Chapter 1: Get wreckt
Captain’s Log: Morning of August 28
Last night, my crew and I set sail from the Silas docks to investigate the mysterious disappearances of three ships off the coast of Montenegro. But as we approached the estimated area of my lost ships, a sudden storm rocked the waves with thrashing winds that tore our vessel to shreds.
The mast cracked and fell, crushing the helm and separating myself from the others. Rigging and what was left of the sails wrapped around my legs as the ship slowly sunk into the depths.
They were not so pleased with my order to leave me to go down with my ship.
The last thing I can recall is seeing most of my crew had made it safely aboard a small dingy boat before embracing the cold waves.
And yet here I am. Writing in my journal, shipwrecked on a small island somewhere. I have no idea how I’ve survived or made it here in the first place.
But I have a sneaking suspicion that my journey to solve this mystery has only just begun.
Captain Laura Hollis let out a short satisfied sigh as she placed her journal down onto the sand, now mostly dry after sitting out in the morning sun. She just couldn’t wait to write in it, the octopus ink she smudged in some places as the small twig she used as a pen scratched the wet paper.
Placing a small rock on its pages to continue drying and not flip in the wind, she heaved herself upwards, dusting the sand off her bottom and began to work.
Ship destroyed by a monster storm.
Miraculously survives and is now stranded on an island.
Journal writing first before survival.
Tossing aside her coat and boots, or what was left of them anyway, she set off to explore the shore of her little island.
Despite being stranded and possibly miles away from civilization and even possibly no way to get back home, she couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful place to be stuck on.
The soft sand beneath her toes, warm sun, the breeze and the ever wonderful sound of waves, music to any sailor. She took her time walking across the beach, keeping an eye out for land or ships across the horizon but she was in no hurry.
Eventually the sand ended and rock took its place to form a path into a small cave. The water’s calmed here, creating a small pool within the cave. Perfect for shelter in case the storm were to return.
“Well…I always said I needed a vacation…” She laughed to herself, carefully hopping over rocks smoothed over by the tide and time,”It’s not exactly what I had in mind but-”
Like the eternal instinct of every sailor, she remained utterly still as a grey fin with a distinctive black tip, peaked out of the water’s surface.
As if realizing it was spotted, the dorsal retreated within the dark depths.
Finding her breath a moment later, she laughed at herself because she was on land and should have nothing to fear.
“…Why would a Blacktip be over here?” she asked herself but had no answers but more questions.
There it was again. That feeling in her gut. She felt it before the storm hit. She felt it when she heard the news of another ship had gone missing.
The Blacktip returned again, it’s dorsal just barely stroking the surface of the waters, circling around in front of her before retreating out towards the ocean.
Laura had every intention of leaving the shark alone if her terrible curiosity didn’t get the better of her upon realizing that said shark was possibly the biggest blacktip reef shark she had ever seen in her life.
Turning on her heel she retraced her steps and followed the dorsal fin along the path running parallel with the shark. Eventually the rock path curved upwards, becoming a small cliff the hung off the island and over the ocean.
Falling to her knees and clutching the side of the rock, Laura leaned over to catch the last glimpse of a black tipped fin before it disappeared deeper into the depths.
Much to her disappointment, she flopped back to sit on her legs and sighed,“…I should stop procrastinating…time to light a fire signal an-”
The water beneath her exploded, splashing water upwards around the cliff and on her as something jumped out of the ocean and landed right in front of her on the rock.
Laura yelped and fell over backwards landing hard against the ground.
She groaned, slowly sitting back up.
The water dripping over her face clouded her vision, at first glance she assumed it was a human but a quick wipe with the back of her hand revealed light grey skin, black eyes and a smile full of fangs.
She found herself frozen once again but for the same reason.
It stared at Laura for a moment, enjoying the look of surprise on her face, it leaned forward to rest her chin on her arms. Laura could barely catch a glimpse of a long shark tail flicking back and forth over the edge of the cliff where she hung on.
“So you did make it after all. I was wondering if you were ever going to wake up”
Laura’s mouth hung open in disbelief.
“You…can speak?” she sputtered, “Wait you’re real?! The stories were true?!”
The mermaid just smiled,”You must be new at this aren’t you?”
In an instant, Laura was back on her feet.
“YOU’RE THE ONE THAT’S BEEN SCREWING WITH MY SHIPS” she screamed, suddenly just a few inches from the mermaid’s face.
She blinked up at the human, biting her lip in thought,“……well you’re not wrong”
The mermaid leaned back as Laura sat in front of her and got in her face, she was not happy.
“THREE SHIPS. I LOST THREE SHIPS, LOST AT SEA AND ALL CREW MISSING”
She watched the human stand up and begin to pace, now she was…laughing?
“But I knew it! I knew something else was happening. I hid a female sailor on one of those ships. She didn’t fall for the siren’s song but is now traumatized for life after surviving a ship wreck and seeing a bunch of men being dragged into the ocean to be drown and I think she mentioned being eaten alive poor girl but I knew it!”
Laura finally stopped and huffed, placing her hands on her hips, satisfied with herself. Just like that the mystery was solved and her journey was brought to a rather short conclusion.
“The shark part was left out though…didn’t see that one coming”
She laughed, giving Laura a slow clap.
“Congratulations Captain, you’re a world class investigator…”
Despite now being face to face and even having a conversation with a creature that she once considered a childhood story, Laura rolled her eyes at the fish,“And you are a very sarcastic siren…Mermaid……shark…”
Jamming her fist against her cheek, she shook her head and grinned at up at the girl, “Have you considered not using the route you were sending those men on? Not that I’m complaining, you fed us for a few months…”
“….it was a shortcut…”
She threw her head back and laughed,“You are definitely new at this”
Suddenly all of the questions, side eyeing and whispers back home made sense, “Oh God….no one told me”
“Most prefer to pretend we don’t exist, and for good reason” she shrugged.
Laura groaned, covering her face with her hands, no one told her a thing and she sent nearly a hundred men to their deaths. Great.
“Wait a moment…” she paused herself, staring down the mershark for a moment, who looked back in confusion,”…you said Captain, how did you know? And you were waiting for me to wake up?”
Fins where human ears would be, flicked in mild annoyance.
“Your observation skills seem to be in well working order“
“You saved me? Why? I mean..thank you I rather enjoy living but…”
She shrugged once more, twirling thick wet strands of black hair in between her fingers
“To be honest, we tried killing you all earlier while you slept last night”
Laura paled. There were more of them…of course there were.
“But not a single male on board? Interesting. And such a tiny human in comparison barking orders?” she finally looked back up at the girl and smiled, lips curling upwards to expose a full set of sharp teeth. Laura wondered if this was what fish would see before they perished, and yet for an instant she wouldn’t have minded it.
“You amuse me”
Laura blinked once.
With that, the mershark smiled, “Good luck to you Captain” and jumped back into the ocean.
Laura found herself leaning over the edge to catch one last glimpse of the supposedly mythical creature, and was quite surprised to find her staring back.
“Thank you!!” she called out before it was too late.
It could have been the heat, or the water was still in her eyes but if she didn’t know any better a tinge of pink color spread across the mershark’s face before diving into the ocean.
Chapter 2: Culture Shock
Sharkmaids have very odd ways of showing their gratitude as Laura comes to find out
Captain’s Log: Evening....Morning? of August 29th
I am truly unaware of what day it is now. As quickly as the storm appeared the day of the wreckage, it did so again today.
I have made this small alcove into my temporary camp site, at least I hope it’s temporary. If the storm continues to rage I can’t go out and make a fire signal. Until it subsides I am stuck here. I can only hope that my crew had made it somewhere safe before the storm.
There are silver linings however.
I have a decent fire going, the mouth of the cave is small enough to avoid most of the harsh winds and thrashing waves. I found higher ground to avoid the restless lake within.
And as of a few hours ago (I think it was a few hours ago? Perhaps taking that nap was a bad idea, I have lost track of all sense of time) I discovered the true source of my missing ships.
And why I will most likely be fired when I return home.
I should have known they would set me up for failure. No one wanted a female captain, let alone a successful one. Everything they told me, all of the nervous suggestions and glances make sense now. Those tips and tricks? How could they deceive me! It cost the lives of many men and for what?
To see me hung for my decisions?
I almost don’t want to return home.
Laura paused a moment, clutching the coat around her shoulders as a particularly strong gust of wind funneled through the cave. For an instant she was sure the fire would go out.
But I can’t give up. Not yet.
When I get back those who set me up for failure will regret ever messing with Captain Laura Hollis!
Laura paused, finding her last name fading into grey as the ink on her make shift pen dried out. Beside her, was what was left of the small squid, which was basically nothing but a blotch on the rock.
However, I seem to be running out of ink and food.
I will figure something-
Another gust of wind sent the tiny captain into another fit of shivers. She clutched her journal tight to her chest as she curled up into herself.
The waves beneath her grew bigger and crashed against the rock, splashing upwards spraying cold salt water on her and the fire. It hissed at the contact, slowly shrinking, it won’t be long now before it completely died. Laura groaned, somehow getting through the night was seeming to be more difficult than originally intended.
A much larger wave seeped through the cave and crashed against the rock wall, but this time Laura felt it. Something actually hitting against her perch. A moment later a sharp yelp of pain echoed throughout the cave, it was clearly not Laura.
She jumped up out of her ball of warmth and leaned over the edge where a familiar black tip dorsal fin poked out of the water’s surface and strings of blood swirling in the water around it.
Without a second thought, she dropped her coat and carefully climbed down from her perch just as a pale grey hand shot out of the water and grasped land.
The sharkmaid from earlier pulled herself up and out of the water, groaning in pain. She flopped over on her stomach, teeth gritted tight and long tail thrashing in the water.
“H-hey! Are you-”
Just inches from approaching, the shark pushed herself up and snarled sending Laura falling back on her bottom in surprise. Her eyes blacked out and barring a mouth full of fangs Laura swore were not that long before.
“Oh” she said, blinking once and her eyes returned to normal,”It’s you” she groaned, her shoulders sagged, flopping back on her face against the rock.
Laura remained utterly still, clutching her heart as if it were to lurch out of her chest at any moment.
Thick red lines of blood caught her eye, quickly bringing out of her near heart attack state. Several small gashes across her back and fin, and a particularly deep cut on her side, she was literally thrown into the wall at the mercy of the waves.
“Are…you ok?” she asked gently, her hand hesitantly hovering over the shark, in case she wished to lash out again and take said hand.
“Just…dandy…” she hissed through her teeth.
Laura quickly untucked her shirt; it was meant for a small man and even then it was too big for her, lucky that meant there was plenty to spare. She ripped a handful of the hem easily, but it earned the shark’s full attention.
She hissed once more, while attempting to scoot away though very unsuccessfully with her long body, she clutched her side and promptly fell over.
“Back.Off” she growled, which would have been more menacing if she wasn’t curled up in a fetal position.
Laura huffed, rolling her eyes at the stubborn creature, “Hey, you can’t go back out there and you’re hurt”
But she continued to hiss though weaker than before as Laura slowly approached.
She sighed, gently kneeling in front of the angry shark,”Besides…you saved my life…please let me help you”
Save for the waves and the raging storm outside, it was quiet as the two stared the other down. If she didn’t know any better, the poor shark looked embarrassed.
Finally, she grumbled something that sounded like consent and painfully pushed herself up, pulling her tail out of the water and curling it underneath herself to sit up.
Laura tried to not smile, it would only bruise the predator’s ego worse, she bit her lip and proceeded to wrap the cloth around her waist.
“It’s not much but it should help”
But she remained silent, finding the cave walls more interesting than the human helping her.
Which made this a good opportunity to get a closer look, and feel. Wrapping the thin fabric around her waist, her finger brushed up against rough skin. It made sense, being part shark but one would have never guess it from afar. Also, those utterly romantic stories of mermaids with their silky hair and fair skin. Hers was far from either of those things, her long wet black hair clung to her skin, tangled at the ends and possibly some seaweed stuck in some places.
Laura gently tied the end of the bandage and ripped another chunk from her shirt as the Shark lied down once more, exposing her back, bruised and bleeding.
“…so….” she starts out weak, breaking the awkward silence, or at least trying to as she pressed the cloth against her cuts to stop the bleeding, she hissed lightly but tolerated it for now, ”…what are you doing back here anyway? I thought you’d be long gone by now”
She shrugged, “I was separated from my siblings. Storm brought me back here”
Resting her chin on her arms, she glanced up at the human from the corner of her eye, taking note of the small fire in the corner of the cave.
“Looks like you’re stuck here too”
The gashes across her back seemed to have stop bleeding for now, she was running out of shirt to give and used what she could spare to wrap the base of her dorsal fin. Do Merpeople heal faster? Would wrapping it even work? Too late now but she seemed to just let it happen.
“So….yes we are stuck in here for now”
With that, she sat back on her legs, satisfied with herself.
The sharkmaid however, grumbled something that might have sounded like gratitude but she couldn’t be too sure. She huffed, glaring down at her bandaged self.
Like a loaded spring, she launched herself back into the water.
Laura blinked once, realizing she was just left high and dry, so to speak.
One nice thing about this beautiful island she found herself to be stranded on, that it had possibly the clearest water Laura had ever seen in her life. That being said, even with the dark clouds and the storm outside, what little light she had left from her fire made it perfectly clear where and what her shark hero was doing.
She was at the bottom of the lake, circling the perimeter, every once and awhile stopping at the mouth of the cave only to get pushed back by the current. She continued for awhile, swimming faster, looking agitated and impatient.
Laura rolled her eyes,“….well sheessh I’m not that boring…thankless fish…”
Three seconds later, she popped out of the water right in front of her, sending Laura flat on her back, “You say something human?” she laughed.
Laura scrambled back to feet and away from the grinning shark, her back hitting the wall of the cave as she caught her breath and screamed,”Will you stop doing that!?”
Which the shark only found more amusing, perhaps she wouldn’t be bored for too long after all with this jumpy human trapped in a cave.
“And I have a name!”
“Oh I know” she says, matter of factly,”You’re Captain Hollis”
How did she…
“…you can call me Laura” she mumbled, hiding her shock but not doing so well as she continued to grin at her. There will be questions later…
The shark shrugs, ready to turn and dive back into the water.
“Whats your name?….do you have one?” she didn’t mean to be so loud or sudden.
At this she stops, turning around to give the girl the most offended look on the planet.
“I do thank you very much…I know you’re new to this ‘merfolk are real’ thing, but we’re not mindless”
Laura remained still, feeling guilty, small and wondering where her life took a turn to be scolded by a mershark. Regardless, it was too late to back down now.
“….so what is your name?”
“Carmilla” she replies, as if it were a bland taste in her mouth as she drifted away from the edge.
She wanted to say how pretty she thought her name was, or something along the lines of a common small talk starter. But no, the mershark couldn’t have been less interested in her.
Laura lost count of how many times she rolled her eyes and sighed at this fish. She shrugged and turned on her heel to return to warmth, and perhaps pretend none of this had ever happened.
“Well…Carmilla…you may resume your angry swimming if you want. I just…wanted to say thank you for saving me a little more personally but I guess you’re not into that”
Carefully climbing back up her small perch, she resumed her previous spot, wrapping herself up in her coat and shivering to what was left of her fire.
“While you’re down there, if you happen to find any squid let me know before I die of boredom rather than starvation”
Carmilla was three inches from her head going under before she stopped and stared hard at the human.
“….why in the seven seas would you want a squ-”
“Forget it” she scoffed, scooting herself closer to the fire and her back turned to the lake.
She didn’t mean to be in a sour mood, she had hoped talking to someone else would distract her from the crazy situation she was in. She whimpered lightly at the howling wind, burying her face in her knees, she had doubts about going home but any place than here would be better.
Laura awoke with a start at the sound of something slapping against the rocky floor in front of her face, she groaned at the smell and shook her head at the cold slimey feeling brushing against her nose.
Her eyes shot open as she quickly sat up, wiping her nose furiously and gagging.
There, right in front of her her was a small squid, still alive but not for long, it twitched its tendrils around slowly seeking water. But not if Laura had anything to say about it, before her was dinner and a new journal entry.
Not a moment too soon, she slipped the knife out of her boot and went to work, her stomach rumbling and mind going a million miles a second. What could she write about next? Of course now she is turning out blank when she can actually do something about it. Earlier she had thought about writing ways how she hated her new cavemate.
“…..wait a second….”
Pausing in mid gut, she slowly leaned over the edge of her rock, at first finding no sign of Carmilla. Upon closer inspection she could barely make out a tail sticking out from underneath the cave wall at the bottom of the lake.
Whether it was a way to apologize for say thank you she would have no idea, maybe it was a merfolk thing? Being a jerk?
“…..thank you…” she mumbled, knowing well she wouldn’t have heard her.
