Flash! Friday # 25

And with a splash Flash! Friday Round 25 is now closed. Thanks for coming out to swim with us this week. Please don’t forget to read & comment on the stories–your participation and encouragement make this community so effective–thank you! The judge’s results will post tomorrow (Saturday ET). See you then!

Hello everyone, and welcome to #FlashFridayFic Round 25. We’ve left last week’s shootouts behind and are plunging into the watery depths of a completely different world today. What sort of world? That’s YOUR job to determine! (Here are your navigational guidelines).

Our stalwart Round 25 ship is captained by fearless, never-looks-back sea maiden, SVW member Maggie Duncan. (Be sure to check out her judge page for the inside judging scoop.)

And now… if you’re ready to walk the plank…

Word limit: 300-word story (10-word leeway on either side) based on the photo prompt.

* How: Post your story here in the comments. Include your word count (between 290 – 310 words, exclusive of title) and Twitter handle if you’ve got one.

* Deadline: 11:59pm ET tonight (check the world clock if you need to; Flash! Friday’s on Myrtle Beach time)

Winners: will post tomorrow (Saturday)

Prize: A wistfully splendid e-trophy e-dragon e-badge, a personalized mariner’s page here at FF, a glorious, storm-chasing, death-defying, depths-plunging 60-second interview feature next Wednesday, and YOUR NAME in glowing golden galleons splashed across the skies (so to speak). NOTE: Winning and non-winning stories alike remain eligible for selection for Monday’s Flash Points. 

* Follow @FlashFridayFic on Twitter for up-to-date news/announcements/dragon navigational checklists.  And now for your prompt:

Photo courtesy of Johnny Berg

“The Little Mermaid,” sculpture by Evard Eriksen. Photo courtesy of John Nyberg

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38 thoughts on “Flash! Friday # 25

  1. @StephenWilds
    How the Story Goes – 310 words

    Dex leaned against the rail, missing a beautiful sunset as he stared at the awkward statue on the rocks. He was fixated on the statue usually ignored as the wind blew through his blonde hair.

    “There you are.”

    Dex jerked at the words, surprised. His hand instinctively reached towards his jeans but he stopped, realizing it was only A.C. Dex signed, not looking at him, wishing he would go away.

    “What are you doing man? I’ve been looking for you. Your sister is worried as shit.”

    “Tell Tess to calm her ass down, I’ve got this. Shouldn’t you two be off hooking up together or something?”

    “Oh you going to treat me like that now,” A.C.’s eyes cut at the younger teenager before he took his position on the rail, looking at the statue as well.

    “Shouldn’t be here,” Dex warned. “Gotta do this by myself.”

    “I’ll say my piece then I’ll go, but listen to me.” A.C. nudged Dex on the shoulder, making sure he had eye contact. “You’re like that mermaid out there man.”

    “What?”

    “Like the little mermaid. You remember that movie?”

    “What,” Dex was confused. “Yeah.”

    “Ariel wanted nothing but to get to the land and marry her a prince and then she got up there and realized she didn’t have her family, and the sea, and other shit. She was miserable, so she ended up back in the water because she took everything for granted. But she had to go out and do something stupid to realize that.”

    Dex blinked at his friend, confused. “I don’t think you’re remembering that right.” He sighed, “I mean I get your point but, damn.” Dex paused before reaching in his pants. He tossed the small pistol over the side, watching it sink. “I had already decided I couldn’t do it, but your shitty story was worth it though.”

  2. The mermaid

    Her powerful tail pounded in the water as she raced after the trawler, speeding through the icy blue as fast and slick as the flying fish of the southern oceans. Silje knew that the sun was rising now, could see the grey light of the dawn glimmering through the surface of the waves above. She didn’t care. She wanted to see him one last time.

    Just an achingly short time ago, she had heard his voice and been intrigued by it as it reverberated around the water beneath the boat. Silje had swum to the surface to look at him, but then she heard the men shouting something like “siren!!” and they had sped away…

    She pushed herself upwards, broke through the water and into the air, swam quickly over to a nearby boulder. Hauling herself onto the rock, her tail slapping wetly on its hard, rough form, she perched herself at its centre and looked out over the bay to watch him running down the pier away from his boat…towards her.

    Silje’s eyes widened as he approached. He was slowing down, breathing hard, and a smile formed on her lips; could it be that he would stop for her? She watched as he stopped, bent over, hands on his knees as his shoulders heaved up and down… then saw his head snap up suddenly, his eyes grew large; she held her breath and clutched her hands over her chest…and he ran again! Ran away from her, ran away into the darkness of the night.

    She did not turn her head as he ran past her, as her heart broke, but remained staring out and where he had stopped just before, stunned into immobility as the yellow light of the red sun rose above the edge of the blue-grey waters of the sea…

    …and turned her to stone.

