Ten years ago
It was time for bed and my mother sat down next to me and handed me an old story book. I looked at the worn cover and then questioningly at my mother. Before we started, she told me this is my special book which will tell me the most incredible stories. I should remember the messages they convey as one day I might rely on the information. She opened the cover. The book was filled with incredible art work and legends of the sea. I ran my fingers over the page as she curled up on the bed with me and started to tell me the story of Amphitrite.
A long time ago there was the god of the sea called Poseidon who ruled over all the life within the ocean. He ensured the harmony and balance of the water and all of those who relied on it. Many tributes would be offered to him and his family every hundred years. The god would reward the tributes with good weather, plenty of fish and rains to feed the land. Poseidon had a wife called Amphitrite who he loved dearly. She could calm any storm with her singing and she encourage her husband to be generous and loving to all those who dwelled in their kingdom.
Over time the tributes grew less and less until they stopped all together. Poseidon grew restless and his anger effected the rainfall and fish bounties. Yet Amphitrite encouraged him to provide for the ever-growing dependents until finally the ocean was being exploited beyond all doubt. Poseidon’s frustration grew with the men who overexploited his kindness. One day Poseidon snapped and decided to show humankind the power of the sea.
His rage caused mythical sea creatures to rise from the deep and attack fishing boats. The fish stocks moved to different feeding grounds or dived deeper beyond reach. Poseidon caused huge storms to cause huge waves to bring down many boats and harbours. The rain did not reach the land which caused endless droughts. The fighting caused Amphitrite to become very upset.
In a bid to stop her husband’s fury she set out on land to show the people how they were affecting the sea and how to stop the storms. They laughed at her words until she was forced to display her own powers to convince them of the threat. This had the opposite effect of what she intended and scared the people. The leader of the people a powerful wiccan captured Amphitrite and kept her away from the sea. She was helpless without her powers which were drawn from the ocean. Only when Poseidon knew what she had did he register the humans as a threat to the ocean and all its wealth.
The wiccan bound Amphitrite to a human sole, causing her to live from life to life as a human. Poseidon was forced to quell his anger of fear of killing his precious wife. She disappeared over time but Poseidon cannot hold in his rage forever. Occasionally the seas change, the rain comes and the fish stocks reduce as he mourns his dear wife. He will not be held at bay and one day will be back to release his wife and take revenge on the humankind.
My mother then closed the book much to my disappointment. I was told that was enough for now. She gave me a kiss goodnight and took the book away with her. Before closing the door, she told me that she loved me very much and would see me again soon. I did not see my mother again for that was the night of the flood. I awoke safe on the roof having no idea how I got there. I imagined being carried by a mermaid to safety. Only a few items survived and are stored in my aunt’s attack. My parents did not and I lived with my aunt until I left for university ever since.
“Hi my name is Anna; I’m checking in for the surveyor vessel.” I say as I rush up to the check in desk. I look dishevelled as I push my glasses up my nose and hauling my bag higher up my shoulder. The man at the booth looks carefully at the list.
“There is no Anna here.” He says in a uninterested voice and holds his hand out for my identification.
“Well it might be under Tristana but I don’t use that name.” I reply. I smile at him in hopes he will return it. I am so late. The man takes my passport looks at the photo. He mulls it over for a few seconds before sighing then me before handing over my boarding pass. “Thanks,” I say and pick up my suit case and run for the dock. The boat is due to set sail in ten minutes. I hurtle up the gang plank just before they remove it and I am met by my disapproving colleague.
“Cutting it kind of close Anna,” Matt scorns me. Yet still takes my case out of my hand and leads me down the short corridor to our shared bunk. I was in the third and final year of my PhD research in marine biology. My research consisted of taking evaluations of different sea life and the effect on diversity and abundance of climate change. So far, the results had been unnerving and the increase in freak weather occurrences was happening more and more often. We were assured that we were heading out to open, calm waters off the coast.
Matt was tall, toned and just like me; a huge nerd. We had been on the same course all the way through uni but his thesis was on turtle populations and migration. He was looking for foraging youngsters out in the open water to measure their abundance and distribution. It was going to take a couple of days to get out to the survey point so we had a plenty of time to work on some data analysis and catch up on reading.
The next day we were miles away from the land and I was sunning myself on the deck of the vessel. I had just saved my work to the laptop as I could not access the server. Closing my laptop, I decided I was going to make the most of being outside. The air was clear and fresh and the water stretched out endlessly in front of me. It was a beautiful crystal blue, shimmering in the bright sunlight.
