The girl awoke to find the crew standing over her, menacing shadows dancing across their faces. The light from the single candle they carried wasn't enough to make out their identities.
"I told ye, lads. A woman on board brings bad luck, and that storm'll drag us straight down if she's still here," one of the men said, spitting on the word she.
She sat up. "I've not brought any storm here. Get away from me, the lot of you." She stood shakily, still groggy. She stepped back and leaned against the wooden wall for support.
"We've already decided. It were a mistake to allow ye on board." Another man said, a fearful edge in his voice.
One of the men grasped her by the arm and pulled her forward. She stumbled and fell forward, hitting the wooden floor hard. Some of the men pulled her up, and the dragged her up to the deck.
Pale moonlight showed through thin and spotty clouds, offering less illumination than the crew's low burning candle. She struggled and kicked against the people holding her, but to no avail. They were older men, but still larger and stronger than she was. "You don't have to do this," she begged them.
"I'm sorry lass. Really I am," one said. "We can't risk it. When storms start brewin' we has to do what we can."
"We never should have allowed ye on in the first place, witch," another said.
"Stop this!" she screamed. "I'm not causing' no storms!"
A larger group of men approached her, and tied a heavy chest to her feet. She struggled against them but they dragged her to the edge of the ship. She screamed as they dropped the chest overboard, sending her along with it.
She clawed at the salty water around her, trying to swim up. She pulled at the rope around her feet, desperately trying to loosen it. The water was deathly cold, and her fingertips went numb. Her lungs began to burn as she thrashed and sank deeper into the abyss.
She inhaled the salty water, choking as it burned her lungs and throat. She coughed and sputtered as the sea water filled her mouth. Her body ached and her vision blurred. Her throat, raw from screaming, burned from the salt. She allowed the water to enter her lungs again, praying for a quick death. She wondered if anyone would remember her, or if she would vanish from the world completely.
The rope felt tight around her, and she wondered how she could still fell her feet. Her legs burned, her muscles felt as though they were being shredded within her skin. An intense pressure shot through her legs, then stopped. The weight had vanished. She hung in the water, no longer sinking.
She felt the sea around her, feeling entirely vulnerable. The currents of the ocean moved steadily around her. She swayed slightly, daring to open her eyes. The salty water stung her face, and the perpetual darkness of the water kept her from seeing anything at all.
She felt panic rise in her chest as she began to expel the water from her lungs. She gasped for air, and was met with more of the salty sea in her lungs. She wondered why she was still conscious. Surely she should be dead by now. Perhaps this was hell, a dark, empty eternity. Her throat burned, but her chest began to feel lighter somehow. The pressure from the deep water was somehow relieved.
She tested her fingers, moving each one slowly. She tried once again to swim to the surface, which was much easier without the weight of the chest tied to her legs. The drag from her shirt slowed her down slightly, and she tried to open her eyes once more. The burning of the salt was intense, but she adjusted to the pain and pushed on.
The girl broke the surface of the water, looking frantically around for the ship, or land, anywhere she could go. She gasped for air, and the cool night air only intensified the burning in her throat. Her skin felt unusually dry and irritated, and she scratched at her arms. The ship was nearby, though somehow farther than she had thought it would be. She started toward it, letting her legs propel her through the water.
She reached the ships wooden hull and attempted to climb to the deck, but to no avail. Her legs wouldn't cooperate with her, and her arms were too weak to pull herself all the way over the side.
"Here!" she called up to the crew, but her voice came out low and husky. She coughed and tried again, singing out a single note. Her voice rang over the water, mixing with the gentle sound of the waves. One of the men poked their head over the side of the ship.
She sang again, throat burning. Her gentle song drew more of the men to peer down at her. She felt a strange sensation in the back of her mind, a new instinct to sing louder, stronger. She let her voice ring, feeling a power behind it she had never felt before. She briefly thought of stopping, of calling for help once again, but her mind stopped in its tracks when the first man threw himself overboard.
She stared in shock, watching the man sink slowly. He didn't move, not to thrash or swim or try to float at all. Another man dropped into the water, sinking beneath its dark surface just as quickly as the first. She shuddered and looked back up to the men on the ship. She sang again. There would be no more women murdered by these monsters. She sang until her voice gave out, and through all the exertion it never lost its dulcet tone.
She swam effortlessly through the sea, making her way to the bloated pale bodies of the men in the water. She felt a strange smile creep across her face, and a feeling of giddiness washed over her. Revenge was sweet, even in the salty depths of the ocean.
She let her silver-scaled tail propel her through the deep, cold water, hoping to spot a passing ship.