A/N: The last chapter! Thank you so much to everyone for your amazing comments, I've had a great time writing this! Thank you also to UnderxYourxSpell for hosting such a great contest
When I came to, I was lying in some sort of hammock, and for the first time in… a long time, I was dry. I looked around slowly. The hammock was strung up between a couple of palm trees, and Solo
was slumped against the trunk of one of them. It looked quite uncomfortable.
“Solo?” I asked, and my voice rasped,like a villain.
Heglanced up at the scratchysound of my voice, and a smile broke out on his face. Springingnimblyup, he ran to my side.
“How are you feeling?” he asked. “I thought you were going to die, but you look much better! Oh, Elfa.”
I smiled at the rush of talk and stretched my weary arms and legs, birdsong fluttering around my ears, as if the notes were leaning back and floating in the light breeze. “I’m feeling great thanks.
Where are we?”
I got out of the hammock, realising I was dressed in fresh clothing, and my hair had been washed and braided neatly. Ah, to be clean.
My legs wobbled, but Solo was there, and he held me up gently.
“We were all brought here the day before yesterday by the dolphins. The inhabitants of the land helped us out- they're so fascinated by our tale of the sinking island. I think they call this place
I turned the word over in my mind, muttering it to myself.It would translate as… Greece?
I looked cautiously around. We were in a quiet spot, but already I liked the feel of the place. We were stood on a beach, the white sand baked hot by the fierce sunlight that was currently beating
down on my head. Lush grass was behind me, a few goats nibbling at the grass. Iwas overwhelmed with sadnessas I realised that al of the goats must have gone down with the island. Fuzzy!
“How many of our people died?” I asked, suddenly, not knowing if I wanted to know.
“Ten men, four women and three teenage girls,” Soloanswered, his tone sorrowful.
I rubbed my forehead. Losing anyone would have been hard, but it had been a great deal less people than I had expected to lose.
We walked on in silence. “Airla,” he began, gripping my arm, but then words failed him, and he stopped.
“What is it?” I asked, and I found my heart was fluttering in my chest.
“Elfa, were you in love with Zeth?” he choked it out, and I gasped.
What a question! I didn't even need to mull it over. “Of course not!” I replied instantly. “I was flattered by his comments, but they were all lies. To tell the truth, he was a sadistic man at
heart. I think his suicide was a final act of guilt.”
Ihad thought about this as I had been imprisoned, in that dark damp place. It seemed like a mere nightmare I had hadnow, when I was stood in the warm rays of the life giving sunshine.
Of course I had never loved Zeth. I had told myself that Ihad, after all, no one had ever showered me with praise like that. The feeling of being appreciated was not love- I had just been muddled
and addled in my mind by his words. Ihad been taken in by his shimmering tail and beautiful eyes, and not seen what was truly underneath. I glanced at Solo, who looked significantly happier. His
eyes were dark, rimmed with a tawny light grey colour, brought out by the sunlight. He was beautiful too, but in an honest way. It seemed to shine from within him. I stopped, wondering what on
earth I was thinking like this for. I glanced at the ground, ashamed to feel my cheeks flushing red, but Ilooked back up at him as he finally replied.
“I’m glad of that,” he said, with a smile, his eyes heavy with relief.
I raised an eyebrow. “So am I.”
We stood in silence, each waiting for something, though neither of us knew what.
“Elfa?” he broke the silence. “Would you consider… erm… would you, would you find it strange if I told you that I have loved you ever since I was five years old?”
I gulped. The words of that wise old lady, the ones she had spoken so long ago, when Atlantis had not sunk into the murky depths of the sea, sprung to my mind. True love should not be thought
out, or tried too hard to gain. It should sparkle in the air like cobwebs in the early morning dew, and glitter like the sea dancing in the sin rays. It should not be a game to play, where one
person always wins.
With Solo, everything felt so natural and easy, that I knew loved him. I just knew it.
“No,” I said, and my heart was swelling, fit to burst. “I would think it was the best news I ever heard.”
I have never seen a wider grin than the one which spread across Solo’s face, and after flashing that beautiful grin, he kissed me.
It was never quite the same living in Greece. I missed knowing everyone who inhabited the island, and the Greeks had peculiar ideas about things, which we had to adjust to. As you can probably
guess, Solo and I married, and though I still had terrible nightmares about when Zeth had dragged me underwater, and I was still occasionally racked with guilt, he always managed to calm me down
and soothe me.
I felt ridiculously lucky to have a group of people who knew I had played a huge part in the destruction of their country, and who may have lost loved ones because of it- yet they loved me still,
and never blamed, or behaved differently towards me. I almost wanted them to shout at me, and tell me it was all my fault so I could give into the voice in my head which constantly pointed the
finger of blame at me. But they never did. They always told me how grateful they were that I saved them, and how they were in my debt. I could never agree with that, I could not imagine how I would
feel if I was in their place- but Solo reasurred me it was a true, sincere feeling they all shared. I felt so unbelievably blessed.
Nobody ever saw a mermaid or merman again, or at least not that I knew of, but as soon as I had been on the island long enough to tell my tale to the Greeks, someone wrote it down with strange
signs called letters, which though they looked beautiful were extremely difficult to learn. But eventually I managed to grasp how to do it, and so, dear reader, I wrote this down for you to read. I
have already heard many versions of my story, exaggerated or missing large parts, going round the place, and I wanted a truthful account to be recorded, so there is no confusion.
I can't think of any more to say.I know I will never forget what I did, and that I will always regret my foolish, naive trust of a stranger- but I also know thatI will not ruin my life
throughguilt. I will try andmake up for it, byliving the best I can,as cheesy as it might sound.
Imust dash off. Solo, bless his curly head, is attempting to cook the dinner as well as keeping an eye on our small toddler, who has just learnt to glide (half spirit? Whatever next!) and has a
habit of wobbily gliding straight into things. He looks like he could do with a hand, though you can't fault his effort!
I thank you from my heartfor reading this account,and should you remember only one thing from my humble tale, let it be this.Never trust a mysterious stranger, no matter how shiny and beautiful
The above picture is kind of how I visualise Airla =) By the sea and all >.<
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