I was a carpenter’s son. As a child, I rarely had good food on the table and money to buy new clothes. Through my years growing up, I was never satisfied with my life. I felt as though I was missing out on a lot, and so it was only normal when I made my search for mermaids’ gold my sole ambition.
The first time I heard of mermaids’ gold, I was merely a teen. I was by the docks accompanying my father on his delivery when I heard a few sailors talking. They said that if you sailed northeast for three whole months, you would find a small island. They also drooled over the myth that the island had a cave full of mermaids’ gold that would multiply tenfold under a full moon. I did not believe them at first, but when more sailors spoke of it I found myself sharing the same story with my friends.
Some of my friends bought it, some laughed me off, but no matter what their reactions were I decided to save up as much money as I could and sail to that island. My determination to find satisfaction in life led me to working a few jobs until I had enough to buy a small boat. It was not an impressive boat, but it was not an eyesore either. The day I paid the retired one-legged sailor for it, I gathered three of my friends and set sail.
For three whole months my friends and I sailed northeast. We battled storms, survived attacks from sea monsters, and dreamt of the treasure that awaited us. Once the three months were up, we found the small island and honestly, we were shock that it existed. No matter how much we believed in the story, part of us had a little disbelief. Seeing the island, we finally proved our doubts wrong.
The island was not a large one, and a walk around it would only take a day. Being rather small, we briefly wondered if there was even enough space for gold, but when we found the entrance to the cave we smouldered our questions away.
Without wasting any time, we entered the dark cave with torches in our hands. Our voices bounced softly down the walls, as we were both nervous and excited at the same time. After walking for a couple of minutes, we hit a descend. Strangely, there were steps but we were too eager to even find it odd. As we followed where the steps led us, we stumbled across skulls and bones. That should have set the warning bells ringing but we ignored them. Finally at the bottom, we found ourselves in a wide dome-like chamber.
The centre of the chamber was a pool of water. The reflection of the water danced on the wall and on the gold piles all around the chamber. There were also two long tables against the walls filled with meats, fruits, and wine. My friends dashed to chomp down the food and I followed after them. Once our bellies were full, we tried to find a way to bring all the gold back to our ship.
“The ship has a rather large sack. We could make a few trips to take them all,” one of my friends said.
“There are also empty barrels,” another added.
“Great. Why don’t you retrieve those items while I wait for you here,” I said.
Everyone nodded their heads and my three men crew left. They also took pockets full of gold and had a childish grin on their faces. As I waited for their return, I snacked on juicy fruits and drank the sweet wine. I was focused on choosing what to nibble next when I heard a splash. Turning to see where it came from, I saw a mermaid sitting by the pool.
She was beautiful, with long golden hair. Her fin was glittering and small, white seashells covered her body except for her arms. She smiled at me and gestured for me to have more of the food. When I did not respond, she asked, “Are you full? Have you had enough?”
“I…” I was tongue-tied
“Eat more, take more. Do so until you’re satisfied,” she said with a sweet smile.
“You don’t mind?” I asked sceptically.
“Of course not. I just want you to be happy,” she said.
I nodded my head and walked down the table. My stomach had bloated from all the food but my taste buds were yearning for more. When I finally had the strength to stop myself, I sat against the wall and watched the mermaid. She said nothing as she continued smiling. Occasionally, she would play with her hair and I began to find her strangely alluring. After an hour, I began to wonder what was taking my friends so long. Did they leave me? Surely not. There was still so much gold left.
As I got up to leave, the mermaid asked, “Leaving so soon?”
“I, I’m just going to look for my friends,” I replied.
“Take some gold with you,” she said.
I hesitated for a moment but ended up filling my pockets to the brim. The moment they started sagging from the weight, I left. When I returned to the beach I was rather relieved to see my ship, but when I boarded it and found no one, my worries returned.
“Maybe they went back to the cave,” I told myself.
Without thinking too much, I hurried back to the cave. As I re-entered the chamber I immediately asked the mermaid, “Did my friends return?”
“No. I saw no one,” she replied. “Your pockets are empty, fill them up.”
I had emptied my pockets on my ship earlier, and at her offer I filled them up again. Once they were full, the mermaid asked, “Is that all?”
“I can’t take anymore,” I replied, tapping on my pockets that were about to burst.
“Then why don’t you stay?”
“Stay with me. Eat all you want and have all the gold you desire,” the mermaid offered. Her voice was like a lovely melody and I found myself considering the idea.
“Be with me forever,” she added. And then, her face began to transform.
The sweet, pretty mermaid’s skin turned scally as her eyes became fish-like. Her mouth also slit wider and sharp teeth protruded outwards. As her appearance changed, I began to notice the small seashells on her body and how they looked like bones.
My throat immediately tightened at the sight of this monster, but my body made no effort to run. Instead, I found myself being drawn towards her as she called me to her. By the time we came face to face, I lost all my will to resist. All I wanted was to be with her and I did not question why.
If only I did.
If only I did, the blackness inside her mouth would not be the last thing I see.
I’m not sure if this one was an easy guess, but if you thought of lust then here’s ten points to whichever Hogwarts house you’re in!
Lust is one of the 7 deadly sins and it’s pretty obvious why. It attacks the deepest desires of our hearts and promises to satisfy our needs. The moment we entertain its too-good-to-be-true offer, we ignore all the warning signs and dive deeper to feed our desires. Once we enter lust’s lair, it would convince us to stay and when that happens, it would be too hard to say no. When dealing with lust, I would suggest running the moment you sense its lure. It is always better to be safe than sorry, right?
© 2013 Jeyna Grace
(For more short stories, click HERE)