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The Drowning Fish(Trigger Warning, death and non described torture, severe physical trauma, social trauma.)
I am not immune to the irony. I am drowning. I am a fish. and yet i can feel the bubbles of air flow out of my mouth as i suck in water that burns my throat and fills my lungs. It's no accident. I watch my hair flow above and around me lazily. yes, i have hair. and hands and such. I'm a mermaid. and i couldn't drown by accident... the sparkle of light, far above me, distracts me. what was it i was thinking? my brain is so distracted... it wasn't an accident, but i cant remember anything else. just what i was thinking. i giggle and surrender more air. i just no that its no accident I'm drowning... was it delibrite on my account? did someone try to kill me? my brain feels fuzzy, warm. it makes me laugh drunkenly again. my lungs hurt. how do mermaids swim underwater if they cant breathe? i try to laugh, but i have no more air left to give. i think that gills somehow convert the air and make it last longer. it feels ridiculous... but i can feel the light slipping... i think I'm about to die. how odd. a long purple tail snakes over and encircles me, just as i drift into unconsciousness...
the tail squeezes around my chest as i am pulled into a cave, expelling the water. there is air in the cave! my brain still feels funny, i don't know what to do so i just play dead. the purple tail drops me and i hear a massive body busy about doing something. the tail slithers past again and thru slitted eyes, i see another falling body, like a petal in the wind. the tail catches it too, and deposits it next to me. i nudge it but feel no pulse. i recognize it... i just can't recall... the air reaches my brain and i remember. no, no, no... i was meant to die! we all were! another body floats down outside, and the tail captures it too. how did i survive? this is awful... what do i do? do i tell the kraken I'm alive? then go back and actually die? that could mean trouble... but then if I'm discovered that would be worse... its so very critical that i died... the others are dead. I'm the one who failed, and maybe brought about the doom of merfolk... how could i have failed so miserably? have been so selfish? and what do i do now? the krakens heas whisks over to us and smells us each. the third body first, than the second, and then me. terror fills me and i know it smells it.
"you're alive." what do i do?! do i ignore it? apologize? better to be honest... i open my eyes and nod.
"i am so sorry, i don't know what went wrong!" the Kraken contemplates me.
"i could destroy you all for this. i could torture you until you went mad and begged for death. i could let you live thru the proceedings, a more awful fate than any other."
"Please, just let me try again!" the Kraken considered me.
"and if you survive again?"
"can you just kill me now?"
"i could. but i won't. this is reason enough to destroy your pathetic civilization." no!
"Please! ill do anything you ask, just don't take my failure out on them!"
"and why shouldn't i?"
"you should... but please, show mercy!" my life's purpose was to die properly... and now here i was, having failed.
"Maybe I'm not merciful."
"Please! what do you want from me? anything! just don't" i didn't finish the sentence. i didn't have an ending and it was already clear what i meant.
"hm. perhaps. you will be punished. and then you will go back up there, tell them what you did, and return actually dead." oh i didn't want to face them and tell them what I'd done... i nodded hastily. i was drying out tho, i would soon die anyway. without warning, it plunged me into the ocean briefly and pulled me back.
i cannot describe what happened after that. it was excruciatingly painful and i was left maimed and hardly able to swim. i bore it all in silent gratitude. each vicious blow a reminder i had saved them, even tho i failed. i didn't scream, nor plead, nor cry. simply waited. at last, i was sent back to tell the others. my cheeks burned as i arrived. they stared in shock as i interrupted their goodbye ceremony. i couldn't start.
"what are you doing back?!"
"i...i failed... i somehow survived. i convinced it not to destroy everyone. it punished me and made me go tell you..." they all glared and stared at me in shock.
"You have failed." the leader spoke those words with such clam clarity, such deadly precision. i winced, those 3 words more painful than any physical abuse by the Kraken. he turned.
"wipe her from records. make it as though she never existed. anyone who speaks her name will regret it." i hung my head, waiting, hoping for him to turn back to me, to ask me to try again, to tell me. to yell at me for my failure. anything. instead, his back remains turned, and everyone else follows. i search for a single glance, a bit of sympathy. i stare at the faces of my friends, my family. cold silence from all. they're waiting for me to go die. and now you ask, why, if they treat you that way, do you still go die? because i failed them. i deserve this.
i stop fluttering my tail and feel myself drop. i exhale all the sad, weak air in my lungs. I'm falling, like a petal in the wind. blurry. i feel a tail snake around me. everything goes black. i hear a voice ask if I'm dead this time, and it trails off into blissful nothingness. i guess now I'm dead.