the finest titties like molluscs. It was then that the music stopped. This was the moment for which we had paid a dollar a head. You could hear it first, the swish and swash and then the first slap, and the gasp of a man experiencing the ultimate in ecstatic pleasure as a tail swept his lap.

    There were groans, moans and I was not convinced I was indeed even ready, as the full weight of a fish’s tail crashed down upon my core. My dears I have to say I cried that day and the scales were like spikes in my thigh, I removed these over a month at sea. But, by Neptune she was a beast of mystery more desirable than any salmon of the brook, as Neptune is my witness.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2014
  5. BeckyJean
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    BeckyJean Member

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    The Misty Mermaid – (2116)

    It was midday. The sun looked like a fried egg sizzling in the sky. Sam had been afloat for six days. He presumed it was six days. He’d been trying to keep track of each day that passed by scratching a mark onto the thigh of his Levis with his fingernail, but it was hard to see the marks. He had to keep going over them, working in vain to make them visible.

    He thought he might have forgotten to do it yesterday. Or was that this morning? He was pretty sure he was wrong about the count, but in the end – who cares? It was too damn long, no matter what the number. It already felt like half his lifetime.

    He was still unclear about what had happened that night. One minute he was asleep in his bunk, his twelve hour shift on deck complete, and the next he was shirtless, barefoot, and plunged into the water. He’d managed to latch onto a cooler floating by and hung on for dear life. Immediately he called out to the rest of the crew, but there was no answer; only the shriek of high winds.

    The night sky was moonless and unblemished; as smooth as black velvet. The ocean swells were like dark, liquid giants reaching toward outer space. He was knocked or blown off the cooler many times, only to swim back, each time more frenzied, more panicked than the last.

    He remembered screaming, and screaming some more. But screaming, it turned out, was futile - as if a pillow had been pressed to his face, like the wind had turned against him, refusing to carry sound, choosing instead to throw his words back into his face – discarded, unheard. Like screaming into quicksand.

    But still, Sam screamed… for his crewmates, from sheer terror. He screamed until he was so hoarse the act of inhaling was painful; until he was nauseas from ingesting and coughing up seawater. From his place in the water he saw their boat had capsized, overcome with water within minutes. Strangely, there was no rain; only a furious wind and an angry ocean.

    Where was everyone? Was it possible they had all drowned? If so, why was Sam alive? Why hadn’t they tried to wake him before the storm? Maybe they couldn’t, he thought. Maybe they’d already fallen overboard. Maybe the wind had blown them off the deck like leaves off a sidewalk.

    Sam never saw another crew member – alive or dead. It was as if they’d all vanished into a black, watery hole. He hated imagining their horror; what they must have gone through. But being the sole survivor on a sinking ship was somehow, for Sam anyway, worse. Shipwrecked and alone was much, much worse.

    Sam was no stranger to the sea. He’d grown up with it – on it, in it; had his first sip of booze on a ski boat at the age of fourteen, and fondled his first breast (belonging to a redhead named Linda Brightly) on his brother’s sail boat two years later on the fourth of July. He had worked numerous fishing boats since the age of seventeen, and was hired five months ago to crew the commercial fishing vessel The Misty Mermaid.

    Despite all of that, Sam was fiercely afraid of deep water. There was something terrifying about the sheer volume; that infinite drop swathed in blackness, oftentimes with hundreds of miles between the surface and seafloor. The force, the power of all that water scared the shit out of him. It was like a live entity, an actual being – pushing and pulling and swallowing whatever it wanted. It had made his boat and crewmates its most recent meal.

    Given his fear, it seemed insane to make his living on a boat that motored into the middle of nowhere for weeks at a time. There was no logic in it. Except that his father had done it before him. So had his two brothers. And his uncles on both sides. And his dad’s dad, Grandpa Neville – a local icon in the sword fishing world.

    So it wasn’t as if Sam had a choice; not really. At least in his mind he didn’t. Sam’s fears had to be stowed away, because a Neville man’s worth was judged by his willingness to do exactly what was expected, and they expected fishermen. That was the Neville way and nobody dared dispute it.

    It dawned on Sam that this obligation, living for who they wanted – not for whom he really was, might be a driving force behind his drinking. He drank in secret, of course; as secretly as one could on a forty foot vessel with ten other men.

    Sam used liquor to dull generations of voices silently shouting “be a man, damn you!” into his head. And he needed that boost whenever he looked out over the ship’s bow during the night shift. Without it he would’ve froze in place, paralyzed and staring out into the blackness like a mental patient.

    Maybe the pint of bourbon he’d consumed before climbing into his bunk that night was why he hadn’t woken up. What if they tried to wake me and I was too piss-drunk to know?

    The idea filled him with guilt and gratitude. Maybe he should have gone down with the ship, too. Maybe that’s what real fishermen do. Instead, he had stayed asleep – snug in his bed. And anyway; had someone awakened him, he would have been tits-up with the rest of the guys. He was sure of it. That’s where the gratitude came in. Only a shit-heel would be ungrateful to be alive – even if that meant being alive all alone in the middle of the sea.

    The morning after the storm (if one could call it a storm) Sam had spied something in the distance; their life raft. Apparently somebody had been alive long enough to try to use it. It made him feel strange that he now had access to it, knowing whoever had tossed it out was now dead.

