The scent of freshly fallen rain greeted Levi Skelling as he hiked, his favorite trail as welcoming as ever. While the rain had tapered off hours before, the delicious scent brought by the fresh breeze still lingered. Green leaves dripped with fresh raindrops, the quiet sound increasing whenever a mild breeze caressed the trees. He took a deep breath, exhaling with a smile, enjoying the beauty of the day. He could feel the joy of the Lord radiating from his core. Today was a beautiful day, one straight out of a Tolkien or CS Lewis novel. The woods seemed to hum, teeming with the lives of birds and insects alike. It was rare to catch the woods in as good mood as he was in. He couldn't help but grin as he walked.
The sweet song of the birds caught his attention. Levi fumbled for his phone, hoping to grab a quick photo of a hummingbird as it hovered in front of him, not knowing how long the moment would last. He found his pockets empty, and shrugged. "Forgot my phone. Good going, Levi." he said to himself, shaking his head. He couldn't be too upset about his mistake. Sure, forgetting his phone was inconvenient, but it gave him the chance to experience life in front of him rather than viewing it through a screen.
As he hiked, Levi found himself drowning in a sea of thoughts. His wife, Hayley, the gorgeous day before him, the way the sun shone down through the trees- it was enough to keep his mind occupied as he maneuvered his way down the path. So lost in his own mind, he hardly noticed the eerie silence creeping in. Birds disappeared, insects stopped their hum. Butterflies flapped their wings, heading away from the trail.
Levi paused, distracted by a smudge in his sunglasses. He removed them, intending to clean them, but instead, they dropped to the ground.
Her song enveloped him like an enchantment. All at once, the fear that had sprang up melted away. His walk became a lovesick stagger, though he held no love in his heart for the woman before him, only regret and fear. Her song cast out any thought of anything else, leaving room in his mind only for her. The red haired beauty clad in the blue and green dress was a figure from his past- and one from his nightmares as well.
She stepped lightly out of the woods, her movements as ethereal as her voice. She beckoned to him, reaching toward him. Levi wanted nothing more than to listen to that song forever. His grin grew wide, his previous life falling from his memory. He wanted it, he needed it, and by God, he would let her lead him anywhere.
And, lead him she did. The enchantress led him down the trail, back towards the beach in the distance. Small waves lapped the sand as they crossed to the water. Levi hardly dared to draw a breath, desperate to avoid any mistake that would cost him her song. As haunting as it was beautiful, it called to him, pulling him closer and closer to the edge.
She backed into the water first, calling him with a wicked grin. Her sweet features showed something far more sinister emerging from underneath. Low in the water, she sang to him, ignoring the stupid splashes of his feet as he clumsily made his way towards her.
Humans and their legs, she sneered silently, not allowing her disgust to show on her face. She remained serene, spinning her spell with every beautiful note pouring from her lips.
It wasn't long until Levi was out in the water with her. She presented him with an innocently wicked smile, falsely promising him no harm. His adoring gaze betrayed no sense of false hope. He had fallen prey to her captivation, intending to follow her to the gates of hell if necessary.
She relaxed, ready to drag him to the depths. He was in her hands. It was done.
As she began to take him away, another song, one stronger than hers, floated across the air. Levi shook his head, momentarily confused. She cast a glance back- there! Lyric! Another of her kind, once a friend, now an enemy. Her lips pulled back in a snarl, her hand tightening on Levi as the other approached. She would not allow her to take him.
The blue fluke rose up in the water, smashing down on the surf as the other mermaid dove, then flew out of the lake, springing herself at Levi. She knocked him out of her old friend's hands, sending both herself and the man under the surface. Her friend followed closely behind, enraged.
The water remained silent for a moment before white foam broke the surface. Waves as angry as the women beneath them rose up, moments before Levi himself did. He gasped for air, hurling himself towards land, any land, as he realized exactly who it was that was after him.
Even years later, the sound of her name still sent shivers through his very bones. Not a day went by that he didn't regret his actions towards her- and it seemed now was his time to pay.
Levi scrambled towards the dock, eager to get to some kind of safety- only to feel a clawed hand grab his leg, yanking him backwards. His nails dug into the wood as he was flung back into the water.
The blue tailed enchantress put herself between Levi and his attacker, but it was to no avail. Amairiah's song echoed across the expanse, calling Levi and pulling him back under her spell as quickly as he had escaped it. Only Lyric's song could save him, and save him it did- Levi found himself obeying the stronger voice of the blue tailed beauty, exiting the water as rapidly as his body would move. His supernatural speed brought him back to the safety of land.
Behind him, the blue mermaid sang on, willing him to safety with every ounce of power she had. She was stronger than her old friend, with a voice that had once drowned an entire fleet of ships. Her violent past had parted ways with her, and now, she was eager to save Amairiah from going down a path of darkness she could not recover from.
It seemed Amairiah wanted nothing to do with saving. Without a moment's hesitation, she whipped Lyric under the surface, making her vanish without a trace. Water churned yet again, but this time, only Amairiah reappeared. Lyric was gone, as was any remnant of her song.
Levi had almost made it. His running ceased instantly as Amairiah called to him yet again. Everything in him begged him to stop, but he was no longer the one in control. He needed to answer to her song.
Amairiah waited for him in the water, as collected as ever. She watched expectantly as Levi crossed to her, toying with him as she pleased. She wanted to take her time with this one. The two before him had perished, and she needed a guarantee that wouldn't happen again. Though, if it did, she wouldn't say he didn't deserve it. It was a relief to know Lyric wouldn't be back to intervene any more. She didn't need her meddling in anything else that wasn't her business.
Levi's steps took him to the edge of the dock. Amairaih dipped below the water, her song remaining in the air. The magic held the man in a trance. He kneeled down at the edge, waiting for her to reappear. It was then he saw her as she surfaced, her long, silvery purple tail stretched out behind her, the sun gleaming off of her scales like moonlight on a pirate's treasure.
Thrilled at her success, she reached up for him, her fingers lightly touching the side of his face as her hand trailed down to his cross necklace. She closed her fist around it, keeping her song strong as she finished the job. She pulled the little metal charm, and with it Levi came tumbling into the water with her.
They vanished into the murky deep, with nothing but a slap of her fluke on the surface to mark that they had been there at all.
The water calmed. The peace returned. Birds filled the evening with their light song once again. The scene returned to normal, as beautiful as ever, as if nothing chilling had ever happened.
A soft splash startled a squirrel. It bolted away as the blue tailed mermaid, Lyric, appeared out of the water. Battered and bruised, she dragged herself onto land. Her breathing ragged, her features pale, it was all she could do to stay alive. Her blue tail merged back into legs. She rose, shaky and weak, and stumbled off in the direction she knew safety lied.
The forest watched, keeping the secret of what had transpired. For it is not the job of the trees to tell the stories, but to watch, and wait, and hold their silence for all eternity.