My body hits the choppy waves with a large splash.
Right before I submerge entirely, I hear whooping and hollering from the deck above. How those savages cheer on my death, wrapped up in their own ignorance and fear.
Then the noise is gone, as is the light.
These canon balls chained to my ankles care even less than the men upon that ship that I cannot breathe. I struggle, even knowing how useless it is, but I cannot help it. I do not want to die. I pull through the water with my arms, my arms that they cruelly left untied as if to mock my efforts. I am not strong enough to pull against these weights, I continue to sink.
The water gets darker, but still I sink through the depths. No longer do I only feel the pressure from within my lungs, but the water that surrounds me is also pressing in. It slams against my head, squeezing against me like a vice. Still, I continue to sink. Unable to stop myself, I try to gulp in air but only swallow water. The salt burns as it snakes down my throat. I start to choke and black spots speckle the dark water that surrounds me.
I never thought this was how I would die.
Out of the depths, I hear a sound, the sound that truly signals my demise. I hear the singing of angels and demons mixed together. Their voices are heavenly, but their tune is dark and full of rage. At first, I am afraid, but then as the voices cascade over me, I no longer fear death and willing allow my heavy eyes to close.
There is pressure on my lips and suddenly, my lungs expand with air. The weight from my ankles is released.
There is pain in my legs, the pain of slashing and tearing and burning. Once I was cold, but now I am hot as the heat radiates up my skin, crawling up my thighs, racing between my ribs, tearing into my mind.
The voices continue their song, it grows louder and beneath it, there is a hum that speaks a warning.
I can breathe, but the pain, make the pain stop . . .
The pain is gone. I open my eyes, shocked by many things. The first is how clear my vision has become. The second is how clearly I can see the creatures that surround me. Hundreds of women, with pale skin and iridescent tails float in the space around me. Their hair, dark and light, swirls around them and reveals bright golden eyes. When they smile, their teeth are sharp, but their eyes are kind.
When I look down, I am not surprised to find that my legs are gone, replaced by a scaled tail that swishes beneath me. My sharp teeth grind against each other in my mouth as I continue to breathe easy within the depths.
“You are one of us,” she says, her husky voice coated by salt.
Far above us, we see the shadow of a ship sailing away, carrying my would-be-murderers. The woman in front of me flicks her eyes toward the bow of the boat, and raises an eyebrow. I understand.
This is my initiation.
Without a second thought, I turn tail and glide through the water toward the ship with my new family at my side.
We are coming.
***This short story was written in response to a prompt that I found on Pinterest.***
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