    It was drifting a good thirty yards away; nearly a football field. Shit, that’s far, Sam thought with dread. But he had to get to it. That raft had a higher survivability rate than the beer cooler he clung to.

    More importantly, his nerves were shot to hell. He couldn’t stop thinking about his dangling legs, his naked feet, the miles of water between him and the ocean bottom. Panic picked at him when he let his mind think on it too much. He had to mentally run to something else; like that first sip of booze and the softness of Linda Brightly’s boob.

    Sam had to quit stalling and make his move. Letting go of the security of the Igloo was going to be hard, though. He could already imagine how vulnerable he would feel out in the open. He supposed he could kick with the cooler toward the raft, but that would attract attention from lurking sea creatures. No; he had to do this quietly.

    Sam gritted his teeth and counted to ten. The ocean swells had flattened and given him a reprieve. It was like glass, twinkling ever so innocently under the morning sunshine. He let go the cooler. He stroked hard but stealthily against the water’s smooth surface.

    It took longer than he thought it would, but finally he reached it and hauled himself in. His heart was pounding; both from exertion and relief. Soon after he fell into an uneasy asleep. He dreamt of being pulled under by… something; being dragged down, down, and down.

    He had no idea how long he was out. When he awoke, he was in immediate pain. There were blisters stretched across his hairless forehead like a quilt, and his chest, arms and the backs of his hands were beet red. They’d probably blister, too.

    Another bonus; he was already cramping from dehydration. His tongue felt like the Sahara desert. He tried hard to ignore the image popping into his head of a gloriously cold glass of water running down his throat.

    His jeans had dried by then. It occurred to him to keep count of his lost-at-sea days, even if only for his own sanity. That morning he’d scratched his first mark onto his jeans; Day One.

    Six (or was it seven?) days in, Sam was in terrible shape. His forehead had burned and peeled several times over, just as his shoulders, forearms and hands had. Everything hurt. He was sure infection had set in from the many open-sores left behind by bursting blisters. He was chilled; even under the unrelenting sun.

    Also Sam had begun to hallucinate. Yesterday he was sure he’d seen something with glistening blonde hair dive out of the water, splashing all over his face. The sting of saltwater as it hit his skin was real enough, but the hair couldn’t be. Fish don’t have blonde hair, and he saw a tail, so he knew it was a fish.

    Sam’s thirst was getting the better of him. He was surprised he wasn’t already dead. What was the number of days one can live without water in extreme situations? He remembered looking it up once, just out of curiosity. Four days, he thought. Even if he was wrong about the exact count – he knew he’d been stranded for more than four days. His mind might have gone all wonky from dehydration, fever, and exposure, but of that he was sure.

    And then – knowing it would hasten his decline, but deciding he didn’t care in that moment, but mostly because he was unable to stand his thirst a second longer – he did the unthinkable. He tested a palm full of seawater, at first drinking gingerly, touching it initially with his tongue. It was salty but the cool liquid seduced him as it ran over his teeth. Before he was conscious of it, he had guzzled handful after handful of The Pacific. It ran down his chin, stinging more open sores.

    Within seconds he vomited most of it back into the ocean. He started to cry, frustration and desperation overwhelming him. There were no answers to surviving out here. If he wasn’t rescued he was going to die in this life raft, becoming as bloated as it was, decomposing under the hot September sky.

    Exhausted and in pain, Sam drifted off again. He awoke just before sunset to the sound of nearby splashing. He wondered if the sharks had finally come. Had they at last grown impatient, wondering what this big, flat thing floating on the surface was? Were they glaring at him from below, ready to take big shark-bites out of the raft… out of his legs? He readied himself for the flash of tails and fins circling, staking their claim, preparing to go in for the kill.

    But when he peered over the curved lip of the raft he saw no shark fins. He saw blonde hair and blue eyes. Her face, the face of his illusion – because she must be an illusion – was round and cherub like. Her rosy cheeks dimpled as she smiled at him; a stunning, wistful ‘come go with me’ smile. An irresistible smile that tugged at his insides; as if her small, lovely hands had reached around his neck and were pulling him over the raft’s edge. Perhaps to join her in a sunset frolic, like adolescent dolphins.

    Sam looked down when he felt the pull. He saw pale, slender arms. Her gentle fingers felt cool on his burnt shoulders, lifting him as if he were weightless. He felt he was floating; over the raft’s edge and into the water, calmly and sweetly – as if being baptized.

    And then she was before him – face to face, his chest against her small breasts. She leaned in, her lips brushing against his. He closed his eyes, waiting for more… wanting more. When there was none, he opened them, expecting to find himself still on the floor of the raft, delirious with fever.

    But there she was, gazing at Sam with amused curiosity. Her lashes were thick and dotted with tiny droplets. The blue of her eyes echoed the color of Bermuda waters, the hue of a summer sky. As he gazed into their depths, they seemed to ask a single question… a single word.

    “Yes?” they said.

    Sam hesitated for only a moment. He was sure he’d gone mad, certain she was part of some feverish dream, a fantasy of hope, of salvation. He didn’t care. The moment was too sweet to be denied.

    “Yes,” he whispered aloud, and she pulled his head under.
     