    ***
    @theimaginator20
    308 words

  3. Revenge of the Mer

    Admiral Hargreaves saw the young sailor’s shoulders stiffen, and knew what the answer would be before he’d even asked the question.

    ‘Well? What’s the situation?’ he said, in a low voice.

    ‘Sir,’ began the younger man, removing his eye from the telescope. ‘I’m afraid… Well. There’s no hope, sir.’

    ‘What’s out there, man?’ Hargreaves’ mind filled with images he’d seen too often before – homes razed, schools flattened, humans enslaved. Worse than that, though, was what they’d done to the sea. Every time, the sight of it took something precious away from him.

    ‘Sir, the city’s burnin’. And they’ve already erected the statue of the Mer Queen. It’s huge.’ His voice was pale and distant. Hargreaves leaned heavily on the wooden panelling of his airship, his body creaking with exhaustion. No safe harbour here.

    ‘How many souls on board, Jeffers?’ he muttered.

    ‘Three hundred and twelve, sir, includin’ crew.’

    ‘And food stocks? Water?’

    ‘Enough for a week, sir. Less, maybe.’

    That wouldn’t be enough to get them across the Atlantic. Hargreaves knew it. Jeffers knew it.

    ‘Those dam’ fish-bints,’ snapped Jeffers, suddenly. ‘They know what they’re doin’. They know they’re destroyin’ us!’ Hargreaves turned to see his junior officer’s fists clenched, his normally pale face ruddy. ‘Allowin’ contact between them and us, sir, it was a mistake. With respect.’

    He was right, Hargreaves knew. The Navy had thought to harness the power of the Mer, helping them to find their land-legs in exchange for their service in the water, but it had gone wrong. It had, he now saw, been inevitable. It had been a foolish plan from the start.

    ‘We must try to reach the New World,’ said Hargreaves, gently. ‘They may not have reached the Americas yet, Jeffers. Have hope.’

    The younger officer’s eyes were dubious as he turned back to the wheel.

    ‘Sir,’ was all he said.

    @SJOHart
    310 words

  4. My work is also posted on Undead in the Netherworld.
    “To pursue the affections of a siren is not a clever plan,” Basil Elton said to the Vietnamese fisherman, Ngãi Pan. “Ladies of the deep initially seem sincere with their ardor. However, once you are under their spell, they’ll lead you to Davy Jones’ Locker, where you’ll serve for no less than 666 years as part of Jones’ crew.”
    “You can’t trust these aquatic females,” said the venerable Vietnamese gent. “They’ve an agenda, the lot of ‘em. Can’t trust the land variety of lass either.”
    “Sounds as if you’ve been burned,” Basil said. “Care to divulge the details?”
    “Only if you pour me a bit more of that Elixir of Zaurak.”
    “Bottoms up,” Basil said.
    “My mate Udi and I were visiting the tomb of Thutmose one hot July day in 1956, when we were approached by a pair of lovely Japanese sisters. These ladies proved to be quite competent sailors themselves, and we teamed up with them.”
    “Their names were Nug and Yeb, which sounded to be perfectly proper Japanese names to Udi and me. We sailed with them for thirty-three days and nights. On that last night, beneath the lights of Ursa Major, they stated that they wished to perform the Spell of Unearthly Delights.”
    “Udi and I thought this was an ancient Japanese love ritual, so we readily agreed. Nug and Yeb taught us the words. As we spoke the chant for the fifth time, our companions changed from beautiful women to two horrid nebulous masses of shape-changing vapour from which eyes, tentacles, maws and hooves emerged.”
    “Gods, Basil, it was a horror unlike any I’d ever seen. I nearly sunk to Davy Jones’ Locker in my hurry to escape. I don’t know what happened to poor old Udi. Took him with them, I suppose.”
    298 words

  5. On the Rocks
    By Allison Garcia
    309 words

    He was different, he knew he was. The way people looked at him. The way they whispered and giggled as he walked past. People could always pick him out in a crowd. Maybe it was the way he walked, clumsily swaying his hips. People wondered and sometimes even asked.

    “Are you a boy or a girl?”

    He would just shrug and keep moving. How could he explain? They already saw him as a freak. If anyone knew, they would lock him up somewhere to study him. That’s why he moved around so much. A few days here, a few days there. Never stopping long enough to leave much of an impression.

    During the day, he felt trapped in his body. His broad shoulders and strong legs felt heavy. He found it hard even to look at himself in the mirror. It wasn’t until nightfall that he transformed.

    The first time it happened he was fourteen, just starting puberty. He was nursing a black eye, the second that month, and he couldn’t handle another speech from his dad about “manning up.” He walked down to the water and climbed to the top of the highest cluster of rocks, watching the sun set on the horizon.

