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Story Time – TBT short story (A fairy tale)

Here’s my TBT short story – I’m really not sure when I wrote it (before 2010) and it wasn’t one that was inspired by a classic fairy tale but is my own fairy tale.

The Kingdom of Pillars

by Dorlana Vann

“I didn’t do anything!”

“Do you want father’s wings to be taken off? Is that what you want? You march yourself right back there.”

I stared at my sister, all blue and getting bluer by the minute. If we would’ve been having this conversation a couple of months earlier, I might have turned my back to her and aired her out. Instead, I smiled.

“What are you up to, Rose?” she growled.

“I understand everything now. I’m happy and miserable at the same time.” I sighed and sat down on a buttercup. “I even understand love and how it can fill your heart and break it at the same time.”

“You did go to the Kingdom of Pillars, right?” Indigo glared at me.

“I didn’t have a choice. Remember? Guards with sticks and mean words.”

“Hmmm… Are you telling me you fell in love in there? With what? Your reflection?”

“It is a lovely sight, isn’t it? But no, you see, I was once like you, only able to see outer beauty.”

“Is that so?” she said. “Let me get this straight. You think the Kingdom of Pillars is beautiful … or is the King?” I could see her thinking herself into a small gag and look of distaste.

“When I’d first arrived, I looked at them the same way everyone does. It’s like a line has been drawn between the lands. One side, our side, is light and green. You make one tiny step and the world becomes scary and dark. And I was scared.”

Indigo looked a wee bit uncomfortable, almost guilty, so I kept going.

“I understand why father picked me to go instead of you. You were already betrothed to Emerald before you were born. He had no choice but to send me. It wasn’t your fault I was born second. Always second.  I understand that a princess had to be sent in order to bring peace. Besides, if I wouldn’t have gone, the curse might not have been broken.”

“Wait a minute.” She smoothed her long, sparkly blue hair behind her ears. “You’re telling me that you broke the five thousand-year-old curse?”

“It was the most wonderful sight in the whole entire world. First, let me tell you what happened in the beginning, when I arrived in the Kingdom of Pillars.”

Indigo arched her eyebrow as she sat down in the morning dew.

“I was a bit grossed out when I first met the King. You know how Pillars look, right? Kind of round and prickly-looking. Those black and yellow spots and rings aren’t very flattering either.  Oh, dandy me, he crawled so slowly … on the ground. He had tiny little legs and those black little dot eyes. He was no where near as hideously handsome as Emerald.”

Indigo had been staring at me with curiosity and a growing grin, but at this, she looked down.

“I suppose I wasn’t the best guest,” I continued. “But I was in shock, you know, out of my element. Could you blame me? I was surrounded by these … grubs. Not to mention, I felt like my own family had deserted and sacrificed—”

She shot me a look. “Now you’re just being dramatic.”

“Really? My husband had sixteen legs.”

“You just told me you thought he was beautiful,” she said smugly.

“Well, maybe at first, I didn’t. I hated him, the place, you …”

Indigo crossed her arms.

“The first night I did nothing but sulk and refuse anything offered to me. Really now, how could I eat that dull food? Everything was already half dead, like winter had already arrived. It seemed strange to eat and live in such sadness. That was how I felt; alone and sad as I sat there and watched them eat and eat in the madness of the day. King would look at me every once in a while and ask if I was okay. I hate to say, but I turned my back to him and fluttered my wings.

“He kept asking, again and again, so I let him have it. I told him exactly what I thought about him and his ugly kingdom. I hurt his feelings, and I was glad … until he said, ‘I’m sorry, my Queen. I will not bother you again. Even though your presence makes this gloomy world bright, you are free to leave.”

“So you did?” Indigo jumped up and put her hands on her hips. “You came back home! How could you, Rose?”

“But I didn’t!” I smiled. “At that very moment, I felt special. More special than I had ever felt in your shadow. Indigo this, and Indigo that. I was Queen, no longer a princess.” I wrapped my arms around myself and flew into the air, twirling around as I did.

“Get down here, Rose,” she shouted.

“Come with me,” I said. “You have to see.”

