Saturday, April 3, 2021

The Sea Hag -Chapter Two-

Chapter 2 is up! 

If you missed Chapter1, here it is



Sirena


I had spent all night systematically sabotaging the efforts of fishermen great and small. Mostly the great, actually. Mom and Pop boats weren’t worth the effort. It was those corporate bastards that seemed to be out to destroy the very thing that fed them. Humans. I will never understand them. I finished neutralizing the crab pots belonging to a major seafood company off the Oregon coast. Those death traps would now be home to thousands of lifeforms; serving the sea instead of raping her.

A sea lion swam by over my head and paused, eyeing me curiously. I reached into the pot and grabbed two handfuls of the chum they used for bait. Rancid fish-guts clouded the water near my face as I shoved it in my mouth and gulped it down. The sea lion stared, it’s large, dark eyes wary and so like my own. I tossed the other handful chum into the space between us and moved away, watching. The sea lion looked from me to the fish, then back to me. I turned my face and body away, pretending to study something else and the sea lion darted in, sharp canines flashing as it gobbled up everything it could and looked at me again. It appeared I had made another friend. I smiled, careful not to show teeth lest my new friend take it for aggression. The sea is a vast and lonely place when you were the only one of your kind and I welcomed the occasional companionship of other marine life.

I proceeded to raid the crab pot bait until it was no more, feeding both myself and my new companion, who I nicknamed Little Brother for his eyes that reminded me of my own lost brother, until we were both sated. I grabbed a few more handfuls of the stuff and shoved it into the zippered pouch at my waist before heading inland and surfaceward. When my head broke the surface, my nostrils unsealed and I breathed deeply of air I had not tasted for hours. Little brother surfaced next to me, rolling onto his back and waving his flippers at me. Hesitantly I reached out one long fingered, webbed hand tipped in black claws. His round black eye stared at me with unaccountable trust as I gently stroked his chest.

“You are a strange and foolish creature,” I told him sternly. This was no wild born thing, I realized. Little Brother had to have been raised by humans. Perhaps he was “released” into the wild for some reason and that was why he had no colony of his own. Abandoned and left to die alone. I could relate. “Very well,” I said with a final pat and he obligingly turned back over. “We will swim together a while. Until you find a home you like.”

Little Brother surged out of the water, letting out two enormous barks that set my ears to ringing. “Ow,” I cringed, “not so loud!” he barked again softly, much closer to the water and I couldn’t help the smile that spread across my face. Stupid human genes.

Then it was my turn to surge out of the water, letting out a screeching call to the sky before sinking back down. Little Brother eyed me dubiously. “Yes, I get to do it, not you. You’ll see why. We’re going to meet our other companion, Steven. Steven Seagull.”

Don’t look at me like that. One of the guards where I grew up liked to watch Steven Seagal movies during the night shift. It was the first name that came to mind, okay?

I dove back under and continued heading south and east, coming up every few minutes to repeat the call until I saw a familiar rock formation and heard one particular lone gull cry. Steven was circling above a large cove encircled by rocky promontories like an incomplete lover’s embrace. I had found this place last winter. It was a fertile hunting ground, inaccessible to large predators and, most importantly, miraculously free of any recent signs of humans. I had decided to make this my home for the time being. I sometimes prefer to sleep on land in warm weather, and I knew that Little Brother also needed land to sleep on.

Steven Seagull shrieked one final time as we neared the entrance to the cove and headed straight for me, backwinging in startled panic when Little Brother surfaced next to me. I looked at Little Brother and shook my head. “Nice first impression, dummy,“ I scolded without any heat. I reached and unbuckled the clear plastic zippered pouch that held the fish-guts, opening and lifting the contents toward the angrily squawking Steven. The gull circled for a bit, watching me interact with Little Brother, who I patted affectionately, before swooping down to his accustomed perch atop my head. He squawked threateningly at the sea lion and I dutifully held up the offering of food for his magnanimity.

As the bird was feeding, balanced on my head, I heard a sound like a small roll of thunder coming from inland, beyond the screen of forest. Steven squawked an objection as my head whipped around and his little webbed feet went skittering off my smooth dome. I swam over to a nearby outcropping of jagged, black rock and tossed the pouch onto it saying to my friends, “You guys stay here. I’ll make sure it’s safe.” I dove under and made a beeline for the shore, stopping just before the break line so I could stay mostly submerged while I watched.

Nothing happened for some time after the rumbling noise faded. It was a large engine, I realized. Probably a vehicle. But it had left, so perhaps they couldn’t get through the forest and had gone in search of more accessible locales.

I bobbed with the swell, only my eyes peering above the water for what felt like eternity. Surely no human would take this long to get down to a beach, I reasoned. I turned around to head back to my companions. I was beyond tired at this point, not having slept for a couple of days. We were designed to surpass the limits of human endurance in most ways, but everything needs to sleep. I was fast reaching the limit of both my endurance and patience so, when Steven flew directly over my head, pointed at the shore and cawing a warning, I felt my sharp teeth grind together. I whipped around to see a human male, carrying a surfboard under one arm and holding a white stick in front of him with the other.