I drifted off. I had trouble sleeping these days, my dreams were filled with angry crowds, the over coming fear of loss and something being ripped away from me. As I drifted off the scenes started again. I was holding my mothers’ hand as we walked into the town. The angry shouts came from every side and I could feel hands snatching at my clothes. It felt so real until I woke up. Matt was shaking me hard, telling me to wake up. I opened my eyes and looked at his anxious face.
“Anna get inside, we are turning back.” Matt cried and pulled me to my feet. Just at that moment the boat shook as a powerful wave crashes over the side of the boat. Spraying me and Matt with salty water. The clouds decent and the sea starts to rock the boat. I clutch Matts hand as he run back towards the cabins. It is not an easy journey as the wind picks up and we scramble from side to side with the tilt of the boat.
Another wave crashes over the side. This time the water mounts the vessel and my hand is ripped from Matts. I feel myself crash into the railing as the water pushes me off my feet. I hear his voice call out for me to hang on. The boat tips to the side and I cling on for dear life. Then I will never forget that sound. The snap and bang as the survey equipment which is tied down breaks free and collides with me and sends me over the edge of the railing into the water.
I don’t know how long I fought the waves until I found something to hang on to. I floated through the storm. Barely keeping my body above the surface as the angry sea tossed me around within an inch of my life. My research vessel disappeared without a trace as the current carried me away. I shut my eyes and prayed for the storm to pass. I don’t know how long but finally the water calmed and left me to hang on to the crate. I’ve never felt such a feeling of helplessness in my life.
The night drew in but the now still water was illuminated by the open moonlight. My strength was ebbing. I could not see sign of land or any other vessel which could help. My leg ached. I rolled onto my back and looked at the gash which was slowly oozing blood into the water. The salty crust that had formed was stemming the bleed a little. could possibly be broken.
I clung on to the crate and watched the moon move across the sky. I prayed that it would not set and plunge me into endless darkness. The stars stretched out above me but I had no idea how to work out my location from them. Then I saw it, probably about two hundred yards away. The fin of a shark. I gripped the crate harder than ever. The fin drew closer and closer before sinking into the water. Sharks hunt by smelling the blood in the water and sensing the movement of their prey. If I remain completely still it might pass by me. But my heart beat was giving me away.
I could not see the fin and the water below was pitch black. I could feel the gentle movement of the water beneath me. Then two more fins appear at the surface of the water, breaking for a minute and then diving. The adrenaline bursts through my veins as the panic sets in. The light vanishes moon sinks just beyond the horizon leaving me in total darkness. I listen hard, putting one ear beneath the surface. There is a rush past me as a sharp set of teeth clamp down on my leg. I cry out in pain and dare not to kick out as the shark tries to pull a chunk of my leg off.
Another makes contact above my thigh. The power of their combined jaws is agonising and I instinctively thrash my leg and punch them trying to get them to release their grip. However, my arm slips off the crate and my head sinks below the water. The sharks combine strength pull me further down. I kick out and manage to break the surface before the third shark grips my arm and the three of them plunge me beneath the surface. I hold my breath and try to fight them off but the pain is overwhelming and I am close to giving up. The blackness, cold and pain are too much to handle and I submit to the inevitable. Letting the water out of my lungs as they pull me deeper still.
I see the light flash in front of my eyes. I must be going that bright place people describe. But the pain eases and the pulling stops. There is a whooshing sound in the water around me and the light is getting brighter. The sharks are fought off. I must be going mad. But the light brightens and I can see something circling me. Could it be dolphins? One pushes me up to the surface. I can only feel this as my face breaks the surface and I feel the cold air on my face. I cough as I try to push the water out of my lungs. I have lost a lot of blood from the shark bites. Disorientation is overcoming my sense of reality.
I feel like the water is holding me up as if I have been gently lifted into warm arms. The light is blaring in front of my eyes so I close them. The wind whispers my name. A warm fry face presses against mine and I feel the air enter my lungs. I am not cold or in pain anymore yet I am past the point of all comprehension. The pain fades away to nothing as I feel safe and fall asleep against the warmness supporting me.
I know that I am safe. It takes a moment for me to really wake up. I feel around with my fingers. I am lying on soft delicate sand with the sun gently warming my skin. I blink and squint at the bright light which obscures my vision. Something was just blocking it. I push myself up feeling very confused and look round. I am lying on a white sandy beach. Is this heaven? Everything is in focus; I touch my face and feel my glasses balancing on my nose. I wasn’t wearing these in the water. The memory clicked of falling over board and the shark attack. I look down to find that I am wearing a clean white, ankle length dress. I pull up the material and see no marks on my legs and no bleeding.
I check the back of my hand and see not a blemish on my skin. Did I imagine the whole thing? I hear a voice behind me. I look round to see a stranger walking towards me. I am able to stand up much to my surprise and look round to see a coast guard walking towards me.
