Happy release day for Poppy Lawless! The Falling in Deep Collection, of which INK is a part, continues with this latest release!
I'm the last mermaid.
I’m back on shores of Lake Erie, but the cold waters are silent. There is nothing here for me but ghosts and the beach glass that litters the rocky shore. Long ago, I lived below the waves. Now, I am the sole survivor, and at long last, my mermaid glamour is leaving me.
Every day, I walk the beach. Every day, I wonder what happened to my people. The little pieces of colored glass that wash ashore give me simple pleasure. They are gifts from the lake, reminders of home. I fashion them into trinkets: necklaces, earrings, bracelets. They are beautiful things. The humans seem love them.
Every day, I walk the beach. Nothing ever changes, until the day he says hello.
It’s not a question, it’s a fact. The cancer is eating me alive. They told me I have six months to live, maybe less. I came home, back to Chancellor on Lake Erie, to die. The sunsets are vivid there, and I will relish every one.
I've never seen anything more beautiful than a Lake Erie sunset until I see her.
All life is as fragile as glass.
What would you sacrifice to save the one you love?
Chapter 1: Kate
The surf lapped over my feet, sea foam tickling my toes. It was early summer, but the lake water was still icy. I closed my eyes and felt the cool waves. In the deep of winter, when the lake would freeze, we always sheltered on one of the small islands that dotted Lake Erie. The humans in those days had called us lumpeguin. Sighing deeply, I opened my eyes and looked down at the rocky shoreline.
“There you are,” I whispered, bending to pick up a piece of green beach glass. I lifted it and looked at it in the diming sunlight. It was tear-shaped and worn smooth from its time in the water. A soft white sheen coated the green glass. That made seven green pieces, five light blue pieces, eight white pieces, and seven amber pieces. Not a bad haul. Alas, no red. I rarely found red anymore. The lake had stopped giving up her most beautiful treasures. If I wanted, I could swim down deep to the troves of wave-kissed glass. But I hadn’t been below the surface in nearly three hundred years, and I certainly wasn’t going to ruin that stretch over some sparkly bauble, even if all my customers begged for red beach glass.
I tucked the green beach glass into my satchel, pulled my long, straw-colored hair back, and then bent to pick up my sandals. I looked out at the lake. The sun was dipping below the horizon. There was nothing more glorious than a Lake Erie sunset. Shimmering shades of rosy pink, orange, and magenta illuminated the sky and reflected on the waves. Breathing in deeply, I tried to inhale the scene. The briny scent of the fresh lake water was perfumed with the lingering smell of snow and flowers. Not for the first time, I wondered what my old home looked like now. Forgotten under the waves, the eerie sea kingdom had been left to be ruled by ghosts and memories.
I sucked in a breath and turned to go. I wouldn’t cry. Mermaids’ tears were, after all, a special and rare commodity. They carried life itself, and I didn’t have much of that magical spark left in me. A single tear could spell my end, sapping out the last of the gift from the deep. No, I’d managed to live for over three hundred years. It wouldn’t do to weep over an amazing sunset, a nearly-forgotten past, nor the realization that I was truly alone. It was what it was. I couldn’t change the fact that I was the last mermaid.
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