She sluggishly stood, but a second later she was beside me, and we flew through our forest.

“Oh … he lavished me,” I continued. “He was kind and made me feel like I was the most important creature in the world. He brought me flowers and dew drops and honey. The food didn’t taste as dull as it looked, it was fine. Everything was fine.”

“Hmmm … so then, if it is such paradise, why are you here?”

“One day he told me not to worry, that he would be sleeping for a couple of days. He said the kingdom did this every couple of months. Still, when it happened, I grew scared and cried and cried over him.”

“You cried because he went to sleep?”

“No, not just asleep; it was bizarre. They were all wrapped in these web-like cases.” I tried to explain it with my hands. “I didn’t think he could breathe in there. Something was wrong. I thought he was dying, so I sprinkled my life-dust on him.”

Indigo’s mouth grew into a giant circle and she stopped mid-air. “You used your personal dust on him? Rose, you know you can’t use it on yourself any longer! If something happens to you—”

I held up my hand. I understood the consequences. “It doesn’t matter. The most amazing thing happened. His prison started coming apart, and the most beautiful, amazing winged creature emerged. It was my King! He had huge double-like wings, oh so much bigger than any fairies.  So many colors! Not just one, like ours. He was bright yellow and white and orange.” I put my hands to my face.  “And then, and then… they all emerged. The entire kingdom, all so colorful and beautiful, floated into the air. They reminded me of buttercups, daisies, and roses, being blown by the wind. Even the dark, gloomy clouds drifted away and the sun began to shine.”

Indigo’s face froze with an expression of bewilderment. Then she said, “I didn’t think it was true. I had heard that they used to be beautiful creatures before one of us cast a spell.”

I closed my eyes as my thoughts turned bittersweet. “We played and flew and chased for days on end. Even when the sun set the splendor of the colors was almost more than one could bear. But then …” I grabbed her hand and flew faster to my destination.

“What?” She asked, letting me drag her through the air. “What happened? Why do you look so sad? If it was so wonderful, why did you come back?”

I choked back a cry with a smile as I looked at my sister who seemed genuinely concerned. “Like snowflakes they all slowly began to return to the earth. I went to the king, who balanced on a leaf barely able to move. I asked what was happening.” I held my hands to my heart as I remembered his words. “He told me not to worry, that I had broken the curse. That he and his kingdom owed everything to me and my sacrifice. My little fairy dust did all of that. I went to give more, and he told me he didn’t need it. He said he had finally been able to live out his cycle and now it was time for them to move on—to die. They had been trapped and unable to evolve for thousands of years.”

Indigo gently pulled free to wipe her eyes. “That is so sad,” she said.

“The fluttering of their wings quietly died away. The last words my king said to me were, ‘Long live Queen Rose.’” I pointed down to the valley below. “Look! Can you see them?”

Indigo sucked in a quick breath. “I thought you said they all died.”

“They,” I said looking at my adopted children, “are the next generation. A generation that will live, fly, and die like they are suppose to. This is why I came back to see you one last time; I needed to tell you, to tell father, that the feud between the two lands is truly over. And from now on, my home is no longer to be called the Kingdom of Pillars, but the protected Land of the Butterflies.”

The End

Zombie and the Beast – a fairy tale inspired short story for Halloween

Beauty and the Beast + Zombies =

Zombie and the Beast

a  supernatural fairy tale by

 Dorlana Vann

She opened and closed her mouth a couple of times, loosening her jaw, before she spoke. “You can’t be serious. Marriage is no longer something we can consider.”

He stood far away, at the other end of the long, formal dining room table. She couldn’t believe how handsome he looked now: tall, regal. She had fallen in love with him when he’d thought he was so hideous he had to hide. But his compassion and heart were so big it had swept her away. So she wasn’t surprised by his proposal even if it was a bit insane.

“I love you,” he said. “I want you to be my wife.”

“I know you love me. I love you, too. But we have to face facts. You have to accept this. You shouldn’t even be feeding me. Look at me. What kind of bride would I be?”

