The Merman

The Merman

The Hero’s lungs ache as they are deprived of air for what seems like an eternity. The Hero looks down and, amidst the cascade of bubbles, he sees a serpentine crocodile with a mouth full of the Hero’s cloak, dragging him deeper and deeper into the pool. The Hero is able to orient himself, kicking the crocodile in the snout. The crocodile serpent releases the Hero’s cloak and the Hero kicks back up to the surface. 

He breaks the surfaces and gulps down rapid breaths of fresh air. The Hero looks back down under the water to see a half-man, half-fish rocketing towards him. The Hero takes one more deep breath. The Merman slams into the Hero, lifting him up and out of the water. Time seems to slow and the Hero gets his first good look at the Merman. His golden hair is stunning, radiating a bright warmth. The Merman’s human-torso skin is covered in bronzed scales that give way to fishy turquoise scales below his waistline, covering a powerful fish tail. A tail powerful enough to launch the Merman and the Hero out of the water and now the two combatants arc and then fall back towards the water. The Merman continues to clutch the Hero in his webbed grip and drives the Hero back under water in a vicious tackle. The Hero tries to hold his breath, however the impact of the water forces several air bubbles from the Hero’s mouth.

Blackness creeps in around the Hero’s vision as consciousness begins to slip away from him. The panicking Hero knows he must make a last ditch effort and fast. The Hero wiggles around to face the Merman. The Hero is briefly frozen by the sheer majesty of this aquatic adonis’ face. The Hero then rears his head back and then slams it forward with all his remaining strength. The Merman releases the Hero, clutching at his face. His elegant and serene face transforms into a face of savage and ferocious rage. Where the soft smile of the Merman once rested gently upon his face, the lips part to reveal razor-sharp, needle-like teeth. The Merman shrieked an ear-piercing scream before hurtling toward the Hero. The Hero quickly draws his saber and barely gets the tip of this sword up. 

It is eerie, the feeling of the sword contacting a body without any corresponding sound. But the Merman floats by the Hero slowly, grasping at his side. A wispy trail of crimson blood flows from the Merman’s side. The Merman looks at the Hero with a strange look of disbelief, before morphing into a look of pure terror. The Hero turns and sees the serpentine crocodile swimming straight for them. The Hero swims for the surface as fast as his arms would swing, but he realizes the gator wasn’t after him. The beast clamps down on the Merman’s bleeding side, attracted to the taste of the blood filling the water. The Hero breaks the surface, gasping for breath, determined to climb out. He takes off his belt and grasps the leather end, launching the buckling end up to the catwalk. The buckle wraps around one of the metal posts and the Hero is able to pull himself up and out of the water, as an ominous red cloud blooms beneath him.

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