When her sister died drowning in the ocean one night, Megan Bitterday believes there is more to her death than just an 'accident'. There is more to it and the answer may lie in the bottom of the ocean. But when Ann finds a stranded Merman after a storm, she found her chance to unravel the truth behind her sister's death. And perhaps something even darker...
I think around 15 to 25 years old. Basically for girls.
The midnight air felt as if it was pushing her to go into the water. It was warm and heavy on her skin, sticking to her tongue as she takes a deep breath.
It was twelve o’clock and the lights of small gas lamps had begun to disappear one by one as the small fishing boats go further away into the distance. It was dark, the only lighting she had come from the abandoned streets. Some covered with tall trees that made whispering noises as the wind blew again and again.
fourteen-year-old Ann Bitterday sat hugging her knee, eyeing the darkness of the ocean. Closing her eyes, she could hear sounds of laughter and soft chattering from her house not far. The outside lights were off, leaving shadows around the small but cozy house. Ann could hear her Aunt Linda, laughing dryly at one of Dad’s strange jokes, while her Mother spoke to one of Megan’s old friends; Sarah. There were sounds of plates being taken out, glasses being set and taken from the table, their house dog Mr. Gen barking to get out.
“Somebody let that dog out, he probably wants to pee,” Aunt Linda said, just before the door of the house opened. Ann looked back; Mr. Gen had jumped off the porch, running with all his might towards her. Mr. Ger was a beautiful Golden Retriever, she thought, opening her arms to catch him.
“What is it, boy? What is it, boy? Are you worried about me?” Ann whispered to him. Rubbing his thick golden fur.
Mr. Gen barked, licking her face enthusiastically. It felt like soft sandpaper on her skin, wet and smelly. Still, she knew this was still better than that time when Dad let Mr. Gen run around on his own. He had found his way to the garbage can; all filled with sausage, old chicken, and God knows what, because afterward Dad’s couldn’t let him stay in the house. His mouth was too smelly, it filled the whole room.
“I know,” Ann said in a low voice. Mr. Gen leaned on her, watching the few too; his tongue hanging from his snout. With care, she put her hand on his back and patted him. “I miss her too Gen, but you should stop waiting, she isn’t coming back,”
As if it hurt him, he turned his head to Ann, then barked.
“You don’t think she’s coming back do you?” Mr. Gen whimpered, then laid down. He put his head on her lap, refusing to answer Mom’s calls.
Ann didn’t blame him for feeling sad, she didn’t blame herself for feeling like a cruel witch; telling a dog his friend isn’t coming back. No matter how true it was, maybe she should just let Mr. Gen believe that Megan was coming home and let him wait forever. He was her dog.
Mr. Gen was just a puppy when Megan found him sleeping next to a garbage can, just a few weeks old. As far as he knew, Megan might as well be his mother. And when she left, he never stopped waiting. He always sat by the door every night, waiting for Meg to come. At night when she didn’t come, he slept next to her bed, and in the morning when he didn’t see her in her bed; he would go out and look for her. And in midday, he went inside and laid next to her piano where she used to play for the family.
Ann wondered, can Mr. Gen understand that Megan is dead?
“Hey Ann,” A soft footstep approached her. Ann glanced at Sarah, finding the girl looked ten years older than she should. Without an invitation, she sat next to Ann, “Mind if I join?”
“You should have asked that before you sat down,”
“If I did you would have told me to go away,” Sarah said rather dryly. There was no humor in her voice, only pure sadness, and seriousness. Her hair was short just below her ears, straight, and strawberry blond if not brunette. Ann eyed her earrings and suddenly wanted to cry.
“You still have that,” Ann started, “You don’t think you’re too old for that?”
“It’s the only thing I’ve got left from Meg,” Sarah answered, touching the small seashell with its colorful glitter. “I don’t usually wear this but, I’d wear it to remember her,”
“How do you remember her? How can you remember her? When you don’t see someone for a long time, they always start to fade away, until nothing is left from them, until the only thing you can remember is that they existed once in your life,” And as soon as she said it, Ann regretted it. She hated making Sarah cry. Megan would always scold her for making Sarah and her impossibly sensitive heart cry. But it was her thought, what better way to tell that than to just say it?