“A beautiful one. When I was beastly, you saw something inside me and loved me for me. I love you for you. I know who you are on the inside.”

The rancid taste in her mouth distracted her for a second. Was it from the meal she’d just had or her own tongue? What did he say? He was comparing them. “But I’m not like you. You were cursed by a witch. I’m–”

“Doesn’t matter.” He slammed his fist down on the table, making everything on it jolt. “If I have to, I’ll use every last cent I have to find a cure.”

“You’re not listening to me.” She tried to stand up but the chains around waist stopped her. It took a second to remember why she was chained to a chair. Oh yeah, that’s right; dinner had taken a little too long last night. When she was hungry, nothing else fit in her head. If it hadn’t been for the butler with the Taser, they wouldn’t be having this conversation right now. “Sweetheart,” she said sweetly, trying to calm him, “There’s no cure for dead.”

“Maybe one of my tears, or a potion of some sort … or maybe a kiss.”

“Right,” she said with a roll of her eyes. They stuck like that for a second until she shook her head to get them straight again. “You’re going to kiss me? Do I even have lips, anymore?” Just as she pushed out her tongue to feel for lips, a twinge in her head stopped her. What was she doing?

“There’s got to be something. But first, we will get married.” He walked beside the table toward her, stopping halfway, a hint of fear in his eyes.

The fact that he was obviously scared of her didn’t upset her, didn’t really faze her. Something else came to mind. Hunger. The hunger didn’t feel the way it had when she’d been alive. This hunger was in her head. It rumbled, it stirred, it wanted, it hurt …

But she’d just ate an entire plate of … Who? Where was the maid? Had he …? The sudden spasm in her head caused her to let out a moan.

He was saying, “I mean, we can’t really have a honeymoon right now. We’ll postpone it until later. When you’re better. But please let me prove my love and devotion to you.”

It had been a delicate, light meal tonight. She tried to remember how many more maids were in the house. A series of intense, sharp pain ricocheted inside her head. She held onto it with both hands for a second.

Her brain pulsed and rumbled. Wait? What was this house? Who lived here anyway? Who was this stranger walking closer to her? He was so close – she sniffed the air – and luscious. Her mouth watered, and all she wanted was one little taste, one little nibble.

“Right after the ceremony, I will hire the best researchers on the planet …”

She tried to get up, but for some reason she couldn’t move. She tried again, and again, and again. The hunger pains moved down to behind her eyes, making her have to squint to see the delicious meal that was igniting her senses.

“So? What do you say? Will you marry me?”

The food was right there in front of her now. Maybe if she stretched out her arms as far as she could, she’d be able to reach it. All she needed was a one bite to make this unbearable torture end.

“Oh, Beauty. I don’t know. But you did just eat, so I guess one hug, to seal the deal, would be okay …”

The End

Writing Diary #7 & a Short Story

Now that the first book in my Trouble with Men series has launched I can focus more on my other projects. I’ve been working on the edits I received from my editor for book 2, The Trouble with Scarecrows, and I’m also working on the 2nd draft of my YA fairy tale inspired novel –  So I don’t  have word count updates. I was going to try to keep up with hours spent, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. On the backburner for now is the rough draft of the 3rd book in the series. I want to get these edits back for book 2 first, and then I’ll work on book 3 while I wait on the next round of edits.

I’ve said it before, and just in case no one was listening, I’ll say it again: I would much rather work on edits/rewrites than a rough draft. (The rough draft is … hard lol.) I think the only bad part about rewriting is having to reread the story a thousand times. (You’d better like your story.) I was talking to my sister about this, and she asked me if I dreamed about my characters. I’d never thought about this before, but no, I don’t. Which is weird because I’m a big time dreamer.  Maybe I just use a different part of my brain. IDK

Now all this talk about dreams reminds me of one of my short stories in my collection: Supernatural Fairy Tales. “If You Feed a Wolf” was inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. What I used from Wonderland was the way it reminded me of how I feel in dreams. So what I did was use some of my dreams from my dream journal as inspiration. So this story is a little fun, a little sad, and little out there. And I’m adding it to the end of this post.