“Mam, are you alright. Is your name Anna?” He calls as he walks towards me.
“Yes,” I stammer confused. My legs bear my weight. I am questioning my own sanity.
“Who was that person who was just with you?” the coast guard asks as he reaches me.
“What person?” I ask. I look down and see wet marks in the sand that lead to the edge of the water about ten yards away and disappear.
“The man who ran into the water when I shouted the first time.” He asks. The moment is too overwhelming. My thoughts are confused and anxiety takes over.
“I don’t remember,” I say and that moment I faint into the coast guards’ arms as the situation becomes too much.
Three days Later
I have my eyes shut so that I can ignore the doctor. I am lying in a hospital room as the doctor speaks to a police officer in my private room. The hospital moved me there when a journalist snuck in as a patient and took pictures off me. The girl who fell off a research vessel, landed on a beach a mile away from where she started before the vessel returned from the storm.
“It’s incredible.” The doctor says to the chief of police. “The girl doesn’t have a scratch on her. There is video footage of her being swept off the research vessel. I think the person who ran away may have done something to her. She isn’t answering any of our questions which makes me believe she was rescued and suffered some kind of further trauma.”
I listen to the men talking with all their renditions of what could have happened to me. The research vessel had docked yesterday and Matt was waiting for clearance to come and see me. I hadn’t answered any of their questions the whole event was clouding my mind. I knew what had happened. But surely it must have been delirium. Yet how can I have survived. I remember the pain of the shark attack but there is not a scratch on me.
Of course, I have not said this to anyone as they will call me for a psychological evaluation straight away. The coast guard who brought me in has been question and sold the story to the papers already. I have discharged myself already. I just need to wait for Matt to come and get me. I turn the television on to drown out the doctor’s voice outside. The news is reporting the freak storm that we were caught in which sank dozens of ships. They also recall the longest drought period and the lowest fish catches in history. I don’t concentrate on the report as Matt enters with my flatmate.
“Finally,” I cry, sitting up in bed and reaching out as my flatmate Lucy runs into my arms. She is small with long blonde hair. She looks sweet but has a fiery personality. Her and Matt have always had a little bit of a thing but they will never admit it. “What took you so long to come get me.” I ask as she squeezes me tightly.
“They wouldn’t let me in. Thought I was one of the journalists until I could prove I was your emergence contact.” Lucy says and let me breathe.
“Down side of being an orphan, I guess. My aunt was not able to come.” I reply and pull the hair out of her face. The relief that she can see that I am ok. I hate to imagine what she called the officers when they wouldn’t let her pass to see me. Lucy laughs and sits on the edge of the bed with me and we both look over at Matt. He has not moved from the door. He looks guilt ridden.
“Anna, I’m so sorry. I leg go of you and you went overboard.” He stammered without looking me in the eye. I cut him off before he could go on.
“Matt it was an accident. I didn’t fall in because of you.” I say. Matt is filled with survivors’ guilt but I am ok.
“There’s nothing you could have done. Let’s just put it in the past.” I say gently.
“But what happened to you? How did you get back before us? I saw the cannister and crates hit you. How do you not even have a bruise?” He asks each question in quick succession. I now avoid his gaze. Lucy and Matt are my best friends but I know they will think I am crazy if I tell them what I think happened.
“I don’t know. I fell over board and next thing I know I woke up on the beach.” I reply and get out of bed to get dressed. I may not have a scratch on me but I am still recovering from exhaustion and dehydration. I feel Lucy’s eyes inspecting me as I pull on the jeans she has brought. I’ve only just been taken off the saline solution and having every test taken on the list. Never mind the fact that everyone has just been waiting for me to break down. I want my flat and my bed.
Lucy has brought me some clothes to change into as everything that was on the boat was taken by the police. This includes all of my research. As we are about to leave the hospital the police give us a tip off that there are people waiting for us to get to the flat. Everyone wants an exclusive interview. I think and then tell them my aunts address. We leave via the back of the hospital in a private car and get drive to the outskirts of town to my aunt’s address.
Her house is by a beach not to far from where I was found. I look away from the water and turn my phone. I have thousands of messages, missed calls and emails from people trying to see if I am ok. There are serval messages from new paper companies. In the time it takes to get to my aunt’s house I receive seven calls from blocked numbers. I turn my phone onto flight mode as we reach her house.
I am smothered in kisses and hugs from my aunt who doesn’t want to let me go again. She never planned to have a child but took me in without a moment’s hesitation. I would describe her as firm but fair. I nearly receive a smack for scaring her to death and she even goes after Matt for not looking after me. She doesn’t try to say anything to Lucy as Lucy would shoot her down immediately.
