DISCLAIMER: She-Creature and all characters and situations related to that belongs to... some movie folks, anyway not to me if anyone thought that might be the case. :P Really, all that is remotely mine is the demented idea that spawned this.
This is based on, or rather it is a strange little epilogue to, the horror movie She-Creature. It might be gruesome in places although I don't go into detail or anything, but keep that in mind. Also, although I don't say it in so many words in this story, I have once again borrowed Takahashi Rumiko's concept that the person that eats the flesh of a mermaid gains immortality, and this time twisted it a little i.e. the person that eats the flesh of the queen becomes... well, read the story and you'll see.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Call of the Sea
By Carola "Ryûchan" Eriksson
I survived my encounter with the queen of the mermaids, and through her mercy, was allowed to return to the world of man. I have never broken her trust, breathing a single word to anyone about what transpired there, and I never will. I could not.
Ever since I was found in the remains of the ship, drifting aimlessly and with me alone onboard, people have asked me questions. So many questions.
What happened was the most common one, but no matter... I kept the truth in my heart and never spoke a word about it. Eventually doctors determined that I had suffered a trauma from whatever had transpired, and that I simply would not be able to answer for my mind would not allow me to remember. They were wrong. I remember everything.
Would they have been surprised to know that after the gruesome events at the mermaid islands, the queen ordered her mermaids to pull the ship off the rocks and out to sea? That she made sure it would not sink with me on it, and steered it in the direction back towards known routes where I would be sure to encounter other ships and rescue. Or that she would bring me food, fish and fruit of the islands, to make sure we would not starve until another ship crossed our path.
I wonder how those that found me thought I had survived that long, considering that the food reserves onboard had been destroyed in the massacre. I cannot count the times that I have heard that God must have been watching over me, guiding me home.
But it was not God, although surely she is of a world of her own where humans are little more than cattle. Not God, but a maiden of the deep oceans, whose eyes still haunts my dreams and wakes me from my slumber with a pounding heart. No, not God, and the world of man is no longer my home.
The fact that she still haunts my dreams, whispering foreign sounds into my ears and making my skin tingle with her touch even though she is so far away, is only part of the wonder. In due time after events, I gave birth to a healthy little girl.
The birth was easy, surprisingly so, although the doctor that delivered my child was turned a pale white as he handed me this precious new life. He crossed himself and fled the room, not bothering with the aftermath and the care I should have received, but I cared not. It was a small price to pay caring for myself, when I had been given this wondrous gift.
I looked into the dark eyes of my daughter and prepared to speak the name I had chosen for her. In my mind I remembered another moment similar to that, when I had wondered about a name for a lovely mermaid trapped in a box of glass and steel. I had looked into her eyes then and known that the name she bore would not be in any human tongue, and looking into my daughter's eyes I knew the same held true for her. Still I needed a human name to call her by and so I decided on Eva, for in my heart I knew that she was the first of many.
I was fortunate back then, to receive much kindness from strangers. As all my possessions had been destroyed I had nothing with me to this strange new land, nothing more than the rags I wore on me. Pity and compassion for my strange misfortune led a family of wealth and stature to take me in, possibly because the ship in question that had been destroyed was owned by them. It was one out of many, but still I was pitied enough to receive care until I was strong enough to work for them, my little Evie resting in her cradle nearby.
Because I was used to acting the lady I never truly was, the family stopped considering me hired help, and the oldest son began a tentative courtship of me when my daughter was two years old. It was all very chaste and polite between he and myself, mostly I admit because we both had our hearts elsewhere, he with his male colleague and I out in the deep blue seas. It was an arrangement of convenience for us both although none of his family knew this, and he swore to love my Evie as his very own. After another year and a half, I accepted his ring, and as his fiancé I was suddenly a society lady after all.
He was a good man, my supposed husband-to-be, and a good friend, yet I never had any intention of marrying him. He went away for further schooling then, leaving me three whole years during which I could easily hold off any marriage vows and concentrate on raising my little girl. When the time came that he returned and the family expected us to wed, my little girl had reached her seventh year, and I stalled for further time.
I had already begun feeling the pull in my soul, and as I watched my little girl looking out over the waters with such a longing expression on her sweet face while her eyes flashed red, I knew I was not the only one. It was simply time.
The night I carefully carried the belongings we needed and ushered my child out into the streets I left him a letter with a suitable explanation. I left nothing else, not even his ring, as I sold everything to get enough money to board a ship in the right direction without anyone asking questions.
I felt her long before I saw her. Felt her presence even though it would take at least a week before I saw the first sign of a large shape swimming near the side of the ship. Evie sensed her as well, and spent hours staring into the waters that surrounded us, looking for something I doubt she could yet quite understand.