One roasting squid on a stick and a new page of her journal later, Laura found her happy place once more. Storm forgotten, and a puddle of fresh squid ink at the ready she was prepared to jot down more thoughts.
And yet when putting her pen to paper, no letters formed.
Instead, long strokes resembling the outline of hair and jaggedly lines like fins were being created in her journal.
Jerk or not. The Mershark was utterly fascinating. Twice as long as a normal Blacktipped shark, perfectly proportioned human torso, shark gills and fins. How some sailors knew of their existence and choice not to tell anyone else was beyond her.
“…what are you doing”
Along with her knowledge of a mershark’s mean streak, it would appear that they are also very nosey.
Too deep in her own sketching, she didn’t notice Carmilla climbing up the side of the wall to investigate. She glanced over her journal to find her leaning on her arms, her long tail just barely swishing the surface of the water as she waited for a reply.
“…and you care because…?”
“Because clearly there are just soooo many other things to do here”
Laura held back the urge to kick a shark.
“You have a funny way of showing gratitude…or receiving it you know that?”
Carmilla’s eyebrow raised slightly,“Can’t say it’s something that happens often”
She huffed, the stubborn shark making signs of moving until receiving attention. Giving in, otherwise she would be in for the longest staring contest ever, she turned her journal around.
“…see? Happy now?”
Instead of some snarky response, or cheeky laugh, there was silence.
Laura remained completely still as she watched Carmilla’s expression slowly change before her eyes. Her eyes grew wide, mouth partially open in surprise. Her fins between her hair twitched curiously, it was almost adorable.
Carmilla pushed herself up, pulling her entire body up to sit in front of her and swipe the journal from her fingers. She would have been more upset if she didn’t look genuinely…surprised.
“Is…that…me?” she asked quietly.
“….have you not seen a drawing before?”
She shook her head, Carmilla slowly reached up to stroked the ink lines with her fingertips, ”Not of me”
This was new to say the least, a tiny smile even began to form at the corner of her lips. A moment passed and the journal was shoved back into her arms, “Show me”
“….what? You mean…like how to draw?”
She was determined and serious, “Yes” and almost excited.
Within minutes, Carmilla had her own stick of squid ink and was drawing simple shapes in her private Captain’s journal with childlike enthusiasm.
Her untrained hand held the pen with her entire fist, drawing out shaky circles and wiggly squares.
Laura sat next to her, carefully fussing with the shark’s rough fingers to help her hold it correctly,”Now, slowly” she says, guiding her back to the paper.
She about lost her mind when she realized a sideways oval shape combined with a small triangle resembled a fish. Laura’s unfinished journal entry was now covered in hundreds of small cartoon fish.
Laura, for the first time since her arrival on this beautiful island cracked a smile, when she would eventually get her journal back she couldn’t wait to write in it. It would be something along the lines of:
I just taught a shark how to draw
Chapter 3: Content
What happened the night of the storm?
“Why do you humans do that?”
Carmilla pointed to the small fire, specifically the fish that was skewered and being licked by it’s flames. Much too slow for Laura’s liking but considering her situation and how she was somehow able to bargain with the shark to bring her food in exchange for more drawing, she wasn’t going to complain.
“Burn your food. It’s better when it’s squishy”
Laura laughed, picking up the burning fish by the end of the stick. Examining the dark scales, poking the sides, almost done. Better to be safe than utterly sorry later.
“Well our fragile human stomachs can’t handle the squishy” she sighed, holding the fish right into the heart of the fire for good measure.
Carmilla stopped for a moment, staring at the flames engulfing a perfectly good slimy fish, “That’s unfortunate”
“Very. If I could I would, it would make the waiting time less painful” she laughed, pulling the now black fish out of the flames, blowing on the smoke that seeped from its body.
Carmilla shook her head and resumed drawing, if Laura tilted her head and squinted the mass of scribbles resembled a camp fire but she assumed this only because there was clearly a fish with a line through it right next to it
”What a waste”
Laura however, couldn’t be happier, taking a large bite out of the side, it was still tough but it was the first decent meal she’s had in two days. She hummed happily, “You wanna try it?”
She looked up from her most current masterpiece and stared at the half eaten burnt fish.
”I’d rather not. I’m still full from last night”
Laura shrugged, opening her mouth wide for another bite until her words sunk in.
Last night of the storm? The wreck?
Her stomach twisted.
“Um yes about that….” she started, slowly putter her dinner down in her lap,”Did you…eat my crew?”
But the shark just laughed,” No but we definitely tried”
Laura’s jaw dropped,”You wha-”
“Your crew got away on that small boat. My brother tried to grab one of them, but the curly haired one smacked him in the face with an oar” she grinned, chuckling at the memory.
“Mattie and I couldn’t stop laughing”
Her ink stick glided over the page, now an expert on circles, she added two dots for eyes and proceeded to add crazy layers of curls.
Laura recognized the vague picture immediately and sighed in relief,”Good work Perry…” she laughed, shoulders dropped and stomach untwisting she happily continued her meal.
But a few bites in later and another thought came to mind.
The storm outside subsided leaving a soft rain in its wake. The small fire and quick scratching of the stick were all that was heard between them. Yet Carmilla was content, and so was she.
Sighing, almost not wanting to break the comfortable silence, Laura put the remains of her fish down.
“Was this before or after you saved me?”
She says so casually, not bothering to look up and continued on Perry’s masses of curls.
“I don’t understand, if you wanted to kill us so badly, why did you save me then?”
Carmilla remained silent for a moment, her pen slowly down, almost thinking about her response.
“We track ships for a few days before attacking” she started, satisfied with her portrait of Perry, she flipping to a new page and began a new drawing,”Mattie is the eldest, she circled your ships for hours, searching for men to seduce into the water but found none. She was quite frustrated”
Laura leaned over, though from her angle it was upside down, but the new drawing looked a lot like a ship.
“Each night we would sing but there wasn’t a single human on your vessel to fall for our spell”
Carmilla drew three long ovals with longer triangles around the ship, Laura assumed it to be her and her siblings.
So it wasn’t a dream
Laura bit her lip, concealing a smile. She lay in her bed, safely aboard her ship listening to a hauntingly beautiful chorus of voices across the ocean luring her to sleep.
“If it’s any consolation, it was the best night’s sleep I’ve ever had in my life” she laughed. Carmilla kept her head down, pretending to be so focused on her drawing when Laura knew there was just the tiniest of smile’s at the corner of her lips.
“If you wish for an answer…I would tell you if I knew” she shrugged, dipping her pen in more ink to add onto her portrait of the ship. It wasn’t perfect, but Laura couldn’t help but be impressed with her memory, minor details, the amount of sails, and vague design of the flag.
“I sat beneath your vessel, listening to you speak of the beautiful ocean, jealous of sea creatures, wishing to be a fish and swim away from your responsibilities”
Luckily for Laura it was still dark, no one would have seen the blood rushing to her face,”…oh…you…uh…heard that…” she mumbled, slowly covering her face in embarrassment.
She remembered that day perfectly, it was a beautiful day, warm sun, strong breeze through her hair and a very angry Perry, yelling at her to not lean out so far from the edge of the ship.
Can we not go back home? I could be fine just being out there
Of course Lafontaine laughs, pointing further out towards a large dorsal fin in dark stripes swam along side them, If you want to be shark bait I’m sure they won’t complain
“It was endearing”
Laura sighed, dropping her hands from her face she found herself smiling, it was a great day to go sailing. Of course it was quite literally the calm before the storm.
“When the ship went down, and you weren’t with your crew…” she trailed off, reaching over to dip her pen in more ink she began a new drawing. She was getting good and fast.
Leaning over, Laura watched as lines and circles formed a familiar scene that made her heart drop.
A small circle with lines coming from it, to sprout more lines formed something resembling a body, thin longer lines wrapped around it and a large blank square around where it’s legs would be.
Before her eyes, Laura recalled being dragged underneath the waves, thick rope wrapping around her arms and neck as what was left of the sail tangled around her legs. Chunks of her ships sunk into the ocean around her, pieces pushing her further down, knocking what ever air she had left out of her.
It happened so quickly, the darkness of the ocean closed in and she sank deeper, awaiting death.
“It didn’t seem right. An injustice really, to see a human like that just go to waste”
Another circle with a line from it was drawn beside stick figure Laura, with a long triangle representing a fin.
Finally, Carmilla stopped, pleased with her work she leaned back on her elbows, looking over her storyboard of art. Her tail flicked back and forth in the air playfully, as she smiled at her creation.
“Thank you Carmilla”
Her tail stopped moving.
She looked up to find Laura staring right at her with a soft smile and sincere eyes.
“I’m going to get another squid” she says quickly and lunged back into the lake.
This time, leaving Laura with a knowing smile.
By the time Carmilla returned, with three squids, Laura was fast asleep curled up into a ball under her coat beside a dying fire.
The journal was left wide open on the last page beside Laura’s hair, words were written on the corner but Carmilla couldn’t read them. She had no use in learning how humans communicate through paper and yet suddenly she really wished she did right now.
The storm was all but gone now, leaving her with no excuse to not regroup with her family. Not that it mattered, they would spend days apart before joining up again but it was safer to go now than have them be suspicious.
If they heard about her saving a human she would not hear the end of it.
Laura mumbled something in her sleep, burying her face further into her arms.
But she couldn’t just leave her here.
She huffed, taking the journal and flipping over to a new blank page, she tore apart the squid and began to draw.
Chapter 4: Extended Vacation
Who would want to leave paradise?
Laura awoke the next day with no feeling in her hand and shoulder cracking in several places as she struggled to sit up. She let out a long yawn, rubbing out the sleep in her arm and rotating her stiff neck.
“Ow…ow…” she whimpered, plucking off pebbles and dirt from her cheek.
A few sea birds that found her perch to be suitable for the day squawked at her before flying off and landing in the lake.
Laura leaned over the edge, waiting for a large set of teeth to grab the clueless birds but through the clear waters there were no sharks to be found.
Of course she didn’t expect Carmilla to stay with her, she was only staying because of the storm, she has her own life. But it did little to subdue the small ping of disappointment.
“Right…ok…” she huffed, forcing herself up by clinging to the cave wall.
Clearly this sleeping situation was not working.
She should be finding a way off the island in the first place.
The storm was gone, it was a beautiful sunny day with clouds in the sky and a warm breeze funneling in through the mouth of the cave. There were no excuses and yet she found herself in no hurry.
Not with what punishment awaited her if she were to return not only empty handed, but shipless and possibly crewless. The company would do more than fire her.
A few extra days on a deserted island wouldn’t hurt right?
If that was the case, then surviving on her vacation island would be the first order of business.
Slipping on her boots and coat, she took a deep breath and swiped her journal up to start the day. But two steps in she realized her journal was wide open to a new page with a drawing she had never seen before.
Carmilla must have kept going after she fell asleep, which would explain the squid chunks taken by the sea birds.
Taking up two pages, was an oddly shaped circle, which in itself was strange considering Carmilla was very proud of her circle skills. But upon closer inspection, lines jutted out in certain areas that flowed inward like a very familiar alcove.
Two stick figures inside the drawn cave, one with a long triangle of course was a quick clue to indicate it was where she was standing right now.
Thus the awkwardly shaped circle was in fact the island she was swept up on. It was a map.
Within the drawn island was a smaller circle with parallel lines beside it with a bunch of scribbles at the top like a lint ball. If it wasn’t for the tiny circles she would have never guessed they were supposed to be palm trees. Rather obnoxiously tall ones at that, perhaps to her they are much taller than they are.
Laura took this moment to think if this is what parents felt like when their child brings them a drawing for the first time. Having to put on a fake smile and not ask ‘what in gods name is that…?’
It wasn’t much of a plan but better than having nothing, she stashed the journal in her coat and set off out of the cave.
The morning sun felt like a sudden love tap to the face, Laura hissed for a moment, rubbing her eyes out to adjust before continuing out.
Straight ahead towards the small cliff where Laura first met her rescuer face to face, she stood at its edge and turned around. It was just slightly stretched up and out enough to get a decent view of these tall palm trees that seemed to be a landmark for where she was supposed to go.
It was then Laura realized the island she was stuck on was much larger than she realized, it was massive harboring huge mountains and waterfalls spilling out of its sides. Sure enough, several impressively tall palm trees were spotted standing above the jungle foliage.
With her goal in sight, she plucked her knife from her boot and set off into the the heart of the island.
Despite the bugs, hot sun and bits of leaves in her hair she would gladly take this over a day of paperwork back home. She pushed back branches and dunked under large roots of old trees with an adventurous smile on her face. Before long she reached a clearing and the drawing made much more sense now.
A much smaller waterfall than the ones spilling out of the mountain side flowed into a lake that eventually slipped into a river. Surrounded by palm trees and plenty of other trees, it was perfect. Fearless Captain Hollis wanted to cry.
“Ok now we are talking!”
Laura spent the remainder of her day building a shelter, scavenging for food and washing her clothes in the freshwater lake with a smile on her face every moment.
When she awoke that morning to find her strange companion gone, she thought she would feel lonely being on an island by herself but now no one could stop her from singing while she worked. That never did go over well in the office.
Come all you young sailor men listen to me, I’ll sing you a song of the fish in the sea
Windy weather, boys, stormy weather, boys.
When the wind blows, we’re all together, boys;
Blow ye winds westerly, blow ye winds, blow,
Jolly sou'wester, boys, steady she goes
She was happy, no old men telling her what to do or what to wear. No glaring or scoffing, just the waterfall and happy birds.
Happy clueless birds that didn’t noticed the bandaged dorsal fin gliding through the water behind them.
Laura didn’t move.
Despite feeling content with her loneliness, she couldn’t have been happier to see the lake explode from underneath the bird. It barely had time to flap it’s wings to escape before a mouth full of teeth clamped down around its body and dragged it into the lake.
And then up jumps the shark with his nine rows of teeth,
Saying, “You eat the dough boys, and I’ll eat the beef”
“That was a little excessive don’t you think?” she laughed when Carmilla finally emerged, chunks of bloody feathers floated to the top. Thankfully she washed her clothes and gathered enough water for herself beforehand.
Carmilla grinned, licking her lips,” and miss out on giving you a show? Never”
Laura refused to look into that anymore than what was said.
“How did you get here anyway?”
“Tunnels” she pointed under the waterfall,” And if I had a fish for every time I heard that song I would be set for the rest of my life”
“Oh come on it’s a classic!” Carmilla just rolled her eyes.
“How’s your fin?”
Laura sat beside the lakes edge as Carmilla approached, the long wrappings around her waist were gone leaving no trace of there ever being an injury there.
“I’m sure it’s healed already…but…” she spun around, trying to reach back to her own fin but couldn’t reach it, rather exaggerated in Laura’s opinion but she ignored it, motioning the shark to come closer.
“Alright, come on let’s take a look”
Taking up their previous positions last night, Carmilla climbed out of the water just enough to lie on her stomach. She sighed, resting her chin on her arms as Laura gently brushed away her hair from her back and slowly peeled the bandage from the base of her dorsal.
Carmilla took this moment to take a look at Laura’s new camp, complete with a dug in pit for fire which already had several fish on a skewer, a long vine tied from one tree to another with her coat hung over to dry and a large collection of branches and leaves formed into something that resembled a sideways bird’s nest in Carmilla’s eyes.
“I thought you’d be making a signal fire the moment you had a chance”
Laura finished removing the bandage, tossing them aside she leaned in close to inspect the damage. She healed surprisingly fast but a bit of her fin was gone and traces of small scars were all that were left. As the sun began to set, Laura could clearly see long lines of much deeper scars, she recalled seeing the very similar markings of hunted sharks and whales from spears and nets.
“I’m unsure if I want to go back home just yet”
She sighed, falling back to lean on her elbows to look straight up. Beautiful shades of red and pink melted into what was left of the blue sky, dragging it down to make way for the night. If she wanted to she could calculate exactly what time it was but she couldn’t care less right now, not while one by one stars began to appear before her eyes. She laughed instead, normally she would still be inside doing whatever work the rest of her co workers needed finishing. How could she have missed any of this?
“I’ve always wanted to Captain my own ship, since I was young and my Father took me on his vessel I’ve wanted it more than anything” she huffed,” This company I work for…though technically I do have my own ship and crew, I don’t get to go out and do the work, I send others out for me”
“and those three ships that fed me and my siblings for a few months were sent out on your order”
Apart of her was surprised she was even listening; looking back down Carmilla remained where she was on her stomach, her head resting on her folded arms, holding on to every word Laura was saying.
“No one told me it was mermaid territory, if anything they encouraged me to go through with it. It was a set up, they wanted me to fail and if I go back they’ll take me to trial for sending those men to their deaths” she offered a small smile,”I’m not exactly in a hurry to go back at least just yet, I mean…look at this place”
She laughed, making a large gesture with both her arms at their surroundings.
