What the hibbity hop? Pablo just finished reading us "Twilight." I really don't get why people like this book. I mean, this girl Bella stumbles on some shiny vampires who don't eat people, they eat animals. Who ever heard of vampires that don't eat people? I mean aint that the dang point? Anywho, her blood is irresistable to this Edward fella who seems like a good guy, except he's like a 100 dang years old. And then turns out he has a good family, maybe even a little more stable than Bella's, but she up and pisses off some Vampire that actually eats people. Imagine that. A vampire that eats people wants to eat a girl whose playing baseball with a bunch of vampires. I actually like that the vampires play baseball though! That was kind of cool. If I could play like that, I'd ditch the family and win the world series for the red sox for like, the rest of my life and such. Anywho, dang James apparently don't know when to quit, cause he keeps on hunting this chick Bella and bam, all of a sudden, he dies. It's like, duh! What the crap did you think was going to happen? Course you was going to get torn to bits and pieces and torched, that's what happens when you go up against a bunch of good wholesome vampires who are like, 100 years old! Anywho, I don't get why ya'll like this so much. I get a bunch of girls emailing me all the time what I think about this book. It's like it's the female bible or something. I just don't get it. Probably shouldn't tell ya'll this, but I had a dream about a shiny vampire. It was kind of weird. He was all sparkly and such and I was like, "dang, you'd make a good fishing lure." Afore he could answer me, I woke up. Not sure what that means, but this here story should make more sense for ya'll. This is chapter 3 compiled. Hope ya'll like it.
CHANGES & CHANGING
Setchra smiles. “You will fear me less,” she heaves, snapping her tail, “when I walk on two legs like you.”
Clattering clacks on the rocks cause Princess to shudder, “Do you hear that?”
Setchra looks around. Her omniscient sight penetrates the looming sea mist, which reveals orange hairy crabs, scampering over the oval rocks. Princess watches the cantankerous crabs pinch each other's legs as they duel for the mermaid's savory scales.
A pile of translucent scales now rest beneath the mermaid’s half flesh, half scaly legs. She grabs a kelp vine and wraps the lengthy wet leaves around her waist, fashioning a dark, glistening skirt. With a few more powerful flips, the fine bones of Setchra’s tail abruptly separate into two feet, completing her conversion.
Princess’ eyes widen in shock as she witnesses the transformation. She takes a deep breath and inhales the cool night sea air. She pulls her head in like a turtle’s and lifts her shoulders up towards her ears so tightly that it feels like her little head could pop off at any moment.
“Does it hurt?”
“A little,” Setchra calmly responds.
Setchra carefully stands, putting one wobbly foot forward on the shifting beach stones. “Now you can trust me.” She takes a step and her leg wobbles. “Ohhwwe—” she cries out before falling to the cold stony ground.
“Hee, hee, hee,” Princess giggles.
“Must I crawl before I walk?” Setchra gripes. She reaches for Princess, who provides a flimsy shoulder. Setchra stands and takes one small step forward, then two, then three, until she finally remembers the balance required for walking.
“Oh my, I almost forgot!” She pats her human-like hipbones, shifting one hip then the other, feeling the sharp angles move beneath her fingertips. Setchra takes wobbling steps towards a mound of seaweed on the shore. She falls to her knees and rakes her delicate fingers over a clump of seaweed.
“What are you searching for?” Princess asks, keeping a safe distance from the water as her unspoken gratitude for finally arriving on shore.
“A bulb,” Setchra replies, tossing handfuls of seaweed to her left and right. Finally, Setchra finds what she’s looking for. She latches onto a long, slimy cord of kelp with a round bulb end as big as her fist. Rising up, she returns to Princess. “We’ll be leaving soon.”
“Where are we going?” Princess asks.
Setchra bites down on the piece of the bulb nearest to the vine. A hundred sand fleas leap off the algae and tickle her face.
“Tep-meneble” she says through a mouth full of seaweed.
Princess gives her a stern look and points her finger authoritatively. “You are not supposed to speak with your mouth full!”
Setchra glances at Princess as she spits out pieces of the slimy green bulb, then picks her teeth.
Princess wrinkles her brow in confusion and squeaks, “Huh?”
The lovely mermaid tilts her head to the side and pulls her finger out of her mouth. “I’m taking you to Tremble Nemble,” Setchra says clearly. “But first, I have to find a blue ring octopus.” The duo move towards a trickling stream that runs down from the shadowy mountains towards the ebony ocean.