No-one else onboard noticed that the Captain swerved us off course, setting towards those secret islands I had once seen in the dark of night. No-one but myself, who could feel the shift almost as if the currents of the ocean and the direction of the wind were carved into my being.
It was the work of her siren's touch on the Captain's feeble mind, I had seen it before. Part of me wanted to feel jealous that another was allowed to feel the touch of her mind as I wanted her all to myself, but I knew that the connection she and I shared was quite different from what that man would experience. Where her mind's song lured him to act as she wanted, I doubt that he was ever graced with her visit in his dreams the way she so often visited mine. No, no-one else would know her that way, as a lover's caress in my deepest dream, this I knew for certain.
I knew that we were almost upon the islands when a storm hit, drawing every waking man to attend the ship, the Captain among them. My little girl was sleeping soundly in the bed she shared with me, and I locked the door behind me as I answered a call in me to carefully make my way towards the captain's quarters. I did not have to wait for long.
I felt her touch across my skin even before she reached me. I turned around and there she was, glistening wet from rising from the sea and towering over me, this vision that had haunted me ever since I first laid eyes on her. She looked exactly the same, as if no time had passed at all, staring at me with that same intensity. For a moment I felt only too keenly aware of the changes some eight years and childbirth had wrought upon my body, but it was not to last.
A bolt of lightning crossed the skies outside, and then she was human, small, trembling and vulnerable in my arms. Overcome with the enormity of the moment I trembled almost as much, but still I managed to lead her to the bed where finally after so many years of waiting I was allowed to feel her touch outside of my dreams.
In the early hours of morning we crept back to my small room and our little girl, hiding in there while around us men were still fighting with the weather. Our daughter was sleeping a fevered sleep, but somehow I sensed what was going on and remained calm. My beloved sat down by the bed and stared at our child, gently caressing the dark head with such an expression of wonder on her features that it made me love her all the more. I arranged all three of us on the narrow bed, holding them both to me as we waited.
As evening came there was a muted crash and a shudder through the ship, signalling that we had reached the edge of the islands and that the ship had run ashore on the rocks surrounding them. My beloved waited, holding us both close and looking deeply into my eyes, until the moon began to rise. Quietly then she left the room without looking back, and I locked it behind her.
I heard the hushed cry as she changed shape, then I spent the following hour holding our daughter and listening to the sound of the men dying while fighting against her.
When I at last heard the sounds of the mermaids outside I left my daughter's side and went on deck to join my beloved. I watched her for some time as she fed her kin, silently without interfering, and she seemed to approve of my presence there. Finally nothing remained and dawn was slowly breaking at the edge of the dark clouds, the storm spent and travelling away from us, and a stillness fell upon us all.
The mermaids below were still and solemn, staring intently up towards us, and somehow I knew even before I turned around that my child was standing there. And she was.
Her young eyes red as blood my daughter calmly walked up to her other parent in her hideous form, and stood there unblinking although the fever had her body trembling in its grasp. As the first rays of sunlight reached us, painting my child into a small crimson-eyed angel, my beloved doubled over with a small cry of pain. An empathetic hiss came from the mermaids below, before my love again stood tall and reached out one large, clawed hand towards my child.
My daughter never hesitated, taking hold of the large hand and leaning in to feed of what was offered. I was most curiously detached to see my little girl straighten up, a small drop of blood trailing down from the corner of her mouth, then collapse on deck, convulsing. I looked into my beloved's eyes for confirmation and assurance for a moment, and found it there. To my surprise she then gestured me closer and reached her hand out towards me.
Heart pounding in my chest I mimicked my daughter's actions, leaning down to feed of what was offered to me. Perhaps I had known deep down all along this would come. I would not leave these islands this time. I closed my eyes and felt as if my body drifted away and my spirit became light, and then darkness took me.
When next I awoke the sun was once again setting although I felt no time has passed. I was warm and comfortable, and the first thing I saw was my beloved's smiling face looking down at me. She was once more as she had been the first time I saw her, a radiant mermaid with eyes that would always pull me in, and I heard her speak gentle words of love to me, understanding them at last.
I saw our daughter next to us, looking healthier than ever and smiling at me as well. She laughed and spoke to me, and I knew then that I would never again call her by a human name, as her real name was finally revealed to me. I also knew that I had left behind me my own name, just as I had left behind that life.
The other mermaids approached us, greeting me shyly and showering my daughter with their attention. They were showing us their acceptance, and more, their respect to their young princess and to their queen's chosen mate. I smiled at my love and she released me to try my newfound strength.
My fins were strong and my spirit free, and with a mighty splash I surged beneath the welcoming sea in my joy. My family soon joined me, and together we danced into the depths of the ocean in exhilaration, my new world opening its magical gates to me.
The journey had been long and hard, through pain, sorrow and even horror, but after all that I finally found a place to belong. I have family and I have love, and a freedom I never dreamt existed.
And I finally came home.
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