"Tenebris," a voice echoed in her mind, one that came from the beautiful woman right in front of her. "Do you think humans have changed?"
She had deep eyes and beauty like no other. Her hair cascaded around her shoulders, floating carelessly in the water around them. Every strand was a mix of vibrant colors that matched the ethereal tail that rested on a rock. Blue, Red, yellow. A mermaid.
The mermaid turned her head and smiled, directing it to one other person. "Do you think everything is okay now?"
Within the dark cave, they were in, the only small light being a glowing squid that the mermaid's hands were petting, at the corner was a dark creature—one with features so fearsome that any normal human would turn tail and run at first sight.
"Humans will never change, Solis." a growling voice echoed in Solis' mind.
Sharp, dark teeth glinted in the cave from the light of the squid, eyes as pitch-black as its skin, and matching claws to complement the creature's horrifying appearance. Attached to the creature's waist was a long tail that came with sharp spikes that trailed down the spine. It was a large creature, around nearly four times larger than the small mermaid in front of it.
"Ah," Solis tilted her head with a soft smile on her face, "But you never know… so many years have gone by. Should we always remain in hiding?"
Tenebris bared her teeth at those words. "Don't get any ideas, Solis. We hide for a reason. Stay away from them."
Solis sighed helplessly at Tenebris' words. The beautiful mermaid let go of the squid in her hands and swam over gracefully towards the dark creature. Without any fear, she draped herself over its black tail, hands coming to caress at its sharp scales, "Tenebris, don't be afraid. I will never leave your side."
Tenebris eased up, her fangs disappearing. She wrapped her arms around Solis' waist and nuzzled against the other mermaid's forehead. "Good."
The two of them were mermaids, magical creatures who were said not to exist. Years ago, they were hunted for their flesh and their beauty, but ever since the massacre of their kind, mermaids have taken to hiding from humankind. Before the two species have realized it, an unknown amount of time has passed, and the existence of mermaids have been lost to the humans.
These two mermaids are of two different breeds. Solis was a tropical mermaid who was supposed to live up and above the beautiful sea along with mermaids who were just as beautiful as her. However, she chose to linger in this dark cave to stay beside Tenebris, a deep-sea mermaid that even those of her kind avoided.
For Tenebris, Solis was the most precious thing in the world. The only one that could understand her and the only one who willingly chose to stay by her side.
"Tenebris," Solis whispered through her mind, moving back to look at the other mermaid face to face. "I want to get you a present."
Tenebris tilted her head to the side, deathly eyes blinking like a puppy's, and asked, "What kind of present?"
Solis giggled and tapped her nose. "It's a secret."
The dark mermaid rolled her eyes and held Solis tighter in her arms. As long as Solis was with her, then everything will be alright.
Tenebris was once again alone in the cave. Solis had left so that she could get her gift just like she said she would, but she was taking a while.
Suddenly, an unsuspecting little fish wandered in the cave, not knowing that a fearsome creature was lurking about.
Tenebris stayed still at the feeling of the creature, dark teeth forming a wide, sinister grin as it swam calmly. Her large, dark body was still against the cave walls, blending in. Then, faster than the fish could even register that it wasn't alone, Tenebris slashed it with her claws, separating the fish into half.
It only took the large mermaid one gulp for the fish to be completely consumed into her body. With a lick to her fingers, Tenebris' eyes glanced at the cave's exit and wondered why Solis still hadn't returned.
"I'm going to leave for just a little while," Solis assured, soft hands caressing Tenebris' rough, velvety tail. "I just need to get your present, that's all."
"I don't like it when you leave…" Tenebris pouted. However, behind that, playful expression was of genuine worry. If only she could keep Solis with her forever.
"I'll be back. I promise." With that, the tropical mermaid swam away from the cave, leaving the large mermaid by herself.
Solis said she would be back… however, it's been too long. It shouldn't have taken this long.
Worried and unable to sit still, Tenebris maneuvered her large body to slither through the cave's thin walls. For the first time in a long time, she was going to exit her shelter.
It was dark. Tenebris hadn't seen the sun in a while, and it seemed that it was still night. As her horrifying body swam up to the ocean's surface, different creatures around her swam away in fear. However, she took notice of none of them. As she grew closer, Tenebris realized that the waves were harsh, strong, and above was a thundering storm that rocked the sea.
However, there was no sign of Solis.
Panic was beginning to take over her veins. Tenebris swam to the top, her dark figure breaking to the surface of the ocean and peering in the midst of the horrible storm.
"Solis!" Tenebris cried out, hoping that her echoes would reach her dear one. "SOLIS!". It echoed deep, sea creatures fleeing to the deep bottom, anywhere far away from the booming creature. However, to the ears of other beings, it was only the roars of a monster.
Then, from the corner of her eyes, Tenebris spotted something floating above the sea. It was a small metallic structure.
Tenebris' eyes widened at sight, her heart-stopping. Endless possibilities flooded through her mind.
The dark creature dived back down into the ocean and swam rapidly towards the boat. She hoped to whatever deity there was that her fears were ungrounded, that there was nothing to worry about, that she was just panicking.
