I hadn’t spoken to Solo for a whole day. I hadn’t even seen him properly.
It was evening now, and I wanted to see Zeth again, with a burning sort of feverish desperation. Perhaps he could give me some comfort.
I went to the bay, my insides trembling with these feelings of being so deceptive towards Solo, but I had little else I could do. He was too angry with me, I was sure.
Zeth was not there as I arrived, so I sat in silence, watching the waves break onto each other in the pale moonlight beams.
I waited, and waited, and was about to give up, when he rose up from the water, his hair shining in the silver blue light.
“Airla.” he said.
I stood up and went to him, smiling, but I received no answering grin.
Instead, he lunged, and grabbed both my upper arms, with such force that I stumbled and fell awkwardly into him, too shocked to scream or thrash.
He leant down towards my ear, his tone vicious, “I know what you are,” he whispered, and I seemed to hear the crashing of an ocean storm mingled in his tone.
I stiffened, panic setting in through my body. “What?”
“You’re a spirit. Aren’t you? Don’t deny it.” I didn’t know this Zeth, this was not him- not his voice, not his personality. “Surprised, are you?” he continued, looking at my widened eyes with some
sort of sadistic mocking.
I gulped, and it hurt my throat.
“Merpeople are not friends of Atlanteans. I was using you for information, blakas, I was not your sympathiser.” his words stung like ocean salt on a wound. Blakas meant idiot. He carried on, his
grip tightening in an iron grasp. “I struck gold. I found the missing piece for our final plan.”
I stared at him in disbelief, unable to breathe properly. What had I done? “What final plan?” I asked, hoarsely.
He just raised an eyebrow, oh so mockingly and maliciously, and with graceful ease- as if I was as light as a feather, pulled me under the water…
Painful coldness. Stinging salt. No air.
The water was so icy cold that it shook my body with a pulling darkness. It seemed to be full of misery and hate and treachery and deception, and a long list of other things too terrible to think
My hair streamed like seaweed over my face as the water tried to pull me up to the surface, but Zeth’s arm was strong around me and he pulled me with him. He was swimming strongly down into the
dark depths, so deep black that I could see nothing of what they were. He looked over at me, and my eyes must have been full of fear for his mouth curved into a spiteful smile. He was enjoying
this. Enjoying my suffering? The sadistic wretch. I was so full of hatred for him that I began kicking at his side, in a vain attempt to get away.
It was like kicking metal. He made no response, just carried on as if I was as weak as a goldfish. The water whooshed past my ears, attacking me with fearsome power.
He looked up again, as my kicks grew weaker. Spirits would die when submerged in water, I remembered suddenly. The reminder of my imminent death was almost welcome. I could not live with this
treacherous thing which I had done. I thought of Solo and grew even weaker. How could I face him, when I had done this- betrayed him?
I flopped in his arms, my lungs heaving for air, my heart beat drumming in my head. I was cold, so cold.
Zeth looked over, and from my hazing vision, I saw him grow alarmed. He pushed a hand roughly over my face, and suddenly I could breathe. I opened my eyes to see my head was contained inside a
smooth bubble of air. I felt immediately claustrophobic, but this was the least of my worries.
He carried on pushing me down, and, now fully conscious, thanks to being able to breathe, I began to notice things around us.
Tall statues carved from rock leered out of the gloom at us as we passed, sunk deeply in sand, and once or twice I thought I saw other merpeople pass us, but it was too dark to see them.
I saw rocks in front of us, like a wall, as suddenly Zeth darted through a gap, the hard, rough edges lightly grazing my knee as we passed through. The sting bit at me, but I was too worried for it
to properly bother me.
Then we were inside a dark hall. It was filled with water still, as Zeth flitted across the bottom of the floor like a fish.
I felt like I was being dragged like a heavy bag, and it was not enjoyable. I wondered why I had not died yet. I suppose my head was not submerged, so I was alright.
Zeth swam up steps, and this time I was sure I saw more merpeople. But they were as dark and black as the night- their skin was still milky, but their hair was the colour of dull ebony and their
eyes were so devoid of colour that it was like looking straight into a deep hole. I looked at Zeth, and saw to my horror that he was the same. His hair was longer, and tangled, his emerald eyes
were now as dull as rock, and deeper black then midnight.
His beautiful tail was no longer shimmery- it was dull like his eyes and grey, as grey as an ordinary fish.
I squeezed my eyes shut, in horror at how foolish I had been to have been enticed by a merperson, and did not watch as we passed through the rest of this bizarre underwater castle.
Suddenly, the pressure around my head vanished, and I realised I was out of the water.
I sucked in a breath, my body arching with the effort, and Zeth threw me unceremoniously onto the hard floor. I was in a dark room, a gap in the floor filled with water which he had just emerged
from. This was some sort of air pocket.
Exhausted, I slumped in the corner, and I noticed that he watched me. With one final, malicious look at what I had been reduced to, he swam away down the gap, leaving me alone, unwanted and
helpless, filled with the knowledge that I had been a traitorous, betraying idiot. I put my head in my hands and sobbed until I fell into a dreamless sleep.
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