The Mermaid That's Sweetest

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6] A Sacrifice at Sea

6] A Sacrifice at Sea

Many hours later

I wake up rocking, blind and bound with the smell of sea salt infiltrating my senses. My wrists are tied in front of me, my eyes are shut with cloth, my body is naked and chilled… as I lie on the bottom of a rickety boat.

A tiny little boat, out in the Rough.

I lie still while I breathe in a panic, my throat filled with ashy smoke – I cough up phlegm and spit it out beside me.

I turn to my side and I whimper when the enormity of what happened, slams into me.

I was in the middle of the ocean, in the middle of the Rough – and I was stuck in a little boat being jostled and harassed by the waves.

I lie there for quiet while, wondering if I should call out for help… and terrified that if I did, I would just bring the wrong kind of attention.

So, I lie in wait, while the brightness seems to fade and I know the sun is setting.

I try to steady my breathing, but the rocking was making me sick and as I rub my thighs together to keep warm… I feel a wetness and I wonder if I peed a little.

Until I realise it’s sticky.

And that I’m bleeding.

That’s when I burst out into tears, sobbing my panic and fear while I accept I am utterly doomed.

I am going to die tonight.

I was going to attract actual sharks, if the Erebos didn’t get me first.

I heave in breaths while the cloth over my eyes gets heavy and uncomfortable while soaking up tears… and then I cry some more; louder and with lost hope.

“Oh, shut up, you whiny little thing.”

I stop crying immediately.

I suck in a breath and let it out slowly.

I feel a hand cover my eyes and I stay still as a thumb slips under the side, over the bridge of my nose… and jerks up the cloth.

As the blind fold is wrenched from my face, I open my eyes and see the Erebos beside me, leaning over the top of me, he’s wet black hair dangles, tickling my cheeks as he smirks and then backs off.

I blink and see the twilight fading into navy blue, while he sits naked on a little seat beside my writhing body on the ground.

“I’ll admit I enjoyed your crying for a short while,” he shrugs to himself while watching the sun set, “…at least when it was just small little whimpers of confusion… then shock… but panic? No thank you, it’s quite annoying.”

I gulp and shuffle over further to my side of the boat, my wrists tied over my stomach… I glance down and see red on my thighs.

Talk about the worst timing ever.

I squeeze my thighs together and I watch as his eyes instantly divert from the sun setting to my thighs clenching.

He glances at my reaction for a second, before meeting my gaze and snarling happily, “…it’s the only reason I found you… the sweetest smell leaking from your womb… but I will admit… you are too cute to rip apart, little Darv… just relax… enjoy the sway of the Rough…” he is so calm.

“Do you remember me?” I ask, needlessly and breathlessly.

“Lily,” he says my name in a forced growl, “…the half-wit…”

“I don’t mind that, you know… the last thing I remember being called was much worse… a whore… and a slut…” I whisper, reflecting with pain at Darneek’s name calling.

“That sure is one way to describe a very talented virgin, sweet Lily… you do smell quite sweet… that’s what I meant by sweetness,” he watches me gulp multiple times while he slowly slides his naked butt down onto the bottom of the boat, his human legs stretch out and his feet brush my calves.

With strange grace, he rolls to his side and lies next to me, his cheek presses against the bottom of the boat while he holds my gaze, level with his.

I quietly resign myself to the fact he’s going to kill me.

He’s just playing with his food first.

I close my eyes, avoiding his ocean gaze… a tear slips past my cheek and my lips tremble as I face away from him, towards the sky, keeping my eyes shut tight.

Any second, he’d slide over and crush my windpipe. I’d probably suffocate before he drained me dry.

He accepts my silence and I’m glad he doesn’t gloat or laugh at me.

Instead, I feel him watching me quietly and I refuse to speak another word.

I do flinch, however, when he reaches out and the tips of his fingers brush over the side of my neck… over my pulse.

“…that’s a shame…” he whispers it, shockingly from the same distance… instead of right by my ear, like I assumed he would have edged in closer by now, “…a shame I wasn’t the one who left such markings… although mine would be a little different…” I flinch further away from him, now watching him wearily.

I roll to my side, carefully assessing the strange Erebos as he takes his hand back and he drops it carelessly in front of him.

“What’s your name?” I whisper, “If you’re going to kill me, at least tell me your name.”

“Eros,” he admits, bored, “A very common and unimpressive name for my breed.”

