Friday, November 7, 2008

Mermaid Star (Friday Fiction)

Fiction Friday is hosted by Julie @ The surrendered scribe. Click here to read and share more great fiction!

Author's note: Feeling a little stressed this week, lots of things happening. This is a tad random with very few details, so let your imagination fill in the gaps.

Run. Run. Run.

The beat echoed in her head. Layla ran.

Her feet moved as swiftly and silently as they could, her hair streaming out in the night air behind her.

Faster. Faster. Faster.

The pulse screamed in her ears, but her feet kept running, steady and sure. Shadows with points seemed to spring from the corners, but she closed her eyes and plunged steadily ahead.
Her feet knew the way. Her heart knew the path. She would make it. Maybe.


Her eyes flew open and Layla poured every remaining ounce of strength into her legs. With one powerful sprint, she broke through the hedgeway and into a moonlight clearing. The sound of trickling water was almost peaceful, but the angry growls behind her, shattered all semblance of sanity.

Layla scanned the smooth pond surface, her breath fuzzing into frantic gasps as she stumbled to the edge, grabbing around her neck for the necessary necklace.

Her fingers closed around the soft pink starfish gem. The glow seemed even brighter in the moonlight as she tore it free from the chain.

“Despian?” She whispered, squinting to see into the shadows around the ragged rocks. “Prince Despian? It’s Layla…please…” Her voice choked as she darted a glance over one shoulder.

“Layla?” His smooth voice slipped over her with a calm like no other. “Swallow the necklace and I promise you will be fine.”

A shiver swept through her and her teeth chattered. “P-promise?” The crashing underbrush echoed eerily in the moment and she touched the fuzzy starfish to her lips. Her eyes closed and she swallowed it whole.

“Jump!” Despian whispered. “Quickly!”

Layla took a running leap and jumped straight for his arms. In mid-air, the breath was sucked dry of her. The gasp was choking and choking, until the plunge into wetness revived her.

She struggled to tread water until she realized the transformation was complete. Despian caught her in his arms, drawing her back into the shadows. She hugged him tight, barely daring to breathe.

“How many were following you?” He asked.

“I-I don’t know.” She trembled at the memory. “So many of them…”

“Shhh!” He drew his staff from a nook in the craggy rock. “They will not harm you. They know better than to tangle with the undersea folk.” He frowned. “Will you be able to handle the swim to the city?”

“I think so.”

“Mustn’t think. Must know.” He let go and suddenly dunked her. She came up sputtering, when he put a finger to his lips. “Shhh. Practice that. You’ve only been one of us for minutes of a time. This will be your life now. Growing a tail and gills is nothing, but learning to use and appreciate them is. Your legs will not be coming back. You know this, you must adapt if you wish to live. I do not mean it as it sounds, but we cannot risk losing you. Understand?”

Layla nodded, ducking below the water of her own accord. She coughed as she surfaced. Despian was right. It was harder than she'd remembered at least. Something cracked on shore and she froze. “They are here.”

Despian squinted into the night. “Then we will leave. There is no reason to engage them if they do not know where you have gone. Come.” He slipped his hand over hers and took a deep breath.

Layla instinctively copied the action, gripping his hand tight. He straightened up, then dived under. She found herself swimming beside him in the murky waters by the light of his staff gem.

They swam in silence for a moment, before he surfaced in another clearing. “We were worried. What happened?”

She tried to smile and failed. “Prophecy. No one wants to hear that I am a messenger of…religion.”

Despian snorted. “Of religion? That is what they are saying of you?” His head bowed. “I pity them, but I am glad you are here with us.” He stared upwards into the three moons. “Our people want to hear what you have to say.” He looked straight at her. “I want to know what you have to share. This…life. This God and all of this things…things we have never heard. Things I have never known.” His head shook slowly. “You are no religious prophet.”

Layla smiled, slowly nodding.

Dear Lord, I have followed and listened to you through these trials. I pray that you would continue to guide me and help me to share your message and that-

“You are a messenger…and the last of your kind.” Despian spoke softly. “I wish there was a way to explain that…”

“That what?”

He turned away, taking another careful breath before letting it out. “Never mind. Come, we must travel far before morning, if we wish to be untraceable.”

Layla found herself following him again, but the cold reality of what he had said stuck in her head. The last of my kind? She shook her head and focused on swimming.

Swim. Swim. Swim.

Despian’s staff gem flickered.

Faster. Faster. Faster.

Copyright 2008. S. Harricharan


Patty Wysong said...

Sara, you have such a knack at bringing characters to life--even when you say you haven't filled in details and such.

Happy writing, Sweetie!

Joanne Sher said...

Oooohh - love the characters and the intrigue. You are SO good.

Catrina Bradley said...

A great adventure, Sara, even tho you think you're lacking details. I love your fantasy worlds and your characters - you always leave me wanting MORE. :)

Anonymous said...

Cool. I like it. A mermaid missionary, very interesting. I'd expect nothing less from you.

The Surrendered Scribe said...

I know I've said it before, but honestly, THIS is a favorite. My heart is racing. I loved the pace, the names, and the premise.

I hope NaNoWriMo is going well for you!