Drowning in Breaths


Down he drifted.

Limbs light.

Water heavy.

Lungs burning.

He couldn’t help but look around him, the water pressure digging into every orifice, Poseidon’s fingers poised to gouge out this mortal’s eyeballs. Was he crying, the tears pressed back into their ducts? The light was fading (or was the darkness growing?) as he sank, deeper and deeper. The darkness was soon palpable, tangible, as he reached out fingers that looked skeletal and lifeless already, in a feeble attempt to ascertain his rapidly fading existence. No, he contemplated, he was not sinking, but flying, into the pulsing heart of the ocean depths. It was as much a relationship as an ordeal – it was certainly no accident.

Hope of survival was out of the question, they had told him that much.

In a way, the heavy mass of darkness was inviting, alluring. Within its eternal shadowy grasp, was there truly nothing to be found but icy coldness, frozen time, and watery death? Or could there possibly –

What was that?

A colored shadow had flitted across his peripheral vision; he could even feel the trail it left behind. He felt a tug in his lungs – not much left to live on. If only there –

His eyes widened as he struggled to understand the sight unfolding before him: A fish-like creature charging at an ungodly speed, growing larger by the millisecond, a desperation in its velocity as if it was slicing through the viscous blackness. It looked…familiar. Why did that adjective pop up? How can a fish look familiar? Then he saw eyes. Nose. Mouth. Ears. Hair. Arms. Hands. And the realization hit him like a hammer in the chest, forcing the last vestige of oxygen out of him.

A mermaid.

But it cannot be.

But they said it would be.


© David Lui, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Lui and Shore of Sanity with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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