Kiss & Tell Tail (A Little Mermaid Retelling, Part 2)
Okay, so now I know what Eric meant.
Although I don’t trust any of my memories or dreams, surely, I can trust the mirror and the reflection staring back at me. I might still be unsure what’s classed as beautiful, and I know it’s always a question of perspective, but my own perspective is telling me right now that I belong to that category.
It might be that I just need to feel better about something, I don’t know. But, right now, my reflection is the only thing I wouldn’t change. Funny how losing your memory puts everything in said perspective. Would I still think I looked nice, should I get my memories back? Who’s to say I wasn’t one of those ungrateful women who always wanted more? A flatter stomach, a different shade of hair, bluer eyes, bigger boobs. The list goes on, I would imagine.
But no. My eyes are as big as saucers, shining bright in the candlelight. They are gorgeous, I must say, surrounded by thick, black eyelashes and a nicely shaped, also black brow. And their colour is… Well, it’s a mixture of blue and green, myriads of shades of both, and a circle of amber around my pupil. Fascinating. Do many people have eyes like these where I come from?
Where do I come from?
The dream from last night comes to mind, and a ridiculous idea with it. Of course, when you have no idea who or even what you are, you begin to doubt that you are human to begin with. Those scales and the water, that guy… Merman, was it? Right, what’s next, bloody unicorns? I turn out to be a phoenix, rising from its ashes, starting a new life as a human?
True, my hair would support that theory for sure. A bit similarly to the merman in my dreams, my hair is a fiery red. The only difference is that mine is really red, as in crimson. Is that normal? I have no idea. But then again, I could have dyed it, surely. Hmm, it seems like I wasn’t that satisfied with myself after all.
Hurry, you will have time to admire yourself later. Now, we are running out of time.
I turn around quickly, hoping that someone is in the room with me. Sadly, deep down I know that the voice is in my head. If the gods took away everything from me, why leave the voice? Or did I acquire it after? To keep me sane? Oh, the irony. And yet, I feel what it’s talking about. The nagging pit in my stomach grows more painful the more time passes. I know I ought to do something, but what that is, I’m not certain.
You are going to figure it out. That’s why I…
Great, now the voice is not only talking in riddles, but doesn’t finish its sentences, either. Yep, I am going mad. Well, I can only hope it happens faster than whatever is threatening to take me. Which poses a really important question: am I a prisoner?
Grabbing the bathrobe that’s hanging off the back of a chair by my bed, I wobble out the door and into the foyer. Yep, my legs still don’t work like they used to. Or at least I hope they used to work. I shake my head again, trying to get rid of these ridiculous notions. Starting to doubt every single thing about my previous (and current) existence won’t do me any good. Not at all.
You can do this. One step at a time. I have faith in you, Ariel.
And there it is again. Ariel. Is that my name? Sounds unlikely. I guess I just conjured it up in my subconscious, just the way I did with this mystery guy, this Sebastian. Well, he isn’t exactly a guy per se, but still.
I sigh, reluctantly obliging. Left foot, right foot, then another left. It’s all about small triumphs, right? As I slowly walk down the stairs, my eyes wonder aimlessly, and so does my heart and my thoughts go with it. And, as much as I don’t want to, I feel lost, scared and a tiny bit fascinated by it all. The gorgeous paintings on the wall, the mahogany railing, the velvety carpet under my bare feet… It’s all new, yet familiar somehow.
What am I supposed to do now? Is anyone coming to get me? Unlikely. But surely, I have someone looking for me? The remnants of my dream swim to the surface yet again, and this time I let them linger for a moment.
For someone who doesn’t recall a thing, I sure as hell have weird-ass dreams. And that longing I feel? It’s so weird, because I could swear that in my dream, I felt at home in the ocean’s warm embrace. I longed for Sebastian’s voice to sooth me, like a mother’s voice comforts a sick child. No, not that way. You don’t want a mother to comfort you in the way I wanted Sebastian to comfort me. And yet, upon waking and hearing Eric laughing in the background, I felt home, too. No, he felt like home.
Nonsense. This is real, that was just a dream. Or am I losing my mind now, too? Well, I guess that after the kind of day I had, even that wouldn’t surprise me. Yep, I must have hit my head pretty hard.