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  6. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    Toby's Mother [2,996 words] - Profane Content

    Toby was always a little imaginative. His mind would make connections kids his age couldn’t fathom at a stretch, and his favourite class was the creative writing session every Tuesday with Miss Gellar. Toby had a lot of potential as a writer, Miss Gellar would say, though he still needed to work on coherency. Toby wasn’t sure where she was going with it—Miss Gellar had a bad habit of sounding too highbrow—but maybe she had a point. No one could make sense of what he was saying anymore.

    “My mommy fell into the water and became a mermaid.”

    Toby told her when she asked him how his Christmas break had been. The class became awkwardly silent, and for once you could hear Freddy the gerbil gnaw at the cage in spite of ten children in the room. Miss Gellar had waved it off as a harmless comment, going back to discussing how an argumentative essay worked. But Peter, the boy who sat across Toby, was utterly baffled.

    “But that’s not possible. Mermaids aren’t real.”

    “Yeah,” said Britney, who leaned over her table, looking meanly at Toby, “mermaids aren’t real.”

    “You know what,” retorted Toby, “Truth is…it’s Santa who isn’t real!”

    A riot was in place. Susan, with her ginger pigtails and cheeks dotted with freckles, bounced in her place, terrified by what Toby had said. Britney was also wide-eyed and Peter sunk back in his chair. The general consensus was that of shock, annoyance, and panic. Miss Gellar feared this would soon evolve into a fit of mass hysteria and ultimately, a stampede out of the classroom.

    “Class, settle down! Everyone, quiet!”

    But no one could hear Miss Gellar over the squeals and shouts emanating from every corner of the classroom. Whether or not Santa was real had become a matter of national urgency.

    “That’s not true! I asked Santa for a PlayStation this year, and I got one!”

    “Well…mommy says Santa is a national ‘conspirashy’ designed to forward a ‘captulish’ economy…”

    “Shut up! Everyone knows Santa comes at night to give presents, and eat his favourite oatmeal cookies!”

    “No, his favourite cookies are chocolate chip! Daddy told me so!”

    Miss Gellar had lost this one. She let out an exasperated sigh as little Polly, the tiniest girl in the class, pounced onto Susan’s ginger pigtails and pulled on them. Then, Tyler with his large, monkey hands shoved Peter when he explained why Santa was actually the same as the tooth fairy, and the dialogue soon went from being an invigorating debate to a street brawl.

    “Enough! If I don’t see each one of you quietly seated at your desks this instant, all of you will stay in class for recess. For the rest of the week!”

    The formidable threat had profound influence, and the critters scurried to their respective places, looking diminutive now that they had something of unparalleled significance on the line. Toby, who hadn’t left his place to begin with, stared nervously at Miss Gellar, who eyed him with a sad smile.

    “All right. Toby, I think you can spend rest of this period at the nurse’s station. I’ll give you a hall pass.”

    Toby was certain that, being the instigator of the rioting, he would’ve been sent off to the principal’s office, but everyone was full of surprises this Tuesday. Even the nurse didn’t bother him, as he quietly worked on a drawing using the brand new crayons his Dad got him last week. Once he was done, he showed the nurse the picture, who didn’t seem too happy with it. But Toby liked it, because he thought his mother looked like a queen as a mermaid.

    “Hey, is it true? Your mommy turned into a mermaid? And you got rest of the period off?”

    Veronica asked just as Toby was putting his crayons back in the box.

    “You know, I heard mermaids are immortal! Is your mommy immortal too?”

    That was Ryan, who had to adjust his bright-green spectacles every few minutes as they slid down the bridge of his nose.

    “It’s true, of course,” Toby said, smiling a bit, “I saw it happen myself.”

    “That’s so cool!”

    Ryan said, hopping on his heels. Veronica looked less convinced though, as she toyed with her black, braided hair.

    “You saw it? When?”

    “I told you, we all went to Miami during Christmas break. That’s when!”

    Veronica and Ryan had many questions to ask, but now was not the time, according to the nurse. She ushered them out of the station, perhaps trying to keep the sensational story from getting more attention. But the damage had been done, because the mermaid was everywhere, on everyone’s lips and when hushed, in their heads. Nothing so exciting happened in their quaint little town, after all.

    Many of them liked the idea of having mermaids around, especially those who had seen the Little Mermaid during its screening a month back on the charity fair. Some even thought they’d give it a try.

    “I think science could benefit a lot from having mermaids around,” said Josh, the president of the Elementary Science Club, “many underwater mysteries could be solved, you know. And overpopulation? If we could live in harmony with mermaids, that would be no problem!”

    “Mermaids are so pretty! I bet the princess is probably the most—” started Jill, but Ron cut her short, “Oh, who cares about pretty princesses? I bet their mermen kick butt!”

    “You know, I’ve always wanted to be a mermaid!” squealed Trish as she prepared for gym class. “I’m going to go to Miami this Saturday, and I’m not coming back!”

    Others weren’t as enthusiastic about the idea. In fact, they took it upon themselves to re-educate their misled classmates, before they were swayed any further by Toby’s fiendish propaganda.

    “I can’t believe you guys,” Dylan growled at his fellow Elementary Science Club members, ripping off Josh’s badge in the same blow, “and you call yourself scientists?”

