Flood

"Mermaids are real. They aren't myths or fairytales; and I killed them." Morrissey Ford stumbled across a far bigger than the fin of his new friend. Leonora is the experiment he betrayed by mistake. What would you do if your childhood sweetheart was the one who'd led your family to their deaths?

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2. Morrissey:

My name is Morrissey Ford, and I killed someone. 

Maybe somebody isn’t specific enough; because any life is a loss. No. It wasn’t just a life. It was a race and a struggling species I crushed in infant palms and spread the ashes to sea.

To be fair, I didn't mean to. And physically, I didn't do it. How could I have known what my actions would lead to? Nothing close to this. But now they're gone and dead, and there's no one else that knows enough to care. It's been years, and eventful years too, so no one can really care about a dying species because technically everybody is a dying species. My dad doesn't seem to think so, though, because he's decided to take me to the same cottage by the sea as though nothing's happening. People always said he was stubborn but only now are my really believing them.

So, what did I do? The question is not really what but really how. Because there's not actually much murder in the way of bloody fists of weapons. The only weapon involved was my mouth, really. 

I suppose I'd better tell you now, because I'm on my way to that cottage that I've tried to blacklist from my memories and already it's too familiar. There's the cedarwood tree that tries to engulf the entrance of the town, and the buildings are quaint and hard-wearing, bearing signs for traditional ice cream and licences. I know within minutes I'm going to see the single place that it happened.

The murder case of species undesired. Accused: Morrissey Ford, I imagine to myself. Location: The crummy cottage verging on possibly the most tranquil place on earth. Sentence: everything.

Of course, I wasn't prosecuted because not only was I a child, but it wasn't counted as a murder. Even worse, it was considered to be an extermination process.

Extermination. Like they were vermin.

Sometimes, I give myself a happy scenario. I think about what might have happened if I had kept my mouth shut, which is undoubtedly a hard task even for a quiet kid, and I could have visited this very cottage every holiday, and met my own little species privately. Sometimes I wonder what might else have happened if I hadn't condemned her. And when I say sometimes, I'm lying, because it's a constant thread that bounces along my mind, never snapping or fraying, and simply growing stronger the older I get. They say memories fade, but maybe that's only for the ones you like.

"Strange coming back, isn't it?" Dad looks out the window while keeping a steady hand on the wheel. I can't help but look again at the gleaming shard of silver on the finger that counts. We won't be here together alone for long. I don't say anything, but tilt my head as though to suggest a nod. He notices it from the corner of his eye and knowing he won't even manage to get a conversation out of me here, his hands guides itself to the radio and turns the volume loud enough so that birds start to flock from nearby perches. He used to do this back then, too. 

The trees shift into more tropical forms, and are swayed by the light winds. Everything is unharmed by the goings-on of the world as though it's protected by a snowglobe-like casing of glass. I can't help but wonder what will happen when it trips off the table and smashes to pieces. At least then everyone could see what it looks like through my eyes. The only difference is that the tourist industry has been cut off and reacts like a blood clot to the circulation of the old town. Now I'm starting to see the to let signs, and the lack of happy couples buying postcards and candy rock. There's next to no one on the streets, and everyone who is looks a little gaunter than I remember. They stare at the car with less than welcoming expressions, more like bewilderment, and I wonder how the Seabrooke that had been cast as one of the most popular tourist towns of the year just months ago has now turned to this. 

My dad liked to tell me that was me who had helped them. "Those creatures might have been taken, but the lives of the town couldn't be more thriving." Somehow it made it worse, as though people were making money from the disaster which they were. Now I can peer closer, it's easy to see the fading posters of peeling mermaids plastered on walls. There's even a little cafe, that I remembered being called the Teacup, that has revamped itself to Leonora's Tail. My stomach drops so fast it could hit the ground, and the name that I try and try and try to forget comes back to me as though every letter pierces my skin. Further even, until it could split my organs into shatters.

I regret a lot of things, but one of the smaller remorses is telling people her name. Le-o-nor-a. The most tantalizing four syllables so liberal, like the paces of the sea. But it's solemn too, like a young widow or sailor lost at sea, whispering for his lost love. Forget Cellar Door, I am certain Leonora is the most beautiful collection of sounds available in the English language.

So it begins, Leonora. So it begins. The car takes the last left and follows along the golden path to the cottage vacant for at least a decent few weeks. If only she wasn't dead and only if I hadn't spoiled at least one pure thing in the world. The car stops and my heart begins to restart too fast and it manages to be the worst and best place to be out of anywhere in the world.

I don't believe in ghosts but in the distance there's a flash of something impossibly brown and shiny hidden by a giant's rockpool, and I shiver like one is walking right through me.

 

Hi everyone! So today I had the strangest muse to continue with this story, and I wondered what you might think of it now having two chapters up. I've already written the next which will be posted later tonight, so any feedback would be appreciated! - Teeinthepark

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