Sarah dried her eyes, sniffing her small nose, “Well, that’s what memories are for, I guess? It’s been three years since she died, but you can still remember how she was, the stories she told,”
“Ah yes,” Ann replied, “Her stories,”
“What’s wrong?” Sarah elbowed her, “You used to love her stories. We both listened to it, almost every night. About the Jellyfish witch, the Sirens in the trench, and my favorite, the mating chambers,”
Ann couldn’t hold in her smile. Despite how sweet and innocent she looked, Sarah was the most perverted person she had ever met. There was a time when they sat on the floor talking about buying a dildo secretly. Ann could have sworn Sarah was a bad influence on Meg.
Ann leaned back, feeling Mr. Gen’s fur between her fingers. They were soft and clean.
“I was a kid and you love fairy tales. Seriously, do you think Mermaids are real?”
Sarah taught about it for a moment, “If you think about it, it always felt real when Meg told those stories, don’t you think?”
“Yeah, because she was a great gossip,” Ann mumbled before she looked up to Sarah, “I don’t think Mermaids or Atlantis, or Jellyfish witch, or whatever she ever told us was real. It was an obsession, and I don’t want to remember my sister like that.”
Sarah frowned, “Without those stories then we wouldn’t be able to remember Sarah the way she was. Why are you upset about it Ann? Something tells me there’s something more to this. Come on, tell me,” Sarah demanded.
Ann looked away from Sarah, once again watching the flow of the sea, the sound of crashing water on the beach. She could feel everything at once, all her emotions, words that were on the tip of her tongue. Still, she couldn’t bring herself to say it, couldn’t destroy the image of Megan’s tragic death. To spoil what was taken as the cause of that pain. It was a beautiful ending of a tragic death, if she said something then she would destroy it.
“It’s nothing,” Ann finally said after a long moment. Sarah took a deep breath, “You know you can always talk to me, say anything you want. Megan would say so,”
“I know. But, I want to protect you,” Ann said in a low voice.
Sarah looked bewildered, “Protect me? From what?”
“From what I think. How I feel about this. I know it’s been three years but I just can’t let it go,”
“It’s call missing someone,” Sarah began, but Ann went on. “It’s not missing someone, I know what that feels like, it’s not denial either, because I accept that Meg is gone. I just know from her stories, from all the time she spent swimming, for years she knew exactly what to do to not drown, or get carried away,”
Ann glanced at Sarah, the other girls' eyes were large and deep blue in the darkness. Should she tell her? Should she destroy the image of Meg’s death?
“I just think it doesn’t make sense that she drowned,”
“What do you mean?” Sarah asked, hugging her knee tighter. It was too late now, Ann knew, she had to say it. “I think Megan died of suicide. She killed herself,”
As she feared, there was a very long silence between them. Even Mr. Gen who was half asleep, enjoying the wind, could feel the tension between them. He looked up from one girl to the other and decided he was better off somewhere else.
Right when Ann thought Sarah wouldn’t say anything, she finally spoke, “I don’t think that’s the cause. She had no reason to commit suicide, Ann. You can’t say that about Meg,”
“You just said to me I can say whatever to you,” Ann protested.
“Yes you can, but I didn’t imagine this.” Sarah buried her face in her hand, and then waved at the sea, “Look at how big that is Ann, no matter how great someone is at swimming, it’s always possible to drown. It doesn’t mean that the person committed suicide,”
“Are you going to tell?” Ann said coldly. Sarah’s face went blank, “What?”
“I said, are you going to tell? Tell my parents that’s what I think about Meg’s accident,”
“No,” Sarah said shortly, “I’m not going to tell anyone. But I’m really worried if that’s what you think Ann. That’s not healthy,” If Ann could take a rock and hit it to Sarah’s head, she would.
Ann turned her head away, “Good, then just go, okay? I want to be alone.”
“Ann...” Sarah started.
“I said go!” Ann barked. Surprised, Sarah got to her feet and left her alone where she sat. Her footsteps faded away, while Mr. Gen was playing tag with the wave. Ann took another deep breath, forcing herself not to cry. It was pointless, it was stupid to cry over something she did herself. She should have known someone like Sarah couldn’t possibly understand how she thought. Megan, Ann thought with a sniff, Meg would know what to say, she would ask her what would make her think that and told her that there was always the possibility.
But Meg is gone. A voice said in her mind. You’re never going to see Meg again, and you know it.
In front of her, Mr. Gen began to bark, harshly, the way he would when he sees a cat or another dog. Ann looked at where he barked to but nothing was there, it was quiet and dark and empty.