Love, Laughter, and Fairy Tales,


If You Feed a Wolf

by Dorlana Vann

“But I don’t want to go among the mad people,” Alice remarked.

“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”

“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.

“You must be,” said the cat, “Or you wouldn’t have come here.”

From “Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll


Nora ran, dodging trees and paying no mind to the twigs that scraped her bare arms and legs from shoulder to thigh. Once in awhile, the high afternoon sun shone through the density of the woods, and she knew she had better hurry.

When she reached the beach, she admired all her sisters who had gathered for the festivities. The continuous breeze carried the ocean’s scent as it waved through her long, bright hair. She felt powerful and had no doubt that she would be the victor.

“Gather around,” said Mother Mabel. Even without her ceremonial robes she stood with confidence, stripped down to her breast and bottom coverings. She was the oldest and wisest in their community, beautiful and flawless. “It’s time for the first race.”

Considering her competition’s bronzed, muscular legs and stomach, Nora found her to be an equal opponent. She couldn’t recall her name, only that they had known each other for a very long time. Nora smiled, and the woman smiled back, but with more self-assuredness—like it was clear she’d leave Nora in the dust.

“Go!” shouted Mother Mabel.

Nora took off. Her legs were strong and her mind clear. She wanted to win, although she didn’t want the race to end. Her sisters raised their red-ribbon-tied spears and cheered. The further Nora ran, the thicker the sand gathered on her feet, but it didn’t stop her from crossing the finish line first. She took small, effortless breaths as she looked behind her, but her opponent wasn’t there.

Where did she go? What did she look like? She wondered this as her sisters picked her up on their shoulders and paraded her around.

The moon, blazing orange, seemed to take the sun’s place in an instant. Everyone had gathered for the feast, eager and hungry for it to begin. The fire felt hot against Nora’s face and hands. She wasn’t hungry, but she couldn’t wait for the food. A bird with antlers flew down beside her and pecked the ground and then flew away again.

She watched as a wolf walked out of the forest. He stopped and then began to spin, around and around in circles. No one else seemed to notice him until he sat down beside the fire. He was hungry. Mother Mabel threw him a crumb and told him to leave. He growled out of the side of his mouth but ran back into the woods.

“Nora,” Mother Mabel said, the fire’s light dancing on her face. “If you feed a wolf, it will leave.” She took a puff from her brass pipe and passed it to the sister sitting next to her.

A storm started brewing, and the wind blew sand over the fire. All was black, except for the light of the pipe, and it seemed to float to Nora. She took it in her hands but hesitated until she heard Mother Mabel say, “I will come with you on your journey. I will always be with you.”

Nora put her lips to the cold pipe and inhaled, feeling the sweet smoke invade her mouth and then her lungs, heavily gratifying…

When awoken by a sudden light and an uneasy rustling, she couldn’t recall ever going to sleep. She was afraid to look, but curiosity forced her eyes to fly open. Where am I? Like lyrics to a forgotten song, but without the sweet melody, she vaguely recognized the room. She couldn’t breathe; the four white walls were stifling. Other people were there, but she didn’t know them.

What did Mother Mabel say to me? “Something about a journey,” Nora whispered.

“Nora? Nora?” asked a lady with silver, stringy hair, wrinkles, and sunken cheeks. “Can you see me? Can you hear me?”

Nora nodded.

The old lady sucked in her breath and put her hand over her mouth. “It’s me … Mabel. Mabel.”

Nora shook her head because the woman didn’t look anything like Mother Mabel. But there was a resemblance. A similarity. The green eyes, the way she opened her mouth when she smiled. I will come with you on your journey. “But why do you look so old?”

The lady laughed. “Why indeed.”

“What kind of journey is this?” Nora whispered. She tried to stand, but her legs held no strength, and she fell to the hard, cold floor.

“Oh,” Mabel said. “Are you hurt?” Mabel tried to help her, but Nora refused, thinking she didn’t need help.

Nora sat on the floor, legs in front of her, staring at unkempt yellowing toenails that stuck out of dirty, pink slippers. She pulled up the gown she wore, revealing pale, thin legs. “What happened to me? Why am I here?”