    “There are no such things as mermaids! You can just check it on the internet!” Freddy screamed out in the boys’ locker room.

    “How can you be so stupid?! We’re not babies anymore, we’re going to be fifth-graders next term!” Emily said, flailing her arms in front of Trish, who seemed beyond reprieve, when Natasha coldly added, “Toby is just a liar. He’s an ugly, stupid liar, and mommy says all liars will go to Hell.”

    By the time it was recess, the gossip was in full swing. Miss Gellar and the other faculty members considered making it prohibited to discuss mermaids until deemed appropriate, but the principal thought it would only have the opposite effect. So it was a free for all, and as Toby ran over to the sandbox to build himself a sandcastle, he was shoved head first into a pile of moist sand.

    “Hey, look who’s back from Christmas break. Toby the Liar.” That was Dylan, the new self-proclaimed president of the Elementary Science Club. Toby had to blink a few times to get the sand out of his periwinkle eyes, and snag a good look of his attackers. There was Dylan, of course, and along with him Freddy and Britney. None of them seemed to be in a mood to talk, but Toby was an optimist.

    “I’m not lying,” Toby replied boldly, attempting to stand up, “you’re just jealous your mommy didn’t turn into a mermaid.”

    Freddy shoved Toby again, who fell on his back, his head hitting a plastic bucket. “You’re so stupid. You’re a liar, and you’re stupid. You’re going to go to jail for this!”

    “Yeah, and I bet your mommy and daddy will never talk to you again. I wouldn’t if I was your mommy—” Britney went on, condescendingly, but part of it ticked off Toby, who pushed himself off the sand and toward Britney, latching onto her hair and pulling it violently.

    Aaaah! Get him off me, GET HIM OFF!”

    Britney yelled and just like earlier that morning, the playground fell silent, save for her belligerent screaming. It was a while before Mr. Routledge, one of the senior teachers, pulled Toby off a traumatized Britney, her blonde hair a complete fiasco.

    Toby was certain he was in big trouble this time, which made him even angrier because it wasn’t even his fault. It was all their fault—and he was happy he had a good pull at Britney’s long, silky hair, so much that he hoped he had uprooted at least some of it. And though he was scared of what would happen next, he had to bear the consequences. That would make his mommy proud.

    Except that Toby didn’t bear any. He didn’t get detention or extra homework, and the principal didn’t call a meeting with his parents. Instead, she bore the same sad smile Miss Gellar had, as she phoned his father to come pick him up from school.

    “How was school, Toby?”

    Toby looked up from his scrapbook, toward his father, Mr. James, who seemed to have prepared himself two cups of tea. Toby smiled and grabbed at a bright blue crayon to bring out the colours in the ocean.

    “It was okay.” Toby muttered in a low voice, at which Mr. James continued, “The principal told me you got into a fight.”

    “I don’t wanna talk about it!”

    Toby screamed out loud, slamming his head onto the table. Mr. James immediately withdrew, taking a sip from one of the cups before continuing.

    “Sorry…sorry, you don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to, Toby.” He looked across him, an empty scowl scrambled on his face. He had taken to popping himself another aspirin when Toby spoke up again.

    “Daddy, what do you think of my drawing?”

    Toby no longer had his head down and instead, was holding up his scrapbook for his father to see. His voice was lyrical and soothing, and it felt reviving against Mr. James’ ears, but he pursed his lips upon seeing the drawing, clear agonized.

    “You don’t like it?”

    “No, no it’s lovely. Is that mommy?”

    “Yes!” Toby grinned, “she looks great, doesn’t she?”

    Mr. James nodded obligingly, looking away from the mermaid, with flowing bronze hair, rosy cheeks and bright yellow fins which descended into sea of blue. He clenched his jaw and then sighed—a simple aspirin just wouldn’t do.

    “Toby. We’re going to go see Dr Kacvinsky today.”

    One would’ve thought that would deter Toby, but Toby actually was quite excited about seeing him—they were best friends, after all. And everything about Dr Kacvinsky made him the ideal candidate for such. To start off, he had a huge office to claim for himself, with a candy bowl resting on the edge of his magnificent, wooden desk, not to mention the backdrop of bookshelf which was stuffed to the brim with leather bound books. But what really struck Toby was his inviting, opulent smile; Toby didn’t feel nervous or scared talking to him, not even a wee bit. Dr Kacvincsky always seemed interested in every word Toby had to say, his eyes nodding along as Toby shared all of the day’s crazy events.

    “It sounds like your first day back at school was quite busy.”

    Toby nodded eagerly, “Yes, yes it really was! But, strange too…you know, I was so scared the principal would give me detention for a month after what happened with Britney, but she didn’t. It’s just weird, I guess.”

    Dr Kacvinsky showed no change in expression, nodding along with Toby. He then offered Toby another candy, but Toby modestly turned it down.

    “Dad says I’ll get cavities!”

    Dr Kacvincsky chuckled gently, putting the candy bowl back.

    “Alright then. Toby, would you like to try something with me today? I promise it won’t hurt.”

    Toby lost his radiant smile, but he nodded in compliance.

    “Good. Now, you remember how we practiced breathing last week?” Toby nodded. “And then you thought of a nice safe place for yourself.” Once more. “Well, we’re going to take that a little further now. You’re going to tell me about how your mother turned into a mermaid.”

