The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
The Sea Nymphs of Furthest Reach
by K.R. Morrison
The small research vessel bobbed quietly in the water, oblivious to the noise on its decks.
The frat boys of South Oceans University had chartered the boat under the guise of checking out a red alga they had seen on a videotape on the SocialVideos website. But no one was thinking of algae now; they were fully engaged in ingesting hops, barley, and whatever else was in those cans and bottles they were strewing everywhere.
All except one young man, who kept to himself. He huddled at one corner of the bow, muttering strange words and occasionally tossing something into the water—things that glittered gold just before they hit the water.
The young man looked up, wincing at the nickname they had given him.
“I told you before, Dave, my name is Pusa,” he replied.
“Yeah. Puddles. Whatever.” Dave was deep into his cups, and was feeling no pain. “You seen Freddy?”
Pusa thought for a moment, then shook his head. Dave staggered, belched, and weaved away.
The young man sighed as he watched him leave. He wished he was anywhere but here, and that he had not had so much rum last night. If he had limited himself, he would not have told the homeland myth that had brought them here this morning. Now he was scared; for him and his people, the myth was a certain reality. He hoped that he might be able to remedy whatever mess these guys got into—if not, the world would be paying their debt for who knows how long.
“Hey!” came a shout further down the deck. The captain had poked his head out from the doorway. “There’s a scuba outfit missing! I told you guys not to go out by yourselves!”
That’s the last Pusa heard; by that time, he had hit the water and was diving straight down, his muscular arms drawing him deeper and deeper into the abyss.
Finally he saw it—the Cave of the Sea Nymphs. He had known it was here, and almost smiled at the realization that he had been right all along. Old statues sat on either side of a great stone arch—and there was Freddy, entangled in a web right in the center of it.
What appeared to be gorgeous mermaids circled Freddy, nuzzling his neck and giggling at his frantic attempts to free himself. “Oh, Mother will love this one…” they whispered to each other.
When they saw Pusa, they stopped and, with great welcoming smiles, swam to him with their arms out.
Pusa stopped where he was and floated easily as he watched them approach. When they got close enough, he reached into the pocket of his swim trunks and withdrew a great handful of gold coins. Greed replaced warm smiles, and they lunged at him. He flung the coins as far as he could, and raced to cut Freddy out of the web.
They got to the surface as fast as they could, but could feel the sea roiling beneath them. They were met by an anxious group of frat boys, who helped them aboard as fast as they could.
One of them made the mistake of looking down into the water. His eyes beheld a ravishing beauty, and before anyone could stop him, he had taken hold of her outstretched hand.
In the blink of an eye, her limb became blackened and vile-smelling, and her face became dead-looking and bloated. The boy screamed and pulled back, taking her arm with him.
In the panic that followed, no one noticed the slimy tentacles that had climbed the other side of the boat and was now nearing them with blinding speed.
* * *
The ship that had been sent to retrieve the research vessel came abreast of the little boat. The rescue crew could not believe their eyes at what they saw: an empty deck and wheelhouse, devoid of any life whatsoever.
They were so intent on what was before them, that they did not see what was behind: a group of newly-drowned corpses bobbed in the wake of the ship, and grinned at each other.
Mother would feast tonight.
Fiction © Copyright K.R. Morrison
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Author K.R. Morrison:
Lydia’s faith in God is strong – at least on paper. But what happens when that faith is tested? Turned into a vampire by the worst – Vlad Drakul – she feels that God has abandoned her. But the opposite is true. God rescues her from a fate worse than death, and brings her into the plan He has for global redemption. With the help He sends, she feels like nothing can stop her. But when Vlad torments her again, and then her family, the temptation to run and hide is almost too strong to resist. Her answer to God’s call is the deciding factor in the battle that pits the angelic powers of God against the demonic powers of Hell.