The dreadlocked beauty remarkable for having won her trip on the Internet hurried to her cabin and didn’t come out again. Deep into the cruise, half-eaten plates of sashimi stacked up outside her door. Damp seeped from her room to the cabin below. Once, the porter found a set of wet footprints that ended at the deck’s edge. The next day, a curious trail of tiny fish bones that stretched the length of the hallway crunched like sand dollars under his blue-black Oxfords. Late one night he followed the slightly off-key singing of a popular love song to the top deck swimming pool, its turquoise bowl resting high above the surrounding black ocean. A long arm motioned to him from the deep end. He had barely knelt at the pool’s edge before being pulled in, where underwater he looked for the first time into the woman’s blue, slightly bloodshot eyes. She deftly wrapped his arms around what felt like sharp scales at her waist, and then suddenly they were flying up toward a gigantic movie screen moon, then plunging down to the churning waves. A searing pain and they were joined like matched halves of a shell, his new tail sewn neatly alongside her own.
Lynn Mundell co-edits 100wordstory.org. Her work has been published in The Sun, Eclectica, Oblong, and First Class Lit, with more forthcoming in Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine and Counterexample Poetics. Lynn used to think she coined the term “scairytales” to describe some of her writing, but this appears to be yet another of her failed inventions. Lynn lives in California with her husband, two sons, and a backyard full of dandelions.