{{ contest.story_page_sticky_bar_text }} Be the first to recommend this story.
Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

0
Free copy left
You can read our best books
TheChimera would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

Nerida

By TheChimera All Rights Reserved ©

Scifi / Fantasy

Chapter 1

An old man sat on the rocks of a once popular beach, down on an abandoned and time-worn levy. He simply stared at the horizon and prayed, a photograph clasped in his bony fingers. He kissed the image and closed his eyes. He fingered his half of a small glass heart in his pocket as he let his mind wallow in the predictable sounds of the ocean. He closed his eyes and slipped into a light sleep.

A beautiful young girl leaned over the side of the rock face, licking the salty wind off of her chapped lips. The green blue frothy water slurped against grassy slabs of granite, throwing white sea foam high up into the air. The tide rose, making the little girl cling to her father’s hand tighter than before, her fingernails leaving little half-moons in his palm. She was sure this one would hit them, but she couldn’t turn away from the water. She had to watch them become saturated. At the last second, the salty sea dove down, smacking into the levy below them and throwing rainbows into the wind and keeping the pair surprisingly dry. Fascinated, she leaned closer.

Her father tugged her back into his side. “Not too close, Nerida. Don’t want you to take a tumble off the side.”

She didn’t break her gaze with the horizon. Her father did not look away from the shoreline. “But wouldn’t the ocean catch me?”

Finally he smiled, glancing down at her, thin blonde hair catching in the breeze. The girl tilted her head, eyes captivated by the waves. “The ocean wouldn’t have time to catch you, baby, the rocks would first.”

“How come you’ve never taken me here before?”

He smiled sadly. “Haven’t had the courage.”

She looked up to him, his lost wife’s turquoise eyes twinkling. “But the ocean is my home. It’s everyone’s home…it’s mommy’s too.” She glanced back out again. “Can we go home now, Daddy?”

Her father glanced back towards the beach, mentally tracing a path they could navigate safely across the levy and back to their house. “Of course, let me just-“ and suddenly a small hand was no longer in his own.

His heart in his throat, he turned around to see his daughter now out of reach, sprinting rapidly out towards the waves. The water crashed around her, raining on her, calling her name in the tone of the sea.

“Nerida, no!” he cried, reaching out as if he had the power to stop her.

But she dove over the side without looking back, tumbling off head first into the surf. Just like she had predicted, the water caught her, caught the screaming girl, and hauled her off toward the horizon.

Her father was on the edge, frantically taking off his jacket and shoes, ready to dive in after his daughter. She was still screaming, as if in agony, her body becoming one with the water. Tears streaming down his face, he unbuckled his pants with shaking hands.

Before he jumped, he glanced out one last time, spotting his daughter among the swells. She no longer screamed, her head above the water and skin as shiny pale as moonstone. She stared into his eyes, blonde hair swirling around her like an angel.

His mouth opened slightly, a chill spreading down his spine. Her eyes had changed.

The color of inhuman aquamarine was now rampant in her eyes, pupils slit like a reptile and all emotion devoid in her features.

He gaped at her, then beckoned his daughter with his hand. “Nerida…darling…swim to me…swim to the rocks so I may take you home…”

She tilted her head with what he assumed was a playful smile on her lips, before her head disappeared into the surf. And no matter how long he waded along the coastline, he never saw her face again. His only solace was her half smile, desperately trying to convince himself that she was happy among the deep. He distracted himself from the inevitable truth that she had drowned and he had seen a ghost, but still possessed the gnawing sensation that she was still alive.

The old man jerked awake and away from his dreams, eyes instinctively scanning the horizon as they learned to do throughout the years. Still nothing, simply the vastness of the ocean so full of life yet so invisible to the eye, to simulate solitude.

He was about to settle back into his chair and continue his prayers when he locked eyes with a creature of the sea. His breath caught in his throat, holding eye contact with familiar turquoise eyes so similar yet so different, that peered just over the edge of the levy. The creature exposed her face, long blonde hair tinged with algae swirling and a webbed hand grasping at the rocks.

The man still could not breathe, and even though she was much older than the little girl he held on this levy, a man would never forget the eyes of his daughter.

He ran to her side, reaching out to cup her cool face.

“My Nerida…oh my dear Nerida,” he cooed. She was hesitant to let him touch her, but indulged him in his humanist ways, unwavering gaze and unsmiling face fixated on his own. He slimed his hands through her slippery locks.

“My darling, I’ve missed you so! And look at you! All grown up and so beautiful; like an angel of the sea and carved of porcelain.”

She made no recognition she’d heard his words.

Tears streamed down his face. “You won’t leave me again will you? Oh my dear, why have you come back? To see me?”

She tilted her head and glanced down, raising her other arm out of the water. In it she cradled an infant, swaddled in kelp and seaweed. Struggling to lurch out further, she offered the crying infant out to her father. “Must raise him on land,” she said, voice resembling a chorus of twenty singing voices all talking over one another. “Then return him to the sea to find me. As I was returned.”

