The girl shrieked as they tore off her hat, her long hair falling past her shoulders. She was forced to the ground, a rough rope tying her wrists as footsteps moved closer to her. The deck creaked, the ocean pushing against the ship as sailors rushed around, pulling lines and keeping their course steady.
“So, a woman on our ship. It’s no wonder this journey has been so perilous.” Brown leather stopped in front of her face, the pristine boots of her captain. She spat on them, glaring up at the tall man who chuckled as he moved away from her.
“What should we do with her sir?” A sailor above her asked as she was pulled up from the deck, a cloth pulled across her mouth preventing her from speaking.
“It’s a curse to have a woman on board, throw her off, do it quickly. I would rather not deal with any more of her consequences.” The captain said, turning back to walk up the ship to the helm.
She writhed and struggled against the men holding her as they pulled her towards the side of the ship, one of the other sailors brought a weight and chain over, grimacing as she pulled and cried, begging with her eyes for him to release her, let her jump off by herself. He closed his eyes as he knelt and cuffed it to her ankle, standing and holding the weight in his hands.
Her eyes widened as she felt the men lift her, the wind flowing through her hair as she flew from the side of the ship, the last thing she saw was the men turning away as she hit the water and began to sink. The weight on her ankle pulled her deeper and deeper into the dark depths of the sea, her nostrils filling with salt as her eyes burned and arms tugged at the restraints still itching and binding her wrists.
Light disappeared from the surface as the ship passed over, and she sank deeper, her air leaving quickly, her eyes drooping closed as she let the sea take her. Before she could breath her last, a soft voice filled her ears, a peaceful soft melody that sounded like heaven. She forced her eyes open, the burning sensation returning as she gazed out into the darkness.
Her bonds fell away, the gag pulled free from her mouth as hands covered her eyes, another set of hands tugging at the weight on her ankle. The melody continued as her body began to writhe and shift, her lungs burning at the lack of oxygen, until the weight on her ankle was released and she floated free. The hands were removed from her eyes as her eyes opened and they shockingly didn’t burn. Her lungs still burned as she began to move, and she finally saw the people who had freed her.
Fellow women, but something was different about them. Their eyes swirled with dark secrets of the ocean, their legs had fused and becomes fins, the ripped remnants of their own worldly clothes clung to their torsos, hair wild and longer than any woman on land she had seen. One moved closer and grabbed her chin, and she noticed the skin between her fingers had become like fins as well.
The woman holding her face pulled her forward with such force she gasped and released any remaining air she may have been clinging to. The woman placed her lips against hers, exhaling in her mouth as the water filling her lungs seemed to no longer bother her. When she pulled away, she looked down at her own body, noticing how her own body had changed.
Her vision sharpened, the darkness was not so dark anymore, her legs were bound by a force she could not see. Another woman moved forward, presenting her with a string of seaweed to place around her neck. As she did, the other women all moved in front of her, smiling at her as they gestured to the vague shadow of the ship sailing away.
“Come sister, let us show those sailors the true curse of women at sea.”
The night sky was calm, the moon shining down onto the sea, and the ship sailed on through the cool, salty air. Many of the men had settled, sitting on deck and telling stories, the memory of the woman lost to their minds.
A voice rang out in the night, a haunting melody drawing them all to the side of the ship. The water splashed and moved as fins emerged and disappeared under the surface. Slowly, faces began to appear at the surface of the water. The sailors tried to look away, but it felt like a force was keeping them there, staring into the swirling depths of the women’s eyes.
“Come swim with us, the water’s lovely.” Their voices echoed around the ship, luring the men closer to the sides.
The first man jumped, and then the next and the next. The women giggled and splashed them, the smell of alcohol and sweat reeking off of them as they swam towards the women. The women would swim out more, and they followed, desperate to see their beauty again.
“Don’t run, we can’t swim that far.” A sailor called to the women, who turned and smiled at them all.
“Can you not?”
The women giggled and dove under the surface, swimming back towards the men. Except instead of surfacing, they began to pull the men underwater. As they were pulled down, the men saw that the women had sharp, fanged teeth. Unnaturally dark and terrifying eyes swirled in their sockets, their fingernails sharp and hair wild.
They pulled them down and hissed at them, laughing as they sank deeper and deeper down, unable to breath, unable to swim back. The men at the surface tried to swim back, but more women appeared, dragging them down into the dark night waters. The captain, who had jumped as well, made a rush back to the boat, but was stopped by the same soft voice singing again. His body froze, unable to move due to the melody.
A woman emerged from the water in front of him, her lips moving to the melody. She swam closer to him, grabbing his jaw as she forced him to stare into her eyes.
“Hello captain, did you want to see the real curse of women on the sea?”
His eyes filled with the horror of recognition, and before he could scream, she plunged with him down into the depths. He may have thought it an end to his curse to toss her into the depths, but truly it had just been the beginning.