Anything but an Angel
Although Freddy didn’t seem to show it, he was still in shock that she had finally came back after four long years. He never thought he would ever get to see her again, but today, out of all the days, she just had to show up randomly out of the blue! And she brought with her, a whole lot of trouble too. He didn’t know what to feel about her, but what he did know was that he was anything but thrilled to see her. He never forgot her last words to him before she left, A monster, she said. And Freddy didn’t have a hard time believing it too.
“I know what you’re thinking,” Alima said and opened the house door. They’d just got back home from dragging Ally out of the sea and waiting for her to dry off. Freddy scoffed at that thought. It was only him who dragged his sister. Alima didn’t want to risk getting wet. “For the last time, I didn’t turn your sister into a mermaid.”
“That’s not what I was thinking,” Freddy muttered under his breath. Freddy was a man of few words, but she made him want to hurl thousands of questions at her. But the question that never left his mind was: why was she here? Out of all the places she could’ve ran off too, why here? He wished that the scientists or whomever it was she was running away from would’ve captured her already. Ally had rushed into the bathroom to clean all the dirt from her body which had accumulated in the cracks of her skin when they dragged her. Freddy turned his body so he could face Alima. She appeared to be so human. She seemed so ordinary. His eyes told him that what he saw was a beautiful girl, but his head told him he was seeing a monster.
“You need to leave,” he said forcefully.
“But won’t your sister need help coping with what has just happened?” Alima said. Her cold grey eyes didn’t change when she spoke, which sent chills down Freddy’s spine.
“I don’t want you anywhere near me or my sister, you understand?” Freddy’s mind instantly went back to the memory of the hug. His judgement of her clouded. What was she? A part of her was so warm for just that brief moment. That hug seemed so genuinely real. But she didn’t even hesitate to push his sister off the dock. Anger burned through him like a wildfire.
“How was I supposed to know that your sister couldn’t swim?” Alima kept calm which served to further infuriate him.
“You don’t push people into the sea!” He shouted.
“Well I’m sorry!”Alima shouted and she gasped.
“What?” His voice softened. Alima covered her mouth and said, “It’s been an awful long time since I’ve last apologized to someone.”
“Well then...congratulations.” Freddy said and crossed his arms and looked away. There was an uncomfortable silence between. Alima sighed and said, “Your sister has never swam in open waters before, hasn’t she?”
“She’s only swam in public pools.” Freddy pondered at the mystery. Now that he’d thought of it, it really was strange how they’ve lived close to the beach all their lives and yet his sister had never swam or even touched the beach waters.
“Do both of you so happen to be of Australian descent?” Alima asked.
“Yeah,” Freddy raised a brow at such a strange question. “What does that have to do with my sister being a mermaid?”
“Lots. I saw from the colors of her tail. Only Oceanic mermaids have those vibrant colors. It exactly resembles the elements of the Great Barrier reef.”
“It was probably my grandmother,” Freddy said. He remembered as children, his grandmother would take them to the beach everyday. His grandmother was the one who had taught him to swim and fish. He smiled at the blissful memory. Then he remembered what Ally would be doing. She never swam; she was always afraid to drown. He remembered all the times his grandmother would try to coax her into getting into the waters but she refused each time. He also thought it was strange that his grandmother never touched the waters as well.
“Then you should probably talk to her about it.” Alima said this and headed towards the door.
“You’re leaving?” Freddy said and followed her. Alima turned back around.
“Well, yeah. You wanted me to leave, didn’t you?” Freddy wasn’t sure if he wanted her gone now. It was mostly for the intriguement he had of her. It wasn’t everyday that you get talk to a mermaid or whatever she was. But at the same time, he still wanted her gone. She was still a threat. The Phoenicians were sure tasty… He remembered her saying. She was a man-eater.
“What are you?” He asked. Alima threw up her hands in exasperation.
“I’m a siren. A darn, siren. Look it up in...what do they call it? Oh yes, an encyclopedia.” She turned to leave again but as fast as lightning, he grabbed her wrist. He knew that it was the worst thing that he could’ve done, but he was hungry for answers.