“I’m so glad you can talk.” It took her a couple a seconds, but Mabel got down on the floor and sat cross-legged like a little girl. “You are talking, aren’t you?”

“Is there a reason? Is this a lesson? Does this have to do with the wolf?”

Mabel eyes widened and in a raspy whisper she said, “How’d you know about the wolf?”

“It was by the fire, and you told me to feed it.”

Mabel inhaled and her hands jittered about wildly. “Right. I told you about the wolf. You did hear me. You could hear me the whole time. Why didn’t you say anything?”

“About what?” Nora asked.

“Right.” Mabel bit her nails.

“Oh, Miss Nora.” A man wearing white from head to toe stood over them. “Am I in trouble!” Without asking, he helped her up and back into her seat. “Here.” He handed her a small container. “I got distracted on my rounds and plum missed you. Woo wee, we wouldn’t want this to get out.”

“No,” Mabel said struggling to untangle her legs. “No, she can’t have those.”

“Miss Mabel, causing trouble again, I see. You know what happened last time Miss Nora was off her meds for too long. She bit you. Remember?”

“It’s fine.”

The man held his hand out, now helping Mabel stand up.

“See,” Mabel said as she stood. “I’m fine. Don’t you see? Nora told me about the stories. She heard my stories …”

He looked back at Nora and nodded. “Take them, Miss Nora, and you’ll feel a lot better. You’ll go right back to la la land.”

Mabel wiped her eyes. “But the fairy tales, she remembers. And I don’t have anyone to talk to.”

Nora looked at the two little pills in the bottom of the small clear cup.

“No, Nora,” Mabel pleaded. “Stay with me. Stay with me.”

Nora couldn’t see the value of her journey. She didn’t know why she had come to the colorless place where she had to be so weak and helpless and where her thoughts were foggy. “If you feed a wolf, it will leave.” As she looked down at the little white pills, the message the real Mother Mabel had given her became clear. In this strange place, she was the wolf. If she wanted to go back to be with her sisters and never leave the beach, she would have to feed the wolf the little white pills.

The End

Supernatural Fairy Tales

Supernatural Fairy Tales by Dorlana Vann

Story From Dorlana’s Paranormal short story collection: Supernatural Fairy Tales eBook .99 cents Amazon

Supernatural Fairy Tale: Thumbelina + Mermaids = Forbidden Beach

Supernatural Fairy Tales

Supernatural Fairy Tales by Dorlana Vann

Here is one the paranormal short stories from my collection: Supernatural Fairy Tales. The eBook is available on Amazon for only .99 cents – These nine Supernatural Fairy Tales are not retellings of the original fairy tales but were inspired by them. They are paranormal themed stories about vampires, ghosts, mermaids, witches, and more, in genres ranging from romance to thriller. And fair warning: they don’t always have a happy ending.

Forbidden Beach was a lot of fun to write.

Forbidden Beach


Dorlana Vann

I knew what lurked beyond the trees even before I opened the car door: the forbidden, barricaded beach. Even though I lived only a few miles away, I had never stood so close. Leaning against the car, the wind ruffled my hair as nerves tangled my insides.

“Aren’t you coming, Junior?” Pearl, my date, stood in the moonlight, hands on her hips, legs apart, making a perfect triangle with her skirt.

I shrugged my shoulders. “We’re not supposed to be here.”

“There’s no law against it.”

“Let’s go, you two love birds,” Clay said, shining his flashlight on us for a second before moving on.

“Don’t be scared,” Pearl said. “Just don’t step in the water, and you’ll be fine.”

I put my already shaky hands into my pants pockets. “I’m not scared!” It wasn’t that I needed to impress Pearl. I had only agreed to go out with her because no one else had said yes, but I didn’t want a mammoth, cowardly act stamped on my already unimpressive rep. “I just don’t believe it, that’s all. Have you ever seen it happen?”

“No, but my cousin, Fern, said he did. After a dare, one of his friends ran into the water and changed right before Fern’s eyes, and then the sea took him. He never saw him again.”