“You’re making it awfully difficult to leave”
“Trying to anyway”
Laura blushed, there was no way around that one, especially with the way she was looking at her. She gulped, unable to look away from her linger gaze.
“So…I don’t suppose you like your fish black, do you?”
She blinked away, turning around just in time to see her food catch on fire.
Carmilla laughed, watching the human scramble to her feet to save it. Luckily it wasn’t too far gone. A few strong breaths and the fire was out and sizzling.
“Well that was something” she teased, slowly clapping for her success in not burning the island down.
“I am here to amuse” Laura huffed, flopping next to the shark with her feet in the water.
“Want to try it?”
Carmilla stared at the burnt fish, then at the doe eyed human sitting innocent, kicking her feet like a child on the beach, humming another shanty.
“…I suppose it wouldn’t hurt…I don’t think?”
Laura snapped the long stick in half over her knee and quite happily offered a crispy tropical fish to the shark, who unhinged their jaw and took a single bite out of. Stick and all. Either out of habit or to continue to freak Laura out.
She yelped, pulling her hand back before it was mistaken for the fish.
Carmilla licked her lips, fishing for chunks of flesh in between her teeth with her tongue as she cocked her head in thought.
“…eh, it’s not bad. Tasted like burnt wood at first though”
“Wellsh….” she stopped herself from speaking with a mouth full of fish, quickly finishing it, struggling to swallow it all in one go. Carmilla shook her head at the girl and waited patiently with a small smile.
“Well you’re not wrong”
Laura continued her meal, kicking her feet happily and doing her best to not stare back at the shark whose gaze never left her.
“I wonder how squid would taste though…is it any good?”
She stopped in mid bite,”….was that a hint Carmilla?” she could see right past that fake innocent look.
“Well if you can locate a few you can find out. I’ll also show you how to draw in three dimensions”
Without another word but an excited look in her eye, Carmilla swam off in a hurry.
The two of them were single handedly the leading cause of destroying the squid ecosystem, but right now, drawing and writing underneath the stars, exchanging thoughts and cultures, they could care less.
Actual Pirate Sea Shanty called "Fish in the Sea"
Chapter 5: Sea Coral and Clams
Today we learn a little bit about human anatomy with the assistance of Captain Morgan
The next day Laura awoke to the sound of a distant explosion shattering the quiet sky like glass. Canon Fire. She could recognize it anywhere. Out of habit she would have jumped up and out of bed to spout orders to battle stations and return fire.
That is if her next shelter didn’t poke her in the eye when she sat up suddenly.
“OW…oh my GOD Ow…” she cried, curling in on herself holding her face until the pain subsided.
Meanwhile, the canon continued to fire sporadically in the distance. To anyone else it sounded like the atmosphere was popping but she knew. She may not have looked it, but she had survived a few sea battles before, though it very much does not look it now as she whimpered over her wounded eye ball.
Crawling out of the bed space, blinking repeatedly to regain sight in her left eye she stood up and listened.
She whirled around, the sound coming from off shore near where Laura had first arrived.
Was there a sea battle happening? There was no return fire.
Were they attacking her island? Not a single canon ball made it, that she could hear or feel. Or they’re a very poor shot.
But all too soon, it stopped.
Laura quickly hopped up into a nearby tree, the tallest one she discovered yesterday to serve as a look out point.
Climbing it wasn’t too difficult so long as she convinced herself it was ship rigging, though not as stable obviously.
Reaching the top, she pulled back a thick branch to get a better look. Sure enough off in the horizon was a ship baring a black flag.
But nothing else, no other vessel to be fight or town to over take. It rocked helplessly against the waves uncontrollably as if no one was at the helm at all. Eventually it crashed pathetically against the cliff side, the hull tore to shreds and mast snapped in half, falling over board and pulling the ship slowly into the depths.
Her eyesight wasn’t perfect but she could clearly see no one jumped ship or rang a bell. It was empty.
Had she seen this several days ago she would have been shocked, frightened at the strange ghost ship. But instead Laura just shook her head and slowly returned to camp, she already knew what had happened and why.
If the silhouette of three dorsal fins surrounded by bloody water didn’t already give it away.
At least now she can cook for one.
“Dear sweet sister are you alright?”
Carmilla spat out a chunk of what used to be a pirates pair of knickers that was stuck between her teeth. She watched it float back to the surface in mild amusement.
“Of course I’m alright”
Despite her convincing story, her siblings stopped eating and stared at her.
“Are you in a hurry or something? I’ve never seen you eat so fast”
To be honest, she didn’t even notice, Will was still in the process of drowning the last pirate. A stubborn captain wishing to go down with his ship and spouting nonsense and curses upon the sirens. After placing bets, Will managed to leap high enough to tackle the man right off the ship and take him into the ocean with him.
Even Mattie clapped.
“I guess I was just hungry, that’s all” she shrugged.
Mattie narrowed her eyes, tossing aside a half eaten severed leg she swam over.
Carmilla remained utterly still as her sister circled her. Her finger gently twirling her hair, teasing and testing.
“And you’ve been acting strange, in such a hurry to swim off”
Carmilla shooed her away,” Why’s this such a big deal?”
“Why so defensive?”
Mattie is the true monster of the sea, any human stories of shark attacks being particularly…violent, chances are it was her.
They hunt for survival, sometimes amusement, Mattie more so than others enjoys watching water flood into a humans lungs and see life drain from their eyes. Ensuring that the last thing they see are striped skin and rows of teeth for shredding.
But right now, she was being an annoying nosy big sister.
She twirled around her front, gently cupping Carmilla’s chin, examining her face to find the truth. She was usually correct.
“You’re hiding something aren’t you?”
Carmilla froze as a wide grin grew on her face
“You finally found yourself a little hideaway didn’t you?”
Well, technically she wasn’t lying.
“Who told you!?” Carmilla hissed, shaking her head free from Mattie’s grasp to cross her arms and pout.
She laughed, oh she just loved being right.
”It’s about time Carmilla, now you can stop wandering around like a lost soul. It’s good for a shark to have a place to themselves”
Being pack hunters had it’s perks, particular for staying safe and taking down larger vessels. But at some point they split up to have time to themselves before returning home together.
”I have particular tastes….besides Will doesn’t have one either”
The youngest brother, William who could never finish a full grown man by himself, tossed aside what was left of the pirate captain and wiped his mouth, “I do….kind of…”
The two slowly turned around, staring at him for a moment. Regardless of when, he always seemed to be there. Always.
“…Will…darling…what do you do when we’re not together…?”
His shoulders sagged, they could barely hear him mumble out, “…stay with Mother…”
Mattie slowly covered her mouth with a delicate finger to contain her smile. Carmilla just slapped her own forehead.
“…well on that note!” she snorted, taking a long stroke backwards to begin her farewell,” I will be on my way now, I will see you all tonight”
“Carmilla darling, why don’t you take some trinkets with you?”
Mattie pointed back to the wreckage they had just caused, Will was already ahead of the game and swam ahead excitedly.
“Decorate your space! Make it yours”
The ship sat at the bottom of the ocean, leaning against the cliff side that caused it ultimate demise. The hull cracked and splintered, the contents within spilling out on the ocean floor.
The two sharks swam around, gathering, searching, and digging around for this to add to their collection.
Carmilla was going to scoff, human objects were strange. Mattie enjoyed collecting the golden items that shined in the sun. She watched humans spill blood over the gold, even the smallest piece will drive a man to kill his closest companion. Mattie loved watching them fight for it, especially when she knew she planned on killing them later. It was ironic and hopeless and she loved it.
William enjoyed collecting bottles and fabrics, be it clothes or sails. He discovered the sounds they make and deadly weapons they could be after watching a drunken brawl on the docks one evening.
Her siblings enjoyed watching humans and their obsession with certain objects. She assumed by doing this they somehow either earned this fascination by proxy or they just wanted to know what the big deal was.
Carmilla however, honestly could care less. Humans were disgusting, selfish, and materialistic.
It wasn’t until she passed by the chunks of wood to find a small bottle floating around what used to be some kind of bedroom, it was leaking black ink.
“…you know what Mattie…that’s a great idea”
It took a few hours, but somehow she managed to collect three chests and four burlap sacks back to the island.
She refused her siblings need to help, spouting some kind of believable lie along the lines of ‘don’t touch my stuff’.
However transporting everything almost made her regret turning down the help. She returned to the island, luckily not too far, carrying arms full through the cave, squeeze through the small tunnel and stash them at the bottom of the lake without Laura noticing.
But each time she returned to drop off something she wasn’t there. Possibly hunting or exploring but regardless it gave Carmilla enough time to bring it all together.
The last chest was the heaviest, it dragged on the bottom of the ocean, even with her strength it took twice as long.
Why am I doing this.
With one last shove, the chest popped out of the small opening, leaving a very exhausted mershark on the sand catching her breathe for a moment.
She actually knew why. She knew exactly why.
With everything accounted for, she pushed herself up and continued up.
She had every intention of scaring the wits out of Laura again, or at least waiting until she came back. But this time, Carmilla popped out of the water to find Laura there.
Yes she was certainly there.
All of her.
Carmilla sunk slightly, the water line under her eyes as she silently watched Laura dry her body with her coat. Her shirt and trousers were hanging on the clothes line, gently drifting in the breeze.
She hummed to herself, shoving her head into her coat to ruffle her hair free of water, completely clueless of the shark quietly watching from the edge of the lake.
Her eyes trailed the girl’s body for a moment, realizing that she had never seen a human woman naked before. Human men were more predominant on the sea, and they had no problem shedding clothes assuming no one was watching. One of the main reasons she stopped watching humans, they’re disgusting to watch when they think they’re alone.
Then again here she is right now.
Her torso was no different than her own shape wise but that wasn’t what captivated her so. Laura’s skin looked like the sand on the shore and as smooth as a river rock. The way she curled her legs underneath herself almost made her appear as a mermaid.
Those majestic maidens who, in Carmilla’s opinion, were more dangerous. They drown purely for sport.
Most didn’t have to sing at all to seduce a man.
If they appeared half as ethereal as Laura did right now then she understood why.
Laura shook her head a bit, her hair in completely disarray, sticking out in odd directions and tangled awkwardly but she smiled, laughing at herself.
Carmilla found herself smiling, like it was contagious just how happy she was right now.
She finally stood up, running her fingers to comb through her hair. At this she couldn’t help it and Carmilla laughed, taking in the full sight of her form.
“Humans are so oddly shaped…”
Laura nearly jumped out of her own skin, clinging to her coat to her body to cover up her face burned red,”WILL YOU STOP DOING THAT PLEASE”
Carmilla grinned, resting her head on her fist, not once removing her eyes from those scrawny little things they call legs.
“AND STOP STARING”
Rolling her eyes, Carmilla turned around, leaning against the edge while Laura flailed around, knocking over a few things in the process of retrieving her clothes.
“Why are you getting so embarrassed? At least you don’t have that saggy sea coral thing dangling between your legs”
Laura’s response was given through a hand that slapped her own face, mortified and muffled, “Oh my God…”
Carmilla turned around just in time for Laura to slipped into her baggy white shirt, these clothes did absolutely nothing. There was no way to prepare herself for what was underneath.
“So what does yours look like?”
Laura spun around to glare at the shark but couldn’t bring herself to be angry for long, her question was genuine and she looked on with admiration and curiosity.
“…it sort of looks like a clam…when it’s closed”
“Yes…odd…just like this conversation”, Her face might as well be on fire right now.
Carmilla shrugged,” Well then let’s move on shall we? I have things”
Laura let out a long sigh as the shark disappeared into the lake once more, rubbing the bridge of her nose forcing down the memory of their conversation into a deep corner of her mind before taking a seat at the edge of the water.
Carmilla returned again, behind a rather large burlap sack in her hand she held it up to Laura,”Take this!”
She could barely get a hold of it before Carmilla dived down again, “Uh…ok…?”
Within seconds, she was back again with another one. And another one.
“Carm what is with these-”
Then the chests came.
Grabbing hold of one end while Carmilla pushed up, they managed to pull up her entire loot collection.
Both lay flat on their faces for a moment, breathing heavily and waiting feeling to return to their arms.
“Ok…” she panted, turning her head to face the shark, who was equally tired but had a proud smile on her face,”So…I’m going to go ahead and assume that WAS you this morning when I saw that pirate ship go down then?”
Carmilla laughed in between panting,”Aw, you watched me while I worked?”
“Frightening but impressive I’ll admit it but now…” she hopped up, a surge of excitement giving her a second wind to open up her presents so to speak,”Let’s see what’s inside shall we?”
One large rock and cracked locks later, the chests were open one by one, and each time Laura was on the verge of tears.
The first chest contained expensive fur pelts from different animals from all over the Caribbean, some from animals she had only seen in books, she immediately wrapped herself in a fox pelt while stashing the others in her nest as blankets and padding.
The second contained random things, clothes, knick-knacks, knives, extra things that a person would have just to have. But at the very bottom, were blank scrolls with a writing pen and a full bottle of ink.
Laura quickly fished it all out and placed it beside Carmilla, who was busy opening the sacks, which contained rope, pieces of what used to be a sail and the last sack had nothing but fruit. At this Laura actually did cry.
“Here you can have this, as a thank you”
Carmilla stopped poking an orange for a moment to stare at the pile, recognizing the colors and basic shapes.
“This is what I’ve been trying to replicate with what we could find. But this is the real thing!”
The shark watched in awe as a quick pop of the bottle and dip, Laura drew a beautiful thin wavy line across the scroll without a single scratch on it’s surface.
Her eyes never left the scroll, Laura took the orange from her hand before Carmilla swiped the pen from her hand and began to experiment with the new equipment. Her oval fish and palm trees never looked so good.
But there was one chest left.
Clutching her loyal lock crushing rock, she knelt before the chest and said a small prayer to the heavens before cracking it open.
“Please please please please” she mumbled to herself, removing the lock and slowly opening the top,”Please please pleass-….YEEEESSSSSSS!!!!!!!”
Her prayers were answered.
The largest and heaviest chest was in fact filled with a dozen bottles of rum.
Even Carmilla was taken out of her intense shark drawing to look over, Laura was on the floor cradling a bottle while thanking whatever god was listening.
The cork was popped off and her head knocked back, taking large gulps that slipped out of the corner of her lips.
When she finally stopped to take a breath, she let out a satisfied sigh with a mischievous grin on her face.
“Oh yeah, everything is very alright”
Half a bottle in Laura demanded to braid Carmilla’s hair.
Her speech was slurred, giggling uncontrollably in between words and finding walking basically useless, she crawled over to the edge of the water on her stomach.
Carmilla couldn’t be anymore amused and humored her, turning around to let the human play with her tangled mane.
Surprisingly enough, Laura braided the entire length of her hair quite beautifully. Carmilla gently moved her hair over her shoulder to examine the simple weave, she even found a strand of seaweed to be woven in between her locks. Unfortunately there were no strings to keep it together, it slowly undid itself after time, when Laura mumbled something about finding one she just went back to the chest of rum to get another bottle.
By the second bottle she dropped her pants.
“…huh. It does look like a clam”
“See! I told yous”
Carmilla nodded in satisfaction, her curiosity sated though it took a bit of liquid courage on Laura’s part.
She pulled up her pants and pulled the belt on tight, which was surprisingly difficult when one hand was preoccupied with a bottle and having trouble standing straight but she managed it.
“Whatsss yours look like?”
Without a second thought, she backed up from the edge of the water and pointed.
Laura immediately dropped to the ground and crawling over, clinging to the grass as she leaned over the surface to see through the clear waters.
She blinked hard, not seeing much but two fins on each side creating a crease at the center of a ‘V’ shape.
“That’s not very exciting”
“It’s really not unfortunately” she shrugged,”We don’t mate for pleasure so, that area is rather boring in general”
“Thats sooooo saaaaaaad” she whined, rolling over on her back, “If yer gonna be bloated for a long time n be sick at least make it worth it!”
Carmilla silently watched her, leaning her cheek against her fist with a smile as Laura continued to argue with the sky about sharkmaid reproduction.
This went on for a few minutes before she decided to stop herself from yelling with the bottle, which unfortunately was empty, Carmilla had never seen her so upset,“Aw….all out…”
“I think you’ve had-”
She flipped over on her stomach, lifting herself up on all fours, she made her way over to the chest full of rum, “Time for another!”
Before she got too far, Carmilla jumped up just enough to grasp her ankle, “Oh no you don’t!”
Laura flopped flat on her face,”Caaaaarm!”
“I’ve seen what happens when you humans drink too much of that stuff and I am not swimming in your vomit”
“Caaaarm nooooo” she whined, kicking her feet and clinging to the ground, pulling herself towards the chest. But Carmilla just held on, watching her weak attempt to get away.
