The water fairy flew slightly lopsided. One wing was crumpled and hurt like hell. But the ocean was close by, she only had to make it there. Hopefully they didn't know she'd escaped yet. Now that she was out of the desert slave trade, she wouldn't be going back. It was close, the smell of salt hung in the air. Her wing started to repair itself. She cried dry tears of excitement, it had been too long since she'd touched water.
The sound of a second pair of wings came from behind. She pushed harder, she would not go back
It could feel my heart beating faster as I backed away from the house. I wanted to close my eyes and pretend that it wasn’t real, but I couldn’t take my eyes off the door. I flinched as he stepped out the door.
His eyes flittered to me, darkness swirled inside. I ran, trees whipping past me, but I didn’t make it far before he grabbed me. I screamed as he dragged me back to the house.
Next to the body of my sister he pushed my head into the bath. I screamed as water rushed into my lungs.
Bubbles burst around him and he shivered. He hated water. They lived in air bubbles and submarines for a reason, so they didn’t have to be in this position. He could taste dust from the scuba gear, it was out dated. It was his sister stupidity that got him here. She thought it would be fun to head out into the reef with no protection, and now he didn’t know where she was.
He froze; something rushed past his leg. Every muscle tensed in his body. There was a reason for using submarines when you left the city.
Luna checked behind her; there was no one following her. She swum farther into the cave and straight into Helen’s arms. The tight hug turned into desperate kisses.
“Please,” Helen begged, “Let’s just leave.”
“You know I can’t leave my family behind,” Luna said unhappily, her tail flicking behind her.
“But this war is destroying us, green tail against red tail; it’s absurd. We’ve all lived under these waters for centuries. Why now?”
“I know.” Luna cupped her face. “Just wait a little longer, my love. I’ve almost convinced my father to leave.”
Helen sighed and nodded. “I’ll be waiting.”
Jake leaned farther over the rock; all that was staring up at him was his own reflection. This was the worst part, the waiting. Knowing that she might not even come. He sighed and lay back on the rock to look up at the stars.
He heard her before he saw her, the lilting voice coming closer. Jake smiled and rolled onto his stomach. The water nymph stood in front of him smiling happily.
“Hi,” he said grinning. She started to sing sweet nothings to him. This was his favourite part of the day, just getting to be with her.
She’d been on their ship city for her entire life. Her grandmother still wove tables of before the earth flooded and it made her want to explore the hidden world under the oceans. But they only had a very old snorkel.
Then he arrived the man with a high-tech ship and goods to trade including scuba gear. She didn’t have anything to barter with, which led her trying to steal the scuba gear.
There was a click behind her and she turned to face a very real and loaded gun.
“Sweet heart, you picked the wrong man to steal from.”
Isolation Has A Price
They came to seek her advice but the more she watched him the more she didn't believe them. She was still considered a young water sprit, she didn't have the experience to confirm her suspicions. They fidgeted and their eyes never made direct contact, she leaned in to inspect them. As she moved closer, one of them reach out and grabbed her. His hand didn't slip through her watery limbs, this was no human. She screamed and brought storms to the coast, but there was nothing she could do. She suddenly regretted picking a cave that had no one near it.
He could see a shaky outline through the water above him. It made him shrink further into the darkness. His heart was hammering in his chest and his lungs were beginning were beginning to burn. He shut his eyes shut tightly.
When he opened them, the shaky figure was gone. An air bubble escaped him as cautiously swam upwards. Breaking the surface and drinking in cool night air was a beautiful relief.
Fear gripped him again as he saw, lying on the bank, the figure he’d been trying to escape. The psychopath just cocked his head to the side and smiled manically.
The unstable boat suddenly felt very small as Oliver lay inside it. He peered over the edge watching the rock again. The moonlight glinted off the top of the ocean as the current rocked him. He was rethinking the rashness of this plan. Stealing a siren scale was much harder than he’d expected. Oliver checked the rock; still not there. He tightened his grip on the dagger beside him.
The siren scale was the last ingredient he needed to complete the healing potion. He had to do this tonight, or his mother would be dead by the end of the morning. A sound by therock caused his head to snap up. A siren lay out on the rock, her tail tapped back and forth lazily, her scales calling to him. Oliver took a deep breath in and rolled over to readjust himself. When he looked again, she was gone. Ripples spread out from where she’d entered the water. His breath caught in his throat. There was a splintering sound behind him, and he spun to see water gushing into his boat. He gulped looking through the hole in the side to see the siren smiling with sharp pointed teeth.
Leena, the most fearsome pirate to travel the high seas, watched in dismay as her ship burned to nothing. She hovered in the water unable to take her eyes off the burning mess. Deep inside her a boiling anger wreathed. The magic welder they’d let aboard and a few of her crew could be seen in the distance. Rowing away from their crime in a tiny boat.
She cursed loudly and fell silent as something smooth brushed against her kicking leg. Her head fell beneath the waves and she gasped, letting out her breath. Leena surfaced as the serpent coiled around her underwater, its green scales glinting at her. Its head slowly lifted out of the water. “If you’re going to kill me, just do it,” she gritted her teeth.
To her surprise, the serpent pressed its snout against her forehead and a deep voice whispered in her mind, “We are bonded.”
Leena blinked in surprise. She’d heard of bonding but assumed that it was just folklore. “What’s your name?” she asked carefully, balancing on the serpent’s tail beneath her.
“You can call me Keithir.”
“Well, Keithir, I have someone that I would like to catch up to.” Leena nodded to the ship disappearing into the horizon.