The man glanced down, a crying young human boy with pudgy arms and legs reaching out towards him, eyes gleaming. With the next swell bringing them closer and without hesitation, the man reached into the waves to pull the dripping boy out of his daughter’s arms. He pulled him to his chest, drenching his clothing in salt water. “Is he yours?”

His daughter only nodded, taking another glance down at her son and playfully smiling again. The man tilted his head. All these years he had wondered, and now he was sure. She was happy.

She muttered something in an intelligible language half heard with the ears and the other with the mind; a sing song string of notes understood more with emotions rather than meaning. The boy quieted, and without another glance backwards, she sunk into the waves.

“No, Nerida!” her father called, running down the levy as fast as he remembered his old legs ever carrying him. “I have questions! Where have you been? Who is he?”

He opened his mouth, heart beating in his throat. “Is your mother with you…”

He swore he saw the flip of a tail in the distance before the sinking feeling of being completely alone returned to him.

He stared at the horizon for a few moments more before a sharp kick to his ribs brought his attention down to the boy. He had turquoise eyes, just like his mother and grandmother, with many facial features he recognized. Others, he did not.

He sighed, staring into his closing, sleepy eyes. He began pulling some of the kelp away from him and tossing it back to the sea. Strand after strand, he tore away his beginnings until something cool and hard rubbed against his fingertips. Tilting his head, he let another piece of the slippery dressing fall away to expose half of a smooth glass heart, far more worn now and covered with sea grime.

He narrowed his eyes, digging into his pocket and pulling out his half of a glass heart split between him and his wife over 60 years ago. Holding his breath, he clinked the two together in a perfect match. He stared in disbelief, turning his gaze back out to the sea.

He nodded, turning away from ocean and towards land, clutching his grandson in his arms just a little tighter. He had yet to open his eyes.

Write a Review Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, TheChimera
Continue Reading
Further Recommendations

Felisa Yoder Osburn: I really enjoyed the story. Civil War stories are some of my favorites and the intertwining of the past with current times was wonderful. I look forward to reading the next stories.

borkarprasad: Nicely laid story. Needed a little more ghost and Raven conversations. Initially, Had everyone on suspect list but satisfied by the precision to capture the killer. Waiting for more Raven and Cade adventures.

Hawkebat: Playing both Kotor I & II and Swtor I found the story line interesting and it held me until chapter 35 Very good story and plot flow until then, very few technical errors. I felt that the main character was a bit under and over powered, as it fought for balance. The last few chapters felt too f...

Meri Amber: The plot is creative, fun and addictive! The writing is superb and the characters are really well put together. Definitely highly recommeded!

tsolaidowu: I want a continuation dammit....I loved this book and the 1st one. I can't believe this is it. I'm not ready to say goodbye to Jeff and Lorie; and the gang. Great book and storyline. You're a genius Madelyn.

Alex Rushmer: This was not what I expected, but I enjoyed it a lot Malfoy was always one of the characters that I liked a lot, so I like that a lot of this happens between him and Colette. I read the first couple chapters, and I enjoyed your writing style and am excited to see where you take this story. My com...

amarin8388: Bottom Line: I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys Science Fiction. During my reading, I thought many times that this would make a good story for a movie. It reminded me of the StarWars movie franchise, not because of the plot but because of the diversity of chara...

Erin Crowley: The concept here is really strong, but the execution is definitely lacking. Tenses, grammar, etc are all off, with at least one or more errors per 'Page' on my phone. The writing style is almost broken- sentences move into each other awkwardly, and are filled with an excess of "filler words", lik...

Bri Hoffer: I couldn't put it down!! The characters are all incredibly likable, and it's so descriptive you can see, smell, and feel thier surroundings. Great story, and very well written. I cannot wait for follow up stories. there were a few grammatical errors, but nothing that I could move right over.

More Recommendations

Ayesha Shaikh: I love the twists. 😆I like how the writer describes everyone's point of view and the character development. I'm gonna read all the books by this author (current and upcoming). She's one of my favorites now. The spelling mistakes are normal no big deal, the amazing plot makes up for it. Thank you ...

SandraHan1: This story is very descriptive, with vivid scenes from the very beginning, which made for a good scene setting. I love the symbolism in names, such as “Naysayers”, “Hadd”, etc . The story itself is revolutionary, intriguing, emotional and exciting. I was very pleased to see that there is a happy ...

littlebunnypoopoos: Omg this was so amazing! The ending was a little bad and predictable. But otherwise, I need a second book or I'll die :D The character development was excellent and the whole romance, action, and suspense was superb

Melissa Davis: Interesting book and an enjoyable read. Had something different to it, that made me glad I picked it up.

maewilde25: I am so in love with this story!!! captivated me till the very end, there wasn't a dull moment. Didn't particularly enjoy the lay out and some bits of info was missing along with how a 21 year old man amassed so much wealth that needed to be explained other than that and a few spelling errors, th...

Satabda Chatterjee: Each and every charecter develops during the whole course of the journey and keeps secretly love for the princess . However the way that writter expressed each situatuons that the princess faced quite relevant and keeps the suspense always at the end of the chapter. . . .which makes the reader m...

About Us:

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.