With one tug, Laura was dragged back to the edge of the lake, “Uh huh, come on Captain Hollis, I think that’s enough”
Face flat on the ground, she grumbled but stopped fighting as a very hesitant hand gently rubbed her back.
“Are you feeling alri-”
Carmilla flinched back as Laura sat up suddenly, her legs dangling off the edge and into the water, eyes determined and leaning forward into her space.
“Do you do that thing that sharks do?”
She was completely serious but Carmilla couldn’t help but smile.
“That’s very vague but chances are yes, depending on the question”
Laura stared at her, her eyes trailing around her face intensely Carmilla found her cheeks growing hot.
Without another word, a single finger reached up and poked her nose.
She waited several seconds, Carmila only blinked and shook her head but other than that, there was nothing.
Her shoulders sagged and bottom lip puckered, looking quite disappointed.
“…I guess not”
“You know, that thing if you boop a sharks nose? They don’t move or something?”
She almost wanted to pretend it was true just for the sake of making her sad eyes go away, but instead she laughed.
“It works, just not on me” she shook her head.
After realizing just how close they were, Laura’s eyes scanned over the sharks face. Carmilla didn’t move, the nose test didn’t work but she found herself completely immobilized as her hand cupped her cheek.
She froze under Laura’s intense gaze.
“Y..you’re….very…pretty” she mumbled quietly as her other hand gently caressed her jawline with her knuckles.
Her hands were warm and soft, it was like electricity zipping up her spine, Carmilla bit her lip and hummed.
Unfortunately, Laura noticed. A glint of realization flashed before her eyes and Carmilla saw it much to her horror.
And a devious little grinned grew on her face. Carmilla gulped.
“I knoow your seeecreeet” she sang, her thumbs stroking across her cheek and the tips of her fingers gently massaging behind her fins, Carmilla was long gone.
“L-laura….I swear…” she mumbled before flopping over like a dead limp fish.
She plopped into Laura’s lap, arms flat on the ground on each side of her, rendered completely motionless. Laura giggled, keeping one hand on her face while the other got a little curious, tracing long thin scars across her back and fin.
She could vaguely recall Mattie stroking the nose of a tiger shark once, it nearly fell asleep but she thought for sure it was dead. If this is shark death it was a great way to go.
Carmilla’s eyelids began to droop, becoming heavy, she had never felt this relaxed in years. Does this work for other mersharks? Does any one else know about this?
“You’re beautiful, you know that?”
Her fingers traced the black patterns on her back.
Was she even aware of what she was doing? If not then would this be real? Well it was real but her own actions decided on her own? Will she remember any of this tomorrow?
Of all the money that e'er I had
I spent it in good company
She clearly must be dreaming now. Forcing one eye open, she looked up and was quite surprised. Laura was singing to her.
And all the harm I’ve ever done
Alas it was to none but me
Her eyes were no longer blurred over by alcohol, they looked present, like she was here and now. Carmilla’s heart lurched out of her chest, please let this be real, forcing feeling into her arms she encircled the small humans waist, holding her close and tight, just in case it was just a dream.
And all I’ve done for want of wit
To mem'ry now I can’t recall
It didn’t take long, the motions against her cheek and scalp continued, and the shark was lured to sleep by the voice of a human who stole her heart.
So fill to me the parting glass
Good night and joy be to you all
"Parting Glass" - Anne Bonny, Assassin's Creed Black Flag ending song.
It's beautiful check it out c:
Chapter 6: Paradise
Why would you ever leave?
Laura snapped back into the conscious world as a cold breeze brushed along her bare wet skin, sending instant chills straight up her body.
She gasped, sitting up right but instantly regretting the motion as her head throbbed at the sudden movement. Groaning, she clutched her head and blinked slowly at her surroundings.
For one thing, from her knees down were now pruny from sleeping with her legs in the lake. Laura quickly pulled them out and felt the cold breeze in full force.
It was dark, bright stars and a quarter moon hidden behind the palm trees were her only source of light, seeing as her fire was now nothing but ash. Which gave a fast reading of just how long she had been asleep as none of these things were present when she could recall last. Which was hazy at the moment, her head was pounding in her skull.
Crawling pathetically on all fours, she made her way towards her nest, which was now filled with new furs given to her by….wait a minute.
A few scattered bottles of empty rum and suddenly it all came flooding back to her.
Laura stopped to bury her face in her hands, “Oh my God I dropped my pants in front of her what the hell is wrong with me…”
Another breeze, stronger than before rushed past her wet skin, pushing her back to hide inside.
She dried her legs before shoving them into three layers of wolf fur, Laura would purr if she could, burying herself in beautiful, warm and very comfortable fur. Despite giving the shark a brand new and actual writing set, there had to be another way to thank her properly.
Another flash of memories and Laura groaned, thumping her head against what used to be a fox tail.
She wasn’t quite blackout drunk, just enough to be aware of her actions but not necessarily in complete control.
Do you do that thing that sharks do?
She laughed, it was silly but a serious question. It was a known rumor that a shark’s nose was quite sensitive, punching one in the right spot would ward off an attack or at least that what they say. But a gentle touch could render them helpless.
No one has been brave enough to test out this theory.
The entire situation was humorous, yet it slipped into the unknown as she quickly found out that the same reaction could be received with a gentle caress to her face.
You’re beautiful, you know that?
Laura’s face burned, her fingers tingled at the memory.
Her skin was rough but not unpleasant. The contrast between her smooth finger tips and her cheeks made her wonder how it felt on Carmilla’s end. She clearly didn’t seem to mind it. If Laura recalled correctly, she felt her arms encircling her waist, pulling her closer.
She sighed, gently tracing her palm with the tip of her digit as if she could try to remember what it was like through the numbness of the alcohol.
“…oh no…” she whimpered, dropping her face first in defeat,” I’m in too deep…”
Laura wanted to sleep in the next day, not like there was anyone to tell her otherwise and the minor hangover would have been a good excuse if need be.
But her rumbling stomach and a burlap sack full of fruit was calling to her to wake.
She grumbled, pulling herself out of her nest to hiss at the sun, bright in the sky and barring straight down at her.
Huffing, she stood up and stretched, her knees and neck popped wonderfully, in an instant she was awake and ready for another day or doing what ever she wanted.
The first order of business would be finding out why on earth the lake was more restless than usual.
The waterfall pouring into it was too far away to cause such a strange ripple, it swayed back and forth within before the water retreated into the river towards the ocean.
Stepping out of the safety of her camp, she carefully leaned over the edge of the lake and peered through the clear water where her suspicions were confirmed.
“….Carm? What are you doing?” she called out, watching the shark swim quickly at the bottom of the lake, circling the edge. Much like when they met properly in the cave, her pattern was anxious, almost nervous. Her tail whipped wildly from side the side, speeding her around and around. Thus creating a disturbance in the lake’s current. How long had she been doing this?
“Carmilla?” she tried again, kneeling at the water’s edge and gently splashing the surface.
Laura huffed, looking around for something to throw but instead, she had a better idea.
She needed to wake up and wash her face anyway.
Inhaling and holding her breath, she dunked her entire head into the lake.
The water struck her face with a brief slap of cold, immediately waking every bone in her body as her senses were challenged. The rushing water brushed past her face, muffling her hearing and vision blurred but only slightly.
Flipping her hair over her head and out of her face, she looked downward where the shark continued to swim in circles.
Now to get her attention.
It was a theory, she couldn’t hear herself but possibly Carmilla could.
‘Hey!’ she called out, but briefly to conserve her air, hearing nothing but a muffled bubble of her own voice escape from her mouth.
But it worked.
Carmilla immediately froze on the spot and spun around; a bigger smile could not have formed on her face.
There was something fascinating seeing Carmilla like this, where she felt the most comfortable, and powerful. Gills flaring to breath and hair gently floating along the current. Her long tail swished beneath her, it was difficult to remember just how massive she was when only her top half was exposed when they talk. She is a shark, a big one that could kill a hundred men if she wanted to. But right now, she swam over to Laura like an excited puppy in three long strokes of her tail.
Carmilla stopped on a dime right under her, laughing, or at least she assumed she was, her shoulders shook as she smiled.
Laura grinned, sticking her tongue out at the shark before lifting herself up and out of the water. Gravity took hold of her hair as she returned to the surface, her wet locks waterfalled down the side of her cheeks, her entire face dripping into her own reflection .
Carmilla was close behind as if they reversed the image, only her head popped out of the lake.
“What are you doing you strange human?” she grinned, Laura made no movement as she reached up and gently brushed a strand of hair from her face.
“You didn’t say hi to me this morning”
Carmilla scoffed, poking the girl on the forehead,”So needy…” she laughed as Laura flinched and slipped back into the water with a teasing smile on her face. Leaving Laura confused and blushing.
“H-hey! Get back here you brat!”
Another inhale and Laura was in the water head first with her hand reaching down to poke the shark right on the nose before she got too far.
Carmilla cringed, scrunching her nose at the sudden boop attack and glared up at the smirking girl. She opened her mouth, showing Laura exactly the last thing a seagull, fish or human would sea before being devoured and made a quick movement to possibly bite the offending booping finger. But a quick hand fought against the water’s strength and landed a full hand on Carmilla’s left cheek.
Just as Laura could remember, it rendered the ferocious shark in a daze as her thumb brushed across her cheek and fingers kneaded the back of her ear. It reminded her of a lazy cat who enjoyed being cradled and pet all day.
‘Not…fair…’ she muttered, leaning into the touch and nuzzling her face into her palm. Her lips just barely brushing against her skin; Laura gulped.
If she was in too deep as of last night, she was definitely drowning right this second.
(Not literally though. Not yet anyways.)
Another hand joined in, mimicking the motions and placement of the other Carmilla was at the mercy of the human girl who could not take her eyes off the mershark stuck in a dazed moment of bliss. Like an ironic twist, who was luring who?
Carmilla could barely look up at the girl with half lidded eyes making Laura’s stomach twist.
She’s a goner.
She didn’t notice she was absent mindedly pulling her closer, neither did Carmilla, that or she didn’t seem to mind. She weakly grasped the wall just enough to pull herself upwards, meeting Laura in the middle.
The water was deafening, she could no longer hear the rush of lake but only the thumping of her own heart beat pounding in her ears as their lips met.
Surprisingly, her lips were soft, smooth the way a human’s would be, so contrasting than the rest of her, rough and deadly. One would have never guess there was a set of flesh tearing fangs with the way she was so gentle with her.
She felt a small rumble, some kind of purr or grunt from Carmilla as she pushed forward, uncertainty and anxiety out the window, Laura pulled her in from the back of the skull.
Her lips were hot against her own, her face was on fire and a quick bite to her bottom lip and her breath was taken away.
No, actually she really couldn’t breathe.
Pulling herself out of the water in record time, she gasped for air. Sputtering and choking on her own stupidity.
“Ooooh my….g…G-God…th-” she coughed and wheezed, reaching for her hair that curtained over her face but someone had beaten her to it.
A grey hand gently parted her hair with an embarrassed smile, “That was rather stupid…I’m sorry”
Laura laughed in between a small coughing fit,”I won’t tell anyone if you don’t”
“Done. Now get back here”
It happened so fast, Carmilla grabbed a fist full of her soaking wet shirt and pulled her back to her, their lips crashing together. Not that she minded, now free to breath and resume where they had left off. Sitting up on her knees, her arms wrapped around Carmilla’s neck, the tension was gone and there was no reason to hold back now.
Then she was falling forward, her eyes popped open just in time to see the shark wrap her arms under her bottom and pull her into the lake. She barely had time to yelp before becoming completely submerged under water.
Scrambling to the surface, she gasped for air and glared at the shark, who was laughing hysterically.
“Oh you have no idea how long I’ve been waiting to do that” she grinned, which was quickly wiped right off when Laura brought her hand up and pushed the water forward, sending a tiny wave right on her face.
“Stupid shark I thought you were being romantic or something!” she huffed.
Carmilla just laughed, returning the favor with a splash to the face. Thus starting a little fight in the water.
At some point she gave up trying to out splash the ocean creature and just jumped on her. Laura could not stop laughing, splashing and giggling like a child on the beach with her best friends.
At some point the games were done, arms scooping the girl up from under her bottom once more and capturing her lips in another heated kiss. Laura let out a low moan, wrapping her legs around her torso and burying her hands in a tangled black mane.
At some point her back was shoved against the wall and was reminded just how mersharks are incredibly observant and fast learners.
“…Did….I do that?”
Carmilla remained silent and bug eyed, slowly pointing upwards towards Laura’s neck. Confused at first until a flash of realization, she dropped her breakfast immediately and ran over to the lake, adjusting herself to see a proper reflection in the sun.
Even though the foggy picture, it was clear as day possibly the biggest and meanest purple and red mark on her neck.
“Oh my God…I look like I just took a canon ball to the jugular” she mumbled, tracing the edges of the hickey, hissing at the twinge of pain. It was going to take an actual month for this one to go away.
Meanwhile, Carmilla was horrified.
“It’s ok! Really it’s alright, just uh…love bite…bruise…mutilation…”
That did little to ease the guilt, Carmilla sunk into the waters, the line just barely under her lips. Laura tried not to laugh, a normal human would have enjoyed this and considered it a victory. But her black eyes were apologetic, even her fin ears had drooped like a misbehaving puppy.
“I knew humans were squishy and sensitive but…”
A silent moment passed.
“…it was pretty worth it though”
“Yes, yes it was”
“Oh my god I think I figured it out”
Carmilla looked up from her drawing session as Laura took a seat beside her. They were forced to split apart when Laura’s stomach could feel comfortable enough to remember that she had not eaten all day and was beginning to get wrinkly again.
Not that was enough to keep them apart for long, Laura moved closer to the edge with her, fruit and fish for dinner while Carmilla attempted to perfect her oval and triangle fish technique.
“And what’s that?”
“You said that you usually track ships for a few days before attacking right?”
Carmilla continued to draw and shrugged,“I did say that”
“And you said you had been listening to me while your siblings tried to kill me and my crew, and when the storm happened you saved me and said you didn’t know why and-”
When Carmilla looked up, she had the biggest mischievous smile on her face that made her nervous, “You had a little crush on me…didn’t you”
A silent second passed between them, Carmilla slowly returned to her work, barely mumbling out, “I have no idea what you’re talking about”
She snapped up at the human, pointing the writing quill at her with a fierce glare, which would be more effective if she wasn’t waving around a giant red feathery pen,“Don’t you ‘Aww caaarm’ me. I am a deadly predator of the sea and I will-”
Laura leaned in and placed a quick peck on the cheek,”Oh shut up, you big softy”
Her secret scientific experiment to see if sharks could blush was progressing with rather surprising results. No tinge of pink in her cheeks but her ear fins would twitch nervously and Carmilla would avoid eye contact completely. As expected, she turned her attention back to her art while mumbling under her breath.
The evening wore on, time passed but Laura stopped keeping track. It didn’t matter anymore, she ate her food in peace while Carmilla was persistent on making her fish look more than just triangles and ovals. A dot was added for eyes eventually, she couldn’t have been happier.
Laura watched her for awhile, the deep concentration in her eyes and determined bite to her lip. The fire crackled and popped, illuminating the camp and the side of her face, she had been above water for awhile now even her hair was beginning to dry she almost looked human.
She finished her meal, tossing aside what was left of her fish, mainly the head and bones, to Carmilla who was more than happily to be the dispenser. She sighed happily, stretching her arms wide before plopping backwards, flat on her back to stare straight up at the stars. It was beautiful the first night she spent here and it was beautiful now.
The water beside her rippled and mumbled at movement, Carmilla decided to give up on the drawing of fish and decided that Laura’s stomach would be an excellent pillow and draped over her.
“Ooomph!…h-hey take it easy you’re not a light angel fish you know”
But Carmilla just ignored her, crossing her arms on Laura’s side and burying her face in her stomach, listening to her breath.
“Pet me” she demanded, mumbling into her shirt
“Oh my God I swear…”
But she obeyed regardless, her fingers gently running through the surprisingly soft locks. She grunted at the contact, any contact now that Laura thought about it, the shark relished in it.
Laura sighed, the weight somewhat comforting around her center, warm fire at her feet and and stars as her roof.
“You are making it very difficult to leave here”
Carmilla chuckled, her thumb slowly tracing circles at her side.
“Has it crossed your mind?”
She shrugged, “Of course, but I mean…I have food and shelter and…I guess I have decent company”
“I try” she purred, placing a soft kiss on her palm as it brushed past her cheek.
“…If…” she started, pausing for moment to reflect on her words,”…If I do leave, would you find me again?”
“Of course” she says without hesitation,”Would you do the same for me?”
“Absolutely!…I mean….assuming I don’t get caught and sent back to be executed but you know” she laughed with a very clear undertone of anxiety.
