• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 08


Against the sway and the slap,
in the space between waves,
a sibilant layer plays
to the attuned ear.
It is pure and luring, disarming.
It charms him.
He craves
a fan of silken hair,
satined skin,
a jewelled tail,
and slides through the film.
He glides above coral
and powdered sand
on his dazzling trail,
chasing flickers of dreamlight.
But all magical lands have allure
which is illusion.

His ankle is clasped.
Shackled by barnacled fingertips,
he is jerked and wrenched,
hauled into the sunless trench,
dragged down, down, down,
trawled through fettering fronds,
binding, winding, wrapping,
slicing, shredding, snapping,
as she tows her catch to her lair.
Dark weight swallows
the air.


His wake splits shoals.
Outstretched hands rake water,
grasp, grab, snatch, clutch.
they drift to his sides.
The cold burrows like maggots.

Her hair has escaped her braids;
it is as frayed as ships’ ropes,
as alive as squirms of eels,
writhing and coiling
in a veil at her face
and in a halo of knots.
A sea snake escapes
from her dark
protrusible mouth
and her jaws gape,
lined with turritella shells.
Her skin is as cold
and grey as clay,
algae cupping her bony juts
strumming her striped ribs,
filling her hollows.

Her tarnished scales lift like scabs
and seep green clouds
as she strangles him with seaweed,
wringing out his silent screams.
She anchors him to the shipwreck
for later.



His bones will tumble and wedge
in the shifting jumble
and, one day,
be dredged.
Legends will be birthed
and unearthed,
and their eyes will be alight,
mesmerised by the myths
and magic
of mystical mermaids.