    It always started the same. A slight tingling all over his body, starting from his toes and traveling upwards. At first, he thought his legs had fallen asleep. Then he looked down. His heart raced, the first time and every time. A tail, turquoise in color, flapped the rocks as he moved the muscles where his legs had been. He watched in amazement as his flat chest slowly formed two perfect breasts. His short hair flowed down to his shoulders, gills pulsed on his neck, and he smiled. He slipped off the rocks and floated through the water, his new body now matching his soul.

  6. An Artist’s Rendition

    Molly stuck her tongue between her lips and concentrated deeply at the task before her. She had to get it right this time. It was imperative she get it right.
    Looking up at the statue which had sparked her artistic endeavour, she raised the pad of drawing paper from her lap and held it in the air. A smile of success reached her hazel eyes, and she whooped silently, congratulating herself for a job well done.
    With one final stroke of granite, her work of art was finished.
    She gathered her things, placing everything in a small knapsack at her feet, and began her trek to her usual hideout on Sunday afternoons.
    _______________________________________________________________

    The graveyard was unusually quiet when she arrived. The only person there being an older gentleman visiting his late wife’s grave.
    Molly knew exactly where she was going in the maze of headstones, so it did not take long for her to find the one which read:

    Brigit Henderson
    Loving mother

    She kneeled in front of it, and gently brushed away some stray autumn leaves from its base.
    “Hi, mom.” She paused, a feeling of strong longing coming to her. It had been a couple years since Brigit had died, but to Molly it still felt like yesterday.
    “I just wanted to know how you were…” This was always the awkward part in the one-sided conversation she led. Molly felt silly talking to a grave, but it’d been what the doctor had ordered for her depression. So she did it.
    “Everything’s fine here, I guess. Dad’s still a workaholic… “She stopped talking, and reached in her knapsack for the drawing of the statue.
    “Here. I brought this for you…I know how much you love mermaids.” She propped the picture up against the cold stone. “I hope you like it…”

  7. The Charm
    309 words
    @_SummerRoss

    Sunset. I took a deep breath to curb my anticipation. I needed one more. The sculpture in front of me, lounged on the top boulder, I briefly considered if it was male or female perhaps even both as I waited.
    The next boulder down started to glow as the sun descended under the horizon. I licked my lips. Almost time.
    I hopped from stone to stone avoiding the murky water, headed for the sculpture. A cold grip slapped over my ankle and I fell. I didn’t have time to take a breath. Icy water surrounded me, shocking my system. I flailed reaching for anything, but my hands only found more water. I kicked with my legs, but the grip around my ankle tightened.
    Desperate, I reached down. I had to pull those fingers apart. I strained with the fingertips, water making the process slippery. I put my foot across and tried to scrape the hand away.
    One finger gave.
    My lungs screamed for air.
    I pulled another finger loose and pushed as hard as I could with my foot. My ankle broke free and I didn’t waste a second. I kicked as fast as I could.
    I breeched the surface and gulped. My arms thrashing until I found a rock and pulled myself up. The arm shot out after me and this time a face came with it. Toren, the fey king. Damn him. I jumped from rock to rock avoiding Toren’s shimmering water apparition. The sun barely peeked in the sky and I needed to reach that glowing rock before darkness took over.
    I jumped to the last stone clutching the side of the boulder. I slipped my fingers into the glow and grabbed the object inside. The final item in the charm collection.
    I would stop Toren’s full ascension into the human realm, no matter the cost.

  8. Wrath Of The Deeps

    She sat atop her stony plinth, every bit as immobile and imprisoned as the day the guards had placed her there. Her gaze was turned perpetually to the west, toward the open sea and freedom. It had been so very, very long now and she had all but abandoned hope she would ever see the wondrous beauty of her undersea home again.

    Her father was a stern and unforgiving monarch when challenged and quite unwilling to forgive trespasses lightly. She was forced to concede her punishment was, indeed, of her own making. She had been warned by her governess, by her tutors and, of course, by nearly every one of her peers that her overweening fascination with the Dirtsiders would prove to be her undoing.

    Though she could appreciate their warnings were well-intentioned, it had not dissuaded her in the least. She had far more experience of these peculiar two-legged beings than any other resident of The Kingdom Below. Certainly, they could be an ugly and brutish folk but they were not all such flawed creatures. They had music and books and such delightful foods. They laughed and they danced and engaged in so many other activities thoroughly unknown to her people.

    When, at length, her father grew tired of her insolence, he’d forbidden her to have any contact whatsoever with The World Above ever again. Though he’d not specified what the consequences of disobeying him might be, the severity of such was implied. Sadly, she had chosen to defy him just one last time and for that defiance she was still paying dearly.

