The Storm

I spent most of the day in my cabin, exploring the dresser drawers and the cuboards built into the very walls. There were books there, full of pictures and maps and legends, and in the dresser there were other clothes, women's clothes, from a girl about my size. I took them out and tried them on, looking at myself in the mirror built into the very wall. They were beautiful dreses, with full petticoats and lace and beaded patterns. I let my red curls fal loose around my shoulders, my green eyes flashing with smiles as I spun aorund the room, pretending i was at some important ballroom dance.

A knock sounded on my door and I jumped. I wasn't sure if I wanted anyone to see me like this.

"Marina, it's me." Darren's voice called. I hesitated a moment, debating, and then pulled it open, blushing in my new outfit. Darren raised his eyebrows, but the sparkle in his eye told me all to clearly he liked it very much.

"Where'd you find that?" he asked, slipping into the room and closing the door behind him. I felt a little self-concious as he did, but I trusted him.

"In the dresser," I answered, gesturing with my hand. He looked interested.

"I wonder what other women have been on this ship," he said, his tone mysterious. Then he turned to me. "You look beautiful," he murmured, running his calloused fingers along my jaw and looking into my eyes. My blush deepened, and i realized he was close, so close i could see the sea spray that coated his hair. he slid his one hand into the small of my back and kissed me, kissed me as if I was the energy that kept him going. When he finally pulled away, we were both bretahless, and his eyes were full of emotion.

"I should go," he said, and I realized I had hurt him... hurt him in some way I didn't know. Or maybe he had hurt himself. He slid out the door and into the sunlit day. I gently touched my lips, and smiled. The attraction was mutual. I wondered if this was what falling in love felt like. It was a perfect feeling. I donned my regular clothing, and pulled my waist length hair up so it ran in a long curled mass down my back, twisting like the waves outside my window. I realized the waves were rising higher now, and in the distance the water turned black.

Concerned, I ran out on deck, once again forgetting my shoes. Sailors ran across the deck, tightening sails, faces grim. Lightning streaked the sky in the distance, and as i ran towards the helm, where the captain struggled with the wheel, the sky began to cry, raindrops falling monotonously to the deck in steady rythm. I nearly feel twice, grabbing the rail for support, and struggled to the Captain's side.

"What's happening?" I cried, my voice tossed effortlessly into the wind. he heard me, though.

"There's a storm coming, miss! A bad one! You'd best get below." he didn't even look at me, struggling with the huge wheel. His hat was swept away and got stuck in the rigging. Darren was running across the deck, shouting out, his dark hair wet and matted by wind and rain. I clung to the rail, and saw one of the cannons come loose with a deafening crack and fall towards Darren.

"NO!" I cried, throwing myself down the deck . I suddenly didn't care that the waves were splashing across the rails, soaking my dress. I threw myself at Darren, pushing him away form the danger. He fell back, but the cannon hit me instead, sending me flying over the side of the ship. The last thing i heard was a mixture of voices.

"Marina!"

"Man overboard!"

And then I fell beneath the waves and the water closed over my head, drowning out the sound. the water was cold, and I couldn't tell which way was up. My skirt was heavy, dragging me down, and I couldn't swim, the cold petrifying my limbs.

A pair of arms wrapped around me from behind, and something was stuffed into my mouth. I choked, inhaling water. But instead of the feelign of losing conciousness, that water brought me life, and oxygen flooded my lungs. I turned, gasping, to see Amii, who was using her powerful tail to propell us upwards. I looked at her gratefully, and she smiled, shwoing perfectly even teeth.

"How did you..." I tried to ask, but all that came out was a bubble of air. Amii rolled her eyes. She hovered beneath the surface, watching above. I watched too. The ship rocked dangerously beneath the water, and I saw other mermaids, surrounding the ship, watching. I sent Amii a questioning look, seeing as I couldn't speak.

A soft sigh echoed through the water, gentle, loving.

"We are rescuing those who you love, sister." The voice came like a song, echoing gently.

Then she let go of me and a wave propelled me upwards. I was thrown, high in the air, and up onto the deck. I coughed, and out of my throat came a black pearl. The sailors were staring at me in complete surprise, having probably assumed i was dead. the sea was calming. The clouds were moving away, the wind dying. I smiled weakly, and saw Darren sprinting across the deck, his eyes full of fear. I blacked out, and my last sense was of his arms ecircling me and lifting me off the deck.

In my hand, I still clutched the black pearl.

The End

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