A Heart of a Siren
Victoria and Alima raced towards the dock and halted towards the edge where they saw three fins that slapped the sea water.
“What could they possibly want with Ally?” Victoria said as she huffed and puffed.
“There’s only one way to find out,” Alima said, and they dived into the sea. It felt like it was almost impossible for the two of them to catch up. They kicked their tails as hard as they could but the three tails ahead of them kept getting smaller and smaller in the distance. Alima realized that there was no point chasing the girls down; they were too fast for their speed. Alima reached out her hand and grabbed Victoria’s soft silver tail to pull her back.
“Ow! Seriously, Alima?” Victoria snapped and yanked back her tail.
“I want you to freeze their tails,” Alima said and looked to the direction of the fluttering tails.
“Alima, they’re too far away! I can’t freeze them. I can barely even see them.” And it was true. If you’ve never seen the waters of Florida, it was a deep sapphire blue that was a bit hard to see clearly underneath the surface.
Alima leaned in close to Victoria and said, “I want you to close your eyes and imagine Maria and Garai, swimming off in the distance.” Victoria could feel Alima’s words tingling her head. And with each word that Alima spoke, Victoria was able to see the image in her mind become more and more clearer. “Garai has a long and thick tail of a catfish. And Maria...well you can imagine Ariel from the little mermaid. But her tail is more bluer than Barbie’s eyes.”
“I got it,” Victoria said. “What else do you want me to do?”
“I want you to encase their fins in an ice block.”
Victoria opened her eyes. Her brown eyes flashed a pale blue. Her entire eyes shimmered the pale color and for a split second and they returned to their normal seal black.
“Did it work?” Victoria said and panted.
“Let’s check,” Alima said, and they two swam northward to where they believed the mermaids were. It didn’t take long for them to notice in the distance that there were two mermaid silhouettes sinking towards the bottom of the ocean with ice blocks at the end of their tails. They also made out Ally’s figure who was staring at the mermaids who were flailing their arms desperately to float by up but it worsened their sinking state and they sank faster. Alima swam to them and let them sink. But as they sank, Alima noticed that below them was an abyss. From above, the abyss reminded Alima of a crack on the dry ground. Except this crack was about a thousand times wider, and was pretty much like a dark bottomless pit. But it wasn’t bottomless. What awaited them below was a mystery. It may have been jagged rocks or a sea monster. Alima loved mysteries but this was definitely one mystery Alima would gladly pass.
Before the mermaids sank into the abyss, Alima grabbed both of them by the wrists and began her interrogation.
“Why did you take my friend?” Alima said. Alima was peeved, and she showed it by shaking their arms and to let them dangle over the edge helplessly.
“We just needed to borrow her! We weren’t going to hurt her or anything! We swear by the honor of the queen!” Garai whimpered as she looked down at the darkness of the abyss.
“You two do NOT deserve to swear by her!” Alima’s grip on them loosened and the two girls yelped.
“Calm down, Alima!” Ally pleaded from behind. “I’m okay!” But Alima ignored her.
“We’re sorry!” Maria apologized. There were no more roses to keep her hairdo together. Her hair was now a caramel tangled mess which covered her eyes. “We just needed her to split open a magma rock! There’s something in it and we think it’s a clue!”
“A clue you say?” Alima’s harsh tone softened to a purr. “Tell me more.”
Maria received a head shake from Garai, a sign of disapproval. They wanted to keep the secret to themselves. Alima sighed. The cruelness she was showing now was just a piece of what she was truly capable of. Alima lifted her pinkies from both of her hands to allow her grip to weaken.
“Ooops! I’m slipping,” she said. Alima’s lips curled into a cold smile and the girls screamed.
“Pull us up! Pull us up! We’ll tell you everything! Geez woman, have mercy!” Garai shouted and with a swift motion, Alima pulled the two mermaids up. The mermaid’s ice-encased-tails hit the sand floor first. The blocks shattered and shards of ice flew around them, melting into the warm ocean water. Victoria raised her hand to freeze the girls but Alima held up her hand in a halting gesture.
“There’s no need, they’re too shaken up to escape.” Victoria laughed. Her laugh reminded Alima of the walruses she had to work with one time. It was gruff and uneven.
“You know, Alima. I really thought you turned completely soft. But as of today, I was wrong. You have the heart of a true siren.” Victoria said this and did a slow clap. “I am so proud to have you as a friend.”
Alima held her hand to above where her heart was supposed to be and said, “Thank you, you flatter me.” Alima turned her attention to the two mermaids who were gasping and still in shock.
