The Mermaid – Second Encounter

The second time I saw the mermaid, she was singing.

Now, when most people think of a singing mermaid, they think of the red-haired songstress with a penchant for hoarding, bewitching siren songs, etc.

This was more like… well, imagine an old cat yowling for dinner. Scratchy, off-key and off-putting.

She was in the water this time, her back to me, and she was splashing while squawking a familiar tune.

“Are… are you singing Crocodile Rock?” I asked from the shore.

She gasped and submerged, then resurfaced about twenty feet away, scowling.

“Are you following me?” she hissed, her sea green eyes seemed to glow from the sun reflecting off of the water.

I pointed down the beach. “I am living in one of the beach houses for the summer, I just walk the beach a lot.”

“Whatever. Get a life.”

She was gone with a flick of her strong tail, leaving a wake of bubbles and Elton John stuck in my head.

Listen

The office was silent. Usually filled with the sound of keyboards tapping, mouses clicking and hushed conversations, it was unnaturally quiet. My coworkers all sat still, some with heads tilted, as if listening.

A few moments passed.

“What… what is that?” the intern hissed.

“You hear that too, right?”

“Oh, thank god I am not imagining it.”

“What IS that?”

The chorus of whispered questions died down, as everyone listened again.

“It sounds like it is coming from outside…”

Without speaking, they all stood, and filed out of their cubicles. Other offices were emptying into the hallway, everyone speaking softly. Listening.

“Bells… like, sleigh bells.” One woman gasped.

“No, it is definitely a violin. Beethoven!” Someone else chimed in.

“No one else hears… singing?”

They drifted towards the exit, entranced. I followed them out.

The street was filled with people. Many appeared joyful, as if they were listening to beautiful music. The mass of people was starting to drift down the street, laughing, listening, looking to the sky.

“It’s beautiful.”

“Where is it coming from?”

“It sound like the angels are laughing!”

The crowd grew and grew. People came out of their houses as we reached the suburbs, joining the exhilarated group.

Soon we were at the city limits, open fields and blue sky for miles.

I noticed a small group had stayed back, and did not join the euphoric crowd, who were now dancing and hugging and gleefully cheering to the sky.

I moved towards them. They looked how I felt; fearful.

As I stepped close, a man in front looked me in the eye.

“You hear it, too? Don’t you?”

I nodded.

There was no music from the sky. No bells, no laughter or gentle singing.

I knew without asking that we all heard the same thing.

Screaming.

Screaming and the crackle of flames.

From below.