Keithir looked at them then gave her a reptilian smile. “Hold on.”
She grabbed around his neck and he dived into the water. Leena had to close her eyes, they were moving so fast. The barrage of water punched her relentlessly in the face and yet it was somehow freeing. She’d always known she belonged on the high seas, but she’d never thought that maybe she belonged in them. They slowed and Keithir raised his head out of water, snarling at the small boat. Leena grinned. This was going to be fun.
“A cookie cutter shark takes one bite out of their prey letting them live so they can still eat them later,” Lucas said.
“Interesting,” Harry said, clearing his throat before moving to the next tank. Lucas resisted the urge to hit his head on the glass. Why was he being weird? He couldn’t come up with anything normal to say on this date.
The next room, they watched angelfish swim past. He glanced at Harry; he needed to say something smart. “Fresh-water angelfish can eat bloodworms.” Before Harry could even react, Lucas swore and sat in the middle of the room. Harry walked over and joined him on the chair.
“No,” Lucas said, his head in his hands. “Not only am I saying very weird and disturbing things, I also can’t seem to stop myself. I must be the worst date in history.”
Harry shuffled closer to him. “I don’t think the facts are weird, and you’re actually a really fun date.” Lucas looked up at him in surprise. “You’re so smart, you know everything.”
Lucas laughed. “I’m obsessed with everything oceanic, why do you think I brought you to an aquarium? I was trying to impress you.”
“It is impressive, but I don’t think I’m interesting enough for you. I don’t know anything about the ocean-”
“You’re really interesting,” Lucas interrupted.
“You think I’m interesting?” Harry asked, cocking his head to the side.
“Of course. I just tend to talk a lot when I’m nervous.”
Harry smiled and shuffled closer, leaning forward.
Lucas gulped. “Like a turtles sex depends on egg temperature,” he whispered, gazing at Harry’s lips. Harry smiled, he kissed Lucas deeply.
Harry stood, holding out his hand. “How about we finish this date?”
A still breathless Lucas smiled and interlaced their fingers.
Giving Up on Love
Penny sat on the sand and watched the waves roll in. It had been almost five months since she’d seen Charlotte. Absentminded, she fiddled with her engagement ring. Penny stood and waded into the water, breathing in the salty air. It was two years ago to the day that she’d met Charlotte right here in this spot and eighteen months later been dragged back here only for Charlotte to propose.
Tears stung at Penny’s eyes; maybe she should take everyone else’s advice. Maybe she had to finally let go. There weren’t many people who turned up again after being declared missing in action. Penny pulled off her ring and looked down at it. Letting go seemed too much like giving up and she couldn’t give up on Charlotte; she was the love of Penny’s life. But penny was tired of all the emotions weighing on her. Tears rushed down her face and she let out a deep breath before dropping the ring into the blue waves.
Penny wiped her tears away and turned to head back into shore. There standing on the beach with one hand in a sling and a wide grin spread across her face, was Charlotte.
Lights flashed sending a violent orange hue onto the wall and alarms blared loudly. Matt skittered around a corner chanting under his breath the directions the strange girl had given him. The experiments had left her too far gone to be saved. Matt still didn’t know what happened during sedation.
He rounded another corner. A surprised lab technician dropped his pen and jumped into his path. No way in hell he was going to stay in this prison. He lowered his shoulder and barrelled straight into the technician who was flung against the wall. Matt didn’t stop for a moment, he pumped his arms harder.
Heavy footfalls echoed behind him; the security team was catching him.
Sunlight punctured Matt’s eyes. He almost cried in relief before the breath was knocked out of him as he ran straight into a waist high fence. Below him there was a giant churning damn; the height made him slightly dizzy.
Matt turned to see the SWAT team running towards him. He gulped, peering over the edge again. If this was his only chance at freedom… He closed his eyes and jumped himself over the fence towards the cold water below him. Towards freedom.
“You there yet?” Jacob asked.
Ava winced as the earpiece crackled. “Getting there.” She could see the outline of the wreck emerging from the blue darkness.
“I was thinking about asking Monica out.”
Ava laughed. “I like Monica, but I think-” She froze, floating in the water.
“This isn’t a shipwreck,” she breathed into the mic. “At least not our kind of ship.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“This isn’t a boat, it looks…” she hesitated, “like a space ship.” She swam closer inspecting it.
“You’re suffering from oxygen deprived.”
“I’m serious. Weird, all the marine life is completely avoiding it.” He didn’t reply. She ran a hand along the side, it was a black almond shape and every part of it was sleek. “It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Nothing on earth could’ve built this.”
“Ava, listen to me,” Jacob said sternly. “I need you to swim away and come back to the boat now.”
“No way. I can’t leave if this is first contact with alien technology.”
Jacob cursed in her ear and she ignored him, swimming the length of the ship.
“Come up.” She could hear him gritting his teeth. “My brother works for the military and this is the real deal which means you need to get out of there, it is too dangerous. If they find you down there, they will kill you.”
“There’s really aliens?” Ava squeaked. Even if she’d been contemplating it, having it confirmed was still shocking.
“Yes, I’m not pulling your leg. Get back up here.” Suddenly a section of the sleek surface broke away from the rest of the ship.
“It might be too late for that,” Ava whispered, swimming away from the ship. Jacob’s frantic chatter was overpowered by a high-pitched squeal which penetrated her ears and shattered her diving helmet.
First published Fantasia Divinity in Waters of Destruction