    As the sun sank beyond the horizon, a tear trickled down the princess’ basalt cheek. On this, her 317th birthday, she’d hoped her banishment to be at an end. Sadly, that single salty tear was all she would taste of the sea for yet another year.

    310 words @klingorengi

  9. The Guardian
    310 words
    —–
    She watched. She always watched. It was why she was here. She had been placed on these rocks ages ago so that she could always watch.

    People, land-walkers, passed her by every day without a second glance. She knew they thought she was a sculpture, a form made out of lifeless metal, and, though she understood why, she resented them for it. They could move. They were allowed to move, to walk, to speak, to live.

    While she had to sit there, staring out into the harbor, always ready to leap into action should someone fall in the water.

    She was the harbor’s guardian. She protected its people.

    As much as she resented them at times, she knew she would still do her duty.

    But… they weren’t all that bad.

    There was the one man.

    She didn’t know his name, or where he came from, but he would often come to the railings on the dock nearest to her and lean against it, gazing at her with a smile on his face.

    “Hello, again, Mermaid,” he would greet, every time. “How have you been since my last visit? Have you saved anyone?” he would ask, then wait politely for a reply that never came. “Because I did. There was a fire on Main Street, and a kid, a boy, was stuck on the top floor.”

    She did know that about him; he was a kindred spirit. A fireman. He saved lives. He was the same as her. He understood. He was a guardian, too. Perhaps voluntarily, a chosen duty, but… it was still saving people.

    “Well,” he would always say before he left. “See you later, Mermaid. Thanks for watching out for us.”

    And then, once he was gone and the sun was down, she would allow herself a faint, hidden smile in the dark.

  10. @JonathanAYanez

    -290
    Hope

    Watching, waiting but above all hoping, she sat on the rocks wishing her love would return. It had been a full year now. A full year had past and yet it only felt like yesterday. His warm breath on the nap of her neck. The way he had held her and the laughs they had shared seemed like they had taken place so recently. But it had been a year and today like all the other days she stared into the distance hoping for his return.
    People called her foolish. They said that he would never come back but she knew better. Her love would come back for her. Just as she was sure that the sun would rise, she was sure he was coming back.
    As she was thinking of his broad shoulders and strong jaw for the hundredth time her eyes caught something on the horizon. It was small, too small at first to make out, but as the seconds ticked by the speck began to take shape.
    Masts formed and ship could be seen. She shielded her eyes against the sun looking for familiar details. Could it be? Had her love returned? She was hesitant to believe that it was him. Too many times before she had been disappointed. Too many times before she had been teased and left saddened like she was the victim of some sick joke fate played. But this could be it. This could be him. The shipped looked like his but… but no. It wasn’t. The ship came closer and a trading vessel took form instead of a navel war ship. She let out a deep sigh she didn’t know she was holding. There she sat watching, waiting but above all hoping.

  11. Force Against Nature

    She sat atop the rocks in the breeze of the sea watching the fiery sunset. But she had not climbed the rocks for she was a mermaid, an elemental. A force against nature had perched her on the rocks where it was too dangerous for her to lean into the water. The laws of her world forbade her to be seen by humans. She sat forlorn wondering what to do.

    Praying to Mother Nature, she asked for guidance. Soon darkness hid her completely from the world and she succumbed to the heaviness of sleep. She dreamed of large waves carrying her out to sea to safety and the arms of a strong wind leading her to a soft landing in the water.

    The beautiful mermaid awoke to torrential rains before dawn. The tide swelled and waves lapped just below her. Still, she feared landing on one of the rock outcroppings below the surface. Mother Nature had given her a tail to swim but it was not a gift when stranded on the high rock.

    “I can help you,” said a young boy.

    Aghast, the mermaid turned to see the youngster balanced on the rocks dressed in yellow rain slicker, hat and goulashes with a rubber raft.

    “Please don’t be scared,” he said assuredly for one so young. “I know of your kind and saw you last night. No one knows I’m here. But we have to be quick before the sun rises. Lean this way and fall into the raft. I can push you away from the rocks.”

    Grateful for the boy’s kindness, she let herself fall into the small rubber raft and felt herself moving away from the rocks. As she got her bearings to return to sea, she looked back to thank the boy, but he had disappeared.

    Words: 300
    Twitter: grace2244

  12. I thought I could keep you here, forever. I thought, if I just got you to stay still, for one moment, or two, or even an hour, you would finally see me for what I am. That I am the one that loves you, that will give my life to you forever.

    Every day I sculpted the rocks, built them up higher and higher, until your ship could not possibly come free. I knew, your ship was your life and your existence, that you would not leave without it. I knew that if I kept the ship here, that you would stay also. And then you would see me for what I am. Because you would have to pause just long enough.

    And so I brought the rocks up out of the sand, blended together the elements into bigger and bigger stones in my hands. When they became very heavy I stacked them atop one another, all around the ship. Securing it in place forever.