“I want you to answer me.” He said each word slow and clear. He was usually never this aggressive, but he was desperate to know. Alima’s stone colored eyes glinted and she leaned in and whispered in his ear, “I’m a siren. I’ve killed thousands and thousands of men. And I’ve killed them with my bare teeth and claws. And they were oh, so, delicious. For every single day I go without feasting upon their succulent flesh, I dreamt of slaughtering an entire kingdom. And I, ate, them, all.” Alima’s eyes were dazed like a madman’s. Alima laughed and spun around in a circle. Freddy was sure she was crazy. It was as if she was in her own little world.
“Why are you telling me this?” Freddy was getting a lot more than he had originally asked for. Alima paused and she laughed again. “You asked me what I was. I am many things: a monstrosity, a beast, whatever you’d like to call me. But you know what I’ll never be?” Freddy didn’t answer. He didn’t want to answer. He sucked in his breath and waited for her to speak.
“I’ll never be an angel. I may have wings but I’m anything but an angel.” There was a scream that came from behind her and before Alima got to turn around, Ally jumped her from behind and knocked her down.
“Grab a knife in the kitchen, Freddy! Let’s kill it before it hurts anyone!” Ally had both her hand encircling Alma’s neck and pinned her face to the floor. Alima did not struggle. She didn’t even move. Freddy kneeled to the ground next Alima. He was careful not to touch her, though he wanted to get a good look at her face. Wisps of her black hair covered her eyes. Every bone in his body told him to stay away. She was a monster who wouldn’t hesitate to eat him. But for some odd reason, he couldn’t help but feel some degree of pity towards the monster. She wasn’t normal; she was broken. “Let her go, Ally.”
“Are you serious?” Ally shouted. “If we let her go, there’s a chance she’ll kill a bunch of other people!”
“Please kill me,” she begged. Her voice was muffled since her face was pressed against the floor. “I’ve been waiting to die for so long. “ Her voice was weak, and she spoke very slowly. She sounded like she was dying.
“How long?” Ally pressed her harder against the floor and Alima grimaced.
“Two-thousand-five-hundred-eighty-five years is a very long time to live. And I’ve been miserable ever since the day I rose from the sea.” Ally and Freddy exchanged looks and they came to a mutual agreement.
“Go back to where you came from,” Ally said. “That way, everyone can be safe.” Ally let go of Alima’s neck.
“I need to find the princess,” Alima said and removed herself from the floor.
“It’s been four years,” Freddy said. “She’s probably...gone.” Gone was the only word that came to his mind that was more gentle than dead.
“I can’t give up until I know for sure she’s gone. But anyway, I apologize for my inconvenience. I’ll leave now.” Alima began to leave but turned to look over her shoulder.
“Come find me when you feel like killing a monster.” She left and Freddy closed the door. Ally and Freddy stood at the door, deep in thought.
“I hope we never see her again,” Ally said and bit her lower lip.
“Same here. But I have a feeling we’re gonna see her again real soon.” Freddy smirked and reached into his pocket. Ally gasped as she set her sights on the black leather cord that was looped through a small shiny black pearl that glistened.
“You stole it from her?” Ally said in awe. This was the only time she was ever proud of her brother.
“Yep. She can’t hurt us now or anybody else.”
“How do you know that?”
“I’ve been doing a lot of research. Mermaids who go on land usually have a particular possession, and that possession is magical. Anyone who obtains the possession, the mermaid becomes a slave.”
“That’s so cool!” Ally smiled and then her smile dropped.
“What’s wrong?” Freddy asked.
“I’m a mermaid who can live on land.” Ally’s face paled which worried Freddy even more.
“Then, where’s my possession?”
Alima lounged on a searock, her black tail swished with glee. In her hand, she rubbed the amethyst shard between her fingers. She let out a bold laugh.
“Clever boy, but not clever enough.” She rested her head on another rock and looked up at the stars. As she watched them twinkle, she sighed. She often wondered why that sometimes the stars would outshine the moon. After all, they were so small. She turned to her side and saw the harsh waves splash the sides of the sea rocks beside her. Her eyelids closed and she let the sound of the waves lull her to sleep.