Author's note: Ah! I got a review that said my first two chapters were boring! Thank you for being honest, svmgeleta. It's okay that you said that, don't be sorry. I'm trying to become a better writer and I need feedback in order to do better. I have rewritten the prologue and the first chapter. So let me know what you all think of this version.
Note: you will probably need to reread the first two chapters to understand this one.
Chapter Three: Hafling
The moon was fuller tonight. It almost looked like a gigantic sphere that was going to crash into the earth and be swallowed by the swelling ocean tide. The moon caste a pool of light that lit up the beach that I sat on as the tide nipped at my tail. I was able to see myself far more clearly than I did in the sun. My fins were rippling in the shallow water with the pull of the tide. Disgusted, I looked away.
The full moon was going to last all week. All week I was going to have to deal with changing. I didn't go into the water tonight or this morning. Dreail, or whoever he was, had scared me. I didn't like the feeling of fear. I was running away. Merman or not, my gut was telling me to stay away.
I lowered my head so that it rested on my tail. I had brought it up to my chest, the same why I would bring my knees up to my chest if I had been human. I was sitting on the shoreline, waiting with impatience for my sentence as a monster to be over with. That was when I heard it.
The mermaid's song lifted from the sea and my own head lifted with the melody.
Someone was calling me.
If I had been human I would have ignored it, but I wasn't human. I was a mermaid, and someone else of my own race was calling me. Like a dog that hears a dog whistle, I was compelled to respond.
Slowly, I allowed my tail to fall back into the water, and then slide down on my back so that I was deep enough in the ocean that I can swim. As soon as I allowed my head to sink under the water, all sense of myself was gone.
The mermaid traveled through the night ocean as fast as she could. One of her own was calling her. She needed to get to him and fast. A yarning started to fill her heart, and her tail beats began to mimic the frantic pace of her heartbeat. It was thumping faster and faster until she felt herself reach a speed similar to the sensation of flying. At a thunderous pace she swam hearing him call her name.
It was a him. She knew it was a male who was calling her. She could hear him as well as she could hear the ocean's voice and fish's slumber.
Mermaid… you're the only one… come to me… follow my voice… so that we may…
"become one…" she thought in response to his sentence that had become lost behind the tail of whale. She hurried on past the hump back so that she could hear him again.
She was excited. She couldn't believe that after all this time she had found someone who knew her. Knew her name. Who wasn't afraid of her...
There! Right in front of her, suspended in the ocean water he appeared. He was more magnificent then she had imagined. His scales were green and the moonlight glinted off them to create an array of shades from aqua to a forest green. His hair was dark and waved with the ocean's breeze. Trembling, she shyly approached him and softly, slowly she traced a single webbed fingertip on his left cheek marking the trail of his own jagged tattoos just below his left eye.
She gasped. Something inside her clicked at the sight of him and she backed away. Her eyes taking in all of him.
He really was a part of her.
"Why did you run?" he asked her searching her eyes with his own clear green orbs.
Run? She had not run. She had never seen him. She didn't say a word, she only looked into his face. She was so shy and timid. Something inside her was ragging at his appearance but on the outside she did not acknowledge the foreign feelings. She could not tell if the feelings she was having were good or not, and so did not act upon them.
"It does not matter." The merman said, swimming closer to her. "We must mate. We are the last of our kind. We cannot let our species die out. But you? You are not pure mermaid. What are you?"
What was she? She was a mermaid! She didn't know of any other existence. How could he suggest she was anything more?
She opened her mouth to object to his opinion of who she was, but he did not allow her the time to finish her sentence before he cut in.
"I have never seen such a thing, especially from a mermaid of your rank. You choose to live among the surface dwellers, and only come back to the ocean at night. You ran away from me. It's almost like… you're two different people."
What? What was he saying? The mermaid was confused. She had no idea what he was talking about. Surface dwellers? Humans? She didn't remember any of that. All she remembered was a vague image of herself looking…different. She had no memory of living on the surface.