Rage bubbled up inside me as I watched him, his flesh bare to the waist, drop down a large bag, lay out a blanket, and plant his board like this was his own private beach. Well, this was not, in fact, his beach. This was my beach, and I was a deadly marine predator. I could scare him off, easy. I had been seen by humans before. Rarely, but it happened. I don’t look human; I mean, I have two arms, two legs, and a head attached to a torso like a human but my face is more Swamp Thing than Ariel. My eyes are too big, round and black. I don’t have a nose, only two small slits that seal tight when I submerge. I have two small breasts, because I think I’m still technically a mammal, but my hands and feet are webbed and clawed and my skin is rubbery, tough, and capable of changing color and texture at will making me very hard to see when I don’t want to be seen. I don’t have body hair but I do have gill slits along my ribs and on the sides of my neck that supplement my oxygen, allowing me to stay submerged for hours instead of minutes.

We were created to be weapons, my brother and I, a rich maniac’s vanity project. Eventually, when we were 15, someone grew a conscience and blew the whistle on what they were doing in that offshore laboratory in international waters, and they tried to kill us to cover their tracks. I escaped. 

My brother didn’t.

This I thought as I seethed with hatred for this man and what he represented. I admit it may have been a slight overreaction to the situation. So, when I dove down and began ripping up handfuls of kelp from the seafloor my intention was to frighten the holy living hell out of this man so that he never returned to my little cove. The more monstrous and bizarre I looked the better, so that no one would believe him if he told them what he saw.

I swam inland as far as I could, clutching my kelp, then I stood in the surf arranging it over my head like hair. I stooped over and peered through the kelp strands at the figure seated on the blanket. He didn’t appear to have seen me yet. I glided up as silently as I could, my clawed hands raised in menace, and froze.

He was beautiful.

He sat cross-legged, his naked torso made entirely of lean, hard muscle and smooth, bronzed skin. His hair was the color of a warm beach, artfully shaggy and hanging over the bluest, most piercing eyes I had ever seen. There was something vaguely familiar about his square jaw and patrician nose, but I couldn’t place it. Besides, it wasn’t all sharp angles and high cheekbones, that gentle, mobile mouth was a work of art all on it’s own. The mouth that was now making a sharp clicking sound at me that sounded disturbingly dolphin-like. The words of threat along with the creaky voice I had planned to deliver them in both died in my throat. Those bright blue eyes looked right past me, unseeing.

The way he tilted his head, using his ears instead of his eyes fascinated me, I couldn't tear my eyes away from this incredible creature. I wanted to say something, to go to him and beg to be caressed by those large, sensitive hands. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I was appalled at these sudden and unwarranted desires; but I couldn’t move, I was frozen with uncertainty, and no small amount of terror at my own reaction. He’s just a man! Screamed my inner reason.

“Hello!” said the most gorgeous being in the universe. His little smile made my heart literally flutter in my chest, dammit. He waved to me, friendly as you please. Like I wasn’t a hideous Sea Hag. He was asking me a question. He wanted to know if I was alright. Something welled up in my chest. I didn’t know if it was a laugh or a sob. Then he stood up and his hand reached out for me, and his legs were muscled perfection inside the wetsuit, and I couldn’t take it anymore. Pure frustration unlocked my limbs. I dropped the useless kelp disguise with a hiss, turned on my heel, and dove back into the sea. I forced myself to stay submerged the whole way back so I wouldn’t be tempted to look back. I needed a nap and I needed to get my head on straight. In that order. The cove was half a mile wide at the shore; I would take myself and my companions to the far side to get some much needed rest. Surely the blind man wouldn’t stray too far from where he was. Maybe you’ll get lucky and he’ll drown, said some nasty part of me and I felt my heart contract painfully at the thought of his life being extinguished.

“I am not in love,” I assured Little Brother and Steven, when I met them at the edge of the cove, “that would be ridiculous.”

Steven eyed me dubiously while Little Brother huffed his doubt, spraying me in the face.

“You guys are so supportive,” I said dryly, “whatever would I do without you?” With that, I dove under and made for the far shore. Little Brother barked playfully and followed after and Steven Seagull decided to roost reluctantly next to both of us in the warm sand just beyond reach of the waves. I lay on my side, back to the high shelter of the cove’s rocky arms and Little Brother’s soft bulk. The last of my energy drained away and I sank into exhausted sleep.


5 comments:

  1. Woah, nice twist! Wasn't expecting the escaped experiment route. Looking forward to next week!

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  2. Was not expecting this! Way to keep me interested!

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  3. Very fun. Can’t wait for more

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  4. Thank you for writing and sharing!

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  5. Loving this story so far. Not exactly the same, but Sirena as an escaped experiment subject reminds me of Dark Angel... maybe I’ll revisit that show soon!

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