“Send those people my way” she grinned, “I’m sure they would taste better than pirates”
Her hand trailed through her long mane, the tips of her finger grazing across the rough skin of her back, tracing scars and the black pattern around her dorsal fin she had memorized.
“Thank you” Laura mumbled, feeling her lazy day wind down.
Her eyes slowly fell shut, with a smile on her face and a sleeping shark on top of her. Life is funny like that.
Chapter 7: S.O.S
A little trouble in paradise. Like all things, nothing lasts forever.
“Uh…Carm…? What’s that?”
She looked up as Laura shifted through what was left of the seagull she jumped on earlier. Which was mainly a few bones and a lot of feathers, partially due to the quill pen breaking under her concentrated grasp and feathers were still better than sticks to draw with.
Within the pile, Laura spotted a strange triangular bone and upon closer inspection she gasped; it was a shark tooth.
Carmilla stared at it for a moment before opening her mouth and poking around the front her teeth with her tongue, finding a sudden gap on her right side.
“Huh…Thought that bird was particularly crunchy…” she shrugged and went about sorting the feathers while Laura just sat there in silence, staring at the tooth.
It looked exactly like an ordinary shark tooth, just smaller to fit the mershark’s mouth, which isn’t by much as Laura discovered she can unhinge her jaw for bigger prey.
As a child on the docks she would drag her father by grasping his finger and pulling him to see brave sailors return from shark hunting and selling their sharp incisors meant for ripping and shredding. They always terrified her, she had seen what they can do to even the strongest of men. It didn’t help that her father reinforced this fear, it was the only way to keep her off a ship and away from the dangerous ocean.
Obviously that didn’t do much to stop her.
“Oh wow…so do they grow back as fast as a normal shark’s does?”
“I’ll have a new one by tomorrow”
Her eyes sparkled.
“Can I keep it?!”
Carmilla stopped immediately and looked up at the excited girl.
Was she hopping?
“….why…would you want my tooth…” her eyes narrowed at that big dopey smile,”…is this another weird human thing?”
“Yes it is and I apologize but not really because I’ve always wanted a shark tooth! Sailors would wear them around their neck to show off all the time!”
Despite the excitement, Carmilla looked terrified and slightly violated,“…that’s barbaric”
“Oh come on you’re not using it anymore!” she huffed, her patience wearing thin. But the shark rolled her eyes and shooed her away.
“Alright alright…go ahea-”
Laura couldn’t wait, she scrambled up and back to her nest where one of the pirate chests sat just outside it’s hole. Popping it open she dug through the random knick knacks until she found string and a small knife.
She giggled in victory and returned back to the fire, taking a seat beside the confused shark and got to work. It was crude, a more precise metal rod would have been better but after nearly nicking her own finger several times she managed to dig into the base of the tooth a small hole to slip the string into.
Carmilla stopped her art for a moment to watch the overly excited girl tie a knot behind her neck and complete her little project.
And there it was, one of Carmilla’s fangs meant for tearing flesh to shreds sat surprisingly beautiful around her neck, just above her cleavage.
“Ta da” she grinned, gently stroking the smooth bone, her fingers grazing over its jagged sides. Carmilla smiled, watching her stare at the small thing with loving eyes, despite how odd it was, what was more odd is that she didn’t seem to mind.
“Actually….that’s not too bad”
Carmilla disappeared for awhile later, hoping to meet up with her siblings before they became suspicious of her whereabouts.
“Aw, not ready to tell them you’re swimming away to a cute human girl everyday?”
“I would never hear the end of it” she huffed, pushing herself upwards to place a quick peck on Laura’s dimples, “I’ll be back before sun down”
She watched her slip into the tunnel underneath the lake and a pit of loneliness settled in her gut. In too deep was an understatement, she didn’t mean to get so attached. But being alone on an island for an indefinite time? She heard of horror stories of men being stranded, slowly going mad from the heat and lack of interaction for so long.
Clearly she was just keeping herself sane.
But for now, she had work to do.
She couldn’t depend on Carmilla forever for food, though she claimed to not mind Laura was not one to feel useless. Thus she set off into the forest with a bit of fishing line and thin branch stripped of its extra leaves and limbs to find food for herself.
It was one of the first things she built upon being washed up, but befriending a mershark was clearly not expected by any survivor. Her stomach growled impatiently and she set off back towards the cave of her first camp, a few particularly large specimen swam away the first time she tried to catch them that night. Revenge was at hand.
Or at least that was the plan, she never said she was a good fisherman.
“This is it, this is how I die. It’s been fun cruel world” she muttered to the sky as hours had passed and not a single bite.
It was then she wished the water’s were not so clear, she could see them swimming by, not even giving her expertly made lure a glance as they passed on by. It took every ounce of will power to hold back from jumping in to catch them with her bare hands. Not that it would do much good but the idea gave her much joy.
Laura groaned, laying flat on her back on the rocky edge, fishing rod held loose in her grasp. Her stomach growling impatiently for delicious tropical fish that seem to now be pay attention when she is not as the rod suddenly jerked from her grasp.
Laura barely had enough time to sit up and catch the very end of it before it would be lost to the sea forever.
“Finally!” she grinned, yanking the rod back with both hands, she jumped up and stood her ground, slowly pulling the line back up, whatever it was it was a fighter and it was going to taste amazing when she was done with it.
However life is cruel and as Laura pulled the rod back as far as she could, it suddenly went slack, sending her flat on her back as whatever was on the other end, jumped up and right on top of her.
There she was, Carmilla with her hands firmly planted on each side of Laura’s head with a hooked fish flapping wildly in between her teeth.
“-ullo” she grinned.
Laura however, was not having it.
And kicked the sharkmaid right in the stomach, causing her spitting out the fish and fly straight off of her and into the ocean.
“Stupid….dumb shark…” she grumbled, pushing herself up with her prize in her grasp, it flopped one last time before falling limp. It bled all over her hands, one too many holes from teeth piercing into its flesh in the shape of a half moon on each side and probably broke every single bone in its body from the crushing force of her jaws.
Laura groaned, glancing up where Carmilla held up two fish, twice the size of what Laura was holding and untouched by sharp hungry teeth. A peace offering despite the smile that never left Carmilla’s face.
“Well I thought it was rather funny”
“Well it would be if I hadn’t eaten all day…” she huffed, tossing the shredded fish back to her, who caught it with her teeth, at least that made Laura smile.
She hopped up and grabbed the small sack she had planned on filling up with fish she caught for the day, at least it didn’t go to a complete waste as she held it out and let Carmilla drop the peace offering into the bag to take back to camp.
“Also, you got my clothes all wet…again! I’ve had to dry my clothes three times today already”
Carmilla gulped down the fish in two bites, casually licking her lips as she responded,”So…just don’t wear clothes?”
“I mean, you don’t when you bathe right? Just don’t wear them when you swim with me”
Her face burn red, she coughed it off, doing poorly in hiding her blush as she looked away at the beautiful…bushes.
Carmilla’s face dropped in annoyance, “Laura…we literally have the same torso” exasperated, she poked her own breast repeatedly.
“Ok ok…look I’ll…meet you camp ok?” she mumbled, turning on her heel with bag in tow she set off back into the forest, breathing in deeply to regain coloration in her face while Carmilla just rolled her eyes and took her tunnel route to meet her.
If there was one thing she had to always remind herself while being with the sharkmaid, things that were not normal at home with other humans, Carmilla could care less, if anything she was just curious. Nakedness being one of them. Even after the clam shell comparison of anatomy, Laura still found it difficult to talk about let alone expose herself. The joys of being under a strict household, her crew mates had no problem with this. Except maybe Perry, she would always yell at Lafontaine when they dropped their pants while screaming ‘It’s too hot for this!’
A small fire was set, fish on skewers and a clothesline set up once again for her soaking shirt and pants, she huffed, thinking that perhaps it should just stay up for good at this rate.
Water rippling and splashing immediately brought her to turn around with her shirt still halfway on close to her body to cover herself. Carmilla was already facing the other direction with a hand over her eyes.
“I’m not looking!!” she called out.
Laura laughed, slipping her shirt over the line and moving to undo the buckle of her pants,“Aww you’re so good to me”
“Yes yes now hurry up”
Up the pants went and off the shark tooth necklace, carefully placed inside her nest to be safe. It was still warm out, surprisingly comfortable despite the lacking of clothes, “I missed you too” she laughed, reaching the edge and executing a perfect dive that nearly went unheard.
“I was gone fo-” her words cut short as Laura used the momentum of her dive to tackle the shark from behind, her arms encircling her waist and yanking her down under the lake. It was small but revenge is what it is regardless of size and she felt content with it.
After a short moment of confusion, Carmilla looked down find Laura sticking her tongue out at her with a goofy smile, her hair floating around her face wildly before swimming away. Shaking her head, Carmilla followed her, not so surprisingly Laura was an excellent swimmer, just fast enough to be at a casual speed with the shark.
The lake was much bigger than Laura thought it to be from the surface, it was deep with an assortment of rocks at and plants at the bottom. She kicked off towards the bottom just to touch it, just to see if she could with Carmilla close by her side. She couldn’t remember the last time she did this, swimming for leisure and not for her life. Naked or not she couldn’t have been more comfortable.
Carmilla watched the girl for awhile, not realizing just how much she was smiling just by looking at her look for a pretty rock. Laura gave every mermaid a run for their money, she looked beautiful and at peace here, like she belonged, she didn’t need a tail, if anything Carmilla hardly noticed it wasn’t there.
She eventually did find a nice smooth rock to take back, if it didn’t snap at her. Laura withdrew her hand from the angry crab and watched it scurry away while Carmilla laughed.
She turned to pout but was offered a hand and a playful smile, the potentially embarrassing moment forgotten, Laura took her hand letting herself be pulled upwards.
Carmilla kept eye contact as she leaned in and placed a soft kiss on her knuckles. Even in water, Laura’s cheeks burned. Allowing herself to be pulled into her embrace, she buried her fingers into her black hair at the base of her skull as Carmilla held her close, just barely brushing her lips over hers, teasing.
She could feel it, Laura smiling against her lips as she continued the play along, gently biting her bottom lip in between blunt teeth, Carmilla purred. Wrapping her arms around her waist, legs immediately around her torso she pulled her close, flush against her body.
Laura suddenly backed away, a long string of bubbles escaped her mouth, and that was a clear cue that their time was up for now. With her holding on around her shoulders, Carmilla shot straight up towards the surface. She gasped for air, wiping her face and pushing aside her wet locks out of her face Carmilla assumed she made it in time to not accidentally kill the girl, but her face was still beat red.
“Are you alright?”
“I…uh…” she coughed, loosening her leg’s grip around her just enough to lose the sudden contact. That would be a different conversation for a different time,”I’m alright, thank you” she smiled, placing a quick peck on her cheek.
“So was all that so hard?” she asked innocently, her rough hands gently trailed across her back and shoulders. She had no idea what she was doing to her right now, Laura bit her lip, stifling any noises as her hands continued around her body, experimenting and observing.
“I-I guess not…” she laughed, her hands trailed down both legs and poked her knees in odd fascination.
“You” she started, eyes returning to her own with a genuine smile she would never see from any human for as long as she lived,” You are very beautiful”
As if it was the most obvious fact like the sky was blue.
Laura smiled, her hands returning to her hair she leaned in and met her in the middle, lips slowly in sync and gentle bites.
She dined on burnt fish once again, but it was well worth it. Or so says the new bruises on her shoulder and smaller ones along her chest.
“Time for you to go?”
Food devoured, hair and clothes dry, the sun disappeared behind the horizon a while ago but they were too preoccupied to notice.
“Can you hear them?”
Carmilla put a finger to her lips, Laura obeyed and remained still. A moment of silence passed before a wordless melody reached across the ocean, echoing through the island. A haunting song that sent chills down her spine.
“That’s my brother”
And the chills went away, Laura’s jaw dropped, she couldn’t even hit that high note herself, “…are you serious”
She shrugged, “He’s not that great but I’ll let him know someone thinks its decent. Mattie must be bored if she’s letting him sing tonight”
Paper, ink and feather quills put away for the night Laura returned to the edge of the lake, sitting on her knees as Carmilla pushed herself upwards to meet her for a quick kiss.
“I would normally say tonight was really amazing, but so far every night as been that way. So I can’t wait for tomorrow” she smiled, brushing her knuckles against her cheek.
She purred, leaning into her touch, keeping eye contact to make her blush but was pleasantly surprised to see her stare right back,”Me too”
Poseidon help me I would die for this girl right now
The amount of willpower it took to not pull this girl into the water again and hold her forever was medal worthy. Laura cupped her face and gently pulled her in, her terrible spell over this mythical creature was ironic in its best form and Carmilla couldn’t be happier. Unable to stop smiling, their goodbye kiss was sloppy and beautiful.
They parted reluctantly, Laura held her close, foreheads touching and eyes shut, relaxed in a moment of comfortable silence.
“Goodnight love” with one last peck, Carmilla set off to join her brother and sister for the night, leaving Laura wide eyed and smiling.
The fire was reduced to hot ashes by the time she crawled into bed, the haunting melody that once seemed so distance grew in volume and voices. Laura buried herself in furs, covering her face and muffled her strangled shrieking noise she finally let out after holding it in all night.
Laura fell into a blissful sleep with a smile on her face, the shark tooth in her grasp and the voices of three sharkmaids luring men to their death as her lullaby. Luckily she was gone from the real world before the ship in the distance caught on fire and exploded.
Carmilla noticed something wrong a few days later, her forehead was warmer than usual. Even on a hot day in the middle of the island she was radiating heat, she, of course, refused to acknowledge it. Humans are so stubborn.
“I’m fine, really, nothing for you to worry about”
The next day she had no energy to swim with her, which was the red flag of something being amiss. Laura normally looked forward to jumping in with her for awhile. She instead spent most of the day sleeping or laying around, almost too tired to hunt for herself. Carmilla brought fish and learned how to start a fire fairly quickly under Laura’s weak instructions.
“Carm…I’m fine I swear, just tired”
It slowly became worse as the days went by, Carmilla watched as she lost color in her face, that beautiful sand had deteriorated to a pale clam shell. Her bright eyes began to lose it’s life, fading over into exhaustion.
Carmilla reached the camp with fish and trinkets in her arms only to find Laura curled up in a ball at the edge of the water. Her eyes red and swollen from crying, shaking violently and clutching her stomach.
“…I am…really not fine…”
She immediately dropped everything and rushed over to her, brushing hair away from her sad eyes Carmilla hissed at the contact, her forehead was on fire.
“No no no no….Laura?! Laura no please”
It was not supposed to be like this; she begged and pleaded but Laura’s eyes spilled over with tears once more. Carmilla’s heart twisted with each choking sob.
Dipping her hands into the water, Carmilla reached back to gently grasp her burning face, cool water dripping from her fingers to her cheeks and forehead, Laura shuddered at the contact but sighed in relief, only slightly.
“Please…tell me what to do” she begged.
Laura sniffed, too weak to make any motion to wipe her tears and messy face, Carmilla did it for her, “Signal fire. Where we met” she wheezed, uncurling herself just enough to lift up a set of black rocks in her grasp up to her, “Maybe…someone will see it”
So she did make one after all, Thank God she was stuck with a smart human.
Taking the flint rocks, Carmilla peppered her hot face with gentle kisses,“I’ll be right back, stay with me”
“I won’t move a muscle” she laughed pathetically, “…don’t have to ask me twice” she smiled weakly through a small coughing fit.
Which progressively became worse the longer she remained, Carmilla never swam so fast and hard in her life, slipping through the tunnel like she had everyday with ease and slipped right out of the cave and into the ocean.
Where we met?
Popping up out of the surface she swam further out until reaching the cliff where she scared the living daylights out of Laura for the first time. It’s an easy jump, back down into the depths for momentum and she shot up and out of the ocean to grab the edge.
Sure enough, as she climbed up there was an impressively large stack of wood and dried bushes at the ready for an emergency signal fire, with luck any ship within miles will spot it and help. With luck.
Both rocks together and in one motion, a spark ignited as they scratched apart, Carmilla let out a sigh of relief as the contraption of wood slowly engulfed into flames with just a few short breaths of motivation. Whatever Laura did, it worked well, soon it was too hot and too smoky to remain on the cliffside.
A pillar of black smoke grew taller and stronger straight into the atmosphere, there was no way anyone could miss this.
Satisfied with her work, she dropped herself back into the ocean and swam straight back to Laura.
“…..you did it” she greets her with a smile and hope in her eyes.
She was flat on her back, looking straight up, watching the black smoke rise above even the tallest palm trees.
Carmilla quickly returned to her side, gently urging her to roll back on her side and drink from her hand cupped with lake water. She did so with much gusto and sighed as wet cool hands patted her forehead and back of the neck for temporary relief.
