“Am I dead.” It was more of a statement than a question, since I didn’t expect an answer. But one came anyways, surrounding me.
“Only a little.”
I turned, tying to see through the darkness, trying to find the source of the voice.
“Who’s are you? What do you mean, only a little dead?” Two small lights had appeared, glowing bluish green.
“I am Amy. I will be your guide.”
I gasped as the light spread, and I realized it was coming from the creature speaking to me. I could see tentacles, fins and a long tail, but they all seemed connected to one human like figure.
Original Art by Me, Outlawed Princess.
“Woaahh…” I reached out a hand automatically, intrigued. The mermaid – Amy? – grasped my wrist, pulling me with her.
“Okay, what is happening right now? I thought I drowned I-” Suddenly I realized that I couldn’t breath. I reached up, clawing at my throat, wanting air, but there were strange lumps already there, allowing oxygen into my system. Gills?
“You did drown, but we caught you.” Amy turned around a coral reef, the light emanating from her illuminating fish and crustaceans around it. My eyes seemed foggy, and it was hard to see still
“Who is we?”
A shark, small but still scary, swam past us peacefully. Amy reached out webbed fingers and stroked it.
“We are the merfolk, as you may have guessed. We collect the drowned and lost at sea and turn them, creating a new race, a more powerful underwater being. You are our newest recruit.” She grinned at me, but her fangs didn’t do much to comfort me.
“What if I don’t want to be recruited?”
“You don’t really have much of a choice, we claimed you.”
Before I could say anything more, Amy dove even deeper, bubbles swarming around us, mixing with fish and plants.
Seaweed caught at my leg and I panicked for a moment, thinking I was going to drown before realizing I already had. Amy swiped at it with a sharp shell that had been lying nearby and we continued on our way.
Ahead of us rose a great gate, adorned with pearls but slightly green from algae. Amy leaned up towards its great lock, whispered ‘Sea Nettle’ and pushed her way in.
All of a sudden we were in an underground city, merfolk all around, but they didn’t all look the same. Each had different colors, lengths of fins, shapes of faces, size of body. They were each their own person, and their clothes reflected it.
Although amy wore a simple wrap, many wore full shirts or robes. I even saw one red, plump mermaid pass wearing a full ball gown, tangling around her octopus legs.
Amy waved at some, and some called back. Everyone was smiling and cheerful, each person had a destination.
One merman approached us, talking to Amy about how ‘swamped’ they were at the office. The two laughed and talked for a minute before Amy excused us and we dodged a cart full of odd looking fruit, heading towards what seemed to be the heart of the city.
Vehicles were being used now, chariots pulled by dolphins mostly, although a few seemed to have engines of their own.
We swam quickly towards a huge pearly palace in front of us.
Amy paused to turn, emphasizing the grandeur with her webbed fingers, “This is Pearl Palace.”
“No kidding.” I grinned, the odd little water bubbles tickling my teeth and tongue.
On we went and soon we floated up a large marble staircase. I noticed that, although the entire city was beautiful, it was also crumbling and (of course) waterworn.
“The Instructors will tell you more.” Amy left me in front of an iron door that really did not look all that inviting.
Before I could do much more than consider jumping out the window down the hall and making a swim for it, the door opened and two scarily buff mermen wiggled out, massive spears in hand. Behind them a woman came, trident in hand, looking more like an octopus than the stereotypical mermaid.
“You may call me Madam, Your Loveliness, or you may stay silent. Follow.” Back into the room she went and her bodyguards pushed me forwards after her.
“Um, Ma’am? Where and what and how and all those other questions…” She glared over her shoulder and I fell silent.
The room we had entered was not inviting either, although it was definitely cleaner than anywhere else I had been. Mirrors lined the walls, and two chairs sat carefully in opposite corners. I was told to sit, so I did, and then one of the guards held me still while the other stuck a needle in my arm.
“Ow! What was that for?” ‘Madam’ just stared, her yellow eyes creepily watching every inch of my struggling self.
“This is an anesthesia. That way you won’t feel the excruciating pain that awaits you. Or, you won’t feel as much of it. Enjoy.” She got up and left, and I was alone, and darkness crept in and I slept.
All I can remember for the next year are various medical personnel, drugs, aching, pain, burning sensations, and, as promised, just over all excruciating pain.
When I finally gained full consciousness I was in a small hut made of woven seaweed, laying on a cozy bed with sea urchins of many colors coating the floors and starfish above me on a clam ceiling.
I tried swinging my legs over the edge of the bed to sit up, but I didn’t have legs to swing. Instead I had fins, big and purple and gold. I was dressed only in a hospital gown, trapped uncomfortably around my wide hips.
I pulled the wet dress off over my head and realized how scaly my skin was. There were pinkish spots all over me, darker in some places, so that when I moved it looked like a bright pink light was changing back and forth on my arms and stomach and tail.
How had I gotten here? I could remember procedures and I remember Amy and drowning, but I couldn’t remember why I’d drowned in the first place.
This was all rather strange.
TO BE CONTINUED>>>>>