Based on tales by Hans Christian Anderson.
Author's Chapter Notes:
Three things washed up on the shore of the Virginia Beach on the night of the Spring Equinox, March 21st, 2009.
One of them, was a dead body. A woman, her hair tangled up with kelp and seaweed, her fingers and toes nibbled on by fish, hundreds of slashes and cuts no longer sluggishly bleeding from the bloated, drowned flesh. Her face was missing.
The second thing was a huge shard of seas shell, wet with blood, dripping with it, the blood soaking the sand. It gave off an eerie sound, a singing, like a shepherd’s pipe.
And the third was a living body, a girl, maybe twenty years old. Her auburn hair was soaking wet, covering her pale face. She shuddered, shivering with the cold wind on her naked body, lying half in, half out of the water. Her fingers dug long furrows in the wet sand as she tried to pull herself out of the water, crying out in pain. A slash wound to her shoulder and a stab wound to her back leaked blood across her bare skin. Lifting her head, her shimmering green eyes searched the beach. She knew she couldn’t make it far enough away from the shell and the corpse on her own. She was losing too much blood to be able to make it very far….
Her eyes saw a shadow, a silhouette against the setting sun, tall, slender. A man… she reached out, trying to sense him, trying to sense safety, kindness, compassion. It was all there, all of it, just within reach if she could get his attention.
“H-help….” Her voice croaked out. “Help….”
The silhouette wasn’t even looking at her, was too far away to hear her plea. She had to scream… but her throat burned, ached. She tried to gather saliva into her mouth, couldn’t manage it.
Steeling herself, she sucked in as great a lungful of air as she could manage, grabbed a shard of sea shell and clenched it in her fist. Blood gushed out, seeping through her fingers, and the pain gave her the edge she needed to scream.
As the last of her strength gave out, someone lifted her up into their arms.
“Oh, my God! Miss… Miss, can you hear me? Miss, please, can you hear me?”
She stared up into a face like an angel’s, with warm eyes like dark amber and soft, dark gold hair flipping into one eye. He had a very open face, and glasses.
“Miss! Miss, can you hear me?”
“I’m going to call nine-one-one.” The man shifted her weight in his arms, pulled out a cell phone, dialed, and said, “Hello. I’m at Pearl Pier at Virginia Beach, I have an injured Caucasian female, around twenty years old, multiple knife wounds, suffering from exposure and blood loss. She is conscious, but she seems to be having trouble speaking. Ten minutes? All right, thank you. Yes, I’ll be here.”
“Hey, hey, stay with me, Miss. What’s your name? What’s your name?”
“Ariel. My… name is… Ariel Finn.”
“Ariel? Ariel, my name is Spencer Reid. I’m going to take care of you. You’re going to be all right.”
“Watch out….” Her throat burned every time she spoke. She grabbed his shirt sleeve with her bleeding hand, drenching the white cloth. It was so white against the blackness of oncoming night.
Ariel bit her tongue, tried again. She had to warn this man. He had to get her away, both of them away….
“Take me… away. Take me to the pier….”
“You can’t be moved, Ariel-“
“We have to… please… please… Spencer….” And blackness overcame her, sucking her down like the inescapable undertow, a silent wail of despair echoing in her mind.
Chapter End Notes:
In the words of JunoMagic:
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Disclaimer/Author's Note: I don't own anything except what you don't recognize. Ariel is mine, however. And NO, she is NOT a mermaid!
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