“Do you know…that song…” she mumbled, her eye half lidded from exhaustion and it was barely mid day,”About Johnny leaving?”
“Yes I know that one”
I thought I heard the Old Man say:
“Leave her, Johnny, leave her.”
Tomorrow ye will get your pay,
and its time for us to leave her.
“I always thought it was so sad” she eyes slipped shut as rough fingers brushed through her sweaty and tangled hair,”Why would you want to leave…I don’t want to go home”
Leave her, Johnny, leave her!
Oh, leave her, Johnny, leave her!
For the voyage is long and the winds don’t blow
And it’s time for us to leave her.
“But you have to”
Laura’s eyes slipped closed, leaving Carmilla to remain utterly still until she could visibly see her chest rise and fall with each weak breath. She let out a sigh of relief and made herself comfortable, resting her head on her arm while her hand continued to pet and stroke the brown locks lovingly while humming softly.
Oh, the wind was foul and the sea ran high
Leave her, Johnny, leave her!
She shipped it green and none went by.
And it’s time for us to leave her.
Little did Laura know, it had been two days since she closed her eyes and fell unconscious. Every once and awhile she would slip in and out of the real world through foggy vision and static noise, voices fading out of comprehension. What was a dream and what is real blended together, at some point she had a strange dream of a shark trying to wake her up and screaming for her come back to her. Do sharks cry? That didn’t make sense, her shirt wet with tears and broken sobs.
Even now she was dreaming of people surrounding her, speaking quickly and in a panic.
“God she looks terrible”
She groaned, fighting past the fog of her mind and eyes she could barely make out the red color of hair surrounding her. Three of them actually, somehow through the fog a brief moment of realization kicked in.
“..d…dan…p..er…” she mumbled, feeling the haze take over once again,”..L…f…?”
“Oh Thank God…”
“It’s ok, we have you” one of them stepped forward and scooped her up easily,”Christ she’s on fire and weighs nothing”
Their voices of panic faded away once more and darkness came over her again. Falling limp into her rescuers arms who now began to pick up the pace, screaming orders at each other to save their captain while a pair of black eyes watched with both relief and fear.
Leave her Jhonny, Leave her - AC4 Black Flag Sea Shanty
Chapter 8: Irony
What happened the night of the storm? (Flashback to events before Chapter 1 from Carmilla's POV)
In an instant, out of some strange uniformed instinct, every single sailor on deck froze for a moment as a voice from above screamed,“OFF THE PORT BOW, LAF WHAT IS IT?!”
Perry looked up and groaned, after an hour of searching, there she was, holding onto a single line of rope as she leaned over the edge of the mast nearly fifteen feet in the air to look over the ocean with a silly smile on her face that could be seen for miles.
“Laura! Get down from there!”
“Aw let her be Perry” Danny laughed, helmsman and first mate to Captain Hollis,”Poor bird has been stuck in that caged office all year. Let her spread her sea legs a bit”
Perry huffed, crossing her arms she looked up at the excited girl, she could just feel her medical kit slowly making its way to the deck if she keeps this up.
And of course Lafontaine, local oceanographer extraordinaire didn’t help. Upon being screamed at, they scrambled out of the crows nest, their legs tangled in nets and other various ropes, either by accident or intentional no one could tell. With a telescope at hand, they leaned over, hovering above Laura’s head to find the specimen.
Sure enough, there it was, a single dorsal fin peaking out from the surface with beautiful dark stripes across it’s skin swimming alongside their vessel.
“Oy, that be a Tiger Shark! These beauties make the Great White look like a suckling kitten. They will eat just about anything and everything, from sailors, to barrels and other sharks”
Laura’s eyes grew wide with each word, watching the dorsal circle around in an aggravated pattern before disappearing underneath the waves, she may be on a powerful brig of her company, but she couldn’t help but feel threatened by this creature that gracefully glided through the rough current as if it were just the breeze.
“Best you hold onto that mast good and tight lest you be next”
She gulped,“Appreciate the advice Laf”
With that in mind, she reached out and grabbed a hold of a single line of rope and slid down with ease, it was probably best to not test her luck to not fall into the ocean while a predator was lurking, it had been awhile since she was last out at sea after all.
Her boots slammed against the wood with a satisfying thump of her perfect landing, she grinned to herself with pride but that quickly dwindled as a foot tapping Perry came into view.
“Could you please go a few minutes without giving me a heart attack Captain?” she begged, which would be her third time asking after Laura discovered another rope she could swing from one side of the ship to the other. But to be fair, Lafontaine and Danny urged her on so they could make bets.
“Sorry Perry, I couldn’t help it…” she mumbled, but in an instant her eyes sparkled with excitement as a brisk breeze swept her hair into her face,”…I miss this old tub and could you blame me? Look at this view! And this weather is perfect!”
Before Perry could protest, Laura took off running again, hopping up on the railing while grasping another net. The wind rushed past and pushing right into the sails, giving them new life and an extra boost, they sailed across the ocean as if they were flying and Laura stood above it all. Her lungs never breathed in this much fresh air in years, her skin pricked with warm sun and that smile never left her face.
“God I could stay out here for ever if I could…” she mumbled under her breath, with no intention of anyone else listening to her secret plea. But a small smile grew on the face of a stowaway silently sitting directly under the Captain’s nose.
An hour had passed before the wide eyed captain finally hopped off the railing to just climb back up the mast, Carmilla took this moment of opportunity to hop from her ledge and slip back into the ocean before anyone on board noticed.
Carmilla blinked for a moment, she had not returned under the waves for more than a few seconds before her siblings bombarded her with questions and eager eyes. She had almost completely forgotten why she was sitting on top of the hatch door of a canon for several hours.
“Oh, right, I did see or hear any men”
Technically it was true, though she couldn’t hear much besides the random orders given by the small but powerful voice standing no more than a few feet above from where Carmilla was sitting silently.
Mattie however, was not pleased.
Carmilla shrugged, “Well maybe if Will knew how to sing for human girls?”
He huffed, crossing his arms with a small pout, “I have never seen that work nor do I want to try”
Will didn’t even finish his sentence before Mattie took off towards the ship that continued on unaware of the three stalking it.
“I’m going to keep circling” she grumbled to herself.
The last three had been so easy. Foolish humans sailing straight through their territory? It was like waking up to breakfast being served to them. They’re always so easy, just a few gentle notes from a song that meant nothing and one or two would just jump in without a second glance. The first time it happened Mattie barely hung onto a grown man’s ankle while she laughed at the absurdity of it all as he scrambled, kicked and screamed before drowning.
Just too easy.
Of course this time around they wouldn’t be so lucky.
The night this new ship sped across the surface, unaware of the predators following them, their alluring songs went unnoticed. Mattie was rather offended, she had even gone up to the surface, using the canyons to amplify her song but there was nothing. Just a very terrified looking sailor in the crows nest and a loud human girl who shouted back ,”Nice try devil fish!”
It was taunting them.
This was no longer about food or survival, it was now for pride.
An entire day of circling, climbing up the sides of the ship to peak at the two legged creatures running around and going about their business , not a single male on board to fall for their spell.
Carmilla watched her sister swim around the ship in mild amusement, Mattie couldn’t do anything to them while they were on that ridiculous wooden box but the sight of a dorsal fin was enough to make them anxious, for now that would do until she could sink her teeth into their flesh.
Will made a poor attempt to follow though she was notably faster.
“That Tiger Shark really doesn’t like us…”
Carmilla did her best to not laugh, she resumed her previous seat on top of a door where the head of a canon poked out from within. The humans probably assumed the door was broken when they attempted to pull it back in while she was still on it.
Leaning against the wooden frame, she silently listened in on a particular voice that slowly gained her interest.
“Aye, I think I heard it bumping against the hull. Trying to snack on us”
“Poor thing, there are plenty of fish in the sea to eat” she laughed.
Carmilla pressed her back flat against the ship as the voices came closer accompanied with footsteps.
“Fish are so lucky…I would trade places in an instant”
“If ye could find a fish that would want that crate ya call a job I’m sure the bosses wouldn’t have a problem with it” the other one laughed, muffling a chuckle with a pint of rum.
A pair of soft dainty hands came into Carmilla’s peripheral, clearly not the hands of a sailor.
She slowly looked up and there she was the person behind the voice, a young human girl with sparkling eyes and long brown locks that flew across her face as the breeze crossed her dimples.
Carmilla’s jaw dropped, what was this soft creature doing out here in the wild ocean?
The girl sighed, her hands laced together over the edge of the railing she leaned against, her eyes staring out into the horizon, completely oblivious of the eyes watching her.
“Well yes, they’d rather have a fish than me there anyway. I doubt they would notice the difference if I did it” she sighed, turning to her companion, a short haired freckled faced person whose cheeks matched the color of their hair after a few rounds of rum,“How has the others been treating you all?”
They shrugged,“The sea is no place for a woman, or someone that fall in between the lines”
The crew was lucky enough to be let into docks into the first place.
“There are struggles but we deal with it no different than you…”
Between the two, it fell silent save for the occasion rustle of the sail as the wind shifted.
Carmilla stared at the girl for a moment, it was slow but the light from her eyes drained away as she sighed. Like a realization fell over her that she had been avoiding, she buried her face into her hands and groaned.
“…you know what will happen when we return empty handed right?”
The red head answered by placing the large mug in front of the girl,” Aye…” she immediately took it and downed the remains.
The silence resumed when the mug was slammed back down along with her face against the railing. The red head laughed, wordlessly taking the empty mug away awhile patting the girl on the back.
“Do ye think anyone would object to a scenic route? We have enough supplies to last us a couple of months” they offered gently with a small smile.
Immediately, the girl brought her head up with life in her eyes and a bright smile.
“If I had to spend my last two months on earth, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else than here. Out in the middle of nowhere, just the sea and the stars”
Carmilla knew something was wrong in the air right away, a natural instinct that rattled her bones and sent shivers across her skin. If her missing siblings, dark clouds and waves increasing in size was no indication enough, she jumped from her perch and deeper into the ocean before the waves carried her away.
“Finally…one good sized wave, send them all over and I will find that wretched loud mouth…”
Mattie continued to spout on about how she was going to kill every single air breathing thing on board the ship currently being rocked helplessly against the rough tide.
“Hm…I don’t know…looks like they might be getting away…” Will mumbled, staring up at the surface. It was dark, the light of the moon now covered in thick dark clouds that opened the flood gates. But the dark shadow of the ship rocked pathetically beside a smaller one, one would assume to be a much smaller boat.
Mattie hissed, her tail whipped wildly against the current as she sped up towards the humans.
Carmilla and Will watched her go for a moment, the closer she got to the surface, the more off balance her swimming became as the waves and current pushed her back and forth but she was determined. A quick exchange of nervous glances and off they went.
But as his luck would have it, Will was no more than an arm’s length away from reaching out and pulling a human into the depths before being smacked in the face by an oar.
It was over, his nose bled in between his fingers he held tight to his face and Mattie snapped. Days of stress and anger was instantly forgotten as he whined, spitting out four teeth. Carmilla and Mattie made no attempt to seek out revenge, they curled inward and laughed hysterically.
The waves roared, twisting the current with enough force to push aside the sharks with ease. Carmilla somehow ended up underneath the ship and shoved out the other end, just narrowly dodging the massive under side from smacking her face she fought against the waves and reached the surface.
“There is something in the water Danny! We need to go!”
“No! Not without the Captain!”
“It’s too late! Get out of here now!”
That voice screamed out above the thrashing waves and pelting rain the moment Carmilla reached the surface.
“We are not leaving without you!!” more voices from the small boat that barely clung onto the larger ship without it’s captain.
“Yes are you! Captains orders. Lea-”
Words were cut short as a sick deafening crack of the mast turned all heads. The winds screamed and howled, ripping the sail to shreds and pushing the massive wooden beam to come crashing down towards the helm, ripping ropes meant to hold it steady right off and swinging frantically in the wind.
The small boat holding the remains of the crew was violently shoved away from the ship as the waves pulled them apart, sending them into a crying frenzy.
A cry of pain and panic from the ship sent Carmilla’s stomach in knots and herself back into water as chucks of wood and metal fell into the ocean around her.
Yet something hit the water harder than the canon balls or chucks of ship itself. Carmilla spun around as a torn white sail drifted down into the depths tangled around the human girl’s legs.
Her arms and torso covered in thick heavy ropes dragged her into the darkness but the fear and panic in her eyes were not stronger than her determination. She slipped a knife from her boot and quickly attempted to cut the ropes from herself. She would have made it had the ship not finally flipped over, too weak to take another hit, one last massive wave was enough to capsize what was left of the mighty brig, sending the mast itself to land right on top of her, knocking the wind right out of her.
Carmilla remained still, feeling the current gently push her aside but she couldn’t feel it, unable to take her eyes from the girl who eyes slipped closed and fell limp.
It was cruel and ironic, how she had listened to this human speak of the ocean as if it were the one place where she could find peace and yet it would be the one thing to be her end.
God I could stay out here for ever if I could
Her voice, and eyes full of life who stared at the beautiful sea, her home, like it was the most beautiful place on earth. The way a child would look at their mother or a lover to another.
It would have bee more cruel to let such a loving gaze go to waste.
Before she knew it, her tail was moving and hands tearing apart ropes and sails. This girl was tiny, one arm around her waist and Carmilla sped off and up to the surface, the storm continue to rage on, the small boat of the crew was no longer in sight, nor were her siblings. Just what was left of the ship now halfway into the depths.
With the limp girl at her side, unconscious and not breathing as far as she could tell, Carmilla looked around frantically for a place to put the girl. The rain pelted against her face and waves engulfed the two, pushing them back down each time she swam back to the surface. Not once did her grip around her waist falter, holding her tight against her chest as she searched for a safe place.
Through the haze of water, a faint outline of darkness across the way caught her eye, it was a guess at best now but it was her only option now. Holding her close, Carmilla set off towards what she hoped to be an island, where she could place the girl and think about her life choices later.
Perry nearly choked on her apple, she sputtered and spat the fruit out of her mouth as Laura mumbled in her sleep, finally moving for the first time in three days.
“..oh….oh my God…Danny! LaFontaine! Hurry! The Captain is awake!!!!”
Laura groaned, holding her head at the screaming and pounding of feet running that scrambling towards her. Her head throbbed and ears rang painfully, she grabbed the blankets to pull over her head as she cursed under her breath.
“Oh thank God…”
“…Laura are you ok?”
She knew those voices.
Laura slowly blinked away the haze. This was not her bed made of sticks and furs.
She was in a real bed with real blankets and those were real voices.
Was the island just a dream? A terrible and beautiful dream of the warm sun and soft sand? And a smile full of sharp teeth and gentle lips?
A sudden prick at her breast promptly sent those thoughts right out as she reached into her shirt and pulled out a single shark tooth and still hung around her neck. Definitely not a dream.
Slowly peeling away the covers from her eyes, she looked up to find her loyal crew with tears in their eyes and smiles all around.
“…am I dead…?”
They all let out a sigh of relief, Perry was now sobbing, Laf fell over and scooped up the tiny captain in their arms for a tight hug while Danny was struggling to decide which one to do, cry or hug her.
“Christ Hollis we thought for sure ye were up to yer eye holes in Davy Jones’ locker”
“…Laf that doesn’t even make sen-”
“Where did you find all of those things?”
“Did ye kill a shark? Where didja get that tooth around yer neck?”
“How did you survive on that island for so long?”
“Did a tree fell on ya neck? That is the biggest bruise I have ever seen what the hell happened”
“How did you survive the wreck in the first place?”
The throbbing returned in full force as questions and congratulatory ‘you’re not dead’ comments meshed together into one loud obnoxious voice, Laura groaned, holding her hand up for silence as she laughed, “Whoa whoa ok hold on a moment mates, I missed you all too. Really, I couldn’t be happier to see you, but could I get some answers first….and food?”
Without another word, Perry and Lafontaine ran out to fetch the Captain a meal while Danny pulled up a seat.
They returned home after the storm to send a search party, of course the company agreed, with much reluctance but with no other crew than who they had left and the promise of returning Laura to face trial.
“I knew it…” she sighed in between bites of bread.
“We have been looking for you for weeks, we were on our way to go back home until we saw your signal”
Laf returned with a large bottle of rum, which Laura took immediately, “We must’ve passed that rock three times”
After one long swig, she was starting to feel like herself again, wiping the dribble fro the corner of her mouth, she let out a satisfied sigh before starting,” To be honest…I wasn’t exactly in a hurry to return to home…I knew they would see me hung…”
A heavy silence sat within the cabin, plate and bottle now empty, Laura found herself unconsciously stroking the smooth tooth with her thumb.
Danny let out a long sigh, “Damn loudmouth sirens…”
“If they had just told us where the territory was-”
Her grasp around the tooth tightened at the very mention of it,“Wait…you all knew?”
