Her lips barely escaped the clutches of the pounding waves. She gasped for breath before she was sucked under once more. Lucy fought the ocean, but it was far stronger, pushing her deeper into its darkening depths.
As she sank, unable to swim, Lucy struggled to keep her eyes open. Ragged halves of the ship slowly descended alongside of her. She reached toward the wreckage, clinging to the senseless hope that it might save her, but the current dragged her away from it.
Interrupting the blue-green of the water strangling her was a shock of white. The face of one of the crew, their eyes glassy and unseeing.
A terrified scream escaped Lucy's lips, flooding her lungs with seawater. She expected agony-the dreadful feeling of drowning. Instead, a strange sort of bliss washed over her.
The stinging pressure of the rough current and the burning of her lungs faded. Her limbs, though tired, felt new and flawless.
A myriad of sparkling colors swished before her eyes. Was this death? A painless spattering of color?
Something grasped her arms, gently pulling Lucy upwards. Before she knew it, she had broken the surface. The waves were as violent as ever, but something kept her bobbing instead of drowning.
As Lucy began to regain her breath and logical thinking, she realized what the colors were-tails. Elegant, beautiful things, shimmering in the dim moonlight. Attached to the tails in a surprisingly graceful way were human torsos.
Lucy stared in disbelief at the mermaids that had rescued her. They didn't speak, but their emerald eyes were kind. "What-you're not real," Lucy stammered.
One mermaid managed to speak in broken English. "We save you."
"Why?" Their tails were twined around her arms, keeping her from being swallowed by the expanse of ocean.
"Only eat men."
Lucy froze, her breath paused. No, these weren't gorgeous mystical creatures who had come to her rescue. These were sirens who had brought down the ship and murdered the sailors on board. As a stowaway gaining free passage to a new life in Italy, Lucy was the only girl present on the merchant ship.
"You killed them." Lucy gasped, quivering. "By God, let me go! The maps were right! The only thing to the west is monsters! The sirens of the legends!"
"Let go you drown." The mermaid shook her head defiantly. "We save you."
"I would rather drown than be saved by born killers!" Lucy thrashed, forcing the mermaids to release their life-giving grip. Without their support, she quickly slipped under the tormenting waves.
The mermaids circled her curiously, obviously wondering why Lucy would prefer to die than be saved. They watched with wide eyes and bloodied teeth until Lucy's consciousness faded, her young life following only shortly after.