(Short story) A mythical creature from the sea has fallen in love with a man who lives on land, but not all love stories have a happy ending.
Born from the water was she, with long black hair that fell down her back. Her eyes glowed an icy blue a cold, lifeless stare. Her pale skin showed no signs of ever being seen by the sun.
She sat upon an enormous rock and watched the shores with cautious eyes. They skimmed the sandy beach that lay not far from her. In the distance, a young man appeared. He looked about with a wobbly head and could barely put one foot in front of the other. Within seconds, he collapsed to the ground and into the shallow water.
Octavia slipped from the rock and into the water without a sound against the incoming tide. She slowly glided towards the man who had now rolled onto his back and began to groan. His voice was deep and startling.
She slowed to a halt, her dark hair clinging from her face in an utmost disturbing manor. Octavia let her settle into a straight line and began to hum a slow tune. One of which she had sang many times in these waters. When the slow melody reached the man’s ears, his whole body went rigid. He froze, as if transfixed by the voice.
Octavia smiled in delight and parted her lips to let her voice escape into a dark, haunting song, which would lead ungrateful and unfaithful men to their deaths.
As a bird would take to a worm, the man almost instantly began his journey towards her. Once their eyes met, there would be no escape. The closer he neared, the farther out into the ocean they became. He followed without hesitation.
Her voice was a trapping spell, a powerful thing in which sailors feared more than the biggest fish of the seven seas. In time the song ended, and they were now face to face. Octavia closed her mouth, but only to let it twist into a grin of satisfaction. With this, he flinched, as if waking from a trance. He looked about himself, frantic to depart; surrounded by water. No sign of the shore and no recollection of how he’d been drawn out to sea.
Octavia felt, from behind her, a change in the water. She knew his time had come. A scream of sheer terror erupted from the man. She dipped beneath the waters surface just before a wave came crashing down upon the man. She watched him spin and tumble under the surface. Bubbles now escaped his mouth as he thrashed his arms about. Then, in a matter of seconds, he stopped. His body went limp and began to sink…down into the depths of the ocean.
“Falling for a man, are we sister?”
Octavia turned to face her sister, Ophelia, swimming towards her. Her long dark hair was just a shimmer in the moonlight. The wind had carried her sweet voice to her, but sent shivers down her spine. Sure the water was a bit cold, but when her sinister sister spoke, nothing could be colder.
“What makes you think so Ophelia?” She froze in her stance, the water barely rippling around her body.
“I have seen you ashore. What calls you to the beaches? A man perhaps?” Her face became distorted and turned into a mask of cruelty.
“He is but a pet, sister,” Octavia told her.
“I have seen you with him sister. And I think he is more than a pet to you.”
“That’s absurd!” She raised her voice and turned her back on Ophelia, beginning to swim away.
“Is it,” she questioned. “I saw you two together…on Lammas Eve.”
Octavia stopped abruptly, and froze.
“You know the rules sister. The depths by day and to the surface at night without delay. Obey the rules sister! Cross onto my territory again and he will die!” The anger in Ophelia’s voice bounced off the waters, echoing through Octavia’s ears until she could stand it no longer.
“You can’t!” She screamed.
“You can’t kill him! That’s against the rules too, sister! You can’t lure a man to his death when he hasn’t committed a crime!” Octavia could feel her body shake and tremble from the worry and pain that was beginning to form inside her.
Ophelia remained silent, but remained with a smile on her face, which made her dark eyes look ungodly and unnatural.
“Leave me!” Octavia yelled at her sister. It felt as though the water surrounding her shook violently as she started to drift away slowly.
Feeling Ophelia’s presence disperse, Octavia crawled upon her rock and hung her head down. Her eyes stung and she sobbed. Sobbed for the rules that she knew she had broken, her childish thoughts on a nonexistent thing called love and the life of the man who could be in grave danger.
Octavia returned to her rock as soon as the moonlight rose upon her waters casting a glow onto the seashore for which she longed for. You can’t only survive for an hour at most on shore without the saltiness of the sea. If you were away for too long, you would surely die.
She waited for the signal. The man she longed for would always light two candles, one right next to the other, and place them at the top of the cliff. Tonight she would have to warn him about the dangers that he would now be faced with. A twinge of agony rippled through her body. She didn’t want to lose him. He made her feel…normal.
Half way through the night she heard someone ashore. She lifted her head and looked towards the shore to see a man in shredded clothing that made him look horrid. He looked as if someone had just attacked him. Octavia felt little pity for the man, and in hurry to go ashore to find her love, began to sing.
Octavia felt her jaw quiver and her she began to shake. She could barely stand to look into his fair green eyes.
In seconds, he was carried out to see. And when he got closer, Octavia stopped the song. His sand colored hair was all matted and blinked heavily as if waking, not quite sure if she was an illusion.
Unfaithful, she thought.
Pain erupted all throughout her body and she felt as if she herself were about ready to die. What was this pain that felt like it was eating her on the inside? She felt as if she was choking and that’s when he spoke. His words were weak, but filled with strained joy, “I’m so glad to see you. Tonight has been one of the-“
One of Octavia’s hands came dashing out of the water as if to strike him. But found herself slipping away from the cruel world above just as he let out a cry.
She hugged herself and watched as he struggled. She wanted to rescue him, but she couldn’t move. She ached inside and let out a piercing squeal of pure agony.
Out of the depths came a fellow creature that made her hold herself even tighter, but as she realized it was Ophelia, she felt her body go rigid. Her eyes stared blankly at her.
Ophelia grasped Octavia’s love around the shoulders as he hiccupped his last breath and smiled at her. Then, she dragged him down into the depths of the ocean.