by Harmony Hodges
Serena sprinted out of the stuffy classroom. Bologna sandwich in hand, she sat down on the edge of the pier, and plopped her feet into the icy cold ocean. The beads of sweat on her forehead were minimized by gallons of deep smooth water – smooth, slippery water. She took a small mirror out of her pocket to see if her tears had smudged her mascara.
Aneres the Mermaid
Aneres the Mermaid swam upward, away from Evil the Mermaid after a heated argument about whether or not the lobster and the silver comb were stolen property. Aneres swam with force, maddening light speed, passing through the barrier, away from the Stygian gloom, up into a new depth where simple things happened, like big fish that eat little fish. Aneres slowed down her pace. She twirled in the water, enjoying the simple textbook life of survival of the fishiest. Everything seemed so carefree and light. She continued upward, floating through moonless water then starless water until she reached shadows near the surface. Suddenly, she sensed gloom.
Serena munched on the dry sandwich, trying to forget about the bully, instead thinking about her desire to visit faraway places and leave her crumby life behind. She didn’t know the bully was walking toward her, getting closer to the pier.
Aneres looked up and saw toes, wrinkled prune toes. What kind of mermaid is this? Is she deformed? Stranded?
Serena turned, looked behind her. The bully pushed her. Her face plunged toward the water.
Aneres grabbed Serena’s feet as they entered the water.
Serena’s pocket mirror flew up into the air. At that moment Serena and the bully locked eyes in the mirror.
Something grabbed Aneres by her tail. It was Evil the Mermaid trying to bring her back down to the murky depths of distress and disaster, to the coldness of ice, death and decay.
But at that moment, Evil and Aneres locked eyes with Serena and the bully, all in the reflection of the pocket mirror. In a flash - a mere instant, all four exchanged something electric.
Arms flailing, bologna sinking, a wave of fish, hair, arms and chaos.
Evil the Mermaid
Evil suddenly caught a taste of a strange new meat, it wasn’t fish and it wasn’t human. She panicked. It must be a strange sort of land monster. She let go of Aneres and shot back down into the depths.
Serena pulled herself up onto the pier, coughing - the sun drying her fear quickly. Once her lungs were clear of water and her mind free of the bully, she walked back into the school - shoulders back, calm, chin raised.
In The End
Serena was never bothered by the bully again, thanks to her newly found confidence.
Aneres never crossed back into the underworld, thanks to her taste of freedom.
The bully never bothered anyone again because his retinas had burned off when he saw Evil the Mermaid in the reflection.
And Evil the Mermaid stayed in the dark depths of the underworld, thanks to her taste of a mysterious meat, most likely that of a monster, living on land.
Harmony Hodges lives in the Pacific Northwest and writes poetry and fiction. More of her work can be found in several poetry anthologies on Amazon, edited by A.J. Huffman.
Pieces Inspired by this Image
'Nightmares from Childhood'
'I woke up'