Eric’s voice makes me look up and stumble at the same time. And then I fall. I close my eyes, as if that could help. Still, the darkness is so welcome that I decide to stay a while. It’s reassuring, safe. Just like the ocean…
I’m swimming again. My feet are replaced by a tail, as gorgeous as Sebastian’s. I watch, mesmerised, as the rays of the setting sun from above cast their shadows on the scales, giving them hundreds of ethereal hues. It tickles a bit, and the tingling sensation travels through my entire body.
Sebastian cocks his head to the side, shaking it slowly. The corner of his upper lip wobbles, and I know he is trying desperately not to laugh at me. He has always thought me to be childish, but then, he was always the one to join me on my secret adventures.
Oh, how many secrets the two of us shared.
I blush, the memory still as vivid as if it happened yesterday, and he raises an eyebrow. I beckon him closer, with a seductive vibration leaving my throat. It doesn’t take him long to swim my way, allowing me to watch as this magnificent creature so desperately wants to be mine yet again. Maybe later. Now I have other plans.
The shock is palpable on his handsome face when he leans in to kiss my neck, and I lean back, splashing him with water. Okay, maybe a bit of mud, too. He hoovers there for a few seconds, and I wait breathlessly for his next move. I don’t have to wait long, as he lounges at me, making me squeak. But to be fair, the vibration the sound sends through the ocean turns me on. And I know it has the same effect on him. We have played this game many times before.
Now, with my hands pinned above my head, and Sebastian’s weight on top of me, I don’t want anything more. He is mine, and I am his. Always. We are free, we are in love, and we are happy. And nobody can take that away from us. Not even…
A dark shadow clouds my vision for a moment, bringing stormy rays into Sebastian’s gaze, but as soon as it arrives, it vanishes. It must have been a ray. Nothing to worry about. Unless…
No, I mustn’t think about that now. Sebastian kisses me passionately, and I don’t resist anymore. Slowly, the memory of the potential threat fades into nothingness, and all there is, once more, is the two of us, making love on the seabed.
We laugh and sing afterwards, and I listen to (or rather feel) the way the waves vibrate with the sound, enveloping me. Welcoming me. I’m home. And he is mine. He leans in for a swift kiss, one that almost doesn’t register in my brain, but one that’s enough to make my heart flutter.
I am home. He is my home.
But my happiness doesn’t last long, as the terrifying shadow reappears, threatening to destroy everything I hold dear. Her evil laughter travels through the waves, setting my skin on fire and sinking my heart. No, she can’t take this away from me.
Sebastian looks at me, concern in his gorgeous green eyes. Of course, he can’t see the sea-witch, nobody can. Nobody, except for those unlucky few she deems worthy. Or rather, who she wants as her next pray. Yay, I guess I should be thrilled I made the list. The shadow disappears again, and only her raspy voice that’s still ringing in my ear is a reminder that she was ever here. God, how long was she watching us for? Did she…
‘Are you okay, my love?’
Sebastian caresses my flushed cheeks, and I nod meekly. There’s no need to worry him, not until Ursula comes forward and tells me what she wants with me. I can deal with her teasing, with her silent threats. I know she has the power to kill me with the flick of her fingers if she so wishes, and yet I’m still here, still alive. Not to mention that I’m still enjoying Sebastian’s company, which wouldn’t be the case, surely, if the sea-witch wanted to kill me.
‘I’m fine, I just…’
His concern intensifies, and my heartbeat accelerates in turn. Not the way I wanted this to go. I let out a sigh, shaking my head. A strand of fiery hair falls into my eyes, and I try to brush it away, but he is quicker, grabbing my hand and placing a tentative kiss onto my fingertips. The brush of his lips is so gentle, so reassuring. How could I break his heart now? How could I tell him that the future we have both planned for years might not ever happen? One way or another, Ursula always gets what she wants. And, by the looks of it, she wants me.
‘I meant that I’m fine, I just wish we could do that again.’
The concern is replaced by confusion for a moment, but then I note the realization in his burning gaze. The last rays of the sun slowly fade into oblivion, and his eyes take on an unlikely shade of emerald green, almost fluorescent, thanks to the flora around us. If I didn’t love him before, I would certainly fall for him. Now I do it all over again anyway.
To be continued...
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