The three exchanged confused glances.
“That sharkmaids exist? Mermaids? Sirens?”
Laf stared at the tiny captain for a moment of disbelief,”…do ye not hear them singin at night?”
Danny shrugged, “They’re not that great of singers I really don’t understand the appeal”
That throbbing sensation in her skull was beginning to return and rather quickly. “But-”
“All sailors know they are real” Perry offered a small smile as realization began to sink in that Laura was the only one who had no idea,”… we don’t really talk about it but it’s a normal thing…per say…what we don’t know is where they are, don’t worry I made the same face when I found out too…”
Danny reached over and pat the Captain on the shoulder as she buried her face in her hands, “Somehow your company knew exactly where they would be and sent your ships there”
Laura slowly pulled her face from her hands, as if it was bad enough to return home a murderer, now she was a clueless one, “Great…just…great…”
“What happens now?” Perry asked gently, finally calling to attention the important question,”…If we go back, you’ll be executed for sure”
She leaned back and let out a hearty laugh dripping with misery.
“…is that scenic route still an option?"
There was enough supplies on the ship for another two weeks, just enough time to think of something…or just enjoy her last days.
But the first night was far from enjoyment, under Perry’s strict medical advice she was to remain in bed for the remainder of the day while taking some god awful herb mush. As disgusting as it was, her intense fever was practically nonexistent and thus found it hard catch any winks as the sun set.
Once finding a natural cove on a random island they hoped to be inhabited, they weighed anchor and let the entire crew rest for the night. Knowing that their once fruitless search had come to an end, they could sleep peacefully for once. Leaving Laura to walk the deck by herself to her thoughts.
This new ship was a bit on the smaller size, just barely enough to be called a brig but definitely much older than the last. Tears and poorly done patches in the deck and rails, the ropes were fine, do able for at least another few years before it would be better off at the bottom of the ocean. It wasn’t very surprising that this was what was given to them to find her.
If she didn’t know any better, they probably sabotaged her last ship, it nearly fell to pieces after a few rough waves.
Laura leaned back against the rail to look at it all, the rigging, the small canons, worn out deck. Being accused of murder, stranded on an island. Her father must be rolling in his grave though it would be better off, she could never face him if he were alive now, he would have been so disappointed.
Of all the money that e'er I had
Laura’s head snapped up from her thoughts, spinning around she looked over the ocean.
I spent it in good company
Her hands clenched the railings as she leaned over the edge and looked over the broadside of the ship. But found nothing but the gentle waves rocking against it.
She stood back up and remained utterly still, waiting for the confirmation that she wasn’t just dreaming.
And all the harm I’ve ever done
Alas it was to none but me
“Carmilla?” she called out weakly, preparing herself to accept her dream theory once more.
But the song had ceased and a splash was heard from underneath the stern of the ship. A moment passed before a very familiar dorsal fin swam into view before following a familiar face.
“I knew you were too stubborn to die”
She wanted to retort, snap back with something clever like nothing had ever happened, like they were back on the island snipping at each other with a smile. But when Carmilla hopped up, pulling herself up on board to sit on the railing Laura couldn’t help but feel the sting in her eyes and crack in her voice as she laughed.
“You found me” she cried, standing still as the shark fawned over her. Rough hands with a gentle touch, Carmilla felt her face with the back of her hand insuring she was no longer on fire, inspected her eyes that were now watery but full of life and lips no longer cracking and dry.
Satisfied with her medical procedure, she smacked the girl’s nose with her finger and hissed,“ Don’t you ever scare me like that again”
Laura yelped, grasping her nose she mumbled underneath her hands, “O-oww…..alright….ok I guess I deserved that”
“Good, now that we’re settled” she nodded, ready to move on she grasped Laura’s shirt and pulled her closer.
Thankfully the crew was sound asleep, there was no doubt they would be up in arms if they saw this massive mershark with their tight arms around her waist and head buried in her neck. Laura remained still, watching her for a moment, her embrace tight and a soft kiss placed on the side of her neck as she mumbled
“I thought I lost you”
Laura felt her heart swell in her chest, looping her arms around the shark she leaned down and kissed where ever she could, along her cheek and jaw in a messy manner sending the shark into a fit of giggles, “I would have if you didn’t set that signal in time. You saved me”
Carmilla looked up right in time to catch her lips with her own for a quick kiss, “So let me do it again. Grab some things and I’ll take you back to your camp”
“You told me, repeatedly, that if you went home they would kill you. Let’s just go back and hide there again like we were”
Ah, right. Reality.
Laura sighed, slipping out of her embrace to grasp her hands, “And if I get sick again? I don’t think I’ll be so lucky to have my own crew find me”
“Then what? You’re just going to go back? Accept death?” she huffed, her brows creased in a silent rage but her hands tightened around Laura’s in a panic.
“No….but I can’t go back to the island….or home”
She leaned forward, her forehead bumping against Carmilla’s in thought while her thumb gently caressed the back of her hand.
“So…what then? Just…run?”
There was nothing but an office of hateful men back home, if she could ever call it that. As enjoyable as the island was, she was never one for hiding and honestly, it was getting a bit boring.
The ship gently swayed with the rocking waves, the wooden creaked and moaned with each motion, a cold breeze brushed past the two as they sat in a silent thought. This was home.
“…I have an idea, but I’m going to need some help”
“Of course, anything”
“Yes but…not just you…”
Carmilla felt the color drain from her face as she looked up and saw a mischievous smile on the girl’s face.
“I’m taking the ship”
The crew remained silent at the tiny Captain who stood her ground at the bow of the ship.
“I’m not going back, I’m taking this ship and you can either come with me or hurl yourselves overboard” with that she marched off.
The sun was bright, beautiful clouds in the sky and birds went about their business as the crew stared at the girl walk off towards the helm. Perry, Laf and Danny were quick to be designated representatives.
Perry rushed forward to grasp her hand with a sweet but worried smile, “Maybe you need to lie down Cap-”
But Laura whipped around, her hand clenched into a tight fist while the other pointed over the horizon,“They are going to hang me for ordering innocent men to their deaths! If I go to trial and tell the judge that it was all a set up who do you think they are going to believe!?”
She laughed pathetically, looking down at herself. They knew why, they faced the same issues everyday on the docks.
She threw her hands up in defeat and spun on her heel, continuing her rant and march, “No, I can’t. I’m done. They have done nothing but look for ways to get rid of me and I will now be the rash at their side for as long as there is still breath in me”
Laura paused for a moment, her hands idly brushing against old rope that pricked her finger tips. This terrible boat, in this condition and with these people who saved her life. They deserved better.
“I know you all have felt the same struggles, no one respects you for being a woman despite your skills or you willingly serving under one. I’m offering an opportunity to leave it all behind” she turned back around to face the wide eyed group and pointed off towards the horizon where the place she once called home was, “You can join me or not, simple as that”
“No, Laura, not simple as that”, Danny groaned, she kept her hand over her face the entire time, she let out a short laugh before finally dropping it, “Laura, your company has an armada at their disposal. If they find out you changed the color of your flag they will tear you to pieces”
Ah, there it was.
She grinned, casually leaning over the edge of the railing.
“Well, not exactly…I have a small advantage”
On cue, and yes they practiced, the water below exploded as three massive mersharks jumped up, grasping the rails and pulling themselves up.
Immediately the crew yelped and backed up, the few men that were present jumped away, backs pressed against boxes and barrels they tumbled over, anything to get as far away as possible.
Mattie could not look more pleased.
Will however, recognized the mass of curly red hair and pointed.
“You’re the one that hit me with a paddle! That hurt!” he hissed, rubbing his nose at the memory as Perry slunk behind Laf.
Mattie however, let out a smooth chuckle, “No no, that was hysterical”
“Laura how the hell did you-”
“They agreed to help in exchange for a free meal, which I’m more than happy to obliged them with” She made no motion to hide the shark tooth around her neck that very clearly matched the black tip shark, or that the shark rested her chin on Laura’s shoulder,”Apparently Navy men are tastier than your average sailor”
“So…Who’s with me?”
Chapter 9: Freedom
Putting together the missing pieces, mending old wounds, making deals. Freedom isn't easy but well worth it.
Word spread of a new flag making rounds across the Adriatic and Mediterranean Seas fast.
A jolly roger never seen before with a cracked skull and silhouette of a shark, mouth wide and ready for the attack just appeared one day and over night became a ship to be feared. No one knew of where they came from or who they were, but one thing rang true to all those that witnessed it.
They were untouchable.
Expertly aimed canons and mortars took out most ships before they were even within range to return fire. If they were to get close enough, all those aboard would suddenly stop everything and leap overboard. There wasn’t a single scratch on it’s hull.
A few random smaller sunken ships under the belt later, a pattern began.
All vessels under the Silas flag were destroyed on sight. Not a single survivor left to tell the tale. For all the company knew, they had disappeared completely.
“An outrage!” he screamed, pounding his old fist on the desk,”Wretched plague of the sea I shall tear down that blasted ship plank by plank!”
With sword and pistol strapped to his chest, and walking cane, he called forth his mightiest ship and set sail for the single flag that was destroying his company.
He didn’t have to search long, out of the safety of the harbor, they were waiting for him.
A flash of explosives from the deck of the pirate vessel sent the navy men into a frenzy as fire and metal rained from the sky, setting their sails ablaze and bow to pieces. Perfectly timed and pinpoint accurate mortar canons already shifted the tide of this battle and they had yet to fire a single shot.
“Feiglinge! Return Fire!” he screamed, walking cane and sword shaking up at the offending vessel now finally approaching.
Another volley of canon fire exploded into the air, tearing apart what was left of their mast and sails with a set of canon balls attached with heavy chains, wrapping around the rigging and tearing straight through beams.
Seasoned navy men, just moments ago full of pride and strength having their commander on board were either injured, dead or on fire. Chucks of wood, metal and fiery sails fell around him and yet he continued to scream out.
“Cowards! Is that the best you’ve got?!”
An ungodly hiss and snarl responded, a beautiful golden engraved blade fell from his hand as he watched a blur of grey and spots leap out of the ocean and tackled a sailor straight off of the ship. Then another, brown with stripes, jumped up and latched onto a man’s neck knocking him back with it’s massive jaws. Pitch black eyes making sure he was watching as it dragged the screaming man, choking on his own blood, off the port bow and back into the sea. The very thing he had heard stories and knew of and there it was in the flesh and after him.
Between the splitting wood and canon fire, he spun around as a splash accompanied a sick snarl, a flash of grey and black knocked the wind right out of him and off his feet. What was left of the railing still held strong as he collided into it, slamming his back against it with a thick crack.
And there it was. The thing all men feared and saw before they met their maker.
She clawed at the deck, her long tail lashing out and pushing herself forward towards him, fangs barred and eyes as deep and dark as the pit. His back most likely broken in several places and unable to move, he pushed himself up further against the rail in a futile attempt to get away.
“Bring him to me” a voice called out, just inches from nails reaching his skin.
He looked up and past the snarling mershark not realizing the canon fire had ceased and the vessel he had every intention of destroying that day was calmly turning to its side, ready to dock his ship.
The shark immediately responded with a hiss and grabbed the old man by the collar before leaping up and over the rail with him in tow into the ocean. He struggled in vain, clawing at it’s wrist to be free, but it was too fast, pushing through the current as if it were nothing. Water pressure forcibly pushing against his face and chest he could do nothing but let himself be dragged underneath both ships.
Another pair of hands dug into his arm, and from the depths of the ocean, he found himself thrown up and out of the water and into the air, landing flat on his back on the deck of the pirate ship.
The old man cough and sputtered water and blood, heaving and groaning in pain he curled up, attempting to stand but was promptly kicked in the chest back to lie flat.
Furiously wiping his face of water he finally cracked an eye open to find a dirty boot on his chest and a shadow kneeling above him. Needless to say he was quite shocked to find a familiar face, smiling down at him like she did so every morning for years.
“Guten morgan herr Vordenburg”
“….Hollis…?” he sputtered, those innocent brown eyes that anxiously awaited to take his coat and hat at the office. Eager to please but was often ignored now looking down at him with a smile, and yet he had never felt more unease at those dimples.
A silent fury resided behind them.
“Welcome aboard The Haifischzahn” she smiled, standing up as a set of hands grabbed him by the shirt and yanked him up to his knees,”My ship”
Strong arms held him by the shoulders as he looked around in utter horror, familiar faces though he never bothered to learn their names, faces he had hoped to never see again as they set sail in search for their lost Captain.
Yet there she stood, proud and tall in clothes that actually fit her frame with her hand on her hips, casually stroking the shark tooth that hung around her neck.
“You….all of you?! I shall have you all hung for this!” he growled though was stifled as the strong arms squeezed down on him.
“What should we do with him Captain?”
She poked her chin in thought as she looked him up and down,“Vordenburg isn’t enough to feed three sharks”
The crew let out a hearty laughed as he gulped, struggling against the pair of arms that forced him to his feet.
“Find three of the biggest men they have and take them with us, kill the rest”
In an instant, her loyal crew set out to complete their task, taking ropes and planks to board his ship, cutting down anyone that stood in their way.
“HOLLIS. LAURA HOLLIS HAVE YOU GONE MAD?!” he screamed, thrashing and kicking the entire way down to being dragged to the hold of the ship.
“No” she mumbled under her breath, watching the organize chaos unfold before her with a small smile,”…just…done…”
The sun had set on the horizon not too long ago now, leaving a gentle brush of orange and red as a final goodbye to the sky before setting the stage for the stars and moon.
Laura knew what she wanted from the moment she decided to doom herself to this life. From the moment she watched her flag be raised above her ship. After months of the thoughts and fantasizing of it, it was finally happening. Her hands began to sweat as she gripped her blade tight and stepped forward.
“Baron Vordenburg” she started, the crew behind her screaming and shouting obscenities at the old man who could only stare back in disgust and terror.
“You stand accused of the following”
Laura waited until Vordenburg’s ship was nothing but a shadow in the depths before setting sail towards the very island she was stranded on.
“Withholding important information, allowing me to send three ships out to sea in dangerous territory”
The cliff side that hung over the crashing waves against sharp and jagged rocks where she met her savior for the first time made for an excellent plank for her prisoner.
“Thus responsible for sending the men and women of the ships: The Sarah Jane, Betty and The Natalie to their deaths under my name”
A set of small bonfires with food and drink were at the ready on the beach for their celebration of freedom.
“And knowingly sending out a weakened vessel to sea, endangering the lives of my crew”
They jeered and booed, clearly some of them had already cracked open a bottle or two as they screamed.
“How do you plea?”
“This is insanity!”
Laura’s blade dug into his chest, forcing him back three steps closer to the edge, “ANSWER ME”
Vordenburg glanced over his shoulder, just another step away from plunging into the depths and what was lurking beneath it. Three dorsal fins circled anxiously below, waiting for their snack.
“L-laura, you poor confused girl. Look at yourself and what you’re doing, why if your father were-”
“DO NOT SPEAK OF MY FATHER” she snapped, the tip of her blade now dug into the curve of his neck underneath his chin, thin lines of blood slowly trickled onto his cravat, “I am sick and tired of people telling me what I can and cannot do” she was shaking, her knuckles white from gripping her blade so tight she could no longer feel her hand.
“I’m still here, I will always be here. No storm or sharks or idiotic man who thinks he knows better will ever change that”
One step forward and her blade thrust straight through his neck.
“You are hear by guilty and I sentence you to suffer the fate of the men and women whose blood is on your hands”
Her sword slipped out of his neck with ease, his eyes wide and mouth agape but no noise came as red streams spilled from the hole in throat.
She calmly placed a hand on his shoulder and gave him a gentle push off the edge, keeping eye contact as he fell into the abyss, insuring her blade was not what killed him, but the ripping of limbs and tearing of flesh as three sharks pounced on him before he even hit the water.
Blood and gurgling screams splashed across the rocks but were quickly wiped away by thrashing tails and the ocean waves.
Laura remained still, watching the explosion of splashing water now temporarily red beneath her. She was still shaking, not even realizing the soft footsteps behind her.
“You alright Cap?” Laf asked gently, placing a hand on her shoulder, gently shaking her out of her trace.
Tearing away her gaze as the thrashing slowly quieted she turned around and mumbled,”We did it”
She blinked and found a very full bottle of rum and a clean cloth offered to her by Danny and Perry respectively with a smile.
“No, this one is yers. Ye did it Laura”
She turned around as her crew exploded into cheers, swords and bottles thrust into the air and they chanted her name.
“Yes yes you’re victorious we get it”
They turned around to find the Mattie with her arms crossed patiently waiting with Will and Carmilla looking up expectantly, their mouths covered in blood and chunks of clothes being fished out between teeth.
