“More wine?” Estefania asked her companion as she played with the bottle in her hands.
“No thanks, Steffi,” Chloe answered, using her favorite pet name. It was way easier than trying to correctly pronounce the Latin intonations that were part of her friend’s heritage. “To be honest, I think I’ve already had enough…” and then she giggled, all flustered.
“Okay, then. I hope the meal was to your liking.”
“Are you kidding me? Everything was simply divine! I don’t know how you do it, really!”
“Oh, I just love to experiment! Besides, it was good to cook for someone else again, especially a person I love so much….” said the Spaniard woman, caressing Chloe’s lips with the tip of her right index finger.
“I… care about you, too.” Chloe retorted, slowly escaping the gentle touch.
“That’s it? Care? I was hoping for a little more than that, sweetie.”
“It’s… complicated.” She mumbled.
“That’s what you always say…” Estefania sighed, visibly disappointed. “I hope you still have the stomach for dessert though.”
“Hmmm, it’s possible… what did you prepare?”
Estefania got up from the table, headed into the kitchen and came back with a tray filled with tantalizing chocolate brownies. Some of them were pure cocoa, others were raspberry-spiked, and there were still some with mint frosting. All of them looked positively delicious.
“Wow, you really outdid yourself, didn’t you?”
“Nothing is too good for the ones I love. I had trouble choosing the best recipe, so I prepared them all. This is no time to hold back, so be the glutton I know you can be, my dear.”
“I really shouldn’t, but… they smell so good!” Chloe took one of the pure chocolate ones to her mouth and the taste was everything she hoped for and more. “Seriously, Steffi, one of these days, you’re going to have to teach me how everything you cook turns out so perfect. I love them!”
“Good.” Estefania smiled whilst sipping another bit of wine. Then, she took a mint frosting brownie from the other end of the tray and munched it, happily.
Two minutes later, half of the tray was already empty, and Chloe made a signal with her head that she had had enough. In fact, she was feeling a bit nauseous, probably as a result of her excesses.
“Are you okay, Chloe? You look a little… pale!” Estefania noted.
“I… I’m not really sure. I have this awkward burning sensation in my stomach as well as this headache that came out of nowhere. I…”
Estefania started clearing the table as the other woman experienced a turmoil of vast proportions in her bodily and mental functions. It started with a momentary loss of balance, followed by a weightlessness of both arms and legs, but instead of her vision becoming blurry, it was as if everything grew too vivid, all the colors of the apartment exploding simultaneously before she slowly collapsed into a state of dullness.
“Steffi… w-what… is the meaning… of this?”
“I’m testing a theory, sweetheart. I laced the brownies on your end of the tray with a mild sedative, just enough for you to lose your strength while I do what I have to do.”
Estefania grabbed her semi-drugged friend and led her to the bathroom where a bath filled with steaming, boiling water awaited their arrival. Seeing as the other woman was in no condition to resist, she removed her black dress and high-heel shoes before having her enter the tub.
“Don’t… do this….” Chloe whispered as the warm liquid came in contact with her bare skin.
“I already did, and now I’m about to find out if I was right or not...”
Chloe looked at her with half-sleepy eyes and then, soundlessly, allowed her entire body to go limp. As her head submerged, a phosphorescent glow irradiated from the center of the bathtub, engulfing the entire division in pure white. As it subsided, returning the surrounding world to its natural state, Estefania saw what she had already imagined being true in her mind. Her friend’s long and gorgeous legs had disappeared from view, replaced by a sparkling green tail with hints of yellow, sometimes phasing in and out as if they were alive.
“I knew it!” she exclaimed with glee. “It was hard to believe at first, but I had this distinct feeling about you ever since we met at The Aquarium. There was something in your eyes whenever you were close to water, not to mention all the fluids you consumed on a normal day, much more than a regular human being needs, and now everything’s explained. You’re not human at all. You’re a mermaid!”
Chloe looked at her, still submerged, before sticking her head out, her dripping blonde hair making her an even lovelier sight to behold. She didn’t seem under the influence of the drugs anymore, as if the contact with the water had cleansed her whole from inside out.
