The boy was running with all his might. The beach sand had filled his shoes making the run harder. His dark hair was wet from the sweat and his lanky frame was trembling with fear.
“Why did you come here, if not to meet me?” A melodious female voice filled the air. “Wait for me, love,” she called as she ran after him.
The scorching heat seemed to have no affect on her naked body. Her bare feet glided on the hot sand as if it was velvet.The boy kept running. Relief washed over him as he saw the wall at last.
“Help me! Help me!” he shouted, hoping that someone on the other side would hear him. But the wall was too thick to carry his voice. “Where is it? Where is it?” he murmured, trying to find the breach through which he had entered. Little did he realise that the crevice was a good kilometre away from him. The nymph was getting closer by the second.
“Where are you going, love?” She licked her lips, closing the distance between the two of them. The boy closed his eyes.
“G..get away from me,” he stammered, trying to look brave. She pinned him to the wall, holding him by the neck.
“Open your eyes,” she whispered in his left ear. The boy knew that if he opened his eyes, he was as good as dead. He closed them more tightly. The nymph clicked her tongue.
“What a shame,” she said releasing his neck but still pinning him to the wall. “You are too young to die.”
“Please,” he begged, still refusing to open his eyes.
The nymph roared, “you should have thought about it before crossing the wall.” She pried his eyes open with her two fingers. “Good boys always do as they are told.”
The boy tried to avoid her eyes but failed. His eyes were as dark as the night sky, hers were soft blue like the sky at daytime. His heart started beating faster, his breath became sharper and he felt every other thought drain away from his mind. All he could think of now was her wavy golden hair bouncing off her copper coloured shoulders. Her smiling lips were an invitation to kiss. She let go of his body. He was hers now.
As the boy leaned forward to kiss her, his necklace fell out of his shirt. The nymph gasped in shock and moved back. She stared at his ruby pendant like it was a cobra about to strike her. “Who are you?” she asked, hoping to be wrong.
“Nothing,” he said like the smitten fool he was now. “I’m nothing without you.” He tried to kiss her again.
The nymph rolled her eyes. He was a goner. Nothing could be done now. “You are the crown prince, the sole heir, aren’t you?”
“Yes,” he nodded. “But what’s a crown compared to an angel like you? I would forego a million crowns for you.”
The nymph closed her eyes to think clearly. “Sit,” she told him.
Nobody could blame her if she used him and let him die. She had conquered him. But if she did, it would leave the crown without a clear heir. The emperor was dead. The prince had no siblings. Multiple claims from unknown cousins would come flying in. The empire would go into chaos and probably war. She decided that the conquest was not worth it.
“Go home,” she told the prince. “You are too young to die.”
The boy was still sitting obediently on the sand. He looked up at her in confusion. “I can’t think of a home without you. Come with me.”
The nymph sighed. “How much do you love me?”
“More than I can comprehend,” he promised.
“Then go back to the other side and don’t tell anyone about me.” She took his hand and walked him to the spot where the wall had cracked. It was a very small opening, but enough for the young prince to crawl out.
“I won’t go.”
“They will kill me if they know,” she lied. “Is that what you want? For me to die?”
“No,” he said in horror.
“Then go,” she pleaded and ran away. That was the last he ever saw her. “Poor guy,” she thought, “he’ll live but he’ll never love a woman.”
“Wait,” the prince shouted. But she had gone. He waited for an hour hoping for her to come back. Then he remembered that he had to go, to keep her safe.
The prince kept coming back to the beach in hopes of catching a sight of her. He was now immune to any other nymph’s charm. They had taken him for a starlite. He was careful to keep his royal ruby hidden underneath his clothes, hiding his true identity.
The nymph was in turmoil over the painful life she had decided for him. She wondered everyday if she should just call him and end his misery. Finally, she ended herself with the wishful thinking that it would end the curse. It didn’t.
Many years later......