    But the storm came, and my creations became your ship’s grave. How I wailed when I saw the ruins. I knew this was your first love, your ship. I felt your pain like it was my own, because I love you. My heart burned, sending hot cinders into my throat. Now I pounded the rocks with my fists.

    The day your new ship sailed, I was silent. Silent in defeat. I thought my relationship was with you, my love. I thought I understood. But there was another, the angry sea, that came between us and smashed our love into tiny, sharp pieces that hurt whenever I move. My heart jabs into my chest now, scraping from the inside.

    I will wait, my love, and when you return, once again I will try to make you stay.

    301 words
    @betsystreeter

  13. Songs of the waves

    They say that on a calm night, as the moon starts its journey across the sky, you can hear their singing…. if you listen closely enough…

    Walking along the shore, one evening, a sailor heard the sweetest, most delicious, singing that ever there was. He stood still, captivated by the sound. Where was it coming from?

    He closed his eyes, letting his ears find the source. There she was, a beautiful girl, combing her shimmering hair.

    She smiled, and he sat nearby while she sang. They talked of their dreams under the stars and soon they had fallen in love.

    So it continued. Every night she would sing to him, and he would listen from afar, sat atop the rocks, gazing out to sea. She never let him come too close, “Stay where you are”, she would whisper, “it’s better that way.”

    One night, a huge wave crashed down on her, pulling her under. He jumped, reaching for her, grabbing her wrist, holding on with all his strength. As the wave pulled back, he drew her into him.

    And that’s when he saw it…her beautiful mermaid tail shining like a beacon, beneath the milky moonbeams.

    “Take my hand,” she pleaded, “come, be like me.” He looked back at the harbour; could he give it all up? His family, his friends? He looked at his mermaid; love won the day.

    They swam out to sea, and he was never seen again, only heard in the songs of waves.

    “Tell me again, Grandma, pleeease?”
    “No, it’s time for sleep.”
    “But I love it, it’s my favourite.”
    “Hush, let me tuck you in.”
    “Grandma, why do you look sad when you tell me this story? It’s a happy story.”
    “Yes poppet, it is. Hush now. Sweet dreams.”

    She hovered in the doorway, looking at her granddaughter. Oh how she looked like him.

    @Dragonsflypoppy
    310 words

  14. Havfrue.

    ‘He’s a big guy,’ said Detective Anderson
    ‘On medical leave, US Navy,’ said Carla.
    ‘Accidental drowning?!’
    ‘Nothing points to foul play,’ she said.
    ‘Except the Naval training, and the fact he’s built like a ship?’
    ‘Drunk, depressed, maybe?’ said Carla.
    ‘Aren’t we all?’
    Carla looked along the corpse’s arm reading it. ‘What is it with sailors and tattoos? HAVFRUE? What does that even mean?’
    ‘Sea lady. Mermaid,’ said Anderson.
    ‘Nerd!’
    He exhaled but the corner of his mouth settled into a smirk. Carla thought how Anderson could even breathe wryly.
    ‘Mother? Wife?,’ he asked.

    She was young.
    ‘Thanks for letting me take a look around. This must be difficult.’
    There was more in her eyes than grief, Anderson thought.
    ‘Can I ask you a few questions?’
    She nodded.
    ‘Your husband loved the sea and all things in it?’
    ‘You mean the mermaid stuff.’
    ‘Well, there are a lot of books on the subject even for a sailor.’
    ‘He was home on Medical Discharge. “Post Traumatic Stress”, they said.’
    ‘You don’t think it was?’
    ‘I did… I loved him. Wanted to help. But he kept bringing those books home, when he wasn’t glued to the computer. He’d take off in the middle of the night and I …,’ she stopped.
    ‘…you looked at the computer? I would have.’
    She cleared her throat, ‘It’s her twitter handle on his arm…havfrue. They’d talked for months.The bastard,’ she spat.

    Anderson surveyed the now dark water. He wondered how many corpses had washed up here then laughed at himself. The nerd in him had resurfaced: mermaids keeping abreast of technology!
    The detective in him would look at the sailor’s search engine history tomorrow. First thing. The nerd might take a look at the old newspaper articles in the library.
    He wouldn’t let Carla know, of course.

    Havfrue’s call was always silent when she beckoned.
    (310 words)

  15. Preservation

    By: Pratibha
    @needanidplease
    300 words

    “She is spectacular!” I say gazing at the petite mermaid statue atop the huge wave washed boulders.
    Eddie turns to me and holds me, softly kissing my eyelids. “Just as beautiful as you, Emma!” He whispers.
    I gaze into his eyes, gratitude spilling through my damp eyes.

    Like a pilgrimage, we come here every Sunday and sit on the ledge staring at the stature for hours. It is a welcome respite from endless hours of pain, chemo, and worry.