My aunt suggests the first thing we do is head up to the attic to dig out some of my mother’s clothes for me to wear. I find some old 70s jeans and tops which I bring down in a box and dump the contents out in my room while my aunt makes dinner. I dress and notice inside the box is an old story book which I don’t remember putting up here. I vaguely remember the story about Poseidon’s revenge and flick to the chapter. I remember sharing the story with my mother and I turn the page to see that there is more to the story. I didn’t recall the pages after. I take a moment to read.
One day, many hundreds of years later brought humanity to its knees. Consumed by anger, Poseidon continued to cause havoc for all those men who depended on the ocean. Until finally, the humans walked to the edge of the largest sea and called for Poseidon to call a truce. Poseidon appeared with his son and daughter at his side. Amphitrite had the immortality of a god but was old and haggard in her human form. The humans threatened to sacrifice Amphitrite if Poseidon did not return the rain to the land and fish to the water.
Poseidon raised his arm to smite all those who stood before him. Before he could his daughter stepped forward. She offered herself in place of her mother. The humans agreed but this time the magic they used tied Poseidon’s daughters sole to the earth. If the earth suffered from Poseidon’s wrath his daughter would be lost forever. The wiccan who captured Amphitrite offered up an incantation but did not reveal the full spell. The daughter agreed and before Poseidon could object, she was ripped from the sea into a frail human form and Amphitrite return to the water. Amphitrite was weak and wretched.
The daughter was forever bound to walk the land, bound by the magic of the wiccan for ever. Her father and mother would never be able to reach her while on the land. But like a human if she entered the water for too long, she would not survive. This was a curse. Poseidon angered by grief cast his own curse on the land. As his daughter suffered at the hand of his curse, he relinquished his power. For fear of losing his daughter he left humankind to do as they please. Poseidon dreams that one day he will find a way to free his daughter and take revenge on the humans who thwarted him.
I finish the pages looking at the pictures depicting the scenes below. Something seemed familiar about the story. I brought the book downstairs with me and leave it at the end of the bed and go down stairs to dinner.
The Next Day
My aunt is a lovely woman but she obsessed in taking care of me. We have a security car parked outside the house in case of any unsolicited attention approaching. Lucy and Matt left for the city to go to work but promised to try and sneak my clothes out of my apartment tonight as I look like my mother in the seventies. My aunt is my life but I found her smothering. I needed some air so I go for a walk. After hearing the news of another freak storm off the coast my aunt is hesitant but I assure her I won’t go near the sea.
Yet here I am walking along the sand bare foot in my dungarees. I am not scared of the water. I am fascinated by it. My brain has given up trying to make sense of what happened. I sit and dip my toes in the fresh sea water and relax back on the sand. Finally, a little bit of time to myself. I must of lay there for an hour but after a while I feel like I am being watched. I sit up, the water has risen so that I am sitting waist deep. I swear I can feel a pair of eyes on me. I look up and down the beach but I am completely alone.
Looking over behind me I edge back into the water and scan the sand dunes for someone with a camera. Bang. I turn around and look out into the sea and something awakens in my mind. I see the eyes of people on the beach looking at me as I get to my knees and give myself up. The fear rushes through me but I have no choice. The words crack through the air and I am sucked away into a different life.
The sudden flash back overwhelms me and I fall to my knees in the water. The eyes are all around me. The water comes to life and pulls me away from the beach in a sudden strong current. I swim hard to get back to shore. The current pulls me faster than should be possible as the beach disappears into the horizon in mere seconds. It is no effort to keep my head above the surface. It’s as if the water is part of me. I sink beneath the surface and do not feel the urge to hold my breathe. There are lights glimmering around me which aren’t from the sun. There are several dolphins and seals circling me and looking at me. Were these the eyes I felt earlier?
A sense of calm rises in me. I feel as if I am home. This only lasts momentarily as the bewilderment returns. I open my mouth and the sea water enters my lungs, chocking me as I strike up for the surface. One of the larger dolphins pushes me up to the surface for below and I gasp for air. How the hell did I end up in the middle of the water. The light is surrounding me in the water. Scared doesn’t describe how I feel at this moment.
Bubble rise to the surface from the glowing water and the dolphin moves away. The bubbles support me and stop me falling beneath the surface as if it creating a cushion of water. I cough up the last of the sea water. Then slowly a figure rises out of the bubbles. A strong, muscular man with hair flowing in the air like its still beneath the water. He is only covered by a sort of toga but he seems familiar. Only his torso is out of the water. This is all too weird. I try to move away from him but the bubbles follow me.
“Fear not dear one. I am not here to do you harm.” The man says, which doesn’t stop my heart beating any faster.
“Who are you?” I ask in a tremoring voice.
