Halloween Tale 2018

A Midnight Mermaid

One eye opens. Lines of light drop between each beam’s shadow.
That repetitive shoosh becomes sand dragging under waves.
This is the beach house.

Beyond the conservatory roof is the moon, it has pulled the tide high.

Your feet want to be on the sand, it’s all you think of - that beach, that light, how it catches the tilt of the sea. The salt tang. The feel of sand under bare feet.
So your feet go to the floor, your arms pull into a gown, your palm presses the door handle.

Outside is exactly right. Silvered, doused in magic.
Shoosh, shoosh.
A warm press from the air. The press of your feet in cooling sand.
There in the white break something rolls, fluid as the water, shining.
A hand spills from the wave, a shining hand.
The shock is a thrill. This is night magic, you are sure of it.
You crouch; creep closer.

Strands of hair flow in, flow out.
A figure slender, dense with muscle.
Arms, shoulders, skin taut over ribs, a waist that morphs into fish.
Is it?
You reach your fingers out to touch fine scales on an upper arm.
Fish skin, part human; the body rolls.
All the light is outside, it glints off.
This face is configured as yours is: eyes, nose, mouth. Eyelashes, eyebrows. Lips, bow shaped.
Glassy eyes, unseeing, with some unhuman tint.
Teeth thin, sharp: fish teeth.
Not bones, these ribs, the roll is too light - they are.. cartilage?
Gill slits under each ear. Ears close to the head, small like they would close up underwater.
In the tail nothing resembles legs - this, this is all piscine, pristine, some kind of emerald that lived and swam and even the cloaca is placed like a gem.
Strands of hair flow everywhere, mesmerising, swirling over blurring edges.
Yes: the edges are coming undone - coming from flesh to flecks, bioluminescent flickers that slick back out over the waves.
The skin is all gone, just like that.
Muscles twist, foam, slick out.
Skeletal structure reveals, disappears.
Slippery innards just the same.
Each piece of it amazing - weird - gone.
Your knees hurt. You stand up.
Rainbow colours shimmer out, flow like hair, slowly, slowly, shift, disperse.
You turn your palms up. A fleck of scale on your fingertip.
Deeply breathing an oily-seaweed scent.
Slow-heavy repeat of the surf.
So tired.

And when the sun later spears into your dreams?
You can feel that there is sand on your feet, you can see that the fine scale has gone from your touch, and that is all you can know.


Mystical, magical - and intriguing.
Thank you.
You make the fantasy seem so... realistic. I was right there on the beach with you, marveling at the sight and touch of the mermaid. :)
Geo. said…
That has to be one of the most moving and beautiful things I've ever read, and I've read libraries. Brava, brava!
A magical encounter, indeed.
Lisa Southard said…
Thank you also :-)
Lisa Southard said…
Happy to have your company, and the compliments don't hurt :-) xx
Lisa Southard said…
It would be an amazing thing to witness - glad I was able to do justice :-)
Thank you! xx
Lisa Southard said…
This piece is from a WIP - it's a way off yet but it's taking me in some unexpected directions, marrying the magic and the everyday - and while I'm all over the place with work it is easier to be writing snippets than finish my current project - also frustrating, since I'd rather finish the current novel. Anyway, we do what we can with what we've got!

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