“Gen, Sssh, don’t bark so loud, Mom’s gonna come and get you,”
Mr. Gen didn’t stop. He ran left and right and left again as if he wanted to jump into the water and swim.
“Mr. Gen,” Ann shouted this time. It was the name Megan gave him, and if Gen wasn’t good enough for him to listen then Mr. Gen would. But this time Mr. Gen didn’t listen. Grumpily, Ann went to him, grabbing his collar when she saw someone coming out of the water.
Under the bright light blue moon, a shadow of a boy appeared silently. It may just be her imagination but the boy was watching the house, ducking onetime, before coming back to the surface. Ann stood, eyeing the boy closely. Quietly she told Mr. Gen to be quiet, putting her hand on his snout. The dog listened, still, he was moving nervously; not sure what to do. Ann wasn’t sure what to do herself. She wasn’t sure if she let this opportunity pass, would she ever see this strange boy again.
Ann stepped into the water. It was warm on her feet, slowly rising up to her knee. All the way, her eyes were fixed on the boy who didn’t seem to notice her there. She took a deep breath, imagining what kind of monsters were hiding in the ocean, what animals were crawling between her feet, sharks taking a bite of her leg, and jellyfish stinging her skin. The water had finally reached her chest.
“Hey!” She called out to him.
The boy’s neck snapped, his eyes were now on her. And to Ann’s amazement, they were shining gold, bright as if casting its own light. She sucked in a breath when her feet lost footing. Ann couldn’t feel the bottom anymore, only water and the darkness all around her. The boy who was shocked for a moment decided to leave her. He ducked down, causing a small splash of water. His tail, she saw, was white glittering scales under the moon light. The shape of his fins was beautiful.
“He-” Ann swallowed some water. It was salty and thick in her throat, “Help!” She told herself not to panic, carefully swimming back to where Mr. Gen was watching her soundlessly; confused. Ann kicked and pushed, kicked and pushed, but it seemed the more she tried the more she was taken away. Ann cried out, once more swallowing water. She cried one last time before a small wave took her down.
In the edge of her mind, she imagined this was how Meg died, and in horror imagined how she was going to die. Ann reached out, feeling nothing but water all around her wrapping her body until her last take of breath was blown out, creating large bubbles that touched her skin, soft like a feather. Desperate, Ann opened her eyes to nothing but darkness. Her heart began to protest in pain, needing air. Ann closed her eyes again, giving up to the pain, and let go of her consciousness.
Ann coughed water out of her mouth, took a deep breath, feeling the cold midnight air as a blessing she would never take for granted again. She couldn’t remember what happened; only that she had fainted running out of air to breathe.
Weakly, Ann’s eyes opened to find a pair of golden eyes staring down at her. Her sight was blurry, and the sight was as if she was looking at a pair of cat eyes in the dark. She tried opening her mouth, to say thank you, to ask him who he was, to say that she was glad he saved her. But when she saw his tail wavering behind him, above his head, all thought was forgotten.
He was a Merman, she thought, feeling as if in a dream.
“Thank you,” Ann whispered to him. He didn’t say anything, but instead, he leaned down, so close, until their lips touched. It was a deep, long kiss, her very first. And it made her body warm.
Just as she wanted to cup his face, she heard Mr. Gen barking in the distance, followed by a crowd of people; her mother, father, Sarah, and Aunt Linda. The boy pulled away, Ann could hear him dragging his body, followed by a splash of water. ‘Wait’ she wanted to say, but she felt so sleepy. It weighted heavily on her, like an anchor pulling her under.
She opened her mouth but nothing came out. And then she saw silhouettes, people calling her name. “Ann, Ann, oh my Lord! Please, please, not Ann!”
“Please, you have to call 911!”
“They’re on their way sir, please stay calm,”
“Lex, we have to carry her inside,” Aunt Linda said.
It was the last thing she heard, as everything else drifted away into darkness.
Hello everyone, thank you for putting some time into reading my prologue. I'm not a native speaker but I hope my grammar and English is good enough for you to enjoy this.
Please tell me what you think and what I can do to make this better! I'm so happy I found this class and that I get to share this with all of you!
I'm a bit shy but I love to chat so feel free to send me a message! Lots of love from deep below!
This is the cover that I edited for this story, it's a pity that it has to be cut out when I uploaded it so I thought it would be nice if I just added it here. What do you think?