“That is up to you to remember but you are awakening. I have a message for you. The god of the sea has awoken and will not rest until that what is most precious will be returned to him.” The man says. He is nearly three times the size of a normal person and carrying a spear which could slice me in half.
“What are you talking about?” I ask but before I can say anything else, he cuts me off.
“We do not have time. Finish the book and remember before Poseidon takes his revenge.” The voice is familiar and the memory clicked. The voice on the wind.
“You pulled me from the water.” I exclaim. The man nods.
“Poseidon tried to claim you back but the witches curse prevented your return. I returned you to the land. That was his last attempt. He has given up and will take his revenge on humankind. Remember who you are.” His voice is filled with even greater urgency.
“How did you heal me? This whole thing is impossible.” I exclaim needing these answers.
“I have healed many a human fallen victim to the sea and its creatures. Amphitrite left me in charge of the cetaceans. But your powers will return to you if you remember. Before it’s too late.” I open my mouth to ask more questions. The man reaches out and presses his hand on my shoulder. The water rises through his body. I feel the power of the ocean at his touch. Once again, I am rushing back until I feel my feet touch the sand. The water rises up and splashes over me from head to toe. Finally, the wave pulls back and I am completely dry and unharmed. I’m back on the beach where I had been standing five minutes ago. I turn on my heal and run for my life. This hallucination has confirmed it. I am completely crazy and I am not going near the sea ever again.
I call Matt and Lucy when I get back. They are already on their way back to my aunt’s house. I am totally freaked out. I must be going mad. There is no explanation for what has been happening. I need to tell someone. Lucy and Matt reach my aunts house after an hour and come up to my room looking very anxious.
“What’s wrong? Have you had flashback?” Lucy asked as she entered my old bedroom and sat down next to me. I press my fingers into my hair trying to work out how to explain the situation. They both put a hand on my shoulders. I stood up and started to explain. When I was done they looked at me as if they didn’t know what to say.
“Are you sure that’s what happened?” Matt says. I can tell in his voice that he doesn’t quite believe me.
“I’m telling you what happened. I know it’s not possible but it did.” I try not to raise my voice as I sound slightly hysterical. The pair of them look at each other with equal expressions of bewilderment. I walk past my mothers’ book and pick it up. Comprehension dawns on my face. “Look, it’s exactly what is being warned in the stories in this book.” I plant myself back down between them and open up the pages. All of a sudden, I notice that there are new entries at the back. These pages were not here yesterday. I am confused again.
“Emm Anna, there’s nothing in this book.” Matt says looking at the pages over my shoulder.
“What are you talking about?” I ask. Matt runs his hand over the page. Surely, he could feel the painted pallets and gold foil wrapped edges.
“No, its just an old scrap book.” He’s says and I push his hand away.
“Look at this part.” I say and start to read aloud as they more and more worried. Something inside is compelling me to read and finish the story. I turn to the new pages.
As Poseidon’s curse grew stronger, the magic which was held inside his daughter started to awaken. For the first time in centuries the daughter in her human form reached the water. Caught in her fathers curse she nearly died from the storms and creatures her father conjured. But these were nothing compared by what was yet to come. Poseidon’s curse would be ready at the next full moon and finally he would have his revenge on the human race.
Without his knowledge, Poseidon’s son was hatching a plan to save his sister and stop rage destroying his father. For if a god takes a mortal life he shall be dammed for all eternity. Poseidon’s son wielded his mother powers over the creatures of the sea to protect the humans. He rallied four of the greatest warriors his father had to find his sister and protect her. If she could break free of the spell that bound her in human form then together, they would have the strength to counteract their fathers curse. But how to set her free, that was the question.
“Do you not see it has been right here all along. Even if this book is full of stories of myths and magic. The predictions it has been making are coming to light.” I say. The other two look slightly dumbfounded. I urge them to believe me.
“Are you sure you didn’t hit your head today?” Matt asks but I ignore him. Lucy decided to take a different approach.
“Ok, say this is true. Isn’t the next full moon only a week away?” Lucy asks. Matt takes out his phone and flicks through the local news websites.
“There have been more storms off the coast and all over the world today. With no fish been caught all over the world. This has normally been weeks apart but the events are speeding up.” He reports, still looking sceptical. “But think about this as a scientist you know this is down to global warming and climate change.
“They can’t see it. There’s no point in trying to tell them.” I hear a voice say from behind me. I look round but there is no one there.
“Let’s just wait and see if any of this pan out. It could just be a coincidence and changes in the jetstream causing this weather pattern. It has been recorded in maritime records before.” Lucy said trying to ease the situation. She doesn’t have a background in science so the concept was simple in her mind.