    “I already told you that!” Toby snapped, visibly irate. “Mommy and I were out at sea, the ocean fairies called out to mommy so she jumped off and turned into a mermaid!”

    “Yes, I remember. But this time you’ll imagine it in your head, just like your safe place. Do you think you could do that for me?”

    Toby nodded yet again, and closed his eyes. Dr Kacvinsky first helped him calm down, even though Toby didn’t see a reason for it, by an array of breathing exercises, after which he guided Toby to his safe place. A lush green meadow in Spring, the warm sun crowning the sky and a tinkling zephyr running through his sleeves as he ate ice cream and played videogames with Veronica and Ryan.

    “Remember, Toby, if you get uncomfortable, you just have to raise your finger, and follow my voice back to your safe place.” Dr Kacvinsky paused, taking a deep breath. “Now, we’re going to go to back to when your mother turned into a mermaid. Try to focus on your surroundings…what is the weather like?”

    “It is cold…it’s cloudy, and chilly.”

    “Tell me about all your five senses.”

    “I can smell the seawater…it is very cold…I can hear the ocean, it’s growling, and mommy is right next to me, she is wearing a dark blue dress, she looks pretty. The boat is wet, it is soaked wet. It is cold. Very cold.”

    “What’s happening now, Toby?”

    “She’s…she’s angry. At me. I think she wants me to row but I don’t know how to row a boat…I’ve never rowed a boat, Dad never showed me how. Then she tries…she tries to light a cigarette, but the lighter won’t work. She’s…she’s yelling. She’s yelling now. S-she says, burn in hell you little—she’s so angry at me, God I’m so scared. Why won’t she stop screaming? Mommy, just stop screaming you’re scaring me! No, no, no, please I’m sorry! I’m sorry, stop! Stop it please, I’m sorry!”

    “Alright, Toby—Toby, stay with me. We’re going back to your safe place. You’re completely safe there, Toby. There’s nothing to be afraid of.”

    Dr Kacvinsky stroked Toby’s ashen hair, who said nothing more as he shuddered in his place, his eyes close shut and tears bulging from under his eyelids. His mother was still shouting at him.

    “Just stop whining. You stupid fuck.”

    She had grabbed him by his ear, hoping it would shut him up, stop him from wailing. But he keep sobbing and shuddering, which drove her over the edge.

    “Why you…just shut up, you stupid fuck!”

    She shook him violently, his body thrashing against the damp, sodden boat. The sky rumbled above them, and the ocean ferociously slammed into the boat. And Toby kept gasping for breaths between his sobs.

    “Burn in hell you little piece of shit.”

    With that the frigid, callous seawater kissed him, enveloping him whole. The salt burned his eyes and he felt his throat sizzle as water trickled in, and his heart oscillated back and forth as he struggled to breath. His tears mixed with the cold and saline of the terrifying ocean, and as a sharp pain tore through his chest, his head trampled with ache as it clung on to the remnants of life, he wished to die. So he could go to Heaven, sit down with God, and it would all be over.

    Dr Kacvinsky’s protective hold left him, who said gently, “I’ll be right back.” The door squeaked slightly as it opened.

    “Were you able to help him?”

    Mr. James asked, his voice hushed and frightened.

    “I tried to help him reimagine the incident. He’s still too fragile, however, so I think we can’t push it any further this week. We’ll just have to do it one step at a time.”

    “For how long?” a young, feminine voice which shook with tears, pleaded, “For how long will my baby pretend I’m not there?”

    Dr Kacvinsky sighed. “I’m afraid, Mrs. James, it will take some time for him to accept what happened.” He turned to glance at Mrs. James, her face pale and lifeless, and her eyes sunk in pearly tears. “And accept you.”

    “How can he accept her?” Mr. James hissed, looking away from his wife, “she tried to drown him, for Christ’s sake.”

    “You know full well it wasn’t all my fault! After losing Emma, I just…I just didn’t even want to live…”

    “Post-partum depression can be accentuated after the loss of an infant,” Dr Kacvinsky added in support, placing his hand on Mr. James’ shoulder, “Emma’s death from SIDS triggered an episode no one saw coming. And if there’s any possibility of Toby accepting his mother, it will start with you accepting her.”

    The corridor was dark and soundless for the longest minute, the incessant ticking of the Grandfather clock the only adornment. Dr Kacvinsky finally stepped back, putting his hand on the doorknob.

    “I’m going to check on Toby. See how he’s doing.”

    Toby was still sitting in the same posture as before, put together in a foetal position, his muscles flexed tight. Dr Kacvinsky stepped next to him, asking cautiously, “Toby?”

    Toby opened his eyes at the voice, and after blinking a couple of times, turned to look at Dr Kacvinsky. His face was absolutely blank, devoid of emotion, when suddenly an alluring smile spread ear to ear and he chuckled.

    “I think I fell asleep, Dr Kacvinsky. I had a dream about my mommy. Did I tell you, her mermaid fin is this very unique yellow?”

    “No, you didn’t Toby,” Dr Kacvinsky said, settling into his chair, “But I’d love to know more.”

    “Well…it’s very hard to explain…you’d have to imagine it, but then Miss Gellar says my imagination is really good.”