This reminded me of all the times my mother had warned me to stay away from the beach, to stay away from the wild Merfolk. “They took your father. Shameful, cannibalistic creatures, behaving like animals in that dirty ocean. Immoral and naked. Catching fish with their mouths. It’s shameful. It’s shameful. They took your father you know…”

“So, let’s go.” Pearl grabbed my hand, and I allowed her to lead me through the trees. The same salty air I had breathed my entire life now burst with intensity.

After we had caught up with Clay and Iona, we helped each other over the concrete barrier and down into the sand. I heard the soft roar of the dark waves, its movement the only factor separating it from the sky.

I vaguely heard the others talking behind me before Clay shouted, “No hard feelings, Junior. We just want to see if it’s true.” They laughed and pushed me until my feet sank into the wet, gushy sand.

“Don’t! Don’t!” I pleaded, already feeling the droplets of ocean spraying my face, before they gave one hard, final shove.

A wave pulled me with it, soaking my pants up to my waist. Fear pushed my voice to a scream. I screamed for help, screamed for the ocean to let go! Just as the water retreated, I lost my balance and landed on my knees. Sunken sand tracks, where the kids had run away, came into focus.

I scrambled to dry land before the next wave, trying to catch my senses. Tears filled my eyes as I remembered the pictures of the hideous beasts that I had been shown since grade school.

Standing up, I examined my legs and put my hands out in front of me, waiting for it to happen. The change. When I touched my mouth, my teeth felt normal, not long and pointed like a beast’s.

Relieved and unchanged, except for my belief that I would never be accepted by kids my age, I started to walk toward the road. A new sound in the darkness stopped me. I thought maybe they didn’t leave me but were hiding, waiting to watch me turn into a creature.

“I know you guys are there,” I said meekly, becoming increasingly concerned with the alien surroundings. I fought the urge to run. I would not let them win. And then a different, even stronger thought intruded; since I proved the myth untrue, I’ll be like a hero. No one would have to be afraid of the beach again.


I followed the sound to a pile of drifted sand and tangled weeds. The closer I stepped, the more it sounded like a whimper instead of a snicker. My mouth fell open as my breathing picked up pace. I questioned what I perceived camouflaged in the debris. A woman?

Her long hair, wildly strewn out behind her, was mixed with the sand and seaweed. “Hey, are you all right?” When I noticed her bare arms and her bare chest, I turned away. “Immoral and naked.” My heart quickened because it knew I had to look again. I stared at her face, down to her neck, to her chest, and past her stomach.

No legs! A fishtail! A real fishtail!

Stumbling back to standing, I turned towards the sea. “Oh! Ohhhh…” I put my hands up to my head. What do I do? She was a Merfolk, but something was wrong with her. I couldn’t just leave.

I loosened my tie and started unbuttoning my shirt as I thought about how Mother would kill me if she knew. It might not have been against man’s laws to walk the beach, but it sure the hell was against her’s. I turned back around and gently placed my shirt over the mermaid’s shoulders, covering most of her exposed upper body that didn’t look monstrous at all.

She didn’t move, except for her labored breathing. As I stood, wondering what to do next, I noticed a two inch gash in-between her two bottom fins that seemed clogged with sand.

I ran to the water, cupped it in my hands, and ran back. I did this several times, cleaning the wound as much as possible. I pulled my tie over my head and then wrapped it around her fins, bringing the edges of the cut as close together as possible.

When I put a handful of water up to her lips, she gave a quick inhalation, sucking up some of the water. I staggered backwards and then shot to my feet. Running to the water, I shouted, “Hello? She’s alive, and she needs help!” But only the spirited, nocturnal seagulls soared overhead, their replies loud but unclear.

After walking back and forth a couple of times, I dipped into the water once again and took it to her. The mermaid’s eyes shot open, but I didn’t flinch. I let her drink.

“Thank you,” she whispered.

I nodded, a little surprised to hear her speak.  “Are you all right?”

“I think I just need something to eat.”

“Well, I can run home and make or… bring…”

“If you could just help me to the water, I can take care of that myself.”