    “Invasive ductal carcinoma.” Doctor said. It took a minute to comprehend the terrifying reality lurking behind the fancy words.
    “It is not a death sentence.”
    “Cancer does not define you.”
    “We have a vast amount of resources to fight the disease.”
    Doctor’s words were comforting and wise, but they didn’t address my true fears. I was not afraid of dying. I was afraid of losing my breasts. My breasts were a matter of my pride. Small and firm, they had withstood the tide of passing years. Mastectomy and reconstruction would rob me of my natural beauty. I wanted to preserve them. I didn’t care if I died in the process. I am that vain.
    “No, you are not vain.” Eddie assured me.
    He is the prince among the men. You can count on him to find a solution to every problem in the world. But the time was against us, rather lack of it. It was nothing short of miracle what he accomplished in one short week. He sculpted me day and night from memory because I did not have strength to sit and pose for him. Why did Eddie made me into a mermaid? Doesn’t matter, he captured the essence of my desire. The desire to preserve, to persevere like those boulders under the continuous barrage of the monster waves!

  16. Lille Havfrue

    The sea’s teeth smacked against the wooden hull and scoured across the deck. Most of the crew were battening down, up there; but below in the dim, in a hammock that swung, the cabin boy clung. Me. Wide eyed I watched a pool of lantern light waltzing around a creaking mast.
    “Ah, you be afraid,” nodded one-eyed Pugh. “Nay worry, lad. I seen worse.” He leered, a broken grin. “Like the storm that freed the Gyldenløve and sank our captor, a privateer. They say that every man sank like stones. Aye, and if it was her laughter in the howling wind, as I did surely hear, then I say t’is no surprise. Her face would sink a thousand ships. Aye. Never look to the laughter, lad. Aye. Never!”
    Abruptly Pugh looked down. Seawater slopped across his boots. With panic in his eyeball he shambled toward the ladder to the hatch, grabbing hammocks to steady himself as the floor tilted more.
    Against the inpouring sea, Pugh pressed to get out.
    In terror I chased after.
    Through drenching confusion I sprawled onto the deck to be immediately swotted away.
    Now there was only me in the massive sea.
    The waves threw me through the howling wind like a rag doll. “Look at me!” they laughed. They rent my clothes and clawed my flesh. “Look at me! Look at me!”
    Abruptly all was still.
    On a boulder, I sat, naked.
    “You’re a girl… who ran away to sea, oh. How cute! How nice was he? We shall have fun, for a siren mermaid you shall be to lure the sailors to my need.” Her laugh was cruel and rose through the hiss of…
    I knew there was nothing that could be done to save me.
    From the mirror calm I turned to look

    @CliveNewnham
    300 words.

  17. Title – The Serpent of Landmine Island
    Clouds clamored at the invisible gate that was the horizon, demanding to let be past. They taunted us with thunder and spit lightning venom. I wouldn’t dare be on the island while this murder flew towards us with intent, but chivalry chains me here, or rather the bare legs of the self-proclaimed “Serpent of Landmine Island”.
    “Amanda, let’s get back to the mainland. There’s nothing we can do!”
    “There’s nothing YOU can do. This is my island – I will defend it!”
    As she sat on the rocks in her swimsuit, looking angrily at the approaching sky horde, I couldn’t dare tell her this tiny lump of land as it now stands qualifies to be called an island as much as Pluto can call itself a planet. But this island is all she truly has in the world, and she seems determined to not let Nature rob her of anything else, despite her putting her life in clear sights.
    “Don’t test me like this! I don’t want to die, but I don’t want to leave you here!!”
    She left her rock and stood in the water, impervious to the waves attempting to knock her over.
    “As long as you have faith, anything is possible.” She then blew me a kiss, and dived under the water.
    I attempted to swim after her, but the waves knocked me back. I tried again, but now there was something blocking me from going past the rocks. It was like the same kind of wall that held the storm back. I searched for Amanda; I couldn’t see her, but there was an angry cry that echoed from down below. There wasn’t a human word spoken, but I understood all the same. I sat on the rocks as she did, gazed upon the approaching battle to come, and had faith.

    303 words/ @JSHyena

  18. @HannahStreett1
    Never Love a Human – 308 Words

    Pain. She knew nothing else.

    She stretched and strained, struggling to cool her sun-warmed body in the golden tide rushing below her. No luck. Like every other day, the waves giggled at her, spraying her in the face out of cruel jubilee. Why should they welcome her back? She was doomed to sit there forever, suffering the consequences of betrayal.

    “Creepy, isn’t it?” The amused voice came from her left, just beyond her restricted field of vision. “Those eyes could eat people alive.”