“Also, you should know that the reporters have been camped outside your flat. I wouldn’t go home now.” Matt advised me and I could tell that he was keen to get on the road. My friends thought I was truly crazy.
“Believe me, I won’t be coming home for a while.” I reply downheartedly. It hurt that they didn’t believe me. Little did I know this would be the last time that I saw my friends. I only wish I had chosen my words differently. When they left, I pull the curtains over the window and lay back on my old bed and closed my eyes.
“It’s nearly time.” Said the voice from earlier, however I was already asleep.
The next week
It was Monday when I woke. Lucy and Matt were unable to spend any time with me as they had to go back to work. I was on forced leave until I was given the all clear by the doctors. I passed the time working on my thesis which had been recovered from my laptop on the boat. Though a lot of the time I poured over news websites, watching and waiting for more stories. But for the first time in weeks there was nothing to report. They trawlers even caught fish in time to supply them to the market.
On Wednesday the worst happened. The media had tracked me down. I had nipped down the shop to get some bread and milk when a car pulled up and started snapping pictures off me. Foolishly I ran back to my aunt’s house and within an hour, they were swarming the property. I kept the curtains shut and told my aunt to stay at work. This was when things started to get weird.
At first, I thought I was imagining it. I had the television on in the back ground. I heard that voice again and again. “Go to the sea. It is time to return. Remember!” I blocked most of them out. My sense of reason was starting to think I had hit my head or was hallucinating in a comba. However, on Thursday something different happened. I walked past the mirror to grab a hair bobble, only half glancing at my reflection. I did a double take as my reflection moved independently. My heart started beating hard. I walked back to look at myself. Instead of my pyjamas and messy hair. I was stood in a white gown, with hair down to my waist. My skin though pale was opalescent like the sun shining through the water. The reflection looked back at me. And then opened its mouth and spoke.
“You have to go back. You have the strength. Before it is too late.” Her voice was faint and pure. It was muffled slightly, as if she was hearing it from underwater but still could make out the words perfectly. I stared at her. My stomach was filled with fear as I backed away slowly.
“Leave me alone!” I yelled at it.
“WAKE UP,” she commanded and I felt the fear and frustration rise up in my stomach. These weren’t my emotions however. The reflections eyes shone and I saw the dreams again. Everything detail was so clear. The arms pulling me up the beach. The words of the wiccan. The pain as my body was pulled apart. I screamed and fell to my knees. Covered my ears and begged it to stop. The pain mounted and burst out of me in a wave of power. The mirror shattered into a thousand pieces. I found my arm stretched out with my hand pointing straight at it as a glow extinguished from my fingertips.
I shivered as I got to my feet and walked towards the mirror. The glasses lay all over the floor and I looked down into the shards. There was no sign of the glowing eyes. Had I imagined it all? A hand grabbed my shoulder from behind and pulled me round to face them. The woman with the glowing eyes was standing right behind me. My heart dropped and the fear spiked. Before I could react, she put both her hands on the side of my head.
I blinked and I was at the waters edge. My foot poised to step into the liquid. I had no idea how I had got there. I had a compelling urge to enter the water. Losing my balance, I fell back onto the sand and pushed myself away. I was sweating profusely. I raised my hands to my eyes; I pushed the sweat out of them and rubbed my temples. I heard the rush of the rising tide run forward and touch the tip of my toes.
“Poseidon has decided. It is time. You do not have long.” A familiar voice said from in front of me. I gasp and uncover my eyes. The huge man from the water is crouching in front of me. He holds himself up on his forearms to talk to me as he lies on top of the water. His lower body is made up of a large tail much like a dolphin. I turn to run. But the man grabs my wrist to stop me leaving.
“I know you are scared but for the sake of the world you must remember!” The man says. I’ve had enough of these hallucinations. The terror ignites something powerful within me and I feel this power rush to my forearm. With a cracking sound the man lets go of my arm is if in pain. Not waiting a second to find out what is happening I turn and run. I don’t look back. If I am lucid in these hallucinations maybe I am getting some control back. I sprint up the beach and make it to my aunt’s house and slam the door behind me, locking it tight.
“Aunty!” I yell up the stairs. Rushing through the house, I find her in my room picking up the pieces of the broken mirror. “Aunty please you have to help me there is something wrong with me.” I plead as I hurry into the room. My aunt turns around but it isn’t her. An old woman, with a haggard face and beady eyes looks back at me. I back away from the stranger.
“Well I guess it is that time again.” She says, holding up the dustpan with the broken glass in it.
“Who are you? Where is my aunt?” I ask suspiciously.
