In the beginning she sang with rage, and men turned wild and killed each other trying to reach her.

Then she sang with sorrow, and men abandoned hope and jumped into the water, wishing to die at her feet.

Now she does not sing.

It has been 100 years since Ligeia last swam through these waters, and she cuts through them like a knife: swift and silent and cold. She is comfortable in this vast, dark corner of the ocean; she feels at home, because this is her home now- it has been for the last few thousand years.

She fell in love with a sailor, and prayed to the Gods for help, and Poseidon took pity on her and gave her the tail of a fish, taking her terrible voice away. So it was that she escaped into the salty tears of the ocean and so it is that the sea sometimes has a call so irresistible that men leap into its embrace, forever.

Over time, she saw the old Gods fade away and disappear, but her belt of green seaweed was of an older magic than they. The contract must be fulfilled though, and every 100 years she takes off her belt, sheds her tail and walks again, with human legs, human blood and human heart.

She waits in the bay of a small cove, lurking watchfully in the water. Her hair is a mass of black and her eyes are too wild to be human. The cliffs surrounding it are towering battlements, defending the land against the relentlessly pounding sea.

She removes her belt, and suddenly the waves are not so gentle: without a tail they’re rough and violent. The moonlight has deceived her: the sand on the beach seems unattainably far away, glistening in the distance. She is no longer part of the water, she is in it, and her legs are weak and ineffectual. Her arms are two uselessly flapping things by her sides and her hair is sticking to her face, her mouth, her eyes. In a desperate frenzy she paddles towards the shore, clutching her belt of seaweed, trying not to gasp in the rough, buffeting waves. The harsh sand grates against her tender knees and her scrabbling feet, but it is a relief to her. She relaxes forward, letting the water wash over her.

Then, out of nowhere, two massive hands grab her waist and haul her roughly upwards. She is lifted up into the air and flung down onto the ground, where a hand starts beating her back.

The End

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