Island and Realm

"I love you…"

With his hands pressed against her face he breathed in the last haunted milky breaths of the night. This was the last time they would ever see each other, and even though they still clung to one another they already felt haunted by the other's presence. It was as though suddenly they had both turned into specters before the others eyes.

They were waist-deep in the water, and bulbous waves crashed against their hips. The water was frigid, numbing their spines.

She stood with her legs slightly between his, with her arms folded like iron around his neck. Blooming layers of scales formed across her thighs like flower petals, the skin forging together into one solid form like hot metal.

His arms were pressed against her back, holding her; keeping the last threads of her human-form tightly to his own.

The red scars on their wrists burned with magic threads; as they always did when they were near each other. The pain never dulled, although it always grew insensitive soon after they embraced each other.

She was always the first to change, unable to keep the shift at bay. She let the pulse of the water pound through her flesh.
Unlike her, he kept his form as long as he could. He knew the consequences of the transformation: the loss of humanity with the coming of the day. Change clawing at them nightly until they shifted into animals. Uncontrollable. At war.

A soft gasp rose from deep within her throat. It hit his shoulder like a knot.

"I love you, too."

Fresh pink and red hues of daylight smashed over them from the horizon. Time was against them, yet they clutched each other ever more fiercely.

The change hit him hard. Having held the power at bay longer then was necessary. Where she fell into herself like a dream, his change was more vapid, a callused fist exploding through his body.

Breathable oxygen became acrid smoke, choking both of them. He released her, and together they fell back into the deep waves. Their lungs filled with the cold weight of the water. It moved through their bodies, stilling the storm that their change had caused.

Soon afterward, they lost themselves; as they always did. The lovers they were as man and woman gave way to the enemies they were as creatures of the sea.

a/n: written for the october wcc.