“Yes, I am, and I wished you hadn’t figured it all out like this. I thought about telling you many times, but the timing was never right, and I was afraid of what you might think of me if you knew the truth. So now what, Steffi? What are you going to do now that you’re aware of my true nature?”
Estefania removed a small digital camera from one pocket in her leather pants and took three pictures in a row, capturing all the details of the tail and the way it fused with Chloe’s torso, leaving no doubt that she was for real and not an elaborate hoax.
“Well, my feelings for you haven’t changed but, as you can imagine, I have to share with everyone what I found out today! This will change my world completely!”
“You’re going to doom me to be a science project in the hands of greedy humans who know nothing of the mysteries of the sea? I can’t allow that, Steffi!” Chloe replied, her eyes twinkling.
“Then I’m afraid I’m going to have to lock you here in the bathroom while I contact the proper authorities! It’s nothing personal, Chloe—if that’s really your name, after all! —but I just can’t say no to the fame and prosperity this discovery will bring me, can I?”
“You can... and you will. Have you forgotten what the legends say about our kind?” Chloe smiled mischievously and began to sing.
The sound was unlike anything in the world of men, a hybrid of whale song with deaf notes and angelic strings, a combination that shouldn’t work harmonically, yet it did. It was the most profound call of underwater realms, the very definition of ‘enthralling’ and ‘irresistible’, unleashed upon a spirit too frail to comprehend its transcending magnificence, let alone fight it.
“Come to me, Steffi.” Instructed the mermaid in her musical voice to the completely mesmerized woman. With a simple phrase, the mere mortal moved willingly towards her in a resolute pace.
“Now take off your clothes and join me in the tub,” Chloe continued, heightening her power over Estefania’s mind. The human obeyed without hesitation, for all her free will had now been sapped by the supernatural creature’s charms.
The mermaid’s tail wrapped around her waist like an organic straitjacket, keeping her in a pinned position where she could easily be taken advantage of. Then, the music faded and gave way to a passionate kiss, the taste of salted water infiltrating Estefania’s lips alongside something else, and a surge of bio-electric luminescence that caused her head to spasm.
Gently, Chloe held her neck straight and then showed her a single finger. Like an arrow, it was pointing down, to a small point just beneath her navel before the human flesh gave birth to the fish scales.
“Down….” she cooed. “Sink into me.”
Estefania collapsed, her body becoming like a dead weight that had just drowned. However, that wasn’t truly the end of it all for, after an indeterminate period of time, the Latin woman opened her eyes and came to realize she had been reborn within an underwater dimension, a plane of existence below the surface of the Pacific where a dome-like structure, decorated with multi-colored reefs, was the sanctuary for everything that was beautiful and believed impossible by the dwarfish minds of humankind.
As she looked down to the place where her lower limbs used to be, she saw a gorgeous fish tail with red, blue and purple streaks in-between. Chloe was next to her, holding her hand, and they both started to talk to one another using a psychic string, an advanced form of telepathy.
Welcome to your new home, Steffi.
Why did you turn me into a mermaid? I didn’t ask for any of this.
I know you didn’t, but you were ready to expose me and I couldn’t let it happen. I killed humans in the past who uncovered my secret, but you’re different. I really care about you and so I made you a part of the secret as well. Now, you can’t expose us without exposing yourself.
Should I be grateful to you then?
I don’t see why not. Now, you’ll get to experience some truly amazing things you never thought could be real. And we can finally be together. I know you were willing to betray me and all, but when I kissed you, I felt the raw emotions inside you. It’s time to let them all come forth, dear.
I don’t think I can. Not yet at least. This is still all strange to me.
I understand. Take whatever time you need to adjust yourself to this world. In the meantime, can I show you all the lovely things we have down here?
I guess so…
Chloe was overjoyed and kissed her once more, this time on her forehead.
Wonderful. Come along, Steffi. There’s plenty to see.
Her tail flapped and twirled, causing small ripples in the water. Holding on to her hand, Estefania propelled herself forward, feeling the power of the oceanic currents making her pledges of everlasting discoveries. In the immortality beneath the blue, ‘happiness’ would soon cease to be just a word and become her completely.