“The storm will ne'er die, the winds’ll blow us all to home. The sharks shall feast and the ladies cry, when the sailors all to hell are blown…”
Mariska flicked her fins, creating a current that made her hair ripple forward. She pressed her hand against the glass in front of her.
It was dirty and warped. Or maybe it was the water she was floating in. There was certainly something muddling the faces of the humans beyond, turning them into grotesque creatures that Mariska couldn’t recognize.
I thought I understood what kind of creatures you are, Mariska thought darkly.
She could be fairly certain that they thought they knew what sort of creature she was too. Mariska had seen the offhandedness with which sailors treated a woman’s mind and sensitivities. She had seen how they treated animals, as though they had no abilities of comprehension at all. Even other men, just like them save in appearance.
So perhaps it was not so shocking that Draper had locked her up in a tank to be shown off in the port towns like some plucked and plumed prostitute. Mariska was a mermaid, and what better creature was there to abuse?
Even as she thought the words, she could hear the venomous derision in them.
A man walked up to the tank and flicked it, nails loud against the glass. Once, Mariska might have flinched back and deflated in. But now there was something in Mariska that pressed against her insides, seething to get out. She felt as though she might explode. Instead of shrinking away, Mariska looked up into the face of the sailor. Two dark, dead eyes met, like sharks passing in the sea.
Mariska offered a smile, but only she could see the rows of teeth hiding invisibly behind hers.