“So...sorry,” Maria gasped.
“Sor_ry,” Garai gasped.
“You two really should’ve thought of thought of that before you ruined half of our faces,” Alima smirked and turned her face to the side to show them the leftover gashed Maria’s roses had inflicted on her. “But it’s fine. We’re tough girls now, eh Victoria?”
“Absolutely,” Victoria said.
“Alima!” Ally said, her face was slightly pink and flushed with heat. The mermaids turned to her and Ally shriveled up slightly but maintained her confident posture. “What you just did was__”
“Cruel?” Alima finished for her. “Unnecessary? Too much?” Alima shrugged and laughed boldly. “I’m a siren. Alima said. Where I come from, what I’d just did, was merely a cute scolding.”
“The queen appointed a siren?” Maria whispered in Garai’s ear. Maria must’ve thought she had spoken quietly enough for Alima to not hear but she was wrong. “The queen must be insane.”
“And I see you haven’t learned your lesson,” Alima slowly swam up to Maria as if she were a panther cornering its prey, and got up close to her face. Maria flinched with discomfort and Alima smiled in her face. “You’re quite a chatter-box, aren’t you?” Maria nodded. “How long have you been on land?”
“About a two weeks,” Maria said softly.
“Is this your first time?” Maria nodded.
“I’m a control-freak, m’am.” Alima’s eyes examined all over Maria’s body and saw through Maria’s moppy sunbaked caramel hair was a golden comb.
“Then here’s a useful tip,” Alima said and her voice dimmed. “That sass of yours is going to get you no where, understood?” Maria nodded again. Alima got out of her face and slowly encircled them. Ally was shocked by how cat-like Alima was. She was stealthy, deadly, and totally manipulative.
“There are three things you need to be successful: motivation, hard work, and discipline. Don’t you ever forget that. I want you to be a worthy competitor,” Alima said this and moved on to Garai. “And you,” she said and batted her thick, curly black, lashes. Garai grimaced, the lines on her black forehead bended as she frowned.
“You interest me the most. You’re a strong one, aren’t you? You’re a river mermaid, you don’t belong here.” Alima eyed Garai up and down. “How is it that your skin isn’t burning from the saltwater?” Alima took a closer look at Garai’s grey tail and saw that the slick skin on her tail was raw and slightly red.
“Ah...it does hurt you. It hurts your tail, your skin, when you breath…” Alima’s harsh expression softened into compassion. “You must really desire the prize with all your heart.” Garai didn’t answer but Alima knew it was true.
Alima smiled cheerfully and said, “How would you two like to team up with us? For right now, it’s just me, my buddy Victoria, my ditzy blonde Ally, and I guess I could count Freddy too.” Maria and Garai exchanged looks.
“Do we have a choice?” Garai asked.
“You realize the queen only offers one prize?” Garai said and lifted a brow.
“Yes, I do,” Alima said. “But we can find a way to work things out. Until then, please consider the offer.”
“We’ll think about it,” Maria said. “But we still need your beautiful friend,” Maria said and winked at Ally who blushed and looked away. “There is a large black magma rock near an Australian volcano. It’s too hot for us to touch but we think she would be able to pry it open. There’s something in there...I don’t know what.”
“Alright then, let’s go. We go together,” Alima said. “Lead the way.” Maria and Garai were the head of the group while Alima and Victoria tailed behind them. Victoria tapped on Alima’s shoulder and said, “Don’t you remember the meeting?”
“Yes?” Alima said. She was confused at where Victoria was going with it.
“You know who’s going to be waiting there? Phoebe and Katie, they were assigned to scout Australia!” Victoria said harshly. “The last thing we need is a Greek mermaid and a Californian girl on our tails!”
“We’ll find a way to deal with it,” Alima said.
“Sure...we’ll invite them into our group. Alima, this is too much. In the end, we all know what’s going to happen. We’re going to split up, we’ll stab each other in the backs, and fight to claim the prize.” Victoria put a hand on Alima’s shoulder and said, “Alima, you are my friend. But you know that between the prize and you, I’m picking the prize.”
“I know that,” Alima said and looked ahead. She felt a sting in her heart but she killed it. As of any mermaid, she was able to turn on and off her guilt and she was able to choose what to feel and when as long as she was under the sea. The sea made her heart numb and cold, and that was one of the things she loved about it. “Let’s just focus on the mission, okay?” Alima muttered. Victoria mutually agreed. And the mermaids continued to venture further into the deep blue sea.