No one believes me.  They think I’m insane.  They think I….  But how could I…?  Why would I ever...?

It was her.  That bitch.  I never liked her.  So silent and sad.  Always looking at him with those eyes.  We all knew what she wanted.  I should have demanded he get rid of her.  But no.  She drew me in.  I felt sorry for her.  Sorry.  And look what it cost me.

My Prince.  My real-life Prince.  Can you believe it?  I thought I was the luckiest girl in the world.  To tell you the truth, even if he weren’t a Prince, I would have fallen in love with him anyway.  I still remember the day we met.  He was lying on that beach, still and wounded.  I thought he was dead.  I lifted his head off the sand and his eyes fluttered open.  Those sweet green eyes.  I wanted to drown in them forever.  We had no idea then where life would take us.

Fate brought us back together.  I had resigned myself to the marriage my father arranged for me, accepted my husband-to-be, sight unseen.  And then I saw him.  It was him.  That same, beautiful man with eyes like the ocean.  He was a real Prince, and now he was mine.

But he wasn’t alone.  No matter what we did, there was always a third.  The silent girl with the golden hair seemed to accompany us everywhere.  She made me uneasy.  But I smiled and hoped she’d one day disappear.  When she didn’t, I finally spoke to my fiance about her.

“You have to pity her,” he said.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because we found her alone on the beach one morning,” he told me.  “No one has any idea who she is or where in this world she belongs.  Lord only knows what she’s been through and can’t tell us.”

I must admit my heart broke.  I couldn’t imagine how hard her life must be, so from then on, I tried my best to be more understanding.  But I still couldn’t bring myself to care for her.  She bothered me.  Something about her silence chilled me.

And the way she clearly wanted my Prince for herself was nothing short of vulgar.  The way she could touch him, smile at only him, dance for him.  More than once, I worried there might be something between them.  More than once, I let my Prince reassure me.

Time and time again, however, I found myself wanting her gone.  I should have listened to my instincts.

My Prince’s silent friend was more than usually morose on our wedding day, giving further evidence to what I’d always known.  Still, I did my best to ignore her completely.  This day was ours---my Prince’s and mine.  Nothing could ruin it, I thought.  They had even spruced up his favorite sailing ship, whereupon the ceremony, wedding dinner, and wedding night would take place.  It would be perfect from start to finish.

How stupid I was.  How trusting.

That night---the start of it at least---will remain one of my sweetest memories, no matter what happens to me or how much longer I am allowed to live.  The way our bodies entwined and mingled for the first time.  The ecstasy.  The music we made together.  And then, when it was done, the way he lay beside me, radiating a warm that enveloped me like the most comfortable blanket.  It was all I had dreamed it would be, and more.  I felt so at peace that I slipped right off to sleep.

If I dreamed, I can’t remember.  The next thing in my memory is the nightmare I woke up to.

My husband’s scream shocked me awake.  I sat bolt upright, all drowsiness gone in an instant.  Beside me, a horrific scene played out.

There she stood---the silent girl.  She was there by our bedside, raising a strange object high above her head.  By the light of the moon, I could see it was some sort of blade, but unlike any I’d ever encountered.  It was more like a crystalline icicle in structure, and I had just enough time to notice this before she plunged it down into my husband’s abdomen with ferocious force.

He screamed again, clutching his stomach with one hand and trying to fight off his attacker with the other.

“Why?” I heard him choke out.  “Why?”

I suddenly sprang into action.  I reached across my husband’s body and grabbed his attacker by her face.  To my surprise, it felt strange.  I expected heat, and softness of flesh.  Instead, she felt cold and utterly soaked.  Before I could think too much about it, I gave a great push and back she went, landing prone.

From then on, my focus was on my husband.  I watched with terror as his movements slowed.  His blood poured out in streams, soaking the sheets beneath us.  He was losing consciousness quickly.  I shook him by the shoulders begging him to stay, but it was no use.  A moment later, he was gone.

I remember crying out in anguish and wondering why no one would come.  And then my eyes landed back on her.  She had pulled herself up with her legs out in front of her, only they were not legs I saw.  Where they should have been was the tail of a fish, and she eagerly smeared it with the blood from her weapon, panting and grunting in wordless desperation.

Angler fish mermaid by alexism96-d76y6tn-1-.jpg

I was dumbfounded, paralyzed by fear and confusion.  What was I seeing?  Suddenly, she began to gasp, as if somehow she could no longer breath.  She began pulling herself across the floor with her hands, dragging her tail behind her.  She grasped whatever she could to pull herself along.  The sight of it made me sick.  This inhuman, uncanny creature was somehow more horrifying than the blood that gushed from my new husband’s corpse.

At last, she pulled herself out of the room, and another moment later, I heard the far off splash of something hitting the water.

I don’t know if I passed out again.  The next thing I remember is the room overrun with people---servants, my hysterical mother-in-law, lady’s maids, and so so so many others.  Many of them asked me why I’d done it.  Where I’d gotten the strange dagger.  What he’d done to deserve this on our wedding night.

The silent girl was nowhere to be found in all of this.  And yet a smeary trail of blood led out to the deck.  They said I must have killed her, too, and thrown her overboard.

The answers I gave then, are the ones I’ll give now.  I did nothing.  It was her.  I swear!

It was that devious, murderous little mermaid.

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