God only knew how long it had been raining. She looked up, out of the water, the ocean lingering in her hair and dripping down her fair face. Only a little more to swim.
The water was cold, icy even. It whipped around her, invisible fingers grabbing her in ways they never had before as she made her way to the shore. The cold didn't affect her, however, she was much too focused on her mission for that. She powered forward, every inch of her longing to reach the sand as soon as she could.
The ship had gone down a mere hour ago. He had gone down with it. She had been unable to find him, despite her searching. She had carried her secret well the entire voyage, but after the accident she had decided it mattered not who saw her that way.
The storm had blown the ship too close to a rocky barrier, ripping the hull open. Water had poured in. Somewhere off of the coast of Alaska, the ship had shuddered to a halt, taking on water faster than people could climb into the lifeboats. Thankfully, eighty percent of the people had managed to survive. She had helped many of them.
When the first of the icy waves had reached the inside, she knew it no longer mattered who knew about her true nature. She had kissed him goodbye, wrapping her arms around him and knotting her fingers in his soft hair, ignoring the puzzled look on his face and the laughing surprise in his eyes at her sudden display of affection. She had vanished, them, before he could call her name.
Over the side and into the water. Without a second though, she had jumped. Headfirst, her face collided with the water. Her hair streamed behind her as her legs melded into one, her silver scales appearing and her clothes gone without a trace. Her shells remained, as they always did. She pushed through the shock of the cold and the fear in her heart, begging her mind not to think about the fate these innocent people would endure. They had been so brave during the storm. She hated that they had to suffer now.
Priceless looks on the faces of the men and women who saw her nearly made her giggle as she grabbed them by the collar and hoisted them into life boats. Many couldn't swim and were thankful for her help. Some panicked and unintentionally tried to drown her. She dragged them to whatever lifeboat was closest, keeping their heads above the water, all the while searching for him.
She reached out to one man, a chubby balding officer, but his eyes had already glazed over. She let him sink, swimming instead to a child who had just gone under. The blonde, curly haired five year old choked out spurts of sea water as she was placed into her mother's arms. The mermaid felt no fatigue, no weariness, only the drive to save as many passengers as possible.
It seemed like hours before she had done all she could, when it had probably been less than one. Still, she swam, gently prodding the bodies for any hint of life what so ever. She found one last shivering woman, her eyes half iced shut and her body trembling. Next to her was her husband. The mermaid recalled their newlywed status, hot tears drifted from her eyes as the woman refused to leave her husband's stiff corpse. She held on to him with inhuman strength as the mermaid gently tried to ease her away. She checked him for any sign of life, but it was useless. His heart had stopped beating and his face was gray and ashen. The woman's screams haunted her long after the boat had carried her away. The mermaid sank low into the water, exhaling as it rippled over her head. The bubbles made a soft pop as they broke the surface.
There. The island… The current had been moving in this direction. If he had been carried away with the sea, his body would be here. Whether or not he was in it would be determined momentarily. She plunged ahead, the water streaming over her body, the silver of her tail no more than a line of sun dancing in the water. Her speed was unprecedented.
Flinging herself onto the beach, she gasped for air, her ribs revealing themselves through her skin with every breath. Her eyes opened. The sunlight burned them. She slammed them shut, then opened them once more, rolling over on her side to comb the beach. Her tail disappearing almost immediately, she rose to scour the land for him. Wrapping what must have been a piece of a sail around her waist, she glanced up and down the beach. A seashell pricked her foot as she walked, but she never even noticed.
"Eli! Elijah!" Her scream might as well have been a whisper. "Eli!"
The wind stole her voice, carrying it out to sea. She wandered the shoreline, praying for a sign of him. She shivered, but she didn't feel the cold. She had felt nothing since the accident.
She paused. Did she hear her name? Listening, she closed her gray eyes. She heard it, louder this time, but hoarse. Holding her makeshift skirt close to her body, she rushed toward the direction of the sound. Her heart filled with dread as she saw a steady trail of blood leave the water and lead up to Elijah.
There he was- lying on the beach. His hand has pressed to his side, his shirt wrapped tightly around his torso. Once white, it was drenched in blood.
Her breathe caught in her throat. "No…"
"Ivory." Elijah whispered. "Don't . . . worry. . . .about . . .me. . I'll . . .be . . . fine."
His face was white. He had nearly run out of blood. She couldn't believe he had held on this long. There was so much blood on him, on the sand.
"Shark bite." She mumbled. "This far north?"
"You wear shells these days?" he smirked.
She had all but forgotten. "I have a secret." She took his hand. It was growing cold. "Can you walk?"
"Can you just tell me?"
Ivory shook her head. "It's not that easy. Please, try to stand, it's the only way I can save you."
"You can save me?"
"Yes. Now, please, try. For me."
He used his right arm to try and pull himself to his feet. Ivory aided him as best as she could, but he was too weak to stand and too heavy for her.
"Please, if I can just get you to the water I can save you!"
"What . . .are . . .you. . . What?" Exhaustion was creeping in. There was not much time left.
"I'm a mermaid. If I kiss you, I can save you. But I have to be a mermaid when it happens."
"So that kiss from before won't work?" His sense of humor hadn't left him yet. That was a very good sign.
"Elijah, please, try. Anyway you can get to the water."
Slowly, painfully slowly, she nudged him to the water line. He pulled himself as far as he could, his breathing growing more and more ragged. His face became ghostly, a shadow of the strong, youthful man who had saved her from herself a mere year before. He had saved her life when she had been ready to take it. It had been the start of her falling in love with him. She needed him as much as he needed her. And just like on that dark day, she was as unwilling to let him go as he had been to let her die.
They were a yard from the sea. The spray of the waves touched Ivory's cheek and sent shivers down her spine. Elijah collapsed in her arms.
"No, please, please, just a little farther, please, Elijah."
Collecting every remaining ounce of strength he had in him, he threw himself the last bit of distance to the water. He fell into the sand, coughing, blood trickling out even faster than before. His eyes were hollow. He could hardly take a breath.
The water embraced Ivory as she stepped into it. As her tail appeared, the fabric around her waist floated away. She leaned onto the sand, rolling Elijah over so she could see his face. His lovely, irreplaceable face, looked back at her but didn't see. She brought his lips to hers as a wave swallowed the two souls.
He looked at her, his eyes filled with love and smiled. Weak, but alive, he let the water wash away the blood.
"A mermaid, huh?" Elijah laughed softly. "I wish you had told me."
Ivory smiled slyly. "You didn't need to know."
A/N: I finally wrote something! It's been ages since I've worked on anything other than the play. But I'm happy. I finally pushed out the mermaid story I've been dying to do. I think it turned out quite well, considering I'm a tad rusty. I'd really appreciate reviews on this. Thanks guys :) 3 ~ July.