Edith Marchant, Grade 8
Sunlight splintered the water, striking beams across the abyss. Darkness rippled ahead, long fingers stretching into the deep. Salt-licked wood worn smooth by years of waves and currents shoved its way through the water.
I felt its presence like sand between my scales.
Muffled sounds made their way from Above, throaty warbles that faded and echoed and burned. Coolness slipped against my skin as I dared forward, tailing the massive shape. They would not escape. I gripped the wood, fingertips wedging into the grooves as I clung. It wouldn't be much longer.
I could feel the rocks drawing closer, closer. Eerie presence familiar, settling like rainwater. A feeling settled in my deep, a coiled snake, eyes glinting in the shadows, hunger itching.
I pull away from the ship, thrashing my tail to lead me to the rocky spires. Webbed fingers sprawled across the stone, I launch myself above the waves. I dig my nails into the grooves and algae, non-water stinging my gills and eyes. The roar of the sea is different above, angrier, sharper. White-washed waves thrash against the shape I stalked.
I can see them now. Strange creatures swarm the ship, climbing, shouting, trying to keep their vessel from crashing against the stones - then I see her. My kind.
She has not met the sea yet. Hair, still soft and pale. Skin still sun-touched, unroughened by scales. Gills unscored in her neck. But she was made to be one of us, plain as the spark in her eye. She sees me, perched upon my stage. Our gazes align - blue on blue, fire on fire. She knows. She is ready.
The snake in my depths writhes. I open my mouth wide, let the unearthly sound bubble out.
All is silent but my melody. The waves reach up, out. The creatures freeze, petrified by the sound. None guide their ship as it smashes against rocky spires, their salt-licked wood splintering against ocean born stone. Water rushes in, dragging the ship down, claiming it as was always to be.
The sea wraps itself around the drowning ship, sweeping the souls aboard into it's fierce, gentle embrace. I sing until the last creature sinks below, all salt-licked wood gone. Then it is done.
I stare at the space where the ship had been, warmth spreading back into my limbs, snake coiling away. I relax back into the sea's embrace, water soothing my gills and eyes. I push away from my spire stage, swimming toward the shipwreck. I find her awake, blue eyes open, struggling with the want to return to Above. Her pale hair makes a cloud around her sun-touched face. Blue eyes on blue eyes. She is ready.
I float closer, letting the sea magic tingle in my fingertips as I draw them across her neck. Gills score her skin. Her eyes light up as she takes her first breaths, a smile creeps across her face. I take her webbing hand, and we swim home side by side.