    Someone laughed, beautifully musically agonizing to her ears. Envy bit her heart, but lacked the strength to claw its way out of her stony prison. Curses! That was the truly excruciating part of her spell. She needed to strike out and release it, but her muscles were stiff. Frozen. Stuck in their eternal, aching positions. So instead, her stomach became a boiling pit for the insults swarming her.

    As the sun took its rest, the icy snakes of night slithered around her, hissing in her ear, cackling at her inability to escape them. Humans might be curling up in bed, but the sea—the sea was coming to life.

    Faint, dancing lights skittered through the ocean, and if she listened, she could hear their wispy, intangible whispers. And slowly, one by one, their indistinct forms solidified into those recognizable as merpeople. Surrounding her. Watching her. Taunting her with their perfection.

    They sang.

    Voices melded together to create a glorious melody, torturing her with every note. Oh, she loved the songs of the sea. She had sung them once. But she had done it better, more wonderfully, more strikingly marvelously, than any of them.

    Most of her visitors gradually sank into oblivion, but several stayed to flick water on her face, giggling about how it looked like she was crying.

    All because she loved a human.

  19. Words – 164
    Hopscotch – 164 words

    She didn’t like it at all, that sorrowful mergirl of stone that was supposed to be her. True, the story the world knew depicted her as such – sorrowful, that is. And it’s true that she had once longingly gazed through the ocean depths at the boats passing high above and had sought out that beautiful sailor in one of them whom she later tried to kill.

    But that was long ago.

    She now moves freely about and sings and speaks and does what she likes – she who in death had been destined to decorate the froth of waves at best. For she had taken pity on her lover and his bride. She had let vengeance slip through her fingers like so much sand.

    So if you look closely, if you dream deep, you will see her as she truly is. Not a figure of stone. Not silent. No longer seeking the shore. But a being of light who at sunset plays hopscotch upon the sea.

  20. Nostalgia (308 words)

    “Where am I?” I say, looking around. I was in the middle of a road so I look around for traffic. Not seeing anything coming my way, I notice that the road is beside an ocean. I look out, and several boulders just out of the water. The sun was beginning to set in the distance, casting beautiful light over the dark waters. I walk towards the side, my shoes slapping against the asphalt as the cold bites into me.
    “What’s going on?” I ask myself, feeling nervous at this point, “I don’t remember being here before.”
    I glance off into the distance, the sun quickly vanishing. As it did, I notice a strange movement; a shadow that moved too quickly to be from the sun. The shadow seems to slide up onto a pile of boulders, darker than the night surrounding it. It appears to be feminine in form, slender and strangely beautiful. ‘She’ sat atop the stones, staring at me.
    “James,” a female voice said to me. It seemed to come from the female form, but no mouth seemed to move.
    “Who are you?” I ask.
    “Don’t you remember, James?” the shadow asks, tilting her head questioningly, “Don’t you remember this night?”
    “What are you talking about?” I ask.
    The shadowy form seems to glide away from the rocks, reaching out to me. Her hand touched me, cold yet burning. Her hand enveloped my face, and images rapidly seer in my mind. A car, me and the woman in it. The car hurtling towards the side, crashing through the railing and being swallowed by the black waters below. I bob to the surface, my head bleeding severely, but the shadow-woman is unseen.
    “That’s when I wake up in cold sweat, and wonder why I can’t remember anything before yesterday,” I write in my journal.

  21. Cycles
    She watched silently as the sun set. Over the wall, shadows crept across the streets and up the sides of buildings in the town. She’d had the same view of the town since its people had placed her on that rock many years before. Yet, the things she saw continuously changed. From her perch, she watched the seasons cycle by, warm weather giving way to cold and back again. The streets were repaved, buildings refurbished or torn down and replaced. She saw the people cycle too. Children grew up and became parents. But, she never moved, never changed. She had no delusions that she was eternal. Even she would erode away with time, but she stood long enough to see full cycles beyond the wall.
    Small things changed from cycle to cycle. Gas lamps were replaced with electric lights, horses with cars, and conversation with mp3 players. Still the basic cycles were always present, carrying progress along.
    That was, until the sickness came. At first, the town went about business as usual. It was in vain though. As the sickness spread, shops closed and streets emptied of life. People went into buildings and simply never emerged.
    Dark clouds rose up from the horizon. For a time, it was so dark she imagined every neighboring town must have been ablaze. The darkness lingered and the weather began to change. She lost track of the days as the seasons no longer passed with their former regulatory. The only cycles that remained were those in the sky, and her field of view offered little of that.
    The town slowly degenerated in front of her. No life. No cycles. She did not track the sky enough to mark time, but years must have passed before the hope of seeing people finally faded. She waited for the eons to whether her away.

    @acmarkz
    about 300, can’t do a work count on my phone.

  22. The Mermaid’s Secret

    I was human once.