At the bank Princess curiously watches while the upright mermaid flips over flat, round rocks, carefully ensuring that her feet don’t get wet.
“What happens if your feets gets wet?”
Setchra holds her hands up like gills around her mouth and sucks her lips into a fish shape. “I turn back into a fish.”
Princess childishly giggles, “I like you!”
Setchra smiles warmly. She tenderly brushes the child underneath her chin with one finger. “I like you, too.”
Faded driftwood logs litter the shore, and look more like scattered bones than bleached wood. Bordering the coast, tall pines, maples, and oaks make up an eerie dark forest that Princess prays she will not have to enter.
The mermaid looks back at the fading tide. The moon is completely covered by clouds, yet it provides enough light for her to see everything clearly. She sees metallic depths, without shadow, that reflect the radiant moonlight. She turns a rock over, examining microscopic silver urchin needles, invisible to the naked human eye, but completely visible to her mer-vision.
On a rock’s surface, she detects a pair of staggered crab tracks that leave a trail under a large flat stone. She follows the trail until two glowing green crab eyes pop over a rock. She looks past the crab and discovers perfect, flashing neon blue rings. “Where there’s crab, there’s prey.”
Following the flashing blue rings, she closes in on a tiny fleeing octopus. Miniature, stretchy arms bend and cycle speedily through the water and an inky cloud disperses all around it, temporarily concealing the invertebrate. The octopus darts here and there, hoping to escape to deeper waters before the mermaid can snatch it. It manages to hide under several rocks and tuck itself in crevices before the mermaid corners it. Cautiously, she pinches the tiny, eight-inch octopus by the top of its head. Instantly, the slimy octopus’ skin flashes gray, as it wiggles and writhes.
“Why are you doing that?” Princess squeaks.
Setchra thrusts the octopus into the green kelp bulb and presses a small spiral seashell into the hole, sealing the opening. The blue neon circles on the sea creature’s skin blast powerful beams of light through the kelp bulb, creating a nautical lantern.
“Yeah, but why are you doing that?” Princess asks, unable to subside her curiosity.
“For light,” she instructs, holding up her prisoner near Princess’ face.
Princess squints and strains her eyes, searching for any sign of light. “I see no light,” she says, reaching for the bulb.
The wise mermaid confidently warns, “This tiny creature has enough venom to kill a dolphin.”
Princess pulls her arms in tight, clenching her fists, yet she can’t resist leaning in a bit closer for another look at the frightened octopus.
Setchra strokes Princess’ hair, calming her down. “Don’t be afraid.” The mermaid smiles at the deadly creature. “We have the upper hand. He can’t harm you from inside this shell.” She taps on the thick kelp bulb. Loud thudding deafens the tiny octopus.
Setchra holds the bulb close up to her face admiring the cascading lights.
“Through my eyes, I can see its beautiful splendor. Bright blue, like a twinkling star, except circling instead of pulsing.” Setchra inhales and focuses on the light. Her eyes trail up towards the dark heavens, which hold thousands of stars perfectly in place. Princess looks up and sees nothing. She looks back at the lamp and finally notices a faint blue ring, glowing and circling. Princess again reaches for the bulb, taking it she turns it round, examining the octopus inside.
From inside the bulb, Princess’ features are less than perfect. Her nose explodes and her eyes swell as she approaches the bulb’s wall. The octopus pushes itself as far back as it can, fear causes its neon circles to glow brighter as the little girls’ monstrously massive teeth grin through the bulbous bulb.
“Come child, we must go.”
Setchra reaches for her hand. Princess again takes her finger and follows behind. Setchra holds the luminous lantern out in front of her and walks straight into the dark forest, stomping thick thorny brushes down, so that Princess can follow her path.
Princess tests her wounded foot by placing pressure on it. "Oweeee," Princess cries out!
Setchra feels a flash of icy energy avalanche inside her and momentarily suffocate the blaze Princess created. The shifting emotions cause her heart to flutter in panic. For a brief moment, she feels as though she can't breathe. Setchra whips around, and scoops Princess up, clicking her tongue.
* * *
Behind them, down on the beach, Setchra’s mermaid scales catch in the wind and scatter down the rough coast. Crabs continue to compete with each other over the fishy feast. Down the coastline, flying streaks of glittering gold spontaneously zip in and out of the forest. Like a firework’s sparkling trail, the glittering gold haze is followed by pink, green, purple, and red fairy dust trails that explode out of the dark woods and blast down along the rocky beach.
