Here's a little short story I wrote inspired by my favourite death scene in a horror film possibly ever - A Nightmare on Elm Street IV: The Dream Master - "Swish, killed a fish" where Freddy breaks out of a waterbed. In this case I've given it a mermaid twist. Enjoy!
It’s one of those nights; you know the sort,
muggy, hot and so damn oppressive that you’re almost praying for the storm to
break just so you can get some release from the sticky torment. Even with the
window wide open and the covers off, I can’t get to sleep.
I curse knowing that I’ll have dark circles under
my eyes in the morning. Rox will never forgive me if I look less than perfect
tomorrow. She is determined that now that he’s single again, Jason must want a
new girlfriend and that girl should be me.
Jason. The sandy haired, hazel-eyed god of River
High, Captain of the football team, lead singer of the school rock-band, king
of the social scene and after his spectacular break up with Libby yesterday,
Nobody could quite believe it. I mean he and Libby
had been going steady for months, they were practically engaged! The school’s
golden couple, it was a given that they were going to be prom king and queen at
the end of the year.
Then suddenly, in the middle of the cafeteria,
Libby drops the bombshell that she won’t be going with him to Dave’s eighteenth
on Saturday because she needs to revise for Monday’s media exam. This is only
the biggest party of the year – Dave is the first of us to turn eighteen. Talk
about kiss of death!
“Poor Jason, it’s not like she even left him for
someone else!” Rox said to me during our free period. “As if anyone needs to
revise for media studies!”
“And that gives him the right to call her a frigid
lesbian whore?” I asked raising my eyebrow.
“Well, that might have been a tad extreme,” Rox
admitted, “But come on, Jay had a right to be angry. She blew him off in front
of EVERYONE! That’s so humiliating!”
“And she’ll be the one going off to uni in
September whilst he’ll be forced to retake the year…” I smiled at the thought
of perfect Jason needing to resit.
“Just who’s side are you on?” Rox demanded. “You
sound like you almost agree with what Libby did!”
“She can’t be both frigid and a whore that’s a
tautology,” I mused ignoring Roxy’s indignation.
“Kath, you are such a geek!”
“And that’s why you love me!” I said teasingly.
Rox and I have been best friends for years. In most respects we’re polar opposites
and yet that only seems to make us like each other more, her extroverted
personality perfectly balances my own reserve. Or had, until now.
“You’d better not talk like that in front of
Jason,” she warned. “It would be insensitive. After Libby he’s not going to
want… well you know…”
“Any show of intelligence. Yeah I get that. But
Rox, why would I care what Jason wants?” I asked her.
She looked at me as if I’d just grown another
“Well you are going to be his new girlfriend…”
“I am?” I looked at her in astonishment.
“I know I asked you not to show off that brain of
yours, but you don’t have to play that dumb!” Rox exclaimed. “You’re
next in line, of course you’re going to be Jason’s first choice!”
“Next in line…?” I looked at her blankly.
“Oh come on! After me you’re Libby’s closest
friend. Of course it’s going to be you. If it wasn’t for the fact that I’m with
Dave I’d make a play for him myself. Jay is such a total stud muffin! It’s a
crime for anyone that hot to be single!” I couldn’t help it, I laughed at that
and my amusement instantly dissolved the tension between us.
Jason is gorgeous, there’s no denying that, so why
aren’t I as ecstatic at the thought of being his girl as Rox obviously is? Switching
on the light I grab our yearbook and flip through until I find the picture of
him and Libby taken not long after they got together. He looks blissfully
happy, arms draped around her in a possessive manner, yet she looks… I don’t
know, trapped. Why had I never noticed that before?
My head begins to throb with that kind of ache
when your body’s telling you you desperately need to sleep and your mind rebels
wanting to uncover those niggling little things that are just tantalisingly out
of reach. It’s no use arguing. I drop the book onto the bedside table, switch
off the light, this time for good and settle down to sleep.
I toss and turn for a while finally settling on my
stomach. Rox thinks it’s weird that I like to sleep on my front, but as I told
her it’s more comfortable as I’ve got more padding that way. The waterbed
ripples, moulding itself to my curves, its gentle swish lulling me into a
trance. Finally I think, finally!
Suddenly I’m jerked out of my doze by a thump to
my belly. What the fuck? There it goes again. It’s like the reverse of what I
imagine it would be like to be pregnant, kicks and punches coming from the
outside... I hold myself perfectly still and the bed begins to ripple around
me. Breathing hard I tear at the sheet. And then I see her. Libby? My brain
freezes. How is this possible?
But there she is, her naked body mirroring mine,
separated only by a thin wall of translucent plastic. She opens her mouth as if
to tell me something but only bubbles escape. Frustrated she punches the
plastic then unfurls her fingers pressing her palms against the barrier.
Instinctively I do the same, staring into her wide sea-green eyes, trying to
decipher the hidden message there.
She glances at our palms, almost touching and
smiles at me. Like her reflection I find myself smiling back. Her wheat-ripe
hair swirls around her like seaweed. She seems so carefree, so happy and seeing
her like this I realise that I’ve never really ‘seen’ her before. Not that
she’d ever been miserable… but now she just seems to have this… spark.
Something tightens inside me. I want that spark,
that indefinable… something desperately. With more strength than I thought
possible I break through the plastic and lace my fingers with hers. Tell me, I
want to say to her. Tell me what the secret is.
Our bodies crash together and her soft, warm flesh
moulds to accommodate mine far more satisfying than impersonal plastic. But rather
than letting me go, strong arms wind themselves around me, pressing us closer
together. I shiver, but not with the cold. Indeed I’m so hot I feel like my
insides are volcanic magma, bubbling, bubbling…
I feel something cold and slimy slap against my
thigh. I look down but my eyes can’t fully process what I’m seeing. Slowly my
eyes travel upwards from the splayed fin to where the iridescent scales merge
with human flesh. Higher… Higher… She looks at me now with unadulterated
hunger. Panic beats a frantic tattoo in my chest. I begin to struggle. Her
glossy pink lips seize mine in a kiss that is part lust and all possession. I
fight harder, jerking my legs caught in the steel vice of her tail. Eyes
glittering she draws me deeper.
The next thing I know it’s morning and mum’s
coming into the room with a cup of coffee. She looks at the bed. The cup drops
to the floor and coffee splashes across the haphazard rainbow heap of discarded
clothes. My eyes stare vacantly up at her from behind their plastic tomb. My
naked corpse floats inside the waterbed like some twisted modern art
instillation. Mum’s scream is loud enough to wake the dead…
Groggily my uncoordinated hand searches for the
alarm clock, desperate to stop its incessant beeping. My heart slows to normal
as the world around me swims into focus, everything looking as it should:
Clothes in a heap, waterbed solid, not a body in sight. After my hurried shower,
I stare into the mirror, apart from appearing perhaps a little paler than
normal I don’t look any different. But inside… well that’s another story.
Picking out an eye-catching scarlet ensemble that yesterday I never would have
dared to wear for school, I dress, readying myself to face the sharks.