    “I’d have to agree, Toby. It really is.”
     
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  7. DangerousKiwi
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    DangerousKiwi New Member

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    Will Work for Food [1265 Words]

    Sarah stood in front of the bathroom mirror putting her lipstick on when Katie began her questioning. “Mom, why do you have to go out again?”

    “You know I have to work tonight, pumpkin. This is how we get food to eat and money to pay our bills.” Sarah tried to sound reassuring to her daughter, but it was becoming difficult. This was not the life she had imagined, but it was the one she had to make the best with.

    Katie stomped her feet on the floor and crossed her arms, “I don't want you to leave me. I just want to go home!” The tantrums were growing more common as the weeks went by.

    “I know, but we can't go home. You know that. Our home is gone.” Sarah's temper was starting to flare a bit as well. “We're working on making a new home. Here. Now go to your room and go to bed!” With that Katie turned around and stormed off to the small bedroom connected to their hotel suite and slammed the door.

    Sarah held her breath, trying to fight back the tears. She knew that Katie was just frustrated, but Sarah's patience was also growing thin with the situation. Although they had a good place to stay for now, without some serious changes the money would eventually run out. Sarah just didn't know how to get out of this mess. She turned back to the mirror, took a big calming breath and tried to smile as genuinely as possible at her reflection. Her hair and makeup were done, the tight silver dress was short but not too short, and there was enough skin to show what she was about without looking too cheap. “I guess that will do,” she remarked to herself, grabbed her purse off the bathroom counter and left.


    On a corner about a mile from the hotel, Sarah started to eye up potential clients. She was in a decent part of downtown where the average clientele was upper middle class. She has learned over the last few weeks what to look for when finding her potential marks. Don't go after the muscle bound meat heads or guys traveling in packs – they can be overpowering, as the fading bruises on her arms suggested. And some of the businessmen that look like they have extra money to blow rarely carry it in cash. What she was looking for were guys that were looking for something but not quite sure of themselves - first timers.

    After around 20 minutes she saw her mark. He looked nervous and wouldn't check out the other girls on the street for too long before looking away. He wasn't approaching them but had the air of desperation around him. If she didn't make it over there quickly, he may change his mind and leave. Sarah sauntered over to his car quickly but casually and leaned in. “Well, hello there! Are you looking for something, sweetie?”

    “Yeah, is it that obvious? I'm sorry. I don't know what I'm doing. I haven't done this before.” He looked at her quickly without making too much eye contact. He was glancing from side to side, not knowing where his gaze should fall.

    “That's OK. I'll be gentle, I promise. My name's Sarah.”

    “I'm Bill.” He felt a slight wave of relief. Sarah seemed kind and her eyes and warm smile made her seem gentle and playful.

    “Are you going to let me in, Bill?” Sarah pouted at him with her hand on the door handle.

    “Oh, yes, yes, sorry!” Bill exclaimed as he fumbled for his door locks. Once unlocked, Sarah opened the door and slid into the passenger seat. “It's my first time.”

    “You already mentioned that,” Sarah responded with a warm and inviting smile. She did her best to calm him. “Don't worry, I'm going to make this easy for you. All you'll have to do is relax, OK?”

    “O.K., yes. That sounds great.” Bill pushed out a large sigh and looked at her. He did his best to smile without looking as silly as he felt.

    “I have a hotel room just a few blocks from here. Why don't we drive over for a little more privacy?” Bill needed no further coaxing. He started driving towards the hotel.


    Bill and Sarah arrived at the hotel room. Sarah unlocked the door, grabbed Bill's hand and guided him in. She pulled him close to her, pressing her breasts against his chest and licked his ear lobe gently. She then took her hands and massaged his upper arms and chest and remarked “You are much too tense! I am going to help you relax. How does that sound?”

    Bill felt his manhood starting to throb. He needed to relax a bit or the show would be over before they took their clothes off. “That sounds good.” Sarah then pulled away a bit and led him into the suite's bathroom with a large jacuzzi tub. She started running the water and he was surprised as to how quickly it was filling up.

    “Make yourself comfy in the tub and I will be right back,” as she licked her lips at Bill. He kicked off his shoes, pulled off his socks and scrambled to pull his shorts and shirt off, tearing a few buttons in the process. He checked the temperature of the water, adjusted it a bit and sank down into it. “OK, you can do this. Just relax. It's been a while, but not that long. Come on. You can do this.”

    As Bill was wrapping up his pep talk, the door opened and in came Sarah with a young girl probably around 9-10 years old closely behind. “What is this? This is not what I signed up for! What the hell is wrong with you, lady? That's a kid!” Bill yelled as he tried unsuccessfully to cover himself up in the tub with his hands.

    Sarah laughed with a wicked smile “Oh, this is definitely not what you signed up for.” She jumped into the tub and wrapped her legs around Bill. He grabbed them to push her off, but found that where there should be legs was instead a massive tail. The skin was smooth, almost frictionless. He looked down and saw that the lower half of Sarah now resembled a giant fish.