The merman sighed, his breath causing little bubbles to float toward her. "You are a mystery beautiful mermaid. But a compelling mystery. Your beauty surpasses those that I have known. It will not be a sacrifice to mate with you for the sake of our race. In fact… I think I will enjoy it." That thrill was back. Her lower body was doing funny things. She liked the feeling, but, again, she did not act upon them.
The merman lifted her face. "Why are you so afraid of me?" He murmured as he brought her lips closer to his. "Am I really that terrifying?" And then, he was kissing her.
It felt good. Really. Really good. She loved it. She wanted more. She wrapped her arms around his neck and pressed herself against his body, allowing herself to get that much closer to him. He responded in kind, and soon they were drifting toward the ocean floor. And her mind, as he kissed and touched parts of her that had never been kissed or touched before, began to loosen up. Her mind become lost and drifted away from her.
He did something then. Something to her body that she hadn't ever felt and her heart exploded into a frantic beat.
Something was wrong. Her tail was on fire… It hurt!
merman lifted his face and looked at her. He cursed. She was
writhing, screaming. The ocean was chocking her gills and she
couldn't breath. She screamed loud and long and the merman,
panicked grabbed her and swam as fast as he could toward the surface.
He now understood what she was. He understood who she was. She was an outsider. She wasn't of his race, or of the human race. She was a halfling. She was supposed to have been killed at birth, but someone had apparently wanted her to live. For their cruelty this girl was living a cursed existence.
She was a monstrosity.
They broke the surface and the merman swam with her trying to keep her head above the water. He knew little about the humans. He only knew what was the best method to kill them and that was to keep them underwater so they could drown.
He could kill her, if he wanted to. She wasn't what he needed, she wasn't of pure blood. But she was a mystery. She bore the sign of nobility even though she was not a full mermaid. She shouldn't be allowed to live. If his race still lived he knew what they would say. Kill her. Kill the cursed child.
But she was all he had.
He would mate with her. Somehow.
He was settling her down on the beach sand when her eyes opened. She took one hazy look at him and then screamed so loud he was forced to put his hand over his ears.
"YOU!" She screamed.
Well. He wasn't able to keep that secret for long.
"OH MY GOD!" she screamed louder as she looked down at herself and saw that she had blood running down her leg "WHAT DID YOU DO TO ME?!"
He didn't need to come up with the answer to the question. She figured it out all on her own.
"Oh. God. Ohgod. You didn't. You did NOT."
He sighed. Having turned back into a human himself, which took a lot of mind effort, he was tired. "No I did not do anything. I was merely trying to mate with you—"
"MATE WITH ME!" she screamed and then scrambled up on her feet glaring down at him. She looked physically sick. " I can not believe that you—"
"It was for the sake of our race."
"OUR RACE?!" She cried. "In case you have sand in eyes, I'm HUMAN!"
"No." He patiently explained "you're a halfling."
She ran to her clothes and began putting them on at break neck speed avoiding all possible physical contact with him.
"Our race is dead, Eshana. I am trying to revive it." He reached out to place a hand on her shoulder, needing physical contact. He was on his hands and knees here. He was begging. He did not like begging.
"DON'T TOUCH ME!"
She kicked her pants on and grabbed her backpack, slinging it over her shoulder with such ferocity Dearil doubted that the backpack would survive the journey. "Don't touch me." She said calmly, "EVER again. Do you understand? If I ever see your face either here," she pointed at the ocean "or at my school I will be forced to kill you."
With the way she was looking at him right that second, Dreail could see that the possibility of her overpowering him was pretty high in her favor. With a kick of sand in his face and a defiant head toss, she was gone.
Dreail watched her go with his head slightly cocked to the side as he thought. It was obvious what needed to be done here. He would have to woo her into mating with him. It shouldn't be too difficult. It was necessary. Surely she would be able to see that. He gazed up at the moon and silently prayed for patience. Just in case. He had a feeling he was going to need it.