Disclaimer: The following is part of a short story/novella I am working on right now that is a modern retelling of The Little Mermaid. Note that it is currently unedited and completely raw. Any criticism or feedback is much appreciated!
PS: Wow, I really sucked at blogging this week you guys. Like, wow. In life news: I started my new job at the library this week so there’s been a lot going on, and lots of new things to adjust into. I’ll try to do better next week.
Also, if anyone is interested – I’m going to start the Sunday Writer’s Circle this week. So please stop by this Sunday from 9-10pm EST for the chat! We can talk about what we’re working on, share feedback; whatever.
And without further ado, here’s my fiction bit for this week:
“Happy birthdaaaaay!” Liz jumped at the unexpected exclamation, and realized she was surrounded on all sides by her cheering friends and relatives. She forcibly transformed the stunned expression on her face into one of happy surprise, and clapped her hands together along with the crowd. Four things were true. It was her nineteenth birthday. She’d just received acceptance letters to three separate ivy league schools. This yacht aboard which her surprise birthday party was being held was only one of several big-ticket birthday presents for the day. And she was absolutely miserable. It wasn’t that she was spoiled, she knew just how lucky she was to have all these things. Her future was bright, and her fiancee was looking across the deck at her with adoration. Life should be great. But something was missing. As the party got underway, she slipped off on her own to the back of the boat, and dangled her feet off the deck into the water. The music from inside the boat boomed, but was somewhat muffled by the walls between them. The stars were starting to come out. Liz turned her eyes to the night sky and took a deep breath. What she would give for more moments like this, just to breathe, just to be. Just to be alone with her thoughts for five minutes without having to plaster a fake smile across her lips. It all just felt more and more like a farce, the older she got. She wondered if things would be better once she went to school. But some part of her knew. She’d never really be free. She would always be the dutiful daughter. What was she going to do at Havard or Yale, anyway? Become a lawyer like her mom? She didn’t know the first thing about law, nor did she care. She found herself wishing there were a pause button for life.
Liz was so lost in her thoughts she almost didn’t notice the smoke at first. Then, as the stench of it grew stronger, and the clouds started pouring out of the front of the boat, she suddenly found the deck falling out from beneath her. She heard someone shout her name, “Lizzie! Lizzie, where is she, where’s Elizabeth?” She turned towards the voice just in time to see the inflatable life raft, with many bodies piled inside, her mother among them. Their sequined party dresses sparkled under the faint crescent moon. She was just about to call out to them, but a loud crash erupted from inside the boat, and she was pitched forward.
She fell as the ship gave way, and stumbled over some rigging, crashing into the back windows. Faintly, she heard glass break as she hit water. The lights had gone out, and she found that suddenly she couldn’t see anything. It was pitch black; they were far out to sea. Her arms and legs flailed, hitting random objects inside the boat as she scrambled for anything she might use to push off to the surface. But then the water was over her head, and something was pulling her, dragging her downwards. Now she started to panic. She was blind, didn’t know which way was up, and she knew the suction from the plummeting boat had to be what was tugging her downwards into the deep. Terrified, she expelled the breath from her lungs, flinging out her arm in search of the surface and screamed, “Mom!” but her voice was lost in the water, and she choked on her own words.