    Bill starts to panic even more, yelling and clawing at Sarah, hoping to get out of the tub. The water made things too slippery to get a good grasp, however, and he felt himself sinking and being pulled further into the water. His mouth was now under water and his nose was starting to go under as well. As he scrambled one more time, hoping to break free, Sarah opened her mouth wide and made her advance. To Bill's horror, her mouth now revealed an additional row of teeth behind the first set, all coming at him. She bit into his shoulder, pulling a chunk of his flesh out as Bill screamed. He was muffled by the water running into his mouth and started coughing instead.

    “Come on in Katie, dinner is ready!” Katie climbs in after her mother, grinning wildly and also displaying a smaller set of teeth as she sinks them into his arm. Sarah reaches for his neck, digging the teeth into his arteries. The last seconds of his life are spent watching the mother and daughter feast on his flesh.
     
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  8. ramandeep singh
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    ramandeep singh New Member

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    Being Mermaid [1045]


    Mom why are you not going to see mermaid?

    I don’t want to go.

    But why Mom?

    Didn't you see last news paper she slapped the news reporter?

    May be he deserved it Mom!

    No what I have heard of her is she is very proud!

    Poor Aness is depression Mom please help her.

    No, there are other Psychiatrists in the town!

    Ok Mom, do whatever you want to!

    What?

    Please Mom Go, She is Aness the Mermaid Mom, you will be famous Mom. Think when people will know you are treating her.

    Ok I will think of it.

    Thank you Mom, please get an autograph of her.





    Hello Doctor Please sit down. Aness is little busy, It will take some time, would you like to have some coffee?

    Yeah, thank you.

    Ok I will be back in a minute.

    Sure.

    Here Doc your coffee.

    Thanks, what’s your name?

    Nikita.

    Well Nikita I don’t visit my patients, I only see them in my office, I am feeling little awkward.

    Yes we are aware of that Doc, but if people will know Aness is depressed, it will be bad for her Career and you should also not mention it to anyone.

    That’s Alright.

    Why don’t you look through these magazines doc, till you are waiting? See this one it has a picture of Ms. Aness with president.

    Really, have they met? I didn't know that, Oh she is looking lovely, especially her blues eyes with matching blue tale and her blue hairs.

    Yeah and see this one, she is with Johnny Depp, he is carrying her.

    Aness is quite Popular, no wonder my daughter was insisting that much.

    Well Doc, please carry on let me check inside

    Sure.


    Doc let’s go inside now.

    Ms. Aness she is Doctor Anita Ayer. Please sit Doc.

    Nikita Did you get her coffee?

    Yes I did.

    Good, please sit Mrs. Ayer.

    Can you please come out of pool Aness?

    I like being in water.

    Sure. Oh my dear what happened to your eye?

    Nothing I just, you know, I fell.

    Okay, how are you?

    I am fine.

    You look tired? Are you sleeping well?

    Not from last three four days.

    What seems the reason?

    I don’t know may be work stress I guess.

    Work stress? Tell me more about it?

    I don’t know. Sometimes I think I work very hard. May be that’s why.

    Why don’t you take rest for few days?

    No, I can’t and it’s hard to explain.

    Okay, what is your daily schedule like?

    Well there is no fix schedule. Sometimes I got to shoot day and night, just one ad after another. There is a huge line of companies wants me to advertise their products.

    Working day and night, how you feel about that?

    Well my manager says, you are lucky to have that quantity of work, and he won’t let me stop.

    I asked about your feelings?

    Well he won’t allow me the other way, my feelings don’t matter.

    What do you mean? You are Annes the Mermaid. You don’t have control of your own life?

    Well my manager is my boyfriend, He decides everything for me.

    Okay if you think its right for you! But still I would ask one more time setting aside your boyfriend what do you feel about it?

    Is it really that important Mrs. Ayer?

    Yes, don’t be afraid dear I am only here to help you.

    I just work day and night, and sometimes I feel exhausted and very stressed I feel like, I feel like I just go back to Atlantic Ocean, and never come back, I didn't asked for this, I didn't wanted be Aness The Mermaid, I didn't wanted to be famous.

    Then why are you doing all this?

    I do this only for him. And what he does? He won’t let me do what I want, won’t let me eat what I want, won’t let me go to places, don’t do this Aness don’t do that, what do I get in return? One time I refused to go to work and what he did? He slapped me and made me go. You want to know what I feel like. I feel like being a Mermaid is a curse. That’s what I feel like. I am fed up. God why don’t I just die right now.


    Here drink a glass of water. Take it, take it. It’s ok Aness, drink it, good.

    Are you feeling alright Aness?

    Yes I am ok, please get me out of here. I want get away from all this. I am done with this entire Mermaid thing. I want to live a causal life, sing when I want go, where I want, sleep till I want, a free life like when I was not with humans.

    What was it like back then Aness?

    It was complete absolute freedom, I and my mom, we used to travel hundreds of miles, see new places. Sing for hours. God, I miss my mom.

    What happened to her?

    She died, she was old, and then I was alone. We were near America. I didn't know where to go alone. I stayed here. But one day Ralph saw me, He was real gentleman . I was all alone and I fell for him. He was very nice to me. Like a completely different person.

    What happened next?

    We became friends he bought a new house near lake. We started living there. He taught me language, dressing, how humans society work and everything else that I needed to be, Aness The Mermaid, Now as I am telling you I can see clearly, It was all his plan, He knew humans will go crazy when they see a real Mermaid. And a real Mermaid advertising for companies, what can it do to their sales? He knew it the second he saw me. Mrs. Ayer he planed everything. He never really loved me. He is just using me.