“I told you I could smell a mermaid,” the gold fairy shouts over her shoulder to the trailing ones.
Nymphs zip and zoom towards Setchra’s scales, leaving a spectacular shimmering dust trail in their wake. A beautiful blonde fairy with shoulder-length hair and beautiful brown eyes creates a shimmering gold dust trail. Clothed in a lily petal skirt, the sprite greedily snatches up an armload of scales and presses them against her chest.
“Tillie, that’s not fair!” shouts her brunette twin sister, Nillie. “My wings are worn and torn. It’s time for a new set and a new shine! Besides the beach is full of wings. Full! Full! Full! Get your own!” Nillie latches onto the scales and tugs.
Tillie pops up and delivers a swift kick to Nillie, right in the stomach. Then flies away in an explosive burst of golden glitter. Nillie doubles over, looking up she grits her teeth and growls. Then, in a burst, chases after her sister, leaving a pink cloud of glitter behind her sister’s gold one.
* * *
Deep in the forest, owls hoot and crickets chirp.
Always longing for a pet, Princess’ enthusiasm grows as she peers in at the glowing octopus.
Setrcha sees her small face light up blue from the luminous orb. Princess excitedly squeals, “We should name it!”
The child’s voice causes Setchra to chuckle, which makes Princess giggle. The mermaid's enchanting laugh has an intoxicating effect on Princess.
The two have traveled through the forest for most of the night. Princess’ nodding head reveals her exhaustion.
“How much further?” Princess’ shoulders slump and her eyelids blink heavily.
“Traveling isn’t without difficulty, child. As the sun rises, I lose my sight.” Through the forest, Setchra sees the river’s glistening sparkle. “But be patient, we are near.”
“Are we there yet?” Princess shouts then yawns.
“Yeah, but are we there yet?”
“Almost,” Setchra responds in the same moderated tone.
“But when will we be there, hmm?” the child persists.
“After,” the mermaid bristles.
“After, after.” Setchra says through her clenched teeth.
Princess scrunches her brows together, presses her lips to the side of her face, then screams, “After, after, what?”
“After we’re—oh look, we’re there,” Setchra says, spotting sparkling water through breaks metallic-looking in the trees. She sets Princess down, takes a few steps forward, and pushes branches back, creating an opening in the thick foliage for the child. Princess tiredly stumbles through the break, rubbing her eyes as she hobbles along on her injured heel. When she stops she sees a riverbank with a wide flowing river and strong swirling current.
Stars fade as sunlight peeks over the distant hills.
“I must be in the water before dawn,” Setchra insists, pressed for time she examines the horizon.
“Why? What happens at dawn?”
“I can't see in sunlight, remember? T’would be best if you remained here and covered your ears.” She lets the branches go, leaving Princess on the riverbank, as she re-enters the forest.
Princess looks through breaks in the leaves and watches Setchra briskly tie the kelp bulb to her seaweed skirt. “What could she possibwe be doing?” Princess whispers. Curiously, she walks to the forest’s edge and creates her own entrance through the foliage. She follows behind the merwoman, but keeps her distance, peeking at Setchra through the vegetation.
A ray of rising sunlight stabs through an opening in the trees. Setchra throws her hands up to shield her eyes. She peeks over her shoulder at the bright, reflective light coming out of the breaks in the vegetation. The blinding reflection is so intense that she is forced to look away.
“You aren’t watching me, are you?”
Princess nods, but doesn’t answer.
Setchra waits for a moment then cups both hands around her mouth. She turns into the forest and releases a loud, high-pitched sonar blast. The sound comes from her sinus cavity, not her mouth.
Images begin to surface in Setchra’s mind. White sound waves, traveling out like ripples in a pond, give her a full circle view of her surroundings. She sees a densely populated forest with long-standing elms, bushy oaks, and wide-leaved maple trees packed tightly together. Finally she sees Princess covering her ears and turning away behind her.
She walks over and wraps her slender arms delicately around a tree’s trunk to measure the width. That’ll do, she decides.
She raises her right-hand and flicks her wrist. In an instant, her snapping fingers expose three-inch long, claw-like black fingernails erupting from her nail bed. With a violent swipe of her hand, her claws sink into the thick fibers of the sappy pine, tearing out half of the tree’s core. The unmistakable sound of splitting timber accompanies her efforts and echoes through the forest. Branches shake and leaves fall from the devastating blow.