“Oh, let’s not do this again. I don’t think I can deal with you for another ten years of you constantly asking questions. Your father has played his hand.” The haggard woman says dismissively. She stoops down and picks up the old story book my mother gave me. “Though I must admit this is new.” She said thoughtfully and flicked through the pages. “A book of instructions and power to overcome my spells. Well that must of taken some power from your brother. But never mind.” The woman snaps the book shut hard between her hands and it evaporates in a puff of smoke.
I gasp at the spectacle. My head tells me to run but something new inside me wants to fight. For a second, the urge grows stronger. The woman looks at me and a flash of fear crosses her face. Inside me the feeling grows, warmth spreading through my finger tips until it reaches my face. Something while hot surges through me, a power I have never felt before and then I hear it the voice.
“You will not win Miranda. It is over. I will return to my father.” The voice has returned but this time I am saying the words. Yet I am not the one speaking. The world around me transforms and the haggard woman shoots up into a strong enchantress. We are in an old village next to the sea, surrounded by endless grassy dunes and angry villagers.
“Tristana? Well I can say I am surprised to hear your voice after so many centuries. No matter, I have been preparing for this day.” The woman says and raises her hand. I involuntarily raise mine faster than hers and she cries out in pain. Something has hurt her.
“You know that you cannot defeat my father.” I turn to leave as the memory fades back into the room. I am confident and safe. I know what to do. Touch the sea and I am free.
“Tristana, you may have got your conscience back. But you are still bound to a human body and she is susceptible to damage. If she dies then so do you.” Miranda says. I turn around to face her, unsure whether what she says is true. Something blunt and heavy collides with the back of my head and I fall to the ground out cold. As I lose consciousness the warmth and power shrink away inside me and disappears until there is nothing left.
Something keeps me asleep. I ebb in and out of consciousness. Each time I stir I am dosed with something that sends me back into the abyss. Yet my mind is alert as I sense danger each time. The storms have returned and are getting worse by the day. Whirl pools have appeared off the coasts and the rains which have been absent for years have soaked the land causing flash flooding. There have been increased shark attacks and jellyfish stings causing huge fatalities. The world is panicking and some say it may be the start of the apocalypse.
I finally awaken, lying on the beach in front of the sea as the storms rage over the horizon. Despite the wind and the rain, the sky is completely clear and the moon shines high above in the night sky. I hear Mirandas voice in the background chanting strange words. There is a snap and I feel pain like never before. Like my body is being ripped in half. I cannot scream. I suffer it internally as another wave hits. The torment has begun, each strike as Mirandas words piece through my skin. Then suddenly it stops as Miranda stops chanting. I hear her walking over the sand and crouches down next to me so that I can see her face.
“It’s a shame our relationship has to end this way. You were the least annoying incarnation of Tristana.” Miranda says pulling my hair away from my face. She yelps as something burns her fingers when she touches me. Without uttering a word there is a retuning torturous pain. She kicks sand into my eyes and walks back to the fire. I feel fear but there is a small feeling of hope burning away in my chest.
The thunder and lightning clash over head as the rain gets even heavier. I blink trying to get the sand out of my eyes but out of my lashes I can see the sea bubbling. The bubbles spread over the surface of the water. I can feel the hope growing in my chest. Large shapes rise up out of the water, only past their torsos. One is familiar and closest to me. However, the spectacle is not finished. A whirlpool appears in the middle of the water.
Miranda starts to get excited and resumes her chanting. The pain intensifies but this time it is slightly muted. Someone emerges out of the depths of the whirl pool as if it were steps and walks out on top of the water. An enormous man, with a large white beard yet toned beyond imaginable, carrying a trident and wearing nothing over his top half walks across the water towards us until he is only thirty feet away.
“Poseidon,” Miranda acknowledges the man. I feel another spike of pain but cannot believe my ears. Yet he is familiar. “Finally decided what your daughter’s life is worth?” Miranda mocked the man. He looked at her and then at me on the ground.
“I have made many mistakes but tonight rests on you.” Poseidon replied, his voice deep and powerful. He raises his trident and slams the end hard onto the surface of the water. The sea freezes and relaxes with the storms evaporating into the air. The trident makes an echoing sound like as song. The whole effect is impossible.
“Release her or tonight will be the end of man kind and it will all be down to you.” Poseidon threatens now raising the trident to point at Miranda.
“I made a deal with your wife. I do not barging with you.” Miranda spat back and snapped her fingers. The pain is unbelievable and I am able to make sound. The scream coming out of my mouth isn’t mine. I sound far away and helpless.
“My wife is dead.” Poseidon cries in a terrible fit of rage. He pierces the water with his trident sending a huge wave forward. Miranda stops it with a sweep of her hand. The pain ebbs again and I am silenced once more. My heart is filled with grief beyond description. Once again, this emotion does not belong to me. The anger builds and I feel the warmth return. I open my eyes and look out into the water as Poseidon and Miranda start to duel. Clashes of lightening and mist descend on the two both as powerful as each other.
