Moist. Moss. And little hermit crabs. I stack them on top of one another for good luck. I always name them when I do this.
“Juniper, for healing,” I place the first crab, “Goop, for safety. Keeper, for concealment. Forest, for cover. Little broken and little dead Nemphyus, a gift for the god of death,” five hermit crabs stacked – they all fall off and I turn from the edge of the swamp, to the lily pads and crystal clear water – holding the body of a bloated man.
I pull him out of the water, and onto the reeds I’ve gathered for his resting place. I was small but my strength was great.
He lies now for the bugs to eat him, land animal now resting on land.
“Goodnight,” I whisper as I float away – into the river beyond, back to the marshlands.
She’s the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen. She has big amethyst eyes.
But she’s also stacking small crabs whispering child’s stories or something ridiculous.
Then she’s turning around and next thing she’s hauling my dead kill out of the water, saying a sassy goodnight. It’s hot. It makes my cock rock hard.
She was so Strange. Little horns grew out of her head, like antlers – and her light green hair was long and covered in river flowers. But she didn’t have a tail. She had webbed feet?
What in the Deep…
She wasn’t a Mermaid.
She was something else.
I was an Erebos. I liked to snack on little Mermaids but I didn’t know what she was, so I was hesitant to try and kill her. My poor mother would be disappointed at my intent but my father would be proud.
My ear twitches as I hear a fake bird call behind me, my tribe calling me back.
Me and my Erebos friends were looking for adventure off the ocean, so this is where we ended up settling near. A haunted swamp inland.
I walk back, silent every step.
First I witness Merwyn lounging by a fire, his Siren sucking his dick. I roll my eyes when he’s gloating about it in his gaze. Coraline never stopped fawning over him. It was cute at first and now it was just annoying.
“Do you ever drain?” I hiss, mocking him.
“You’re a fucking virgin, and a prince – don’t even try and pester me,” Merwyn rolls onto his back and makes all kinds of noises for the rest to hear and return.
“Virgin?” I try not to snort, “That’s what I want people to believe, trout dick, Cora’s licking the scales off your balls,” I smirk when Merwyn throws her off, sitting up to inspect.
“Argh, NO FLIPPING WAY,” Merwyn jumps up and walks off, cursing under his breath.
“Did you find any food?” I ask the others as they come forward from the fog, looking pale and hungry.
“No,” Titan leads them back, my right hand and best friend, “But we tracked some borders who live in some swamp house – further up along the river. We could eat them.”
“I’m sick of mortal blood, it’s not enough for me,” Ula settles next to me, my other best friend – although she enjoyed Sirens more than Erebos.
“I found something else,” I smile, “Some kind of water fairy.”
“A River Nymph?” Merwyn comes right back, snarling, “Those aren’t even real, Ezra. Are you seeing things now? We need to go back to the Deep.”
“She had webbed feet and antlers,” I ignore him and tell them what I saw, “And sung to little crabs,” how amusing.
“Did you taste her?” Ula asks, almost drooling.
“No – I don’t know if she’s poison,” I murmur, thinking to myself that is a possibility.
“Don’t fuck with River Nymphs,” Merwyn sits back down by the fire and starts to pour fresh water for us all, “They have a silent temper in the fairy tales we learned. They kill with a smile.”
“So do I,” I interject, “What’s your point?”
“Strange is not the word for them,” Titan adds, more mature, “Coral Mermaids are strange, but Nymphs, aren’t like that. They’re different again.”
“Where did you hear this anyway?” Ula hisses at Merwyn.
“Fish School, obviously,” Cora tries to cuddle with Merwyn, but he’s promptly sick of romance, scooting away on their log. Cora scowls possessively and curls her fingers into her palms, attempting to keep in her easy rage.
“Everyone sleep with one eye open,” Titan interjects, laying down with three Sirens cuddling into his sides, “These Marshlands hold many unforeseen dangers. Ezra – forget the Nymph. You have a duty to stay alive. Lily will kill me if you drink poisonous blood. And Eros will kill us all. And stop wandering,” Titan was ten years my senior and my mentor, but at times like this I just wanted to abandon the tribe. He was fun when we had fun, not when he was lecturing me on the fucking rules.
They always followed me.
I never really wanted their company.
But it was safety in numbers.
For everyone who’d fall victim to my appetite if they did not distract me from my nature.
It was bloody ravenous and all consuming, the starvation for Mermaid blood drove most Erebos into weird manners as they aged.
I was told it worsened from young adult hood to being fully grown. It was my time.
My own Father’s stories slaughtering across the seas were ridiculously fun.
I was just like him.
With my mother’s patience.
Probably the only sweet thing about me.
I didn’t like to rush with my prey.
I decide tomorrow night is a good choice. I’d hunt the River Baby when I was ready. She was clearly grown as well, but acted like a simple child… hiding a killer instinct? I needed to see that too. Before she was dead between my razor serrated fangs.