    It was something I always wanted—or so I thought.

    The world of dancing, streets, and sand seemed perfect: a world where fathers did not reprimand their daughters; women were valued according to beauty and grace. At fifteen, I longed for two things: adventure…and him: the prince whose beauty challenged the statue in my grotto.

    I had given him loyalty, tried to charm him with my eyes, my poise. He’d seen the whole of me: found me, naked, on the steps of his palace.
    He took me in. But he never loved me.

    When I learned of the wedding, I knew the repercussions. I knew I would die: a bargain was a bargain. When my sisters approached me with a compromise (his murder) I considered it: but only briefly.

    Why would I kill the man I loved when it was HER who had ruined my future? He had fallen for her at first sight, when I had waited on him hand and foot, as daggers pierced my heels.

    I handled the blade delicately, a tight smile pulling at my mouth’s edges. I knew the weapon well: I’d watched the sea witch use it on her own breast to make the draught that made me human.

    I waited until the prince and his bride were asleep. Dagger secured at my waist, I eased open the door to the Captain’s Quarters. The princess stirred. Per the witch’s spell, I was lithe on my feet. I moved to her side of the bed, tightening my grip around the dagger.

    I only hoped death would be brief.

    “My beauty—why?” The prince said, waking.

    I stared at him, the first tear I’d ever cried falling down my cheek, shaking my head.

    Lifting the blade, I buried it into her chest.

    The prince was mine.

    @nXgWVteacher
    304 Words

  23. The Little Merman – 305 words
    @Todayschapter

    Gill peeked from out of his hiding spot like a hermit crab. The coast was clear, so he swam quietly towards home. He knew they were out there somewhere, waiting. If he could avoid them a little longer, just a few more months, he would be ready.
    He rounded the last corner and saw them, shoaling together, waiting to pounce. He tucked behind some coral and prayed to Poseidon that they would leave him alone. They’d never bothered him before, but his recent growth spurt had caught their attention. Right on cue one of them spotted him and broke from the pack. Generations of instinct compelled the others to follow. Gill knew there was no sense in fleeing, they were much older and faster than him. He simply watched and waited, like bait on a hook.
    As the first mermaid reached him she flicked her tail seductively, “Hey Gill, I’ve been looking all over for you.” He found himself staring at her seashell bra. The shells were getting smaller every day. They were getting desperate.
    The rest caught up and surrounded him. They cooed and batted their eyelids. He held out his hands, “Ladies, how lovely to see you all again. I’m afraid I’m still not ready to choose a mate. If you’ll just give me a little longer to think about it…”
    The closest one grabbed him by the arm, “You’ve been saying that for weeks. It is time. Choose.”
    He twisted free, “Call me out fashioned, but I’m not ready to be pregnant yet. There’s still so much I want to do with my life.”
    They swam closer, circling like sharks. They tasted blood in the water, he was almost a Merman and there just weren’t enough to go around. He thought quickly and shouted, “Scuba divers!” In the ensuing panic he escaped, safe until tomorrow.

  24. “Popi, are Mermaids real?” Adella asked, frowning at the statue.

    “Of course, Little One, do you think the sculptor just made it up?”

    “Well, why don’t we ever see them?”

    “I’m not sure you’re ready for that story, Dearest. Five is still quite young…”

    “I’ll be six next month, Popi. I’m not too little.”

    “Your Momma wouldn’t approve.”

    “Momma won’t mind. She says I’m a big girl all the time. Truly.”

    “I don’t doubt it, Darling, but there’s a lot of history you don’t know yet, and it would take a long time to tell.”

    “Like what? I know lots of things, Popi!”

    “I know, Sweetheart, but you haven’t learned about the war yet… War’s a hard topic for a five year old-”

    “Almost six.”

    “Almost six year old. And the treaty is a little hard to explain…”

    “What’s a treaty?”

    “Exactly. You don’t even know what one is, let alone the complicated reasoning behind-”

    “Well, I’d know if you would tell me.”

    “Alright. It’s an agreement between two people, or two groups of people.”

    “That seems simple enough.”

    “Yes, but when you add all the clauses and stipulations… Nevermind. You don’t need to know all that. Look at her.” He knelt and gestured toward the statue, “Which way does she face?”

    “East, right?”

    “Yes. And what happens in the east?”

    “The sun rises?”

    “Yes, and with the sun comes a new day, a new opportunity to make things right.”

    “Did we make things wrong before?”

    “There was wrong all over the place, but that’s not the point. Someday – someday soon – the Time of Separation will be over. She looks at the dawning of each new day, waiting for the fulfillment of the treaty. You could be a part of that new generation, living together.”

    “I could meet a mermaid.” She stared in open-mouthed wonder at the possibility.

    308 words
    @lissajean7

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