"Hey guys, I'm gonna take a breather, ok?" I didn't wait for a response, quietly slipping out the back door onto the villa's patio. I sighed, rubbing the back of my neck. I felt woozy. My eyes pinched. I needed a break from my friends' constant partying. I glanced back; Marissa eyed me cautiously. I smiled and waved her away; I would rather be alone for a few minutes.

I walked out to the small gate fencing our private villa from the coast, slipping through and settling on a well-worn beach path alongside the water. The waves were choppy, wind whipped through the trees. My long hair slapped my face, immediately tangling into knots. I clasped it around the base, curling it on my shoulder to settle with the wind direction.

In the distance, I noticed a series of twinkling blue lights leading out into the ocean. I squinted my eyes; it looked like the lights had a life of their own, fading in and out in unison, even changing different shades of blue. My thoughts blanched for several seconds before I even noticed I was quickly walking towards them. In the back of my mind, I could hear the faintest of humming, a beautiful song that I couldn't quite place.

I eventually drew close enough to the lights to see it was a long pier stretching from the beach to the ocean. The wooden planks seemed to wind and curve far into the darkness of the deep waters. There was not enough light from the island resorts to illuminate the end. The twinkling blue lights stretched along the edges of the exposed siding, warning those brave enough to walk the pier at night away from falling into the water. I gazed deep into the darkness, trying to figure out how this illusion was working. It wasn't foggy out or anything.


My foot moved of its own accord, taking a tentative step onto the planks. The wind rushed into me, strong enough that I nearly fell back onto the sand. It almost felt like a warning. Stop. Turn back.

The hum in the back of my mind picked up again, somehow audible over the whistling in my ears from the strong gusts. I want to go. I have to go. What's at the end? I took another step. The wind fought me, but I pressed on, venturing further onto the docks. The boats tethered along either sides bobbed up and down frantically, splashing my feet with rogue waves that flew over the wood.

I hunched down, holding my hair and shielding my eyes. The pier wasn't narrow, but the gusts were so powerful I teetered dangerously from side to side, desperately trying to move forward without being sacrificed to the ocean. The hum grew louder with each step, the lights flickering with higher intensity, a more vibrant blue than I thought possible. They pushed me forward, each step creating a desperate desire that grew by the second. I have to see the end. I have to see it. I have to...

My feet stopped, and I glanced up to see a large hut in front of me. I made it to the pier's end. The hut was large, nearly three times my height at the tallest point. How had I not seen this from the shore? I glanced back, and strangely I wasn't that far from where I started. What? The hum had stopped. I walked forward, reaching the edge of the hut and grasped the railing. I stared down into the water.

The ocean was beautiful. A light seemingly emanated from beneath the surface, washing the waves in a soft, blue glow. I gazed, transfixed at its beauty, as some of the marine life floated up to the surface. Large fish, or maybe small sharks? They lazily swam just below the point where the water met air. I watched small groups of them weave in and out of the hut supports, while some would float all the way to the surface, resting on top of the waves for brief seconds before splashing back down.

While I stared, the hum returned. Louder, this time. Stronger. There was a sense of urgency to it. My eyes were instinctively drawn to my left, my legs soon following. I walked to the edge of the hut, the one farthest from the end of the pier, and gazed down into the glowing water. The hum suddenly morphed into song, reaching a crescendo; it was the most beautiful, haunting melody I had ever heard. It spun the most intricate of lyrics effortlessly, singing so much, yet so little at the same time. I leaned forward over the railing, straining my ears to hear more.

Something appeared in the waves below me. A face, so mesmerizing that I couldn't look away. I couldn't even imagine such beauty. As the face drifted closer, the water revealed a body, exposed and serene. Glittering scales of every shade of blue adorned her torso and limbs. I was frozen in space as she drifted, closer and closer. Her mouth was open in a single note, the impossibly complex, impossibly simple melody that spun through my mind. I leaned in closer, just an arm's reach from the surface, as the goddess figure rose up to meet me.

Her eyes were closed. I reached out a hand to open them, and just inches before our skin made contact, they whipped open. The song halted, transitioning to a piercing screech. They were... wrong. A strange yellowish glow with the smallest of slits for pupils. I screamed, wrenching my arm back. My mind shouted a warning, too late. DANGER!

The creature screeched, a garbled sound that scrabbled through the water. She burst through the surface, wrapping her arms around my neck and in one smooth motion, yanking me in. I tried to scream, to struggle free, but I couldn't escape her iron vice. As my face hit the water, my vision went black, fading into the gold of her eyes until I no longer saw anything.