Setchra puts one hand on the towering timber and with little effort gives it a push. The creaking tree sways ever so gently, then slowly it begins to fall. The leaning tree crackles and snaps as its fibers splinter apart. It hits the ground with an earth-shaking thud which causes sleeping critters to scamper in all directions. She strides to the narrow end of the fallen tree, clicking her tongue as she goes. The clicking ripples off Setchra’s surroundings, creating short-range images in her mind.
The mermaid sinks all of her fingernails into the hard wooden core, and starts to drag the two-ton bole to the river’s bank. Tugging the hefty log through the snagging woods, nothing stops Setchra from moving through the brush and meeting Princess on the shore. The astonished little girl runs up to a flimsy branch and tugs on it.
“I’m strong too!”
At the grassy shore, the sun breaches the mountain peaks. Setchra drags the log into the water, docking it on the shore, and then eagerly slides into the murky brown river.
Steam billows off the water’s surface. Princess watches Setchra’s wobbly, water-distorted figure in wonder. Beneath the water, she unties the kelp skirt, which now encircles her magnificent shining tail. The octopus, still trapped inside the clear bubble, drifts away with tentacles pressed against the translucent bulb as if to say, Release me, I played my part.
The mermaid swims in a circle, then bobs at the water’s surface, gasping and blowing bubbles each time her face breaks through the water. She rejoices in the moisture that replenishes her scales. Her hair floats above her head then streams down around her shoulders when she breaks the surface.
“How’d you do that?”
Setchra’s mood becomes somber. She ignores Princess’ question. “While the sun is up, I cannot see; you will have to be my eyes.”
Princess pinches and tugs on her eyelids. “How?”
“You’ll have to tell me what you see.” Setchra motions for Princess to jump on the log.
Princess tiptoes to the water’s edge then hops backwards.
“Ah! I don't think so.” Princess reluctantly resists Setchra’s guidance.
Setchra laughs and holds her hand out. “I will aid you.”
Princess looks at Setchra’s long black claws. She hesitates to comment on them. “What if your singing cuts me in half, like the tree?” She decides to question, rather than reference the dagger-like nails.
Humored by Princess, Setchra grins. “My singing didn’t cut the tree in half,” the mermaid replies in a voice that tickles Princess’ ears. “It was my claws.” Setchra holds her right hand up and stretches her fingers, displaying her long nails.
“Oh…,” Princess humphs.
From the water, the mermaid pats on the log’s rough surface. “Come now, we must go. We aren’t there yet but will be soon.”
Princess bravely puffs her chest up, “I would much rather walk, tinksel,” Princess chirps. “Hiding in a log like a scared rabbit is hardly couwageous.” Princess hesitates, “Must I be on bat log?”
“Unless you would rather live in the ocean with me.”
Princess thinks about it for a moment.
“How would I breathe?”
“Without air, I would die.”
“Ok then, I’ll get on the log.”
Princess takes Setchra’s helping hand and scampers up the scarred tree, which is as wide as she is tall. Moving toward the trunk’s center, Princess edges along, being careful not to fall in the water. She sits side-saddle, then fidgets her legs to a straddle, resting on the coarse bark. She adjusts her dress while her dangling toe touches the water. Lying flat on her back, she lifts her arms behind her head and locks her fingers underneath it.
Princess yawns, “I’m very sleepy.”
Setchra flicks her other wrist, revealing a matching set of claws on her left hand. She buries her claws into the log and drags it into the swirling brown water, successfully driving against the current. Princess turns over on her tummy. Scared from the movement, she hugs the prickly bark with both arms.
Using her tail as a rudder, the merwoman sightlessly orients the tip of the bushy pine so that it points downstream. The slow current floats the duo away.
“We’ve but a short time 'til we arrive. Do you want to tell your story?”
Princess doesn’t answer. Her shallow breathing indicates that she’s fast asleep.
“Rest child, your guardian has served you well,” Setchra whispers to her and uses a narrow, black claw to tuck Princess’ brown hair behind her ear.
Setchra faces the log and, with a powerful thrust of her wide tail, lifts her body further out of the water. She folds her arms on the buoyant timber and rests her chin on them. What will become of this child? I know I should let her go, yet, perhaps I could keep her as my own? She considers the option. Oh dear, this is complicated, she sighs. Gently, the mermaid flicks her tail up and down, guiding the log.