“That poor excuse for a meat bag didn’t even make a dent” she growled, pointing to her stomach.
Laura rolled her eyes and began her march down the hill of the cliff, cleaning her blade with the offered napkin before sheathing it.
“Someone get the remaining prisoners to appease the sea goddess down there” she laughed, grabbing the bottle to take a long swig as she passed by the crowd of eager pirates who parted a way for her.
“I heard that Hollis!”
Distant screams, snarling, thrashing water and screaming crew members filled their night. Bottles clinked, songs were sung and food devoured on the beach, they felt like kings.
A wave of relief and excitement swept through their camp.
“Whatever tha ‘ell we want! Right Cap?”
“Pretty much, I’m sure at some point the navy will be after us but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it” she shrugged, knocking her head back and taking a long drink.
“So I’ve got a question” Danny mumbled, quietly placing an empty bottle beside her before grabbing another,”How the hell did you convince those sharks to help you? Carmilla I get, but the other two?”
Laura stopped herself from shoving a mouth full of bread in her face,“That’s….a funny story now that you ask”
“Oh…this is just rich”
Laura narrowly escaped a hurricane that tore her ship to pieces, and nearly died at the hands of a terrible fever. Yet here, standing alone on a small dingy boat in the middle of the ocean with a pair of soulless black eyes did she feel true fear.
“Carmilla darling, is this the reason you’ve been disappearing?” she looked back up at Laura and scoffed, dismissing her as she looked over the boat where the black tip rested behind it, ”Visiting your pet?”
“She’s not my pet!” her voice low, teetering on the edge of growling deeply.
Will laughed,”You literally just told us you’ve been taking fish and trinkets to her for weeks”
A silent exchange of glances from Laura to Carmilla was answer enough.
“Ugh…alright darling, sweet heart, I don’t even know what to say” she sighed, one more her eyes scaled the girl up and down before shaking her head,”I mean…really?”
Laura was not for feeling ignored, she had enough of that at home,”Do you want a free meal or not?!”
Mattie’s coy smile evaporated immediately.
In the time it took Laura to blink once, her massive tail smacked the underside of the boat, nearly flipping her and the tiny toy of a boat right over. Laura yelped, loosing her balance she fell forward, scrambling to catch herself but Mattie beat her to it.
On her knees and torso hanging over the edge as Mattie tightened her grip on Laura’s shirt, slowly pulled her closer with each word, insuring that she was towering over her as she spoke in a low tone.
“Do.Not. Speak over me”
Laura understood very clearly why Carmilla was so nervous about this plan.
Not once did Mattie expose her rows of sharp fangs to intimidate or let out an inhuman noise or growl.
Her voice was powerful and eyes bore into her soul.
Laura’s heart slammed against her rib cage as the tiger shark stared down at her like she were the scum beneath the sea rocks.
And yet, despite the fear in her chest swelling at her very core, her face burned. Maybe it was the storm, seeing death in the form of being engulfed in a cold embrace. Or the illness that sent her mind into the abyss. But most likely, it was the identical look of every man that told her she wasn’t good enough everyday.
Laura grabbed the shark’s wrist and pushed herself up to be eye level as she hissed under her breath.
“I am not afraid of you”
Carmilla found it difficult to breathe all of a sudden, unable to move as it happened so quickly but feeling as if any movement would disturb Mattie’s decision on whether or not to kill this human. Even Will refused to move.
But instead, she smiled.
“How cute” her lips peeled back into a grin, Laura then realized that she had far more teeth than Carmilla.
Laura fought past her fear and glared at the shark, ripping her hand away from her shirt, the boat rocked to regain it’s balance, sending Laura flat on her behind as Mattie let out a hearty laugh.
“I shall listen to what you have to say” she says, finally looking the human in the eyes,” For now”
“Laura I told you to sleep that night!”
“You could have been shark food are you insane?!”
“Are ye honestly willing to trust Carmilla ta’ save ye from somethin’ like that?”
Captain of a pirate ship or not, the three of them stared her down like a misbehaving child. Not that she minded having three strange parents, she laughed and continued to devour her meal as they struggled to comprehend how she was not dead. Which should be the title of her autobiography at this point.
“Oh come off it, we need them and they just want to eat without getting shot at. It’s a win for everyone, besides, there is no way we could have taken the ship without them”
The second order of business was to secure another vessel. Even with underwater back up, the navy’s advanced ships were made for battle. They would be at the bottom of the ocean before the smoke from their canon’s dissipated.
Finding a suitable ship was simple enough, their current vessel’s worn out hull could be seen for smiles, while bearing an English flag and brand that was known for carrying goods across the sea, they were a floating a target.
“What do you think?”
Danny bit her lip as she peered through the spyglass, inspecting the oncoming ship sailing straight for them.
“Man-of-War. Eighteen canons, four mortar canons, two hand canons on the stern and bow, iron ramming, reinforced hull…” she placed the scope down, there was a twinkle in her eye and smile on her face.
“I want that one”
With a nod, Laura hopped down the stairs and leaned over the railing, casually looking below,”Carm?”
Several seconds passed before a splash was heard and their new unofficial crew member hopped up, pulling herself up by the railing immediately capturing the captain’s lips in a quick kiss.
Laura nodded her head towards the ship in the distance.
“No survivors. No damage to the ship. Now go have fun”
Carmilla’s smile could not get any wider, she laughed and placed a quick peck on her cheek, “You’re so good to me”
With that, she dropped back into the sea, joining two other dorsal fins. They sped across the waves, disappearing beneath the endless blue and out of sight. It was over in a matter of minutes.
Carmilla sang a beautiful wordless melody and one by one, every man on board fell into the depths who Mattie and Will disposed of fairly quickly. Laura leaned against the railing, watching the madness unfold with a small smile on her face. She would have never noticed someone walking up behind her had they not coughed.
“So…uh Cap I gotta ask…”
Laura glanced over her shoulder to find Laf approaching, curiosity and hesitation in their eyes which was never a good thing.
“You been kissin that shark for awhile aye?”
She did not like where this was going.
“So how do ye…ye know?”
Laura did her best to keep a straight face as they made lewd gestures with their hands and fingers.
“Actually, interesting thing, they don’t mate for pleasure so that’s not even a thing”
Laf’s brows perked up, she could see them mentally taking notes,”Blimey, ya don’t say”
She nodded, turning back to the screaming and shark attack in the distance. In a way it was nice to know what they had was not hormones on overload. It was one hundred percent mutual respect and affection.
“Oh mah poor Cap’n she has no idea what she’s doin to ya does she?”
Laura buried her face in her hands as flash of memories sent her stomach on fire. The times she held on too tight, accidentally applying pressure in the right places or when Carmilla ran her rough fingers across her bare skin out of genuine curiosity, having no idea of the chills slipping down her spine.
“Not a clue…”
Laf could only pay their fearless and frustrated captain on the back in pity.
Before long, the pirate ship was all but a ghost ship, not a single soul on board. Danny and a few others swung across ropes to reach it and take the helm before it crashed into them. Within the hour, Laura’s crew was moving in.
A single plank bridged between the two vessels, each sailor with a crate or barrel in hand. There wasn’t much to add to their new home, they barely had under a week’s worth of supplies.
However, this new ship was loaded. Weapons, treasure, rum and foods for days, enough for nearly twice as many as they current had on crew. They were like children, exploring each and every crevice of the massive vessel.
The Captain’s quarters was something else.
Easily twice the size of the last two she had in her life time, the walls were covered in maps from places she had never heard of in various languages, intricate and decorated weapons on racks in the corner, treasure chests overflowing with gold, a massive bed that could fit several people if she wanted and a beautiful view of the ocean from the stern of the ship.
Besides the smell and occasional slime, it was perfect.
“What do you all think? she asked, finding the kitchen easily as something was already being cooked by the pair of excited gingers.
“I just found a book on how to cook monkey…let’s try it!” Perry was already skinning one while Laf shifted through exotic fruits, poking and prodding the various colors and pointed ends.
“Please by all means, let’s find out” Danny laughed, joining up with the happy bunch.
Laura almost wanted to laugh, the tall woman stood with a massive grin on her face. She was always meant to have three guns and two blades strapped to her belt and chest.
“What’s next Captain?”
“Food, drink and causing some havoc”
“Alright ya bilge rats” she could barely finish her sentence before erupting into laughter along with the others,”Do pirates actually talk like that?”
“Not while sober Capn!”
“I thought as much, anyway!” she slapped her knees and stood up, stretching as she did so,”I am off for the rest of the evening, First Mate Danny is in charge until I return. Try not to get yourselves into any trouble”
At this, Perry laughed, “Three crew members passed out in a tree while another almost suffocated after blacking out face first in the sand. How much more trouble can we get into?” Perry shook her head but smiled regardless, putting her medical kit back together after wrapping a poor girl’s head after falling out of said tree.
“Yes well don’t surprise me”
Laf wiggled their brows, “Off to see the missus?”
Danny snorted,”What ever tickles your fancy Hollis” she shrugged, taking a long drink. Most never mentioned or brought it up, despite how strange it was at first. Mainly the crew didn’t care so long as they were not on the other end of the shark.
“Don’t stay out too late little lady!” Perry teased, shaking a finger up at the Captain as she dropped her coat and weapons on her log of a seat.
She waved them off as she turned her heel and walked away, ignoring the cheers and whistles from her drunken crew. Their shanties and general ruckus they caused slowly faded away as she walked along the coast line. The sweet sound of the high tide rushing up onto the sand and pulling back into the sea in a beautiful calming rhythm cleared her mind and senses.
How she managed to be so lucky, to be alive, to fall in love, to find a perfect ship to call home for herself and loyal crew. If it all ended tonight there wouldn’t be a single ounce of regret. Because now she was free.
They made no previous plans to meet. Too busy sailing, fighting and a rather savage form of a trial kept them apart.
Yet unknown to her crew, Laura’s ears had become attuned to Carmilla’s song no matter how faint or soft. As if the spell of the siren finally began working on her alone, for her voice alone.
Laura followed the melody to another very familiar sight, the song echoed gently out of the very cave she hid in during the storm. Where she taught Carmilla how to draw and bandaged her wounds, slowly gaining her trust. She shook her head and picked up the pace, for a man eating mythical creature, she sure knew how to tug at the heart strings.
She slipped inside to find the shark sitting at the edge of the rocks, humming to herself while playing with her hair in between her fingers, twisting strands together but to end up with a tangled mess.
“Now what exactly are you trying to do there?”
Carmilla’s humming ceased as she spotted the human approaching, she huffed, dropping her hands from her hair.
“What was that thing you did? When you drank one too many of those awful smelling bottles? You did something to my hair then. It was nice”
Laura kicked off her boots and paused in mid removal of her shirt, it was hazy but she did recall weaving an impressive looking braid that night.
“Would you like me to do it again?”
“Before I continue to make a mess of myself, yes”
Stripping down to nothing but the treasured tooth hanging from her neck, Laura took a seat at the edge, waterline hitting her knee as Carmilla hopped down from her perch to sit in between her legs. Like they had many time before, she crossed her arms on her lap and placed her chin there, watching Laura’s fingers brush and de-tangle strands of her hair.
“You’ve been quite busy Captain Hollis” she grinned,noticing the difficult time Laura was having between braiding her hair and staring at the shark in her lap.
“That I have been” she sighed, separating the black locks into threes,”You and your siblings were wonderful today. Thank you”
“We should be thanking you. We like easy food as much as anyone else would”
She laughed, happy with the threes sections, her hands began to weave,“Where is Mattie and Will anyway?”
“Sleeping. I know it doesn’t look it, but they really don’t mind the ‘following you around for a free meal and intimidation purposes’ deal”
“Well that’s good” she smiled, finding a smooth rhythm with each section a simple braid was beginning to take shape,”Can’t say I’m very scary on my own”
”…I wouldn’t say that”
Carmilla’s hand gently captured hers, stopping her from braiding to gain her attention,”Are you alright?”
Laura’s shouts of anger sent her heart to her stomach, Carmilla could only sit back and watch the girl shake and spout out words she had been holding in finally erupt in one go. She would make it her life goal to never hear Laura scream out her hurt ever again.
She reached up to brush away her brown locks from her eyes that glazed over ,“That could not have been easy for you”
“….it was scary just how easy it was” she mumbled, offering a small smile she placed a kiss over the mershark’s rough knuckles,”But I’m alright now…thank you”
Laura resumed her braiding as they caught up with the day’s events, she described in detail her beautiful new ship and all of the things inside it. Her plans to explore the Mediterranean and finally do something about the slave trading route.
“What is your vessel called? It’s in another human language?”
“The Haifischzahn? It means Shark Tooth”
Carmilla slowly raised her head to stare up at the girl,”…you’re joking”
“Don’t judge! The crew called me out and I didn’t think of one so I panicked” she pouted, reaching the ends of her hair with a beautiful but simple braid.
“You like it, don’t hide your feelings”
She rolled her eyes, her fingers idly tracing circles across her bare stomach, watching in mild amusment at the goosebumps slowly forming.
“What ever you say love” she hummed, leaning forward to place a small peck just below her belly button immediately sending a gasp right out of Laura’s mouth. She coughed past it, quickly looking away as her face burned red but it was too late.
That was more than enough of motivation to continue. Her arms unfolded from her lap and wrapped around her waist, pulling herself closer to trail small kisses upwards.
And up and up and up, then left.
“Ah, C-carm…what are yo-…” her hands clutched the rock beneath her, biting down on her lip to hold in a sharp gasp.
“Hm. That little red head was right” she mumbled, lips brushing against her breast as she spoke softly,”What cute noises you make”
She will decide later whether to give Laf a raise or throw them overboard. No one would find the body.
Her skin pricked with chills and gentle bites but her insides were on fire,”C…Carm you don’t have to…” she whimpered, barely able to make a comprehensible sentence as her lips found a particular spot under her jaw that made her toes curl.
“I want to” she purred, slipping a sprawled out hand at the center of her back to pull her closer, encouraging her to arch up and be flush against her chest. Laura gasped at the full contact, struggling to keep herself up as the gentle touches on her neck and a curious hand trailing over her legs became more heated made her arms weak.
Words were incomprehensible, she let out soft moans, clinging to her as she pulled her up from the edge and into the water with her.
“You alright there?” she laughed, holding onto the small human as she leaned forward to rest her head against hers. She was a panting mess, legs and arms wrapped around her tight, cheek flush and eyes half lidded and heavy.
“Just…dandy…” she purred, her hands finding their way into her thick black mane while stroking her cheeks. She couldn’t do much to return what she was doing to her but she could do what she can.
“Good. Let’s see what other noises you make”
She grinned, leaning up to capture her lips with her own finally. The crashing waves and drunken celebration on the beach were enough to muffle out the new song Laura found herself singing that night.
That next morning, Laura returned to Danny screaming and shouting orders to clean up their mess and carry the terribly hungover back to the ship.
“Good morning Captai- holy hell are you…are those…what”
Laura however, couldn’t wipe the smile from her face, she made no motion to hide the dark marks on her neck and chest. She swiped her belts and coat from the log she had left it on the night before and swinging with over her shoulder.
“Shall we shove off then?” she grinned, walking off with a hop in her step she pat Lafontaine on the shoulder as she brushed past them carrying sacks of whatever food they had left after their party, “Laf you’re a getting a raise” she laughed before trotting on the plank to board the ship, leaving her crew wide eyed.
“…whut? Why…oh…OH….!” they nearly dropped the sacks in realization.
Hungover and ill crew lay in bed while others worked on tightening and loosening rigging and preparing the sails.
“Ready to shove off mates?!”
The anchor was weighed, a beautiful breeze brought life to their sails, instantly pushing the vessel out into the blue. Men and women ran about the deck, doing their designated work with a smile on every face.
Laf perched themselves in the crows nest while Danny took the helm and Perry gave every male on board a set of ear plugs made of cotton and wax, in case of emergency mershark singing were to occur.
Laura jumped up onto the railing on port side, grasping the net and staring out into the ocean as they flew across the sea. As if a wave of deja vu swept over her, three dorsal fins peaked out of the surface, swinging alongside them.
A smile not once left her face, she wanted to laugh and cry at the same time, feeling an overwhelming sense of relief and freedom. The world was at her fingertips.
“Let’s have us a shanty eh?”
Now we are ready to sail for the Horn,
Weigh hey, roll and go!
Our boots and our clothes, boys, are all in the pawn,
To be rollicking randy dandy-O!
To adamantred : Not only one of my all time favorite Carmilla fan artists but the reason for this story ever to exist.
And to the rest of you beautiful people who enjoyed this crazy journey alongside me, THANK YOU.
I had so much fun writing this and will probably do short one shots from it another time. But until then, there are more AU’s to be done!
Thank you for reading and following and messaging me your thoughts. They mean the actual world to me!