Through the fog I see my saviour looking back at me. I open my eyes long enough to see his fearful expression and his lips move. “Remember” I close my eyes again and hear the voice. But it is my voice, my face I see in my mind. It all comes back to me. The war, the sacrifice, being bound to a body constantly reincarnated as each time I remembered Miranda would defeat me. She would take on a new form herself in an endless cycle over the centuries. Then I remember my mother visiting me in a dream, delivering the book before the flood. The flood water had entered my bedroom as Poseidon had tried to retrieve me after the loss of my mother. But I was going to drown so my brother retrieved me from the flood water and left me on the safety of the roof. The wiccan found me and wiped my mind clear of the memory. Yet I knew my mother had visited me that night before she died. The grief overwhelms me. I feel the power build up.
The ground starts to shake all around us. My eyes snap open as I see a bright light illuminating the world around me. I am one with the land and sea. I remember who I am and I am awake. As my mother is gone, I am goddess of the sea, I just need to reach the water. My mouth opens as Miranda sees me awaken. She sends unbearable waves of pain over me again. This time I can feel she means to kill me and she might. I manage to cry out.
“Father.” I gasp. He turns to look at me and instantly he knows what to do. With all his might he pulls the trident back and then points it at my chest. The sea rises behind him and despite Miranda’s effort douses me in sea water. For a second I roll into a ball and feel the power engulf me. It builds and builds until I finally release it.
Breaking free from my mortal bonds, I push out of the water. My water forms a toga shape around me and forms my dress. My hair returns to its proper length and I grow to my original size. With a snap of my fingers Miranda falls back and is held down by her own spell. She was channelling her magic through me but the connection is a last broken. My father looks at me. Relief is beyond measure on his face. He then looks back at Miranda pulling the trident back which is drawing energy in.
“No father please. I have returned. There is no need.” I cry out desperately. I remember the last section of the book. My mother’s own words.
“This wiccan has taken everything from this family. I will destroy her and then all of mankind. I will return the sea to the paradise it once was.” Poseidon yells, I can feel the power building in his staff.
“No father.” My brother the kelpie yells from his other side. There is no stopping him as the trident glows red hot. There is nothing I can do to stop him, unless… I wait for the last second and then step in front of the trident. I block the spell from hitting the wiccan and intake the full blast of his curse. The pain the wiccan had forced on my mortal body was a pin prick compared to this. I can feel my father’s millennia of rage and pain course through me until it peaks and I sink into the shallow water. My brother reaches me as my father stares dumbfounded at what I have done.
Miranda looks at me as the spell breaks and laughs hard. She won after all this time. Yet her power is gone as I am too and she decomposes into the sand. Her final laugh lost on the wind. Poseidon throws down the trident and drops to his knees next to me.
“Foolish child. What on waters name have you done?” Poseidon asks me.
“I couldn’t let you damn yourself. You would never see mother again.” I say in a painful voice. The pain is slowly fading as am I. Everything is hazy around the edges.
“Damn you sister.” Says my brother as I grip his hand and he keep me afloat in the water.
“Take this.” I say looking at him and passing on our mothers’ power. The only thing keeping me going.
“No sister.” I interrupt him before I can finish.
“Make it right. Or else our sacrifices were for nothing. “I say, my voice Is getting weaker. I don’t have much time. “Father, promise you will rule the sea a merciful god. Man, kind knows not what they do or can achieve. Do not judge them all on the actions of a few.” I reach out my hand as my fathers face swims out of view. He does not reply. I know only to well his fear and pain.
“Promise me.” I beg with my last breath.
“I promise.” He says and takes my hand. I relax. A god promise to one another is binding, even if he so wished it, he may not ever go against my wishes. I slump in brothers’ arms and float out of my body. I look over them as they cry out in pain and shake me. I am without fear or pain. Someone taps me on the shoulder. I look round and see my mother standing behind me. She reaches out her hand. I take one look at my father and brother, feeling nothing but love and then turn around and take her hand. I feel peace at the moment of her touch and we walk across the water together.
If you were an on looker you would only see the most fearsome storm that ever raged across the sea. It rained for several weeks after that night ending the longest drought the land has ever seen. Never again did the sea roar like it once did. The fish returned and humanity basked in the splendour of the water’s richness. If you look carefully in story books of old, Tristana’s story is right there on the pages of the old book. Which vanished in a puff of smoke but reappeared to warn humanity in every library on the earth not to take the sea for granted, for the powers it holds can never truly be tested again