“I think 'tis best you be with your own,” she lovingly whispers to the child.
Birds sing morning praises and welcome the dawn. The gentle flowing river makes a relaxing trickling sound. Setchra sighs in relief as she guides the makeshift raft down the river.
The two peacefully journey until late afternoon when Setchra hears grass shuffle. She turns towards the riverbank, but cannot see the old white-bearded man fishing for his evening supper. The shirtless, wrinkled man with curly white chest hair sits on a tree stump. Upon spotting the odd floating pair, he leaps from his stump and bellows, “You there! Ya be well?”
Setchra tenses at the sound of his voice, prepared to attack the stranger. She begins clicking her tongue and waits for a report. Nothing comes. The old man's distance is not within range of her clicking sonar. Her predator instincts press her to determine the number of spectators on the shore. Setchra debates using her more powerful sonar blast in order to determine the size and location of the threat.
“May I be of assistance, mum?” he yells.
Upon detecting the genuine concern in his voice she decides not to use the blast, but remains guarded.
“Morning,” she pleasantly replies, blindly looking past him. Without the child she would have dived down and slipped beneath the murky water, but as Princess’ sole protector, she feels the need to secure the little girl’s safety.
The siren's serene voice causes him to eagerly lean forward. “Looks like ya caught a bit more than I,” he chuckles as he puts a wood pipe in his mouth.
Setchra and Princess slowly drift past him.
“I’d offer you aid, but I’ve no rope that can reach ya at that distance.”
Setchra arches her back, pushes her chest out, thrusts her hips, and flicks her powerful tail to maintain her position. With little effort, the mermaid manages to hold the massive tree in the middle of the wide, strong current. Swelling swirls spin around her as water parts around her slender shoulders.
“Not that you’d be needin’ a towline to drag ya in,” the surprised old man says in astonishment, noting her abilities.
Unable to gauge the elderly man’s character or intent, Setchra quickly decides not to leave the child with the stranger on the shore. “How far to Tremble Nemble?”
The old man lifts a stick from a smoldering fire and lights his pipe. Smoke clouds billow out of his mouth. “Oh, closer than ya might think.” He points downriver with a wrinkled hand. “Tis just around that bend.”
“Thank you,” Setchra says, waving goodbye.
When she raises her hand, the man notices the blinding reflection of her golden top. His excitement results in several rapid puffs. “By Poseidon’s beard! Did I just see a mermaid?” he mutters between puffs.
He watches the sleeping child and lovely woman drift down past the bend, looks at his pipe. “What manner of herb burns in me pipe?” He turns his pipe over, knocking the red embers out, and drags his fingers through his beard. “Nah, ‘tis me ‘magination,” he assures himself.
Past the bend, Setchra guides the log to a wooden dock with two small fishing vessels tied to it. The crude boats look as though they haven’t been used in some time. Carefully, Setchra maneuvers the log until it’s resting partially ashore, next to the deep watered pier. Once it’s settled along the bank, she gently pats Princess on the arm. “Wake up, child. We’ve arrived.”
Princess smacks her lips sleepily, pushes herself up, and moans, “Ma?”
The mermaid helps her sit up.
“Hear me…,” Setchra delicately insists, but Princess’ heavy lids partially flutter open and close.
“I had terrible dreams, Ma,” she mumbles, leaning forward on Setchra’s chest, the child’s body goes limp and she falls back asleep.
Setchra sighs and tenderly rubs Princess’ back. Bark imprints on Princess’ face turn pink as the blood flows back into her cheeks. “There, there, child. Sleep well.”
The mermaid gently lifts the warm child off the log; her powerful tail easily holds her and the young girl upright in the deep pool. With Princess nestled in her arms, Setchra wonders if the child feels the blazing bond grow as strongly as she does. The warmth created from the bond is irresistible to the mermaid. She could hold Princess all day and all night without even the slightest urge to release her. And thus is the life of a mermaid, building the blazing warmth between mother and child.
Instinctively, the little girl wraps her arms around Setchra’s neck and breathes deeply. Princess’ snoozing puffs of warm air tickle Setchra’s ear almost the same way the mermaid’s voice tickles the child’s ears. The lady of the sea leans back and maneuvers herself towards the shore. At the sandy embankment, she rests against the soft muddy side. She cradles the little girl in her arms and lets her rest from her troubled day.
