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Mermaids Are Starving

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I walk at dawn by the avenue with a soft zigzag. It takes me a lot of effort so the alcohol doesn't make me stumble or lose my way back home. I can hear the motor of a faraway car, the buzz of electricity cables, the gurgling of a nearly dry fountain. And a song, a soft melodious murmur.

I stop to observe the old fountain, one of so many embellishments the city doesn't care to maintain, with broken stone pieces, mold in every crack, all kinds of garbage floating in the water that was far from a clear and slippery bottom.

Sitting on the edge is a petite girl humming. I hadn’t noticed her presence until now. I approach with slow steps to see her better. She looks so alone.

Hair falls over her face in a tangle of dreadlocks, combed awkwardly with a shell hair pin and what looks like fish bones. Something drives me to speak to her--the alcohol in my veins probably--because the girl doesn't have a captivating beauty. Slow, she turns her body in my direction, giving me a better glimpse of the slim body, covered only by a volatile sleeveless dress that barely reaches to cover her breasts. I run my eyes over the long uncovered legs and bare feet. Closer, her skin is greenish, and so thin--anorexic perhaps. Not receiving a response to my greeting I decide to ask her if she is lost, bending down to see her face.

The girl shakes her head and says nothing more, continuing to sing. It is so beautiful, I can't stop hearing it, weird something with such beauty to come out of dry and chapped lips. I try to talk to her again, I propose companionship. We could have fun together. Yes, she may be boney and have a battered appearance, but I am not the demanding type when it comes to pleasures of the flesh. If she'll sing for me, I´ll happily have her to warm my bed with her body.

Without a word, the girl raises her arms and puts them around my shoulders. One of the hands tangles between my hair giving me chills. She's so cold, but it doesn't matter. I want to kiss her mouth, her face, her body. The desire becomes so unbearable that her appearance ceases to annoy me. I am going to make her sing for me.

I let myself be dragged, I can feel her bones against my chest. I raise her face and see sunken eyes accompanied by a crooked smile. She pulls and I stumble, taking us both to the interior of the fountain.

"There's no more pirates on the wide sea. Sailors to charm."

Water hit wakes me, eyes open, disoriented. Still under the water, the girl turns and pushes me against the bottom without giving me a chance to breathe.

Murky water surrounds me. I should be able to swim to the surface, the fountain isn't that deep. So why does the surface seem so far away? I kick, stroke, but can't get out.

"No one hears our broken voices. Foolish men to drag to the deep."

My lungs burn, my eyes sting. Bony arms surround my waist. And another pair, and another one. I'm soon surrounded. Between blinks I see them, faces deformed by hunger, sharp teeth, hair tangled with seaweed, dull scaly skin. With fish tails, all the hideous women have fish tails.

"All over the damn land they hide. We'll exit the sea and bring them to us."

They disappear when I start struggling. Air escapes me with a silent scream. One of them bite my arm, piercing skin, veins, and muscle all together. That's enough so the rest can join just like piranhas. They destroy my body with every bite. And air, I need air. My lungs fill with water.

"Kiss our fangs. Feel the caresses that tear."

One of them approaches my face and I come across her sunken eyes. The fountain girl. She smiles. More thousands of deformed faces come out from the deep darkness. Hungry, keen for my flesh, my bones, my blood. I hear her sing again, different voices join the chorus. The lyrics pierce my ears as I lose consciousness. Such beautiful voices.

"Fill our stomachs. We are STARVING!"


"In the news today, after eight hours of his disappearance, the clothing of another missing young man is found. The garments are blood-stained, suggesting a violent attack. The police still can find no explanation for the residue of salt water, apparently sea water, near crime scenes, since the nearest coast is at least fifteen hours away. More information as the investigation proceeds."

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