She stood on the rocky shore and stared longingly at the sea. Her lips were cracked and her eyes red and sore. She could hardly stand her dehydrated body, but fear held her back. Was withering to dry bones worse than drowning? Could the monster do worse to her than that?
Movement caught her eye and she saw a man heading towards her. Her heart crawled up her throat as she edged away, only to see another man on her left. Her car was too far away she didn't trust her body to get there in time, not in its current condition. Seeing no choice, she hurried over the rocks to the ocean.
The men changed course to follow her. They seemed sure enough of their ability to catch her, for they didn't hurry. Dark-haired, of medium height, they radiated menace. Strangely, their clothes were wet and ragged, and both were barefoot. They didn't seem like homeless men, but she wasn't going to stop and question them. Taking a deep breath, she ignored her thundering heart and ran into the surf.
The sea welcomed her like a lover, surging into her dry tissues, filling her with strength and energy. The salt water soothed her eyes, eased the brittle ache in her bones. Her skin absorbed it thirstily her body relaxed, finally at peace.
Well, as peaceful as she could be with strangers pursuing her.
Panic gave her strength as she dived under the waves, amazed at how well she could see and how supple her body felt. She'd never felt this strong, this whole. She felt like she could swim for miles without tiring, and suddenly felt confident that she could escape the pursuers.
Then she felt suction. Terror swapped her as she flashed back to the night before. The water man had found her, and he was going to tear her apart. She would drown, and this time should die, because who could survive that twice?
She was sucked into a jar with a loud pop and the lid slammed closed and latched like an old-fashioned canning jar. She caught the flash of a tail as something swam by, then a merman stopped to give her a cursory glance. “Got her,” he said with satisfaction, his short emerald hair waving in the current. He wore a harness bristling with knives and pockets, and wide wristlets with metal darts. He had a dart gun holstered on his back, and a metal collar sporting an octopus medallion gave him the impression of a leader. His scales were dark green, and he had gills at his throat.
A flurry of bubbles heralded the arrival of the men who’d chased her, now sporting tails of gray and blue. They tossed a net over her jar as the leader detached a cable that anchored the jar to the sea bottom.
Alicia pressed against the glass as they towed her out to sea. It had happened so fast, it took her a minute to realize her panicked gasps were drawing in water. She took a moment to deal with that, feeling her throat for nonexistent gills. How was she breathing? She began hyperventilating, trying to suppress the panic.
The leader looked at her and smirked. “Surge won’t be pleased to hear we have her.”
Alicia calmed enough to wonder who Surge was, but her heart still raced. She needed to escape.
“What if he doesn’t want her, Olan? He knew where she was and didn’t come for her, ” one of the mer pointed out.
Olan slid a look her way. “Then I’ll give her to you and the others to amuse yourself. He may not want her, but it will hurt his pride to have his bride used as my officer’s private whore.”
“We should take photos, sir, and post it to the mer net for maximum devastation. A sex tape with her seeming willing cooperation would capitalize on the scandal.”
At first Alicia was devastated with fear at the thought of gang rape and public shame. How could they callously discuss the logistics of hurting her as if she were nothing? Slowly, rage built, grew into a pressure behind her eyes. It crawled under her skin, demanding an outlet, so she gave it a target. She pushed.
The jar exploded. Razor sharp shrapnel a quarter inch thick sliced through the water, taking one man in the armpit, past the ribs and into his lung. His friend cried out and clutched his tail. Several pieces of glass were imbedded in it and scaled skin hung open in a large flap. Blood stained the churning water, and Alicia was glad. She welcomed the chaos; like the fury, it only fed her power.
Such power! It surged, and she spun it like a child’s toy, revolving joyfully in the water. The water spun with her, forming a whirlpool that grew like the legendary Charybdis. Like the ancient Greeks sailors, the mermen wore looks of horror as the sea bottom tore away, drawn into the watery hurricane.
“Kill her!” Olan shouted. Blood flowed like smoke around him, but his aim was steady as he aimed the dart gun at her.Alicia laughed and pushed, beyond fear as the whirlpool grew to monstrous proportions, exploding above the surface in a mile high geyser. She shouted with the thrill as the sea responded gleefully. She would create a tsunami! She would claim so much land for the sea, her name would be legend. Olan was swept away, the local fish were caught in her mad whirl. It was the best drug ever invented. She would have so much fun!