The boat was rocking heavily under the influence of the storm, not knowing at all that a large creature had stopped just underneath it. While the rain raged and the waves rocked, underneath the boat, Tenebris was still and silent.
Then, she heard the creatures. Humans. Beings that Tenebris hasn't seen in centuries. They spoke a new tongue similar to what they had all those years ago.
"It's real!" the voice yelled in disbelief, muffled from the water's barrier.
"Dude, we're going to be famous!" said another.
At this point, Tenebris' heart was pounding through her chest. No longer able to stay still, the mermaid peaked out from the water to steal a glance at what was on the boat. She was only able to see a fraction through the small opening at the edges, but it was enough.
It was a shine of beautiful scales. The colors blue, red, and yellow. Unmoving.
Tenebris burst into rage.
The enormous mermaid, more than five times the size of human beings, leaped from the water and climbed onto the deck. Its dark figure, the same color as the deep ocean around them, smashed at the boxes as it released a terrifying, inhumane, roar.
"WHAT IS THAT!?"
The humans landed smack on their backs, terrified of the creature in front of them. There were more of them than she thought. Tenebris smashed a hand onto one human, claws digging into its flesh before she threw it into the waters for the ocean to consume. She watched as they scrambled about on deck, trying to save their own lives.
At that moment, Tenebris saw Solis.
"Humans are such fascinating creatures," Solis commented during one of their cuddling sessions. The tropical mermaid was snug as Tenebris wrapped her tail around the smaller creature. "What do you think they do? Do they have families? Do they grow? How are they able to build such amazing crafts?" Solis tilted her head, eyes sparkling with fascination, and continued, "Humans are such interesting creatures.
Solis had always been fond of them, despite all of the whispers and legends. Tenebris thought it to be reasonable. After all, she was a rather young mermaid, only half a century old in comparison to Tenebris, who had lived for a few millennia.
Tenebris cuddled closer to the tropical mermaid. "Keep your mind free of those scum." she echoed.
Solis was too young to know the true horrors of what humans were truly capable of.
Now, here she was, Tenebris' beautiful Solis lying slack on the deck. A harpoon was stuck into her stomach, draining her of her own blood and leaving the mermaid a sickening pale. Her eyes were wide and lifeless.
"Get the mermaid! We need her!" yelled a human.
Tenebris' eyes quickly shifted to the other human, who looked two sizes smaller than Solis herself. Before it was able to lay a disgusting hand on the tropical mermaid, Tenebris let out a screech and gave him a smack.
However, it seemed like the other humans had finally gotten a hold of themselves, one of them rushing to the harpoon shooter. Another took a strange tool into his hands and pointed it at Tenebris.
"Die!" the human yelled and pulled the trigger.
A bright light burst from the tool, shocking Tenebris and hitting her directly in her face. She hissed at the burn that seeped into her skin, attempting to claw the pain away.
"She's distracted! Get her!"
Then, before she knew it, Tenebris felt a sharp stab penetrate straight into her abdomen. The dark creature roared in pain, her tail coming to jab at the boat. The humans held their ground, feeling the quake of something going wrong.
"The boat is sinking!" one yelled.
Foolishly, Tenebris pulled out the harpoon from her body, only worsening the wound and allowing the blood to flow freely. It was throbbing in an excruciating heat of pain. Suddenly, the boat began to dive down at an alarming rate. The humans swam to the top, but Tenebris, being wrapped around the boat and weak, was brought down along with it. The dark sea around the began to stain with a deep red still unseeable due to the storm and the late hour.
The deeper they sank, the darker Tenebris' vision became. However, it was when they reached nearly halfway down when she realized that Solis' body had come with her. The harpoon attached to her body had gotten caught in ropes.
If mermaids could cry, Tenebris would already be weeping. However, the only way Tenebris was able to express how broken she was was through a deep, low, and painful echo that stretched throughout the sea. The sound of a mermaid that had just lost the most precious thing. Their entire world.
Tenebris continued to create the sorrowful sound, the waves vibrating from her throat like a sad purr, as she reached out to hold Solis' dead body gently in her hands. Lifeless and limp. Then, Tenebris noticed that Solis's hand was gripping something. Carefully, she pried her frozen hands apart to see a beautiful, black pearl ring.
"Tenebris is the most beautiful thing in the world." Solis giggled, her small hands too tiny to frame the dark creature's features.
Tenebris brows furrowed, and she turned her head to the side with a soft growl. "Do not lie, Solis."
"It is not a lie, Tenebris." Solis gave the deep sea mermaid the warmest smile, and said, "Just like how rare, enchanting, and beautiful a black pearl is, you are beautiful."
Tenebris closed her eyes and tenderly cradled the dead mermaid as she sank deeper into the depths of the ocean's darkness. Gone was the rage that she felt, and in its place was only a sense of pure mourning.
Her Solis, her sun, was gone. Her beautiful flame forever extinguished from her world. Never again will she be able to see that enchanting smile or touch that soft skin. However, as Tenebris felt life seep away from his soul, she only felt a calm feeling enter her veins for the mermaid knew that she would not stay in this world for long, and that was okay.
For as long as she was with Solis, everything would be just fine.