Monday, January 28, 2013

The Mermaid House: Part Nineteen

WHEN LEANDER TURNED, Amphitrite the dead girl, the gorgon, stood before them. She seized Violet by the throat and flung her.
    As Violet slid into a heap against the rocks, Leander yelled and lunged, but a clawed hand pressed against his chest, over his heart, paralyzing him. The blood seemed to stop pumping through him.   
    Amphitrite leaned close, whispered, "I shall sew you up, filled with morning glories, my beautiful boy."
    Those claws needled into his chest. He closed his eyes against her, said, "You have to give something back."
    He felt the claws withdraw a little. Warm blood slid beneath his T-shirt. The ocean was a cold abyss at his back, but what stood before him was ancient, luminous, and fatal. She whispered,"What did you say?"
    Something wet and cold twined around his neck as her body pressed against his. His stomach knotted as he realized it was her hair, swirling around him. He opened his eyes and met her silver gaze. "If you take from me, you've got to give something back. That's the rule."
    Her eyes narrowed. She stepped back, her writhing hair sliding from him. "Well...what shall I give? Because, Leander Cyrus, I am taking you."
    There was one thing he could request, to set things right. He said, "Let Violet be human again."
    "She's been dead for seven years."
    "You're a sea goddess and you can't give one girl her life back?"
    An eel slithered through the tangles of her black hair. "It is the first rule: The dead cannot become living again."
(Illustration by Lucien Levy-Dhurmer)   

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