“Oh,” I said, recalling what Mother had said about them catching live fish in their mouths.

“Please come be my guest so I can thank you for your kindness.”

I looked behind me at the ocean, allowing myself to realize how much I admired it. “I can’t, my mother… besides, I’m not like you. It wasn’t true, after all. I was in the water, and I didn’t change.”

“The sea takes no one who doesn’t wish to be there. You must desire the change. See?” She waved her hand over her tail. “I didn’t change into Landfolk just because I sit on dry land. I love the sea, and I want to return.” She held my stare as she said, “You must love the land.”

Or am I just scared? A soft breeze lifted me out of my thoughts, as she lifted her arms to me. I struggled, but managed to carry her until the waves splashed up to my shoulders. She sank and without a word disappeared into the darkness.


“Did you have a good time?” Mother stood in the foyer like she had been waiting there since I left. “I’m glad you finally got out of your—” Her smile distorted into a wide-mouth scream. When she pointed at my feet, my face grew hot. I didn’t have to look down to imagine all of the golden sand that probably clung to my pant legs and shoes.

She sat down on the stairs, blocking my escape to my room. In between gasps she said, “How many times have I told you never to go to that beach? It’s dangerous. Shameful, dirty beasts! Filthy-cannibalistic-naked-immoral-ugly creatures—”

“They’re not ugly,” I whispered.

Her face froze with a mix of horror and shock. “What did you say?”

I avoided her eyes. “I met one. I umm, I helped one. Her.”

“Swear to me right now,” she hissed, “you’ll never set foot on that wicked, wicked beach, again.”

At that moment, I realized how disgusted I was by her snobbish attitude. I also knew I would never be able to stay away from the ocean, away from the beauty of the Merfolk. “Why do you hate them? Because they’re different? You know, they’re not so unlike us. They can talk and are free to do…” At that moment, what really happened to my father became so obvious. “He chose the ocean, didn’t he? Father wasn’t taken!”

Tears of which I didn’t know Mother was capable began to seep from her eyes. “I should have moved us to the compound years ago just like the Worleys.” And then softly she sobbed. “But I had to wait.”

“Wait? For what? Father’s not coming back. Why would he? He’s free.”

“Don’t you dare disrespect me, Junior. You’re too young to understand the world. Merfolk are manipulative and horrific.” With wild eyes she looked around. “I have to protect you. Go pack! Now!” She stood up abruptly and pointed up the stairs. “Pack up your stuff. We’re moving in the morning and never coming back.” She screamed, “They can’t have you!”

I made my way up the stairs to pack for the compound. A compound so far inland I heard the air smelled of pine. A compound I could not leave until I was of age.

Early the next morning, I climbed out of my bedroom window and found my way back to the beach. It had lost all of its darkness and now glistened and pumped silver-blue waves as far as I could see.

“You came back.”

I almost missed the mermaid; her hair blended and moved with the water.

“I wanted to say goodbye. My mother is scared of what she doesn’t understand.”

“But you’re not,” her voice rose over the rumble. “I can see it on your face. You have fallen for the sea.”

“I don’t know.”

She held out her arms to me. “There is only one way to find out. Give yourself fully to the waves.”

I stepped into the water, thinking I would come back later and tell Mother goodbye, but the feeling of freedom already overwhelmed me. The further I swam the further away the mermaid seemed. I watched the tip of her tail go under and held my breath, plunging in after her. Immediately, I felt different. I was changing! My legs felt as one unified object. But when I gave in to the need to inhale, I choked violently. I coughed and gagged until finally I felt accepted.

My eyes had burned feverishly from the saltwater during the ocean’s initiation; now they could focus on the new surroundings. Brilliant and vivid fish that I had never imagined existed swam playfully around me as if they were celebrating my arrival.

To my surprise, a group of Mermen suddenly appeared. My heart thumped wildly. I started scanning their faces, searching for my father. I smiled, and they grinned. Then they opened their mouths, exposing daggered teeth. They came closer, surrounding me, licking me with their shameful, filthy, cannibalistic tongues.

The End


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