Time slips by and a family of swans enters the small cove. Setchra hears the mother enter the pool first, then her chirping chicks. The massive white-feathered mother spreads her large, beautiful white wings and flaps them a few times, adjusting herself in the water. Her tail throttles in the muddy river before she finally settles. Behind her, three chirping chicks clumsily leap into the water. Last of all, the enormous father leaps into the river. He, too, spreads his wings and flaps them before he shakes his beak, body, and tail.
In Princess’ dream, the sound of the father swan’s flapping wings trigger traumatic memories. First, she sees her mother’s eyes, then hears her father’s axe. She looks to her father’s handsome face, then to her mother’s hand, gripping her little wrist. Chills shiver down her spine as blood pours down her mother’s mouth. She looks at Princess with a lifeless gaze.
Princess’ closed eyelids rapidly shift back and forth. She moans once and her leg jerks twice.
Inside her dream, her mother eerily whispers, “Courage,” before she is again torn from Princess’ outstretched hand. Still asleep Princess feels her mother’s fingers slip through hers.
She gasps sharply then screams herself awake. “Want Ma, Ma!” she wails.
Setchra presses the child’s head against her chest and rocks her. The mermaid strokes her hair comfortingly. “Ssshhh, I know child.” With some effort, Setchra eventually calms Princess down.
The crisp air changes, welcoming the cool evening and the return of Setchra’s sight. She continues comforting the distraught child and reluctantly sets Princess on the dry, dusty pier. Setchra props herself up on the side of the pier with her hands. Scales around her waist reveal her true form. She feels the child’s warmth leave her arms. The intense and sudden withdrawal sends immediate stabbing pangs to her heart. Am I doing what’s best? she wonders to herself, as warmth is replaced by frosty nothingness. The mermaid fights back an ocean of tears and reminds herself a thousand times that the child cannot come with her to sea.
Princess stands alone on the dock, her dress rumpled and dark circles beneath her young eyes. She stares at the merwoman blankly, and toys with Setchra’s hair.
“Follow the path,” Setchra directs Princess to the dirt road just beyond the dock, “it will take you to the kingdom Tremble Nemble. The people are like you and they will be kind to you.” Setchra longs to reach for the child and reignite the blaze, but instead she refrains. “Be sure to stay on the path!”
“Kind like you?” Princess asks, wiping her sniffling nose with her forearm.
Setchra nods, as tears pool at the base of her cupping lids.
“Even better than I,” she warmly replies, blindly looking past the child. Setchra longs for nothing more than to see the child one last time.
Princess takes a deep breath. She leans over the water’s edge and hugs Setchra for the last time. The mermaid feels a surge of warmth overwhelm her and knows that if she doesn’t leave now, she never will.
“Will I ever see you again?”
Setchra nods and sweetly replies, “As often as you like.”
“But I don’t want you to go,” Princess protests, poking her bottom lip out and cocking her head to the side.
“I don’t want to go either,” Setchra responds, lowering herself into the water.
“How will I find you?” Princess asks.
Setchra reaches up and pinches a pearl in her hair. She twists it back and forth. Princess hears a noise like breaking glass and flinches when Setchra winces in pain. A little blood seeps down her perfect blonde locks. The mermaid dips her crimson pearl in the water, rinsing it clean before she pulls herself up with one hand.
“Bring this to the shore,” she places the rare jewel in Princess’ open palm. “Cast it in the ocean, but remember, I can see it best on a full moon.”
Setchra lowers herself in the water and pushes away from the pier.
“What if you don’t see it?”
The mermaid slowly swims away, her blank silver irises shift back and forth, displaying her inner struggle.
“When I sing, like in the forest, it has a certain tone that draws me near it, and to you.”
Princess, enraptured by the smooth white pearl between her fingers, gratefully whispers, “Tinksel.”
Setchra wades in the water and gently moves herself out towards the faster current. Her heart breaks as she waves and swims a distance away.
“Wait!” Princess shouts, as tears well in her eyes, “I’m all alone!”
With a heavy heart, Setchra exercises every ounce of will power to push herself further and further away.
“Don’t weave me here!” Princess screams as tears stream down her cheeks.
Setchra feels the pushing current sweep against her side and accepts the invitation to reunite with the cold darkness. Like the child, tears flow down her cheeks.
“I will never be far!” she shouts, then sinks down into the glistening river and exposes her magnificent tail for the last time. A swirl of murky current disturbs the water’s surface and the mermaid is gone, as well as the setting sun.
Princess draws a shuddering deep breath and wails as another guardian disappears.