“It suits you,” I sniff and somehow manage a half smile.

“Why did they cast you out?” Eros asks, expressionless… I see the dead look in his icy blue eyes and I wonder if that is because he was preparing to rip into me when I let my guard down and started to believe we were becoming friends.

“I’m not meant to return because they think I’m guilty of sleeping with you… that I deserve to die out here… but I’ll be proved innocent and pure if I’m alive by tomorrow… maybe in the morning… or the afternoon… but even if by some miracle you decided not to take such an easy meal… maybe no one will come to check on me anyway,” I half shrug again, “I’m used to being tossed aside. No one wanted me at birth. I guess this is a fitting end, huh.”

“Why did you come to me at the rock pools when I could have hurt you?” he asks, asking it quickly, as if he wants a speedy response.

“…I felt like saving a life that day…” I gulp, keeping the other half of the reason to myself, “We keep crossing paths… I actually dreamt about you for years.”

He goes quiet.

I realise how strange that sounds. Oh, how silly was I, rambling any of this to him?

There was no point.

There was no point for any of this.

“…what?” he asks this so quietly, I almost miss it.

“We keep crossing paths and it’s just, strange –”

“The other part,” he snarls this and I watch him lean up on one elbow, gazing over me with a new realisation.

But of what?

“I had a… dream… a reoccurring dream –”

“Impossible,” he laughs in my face now, leaning up all the way, he grabs the side of the boat as if he might just jump out and leave suddenly.

“What is?” I whisper, confused.

“So, this is their new trick?” he doesn’t look at me as he snaps, “Those bastards… thinking they can fool me with a stupid little Mermaid like you… what a joke…” I see him start to haul himself up… until he pauses and turns back to me very suddenly. Eros is no longer calm. He is infuriated, “You think you can trick me?” he snakes out a hand and grabs my already sore neck. He only loosens his grip to warn me not to speak as he leans down over the top of me, searching my frightened red eyes, “Infiltrator. A spy. A fake. A lie. You’re not going to fool me, I’m too smart for their games. They want me to take you… I’m not that stupid. A mermaid that can’t swim – did you think I would believe that?” he raises a brow and when I try to open my mouth in defence, he cuts me off by holding my throat, a little too tight. I yelp out as he snarls, “Don’t even think about speaking. I’m not taking you anywhere. I’m sending you back with a message. A warning. Cross my line again… and I will take you next time… and I will tear you to pieces,” he unhands my neck and he pulls back, jumping out of the boat into the water.

“…wait…” I choke out but my voice box is ruined, it’s too bruised and I’m too parched.

I don’t hear from him again, or see him.

But I feel the water turn and pull, forcing my boat to move… back… to shore…

Eros is returning me.

But this time he’s quenched his curiosity. He’s done being fascinated by me.

Everything he said was a well believed lie… just like the Overseers… and I know now, somehow Eros and I were more than just coincidentally crossing paths. It was something else.

He was probably my mate.

And he was returning me, too, unwanted and unloved.

I thought I’d feel all consuming sadness – but I just feel angry.

Everyone was shoving me around and no one was listening.

I had to prove the bastard wrong.

I had to find out from someone, maybe Iris, how to prove you were mated to an Erebos.

On second thoughts, I didn’t have to ask.

I already knew how.

I had to do more than offer him my palm.

I had to offer him my neck; at least that was one way of proving it.

And I wouldn’t see him again, I knew I wouldn’t… unless I walked into the water, and went searching for him.

Eros.

I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to make the damn effort, but I was sick of being tossed around at everyone else’s whim.

I had to find out the truth, one way or another. I had to find out what the hell was going on between us – and if it meant he’d inevitably come back anyway.

I only relax when I realise I’m right.

He would come back.

He would.

I feel that it is so.

When Eros inevitably returned to see what I was doing, to see if I did indeed swim, I’d be ready to prove him the hell wrong about everything.

As for when he believed we were mates… well… maybe I’d just leave him to hang out and dry.

I was majorly offended by Eros sending me back, choosing to believe I would lie to him – and honestly, I wanted to shove it all back in his smug, arrogant, snarling face.

The Overseer’s were wrong.

Eros was bloody wrong.

And I would prove everyone that I was right; Eros was my damn mate and I was innocent of sleeping with the bastard. It was a pretty simple plan. Prove them all wrong and walk away from him when he realised how he disrespected me by shoving me away.

Everyone else could shove their opinions up their private fins!

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