    You can leave him Aness if you want, we can even go to police, and you don’t need to be afraid of him.

    I can’t go to police, I loved him so much. Please take me with you Mrs. Ayer. I want to go back to where I belong.
     
  9. Exclusive
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    Lightning Bird & The Twin Mermaids [956 Words] (Partial Nudity Referenced)

    A symphony of thunder and rain lulled me right to sleep.

    For three nights, I’d dreamt of visiting the same place. It was the same cavernous waterfall, kissed by streaks of sunlight. This time was no different. The “rushing” cascade was as calm as a halfway-turned faucet. At the base of the waterfall, the twin mermaids frolicked to themselves again. Bulbous bosoms bounced with innocence as they splashed water in each other’s faces. Their mahogany skin evinced the influence of the Caribbean.

    “What is this place?” I asked myself.

    I dared not speak to the two mermaids for fear of scaring them away …or ending the dream altogether. One of them gestured toward me as if to say, “Come! Come!”. I nodded in understanding and walked toward the pool of water at the base of the cascading falls. Now, beside them, I knelt down to get a better view. The one that called to me swam over, almost instantaneously, and gave me a hug. My fingers combed through her thick, woolen hair as I returned the embrace. I could see the celadon, hexagonal scales of her lower body through the transparency of the water. The wonderment was just …ethereal.

    Then, she spit in my face.

    Before wiping my cheek in disgust, she swam away and they both giggled. When I looked back at them, they were still. Was something wrong? Did I upset them? The twins pointed their fingers in the direction behind me. I didn’t want to look away from them. However, their (now stoic) grimaces coerced me to peer over my shoulder.

    All of the light that was in that cavernous waterfall -- whatever little of it – was gone. I couldn’t see anything. Stepping forward, I heard the sounds of crackling. The further I walked, the louder it became …until I saw light. Suddenly (literally all of a sudden), a flash of neon blue appeared before me in the outline of some dark, titanic bird. I was absolutely transfixed. Speaking proved pointless; it was as if I’d forgotten how to. The crackling stopped. My heart raced in anticipation as this magnificent and frightening creature finally spoke.

    “IMPUNDULU!”

    The ground beneath me rumbled as he spoke, the boom of thunder and lightning nearly rupturing my skull. Just as I was to fall to my knees, I was pulled into a pool of water. It was warm. I couldn’t see who did it, but I had to reach the surface in any event. The waterfall greeted me as I gasped for air. My clothing disappeared. It was all very confusing, until I saw the twin mermaids swim up right next to me. They poked me in few different appendages; tickled me in others. Their inquisitive nature went unreturned. As I tried to touch them back, they swam.

    Chasing them seemed futile; they were devilishly quick. It was still exciting. Their laughter was antagonizing and arousing. After what seemed like an eternity, my thoughts went back to that giant bird.

    “That bird,” I inquired, pointing in the direction that the twin mermaids had before. “Am I supposed to hunt him for you?”

    They looked at each other in, what seemed to me to be, puzzlement. I flapped my arms as if to imitate a bird …just to help them understand me. All they did was mimic my gestures by joining me in flapping their arms.

    “No! No,” I insisted, shaking my head in playful frustration. “Uh …Impundulu?”

    Once again, I was enveloped in darkness. The familiar negritude left me anxious, although admittedly …not so much so, as before. I began walking in one direction and the crackling began. Again. It was undeniable. I turned around, walked away and still, the crackling grew louder with each step. The black bird outlined in neon blue appeared one more. This time, his light was not as brilliant. I knew what was to come, so I thought I’d try something different. I wanted to talk to him.

    “Impundulu,” I whispered. “What does that mean?”

    It didn’t work.

    “IMPUNDULU!”

    After the resounding proclamation, I fell through the recesses of the very darkness that kept me upright. At the bottom of that darkness …was a pool. After crashing through the water, I hustled to get to the surface. I look around and, after a moment, the twin mermaids reappeared. Then, the same gigantic bird materialized right in front of us. I scrambled to warn them.

    “Look!” I cried, trembling at the sight before us. “That's who I was talking about! He keeps saying 'Impundulu!'”

    The mermaids sternly grabbed my shoulders. One lifted my chin and turned my head in the direction of the magnificent creature. The other pointed at it.

    “Impundulu?” I asked.

    She gruffly tapped my chest with her open palm, made eye contact with me and then pointed -- again -- at the bird.

    “Impundulu!” I reiterated, louder than before.

    The other mermaid lifted her chest. After striking me in mine twice, she pointed at the bird as sternly as I’d ever seen them before. I realized what they wanted. Finally, I saw. There was no water around me. There were no beautiful mermaids and no sunlight. It was just him and me.

    “IMPUNDULUUUUUUU!!” I screamed, as fiercely as I could muster... as purely as I'd ever yelled in my life.

    For the first time, I stared the unknown in his face and declared my presence. It was exhilarating. The bird shattered and I was pulled back through the darkness for the very last time.

    I woke up. The dream was over and it was still night-time. But, the storm has long subsided. I'd wondered if those mermaids would still be there waiting for me without the thunder and lightning around.
     

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