flashfic

The Mermaid’s Teeth

The mermaid sat on the island and sang without words. She had lost her teeth to the last sailor passing by, which made it hard to form words. Words of foam-rush and and storm-sweep, words of coral uprooted, words of clouds spun upended into the sea’s endless churning cauldron. Still, the mermaid was possessed of great determination and creativity. She shaped her words through the tension of her throat, forced them into seduction-verses.

Through all this she combed out her hair. It was beautiful hair and she didn’t see why she should neglect it because of a little bad luck with a sailor. It hung heavy and dark and ripple-sheened. Her lovers had told her that they could see the colors of the sea caught in it, or luminous moon-weave; they had told her about its silk, its salt perfume, the way it tangled them almost as surely as her kisses. The mermaid kept a diary of these compliments, written in the vortices around her island. Only the most ardent and perceptive sailors could navigate those vortices to embrace her.

Ah: here came a sailor. She sang louder, tossing the comb toward him so that the sun flashed against its curve. I wear nothing but the salt spray, she sang. I am cold on my island. Also, as long as it has been for you, I guarantee that it has been longer for me. Come and clasp my cold limbs, come and help me comb out my hair, explore the tide pools of my body.

The sailor heard her, although not his comrades. She only needed one anyway. He was sun-browned and lean, and she liked the quick fire of his movements as he dived to meet her, the way he knifed through the water.

When he reached her, she kissed him all the way from the bottom of her throat, all the way from the empty space where mortals have hearts but mermaids do not, mouth stretching wider and wider, and ripped out the sailor’s teeth to use for her own. They didn’t fit her mouth, but she had a lot of time and the sea was good at grinding down things to fit.

For dormouse_in_tea. Prompt: something not necessarily nice involving mermaids.