(A/N): I literally have no excuse for this other than I love mermaid Bucky so
Summary: (Y/N) happens to come across a rather friendly mermaid
The sun was just barely rising, the beach was quiet, no birds about squawking, no children running around carrying greasy hot dogs, no music of beach goers, just you, the sunset, and the ocean. With a pleasant sigh you settled down onto one of the docks surrounding the ocean.
You pick up a pencil and begin to gently sketch the purple and pink hues of the sky, your pencil gingerly shading along the half orb you had drawn for the sun. You bite your lip in concentration, looking from your paper up to the sky and back down to your paper again. Every so often you’d switch colors, truly wanting to capture the beauty of the sun and sky-
A gentle slap of the ocean is what grabs your attention. Sure, waves had been rolling in all day, sloping against the wooden posts if the docks, or against boats or sea cliffs but this one sounded different- sharper perhaps? It was much more clear and concise, more like a smack than anything else. The kind of sounds you got when a fish was squirming to get back in the water. You perk your head up and look around but alas there was nothing to see other than the vast expanse of salty water. That’s when you hear it again- that distinct smacking sound only now it was louder, and perhaps a bit faster than the last smack. It sounded panicked or frenzied if you thought about it.
You rise from your spot on the dock, looking around the docks and seashore to see where if perhaps there was any animal who had gotten stuck in some
Plastic or perhaps just needed some help getting back to sea. Your eyes search along the shore, between the boats, even against the cliffs before circling back around. Your eyes don’t particularly catch on anything but your ears certainly do, the smacking sound comes again and again and again, each slap more panicked than the last and it was loud, much too loud to be far away and that’s when you realized the boats closest to you were so large that you couldn’t see behind them or over them and perhaps whatever creature was stuck was hidden behind one of those.
You run to the base of the dock and to where the boats attach to the wooden planks and your eyes begin to search, scanning up and down the rows until you spotted something. And that’s when you see it, a gleam of silver in the purple sun, the scales of some fish as it struggles in a fallen net. Shit, you think to yourself as you run towards that particular dock, already dropping to your knees to help wrangle the poor creature free but what you see is most definitely not what you were expecting. Rather than some fish staring back at you with beady eyes you were faced with a man with rather large, beautiful shining blue orbs.
You stare at the mans face for what feels like forever before you snap out if your reverie, blinking lazily to clear your thoughts.
“Oh my god,” you whisper as you suddenly come to terms with the fact that a man had gotten himself tangled in this net. “Are you okay? Are you hurt?” The man doesn’t respond, he simply stares back at you with these giant almost pleading puppy dog- esque eyes. "What happened? How did you fall in?“ You try some more questions but yet again the man doesn’t answer. He doesn’t respond with any words but some strange vibrations rattles the air and it takes you a minute to realize that this man is the one making the noise, a sad, almost depressed little whimper in his throat. "Okay,” you whisper as you lift up chunks of the net attempting to figure out how he was tangled. “Lets get you out of this,” You lift up the net as you pull it towards you but it gets caught on something, something almost triangular but almost soft when you tugged hard enough.
The man whimpers, reaching up
Through the net to grab at your hands, silently begging you to stop. You comply, immediately stopping the pulling. But rather than focusing on getting the poor
Man free your eyes are suddenly glued to something else, his hands. They would have looked like any other ordinary pair of hands if it weren’t for the fact that they were webbed and smooth, giving them a glossy like appearance. His nails came to sharp little points, like tiny little daggers attached to his flesh. You stare at his hands, half tempted to even touch them but suddenly the man starts up with his cries again, that low, depressed throaty noise that had your heart aching.
“Oh god, I’m so sorry,” you whisper, attempting to get back to work. You twist and pull at the net at all sorts of different angles, trying to free the man but each attempt only brought you more whimpers and more squirming.
“Shit,” You whisper as you stop struggling against the net, slumping down onto the dock in defeat. The man looks at you with concerned eyes, his sad noises starting back up again. “I- I don’t know how to help,” You mutter weakly, your tone nearly exhausted at this point. The man whimpers some more, his clawed hands reaching to attempt to tear the net away from his body. “Wait- stop,” You sigh as you reach down to grab his hands, trying to stop him from causing any more damage. “You’re gonna cut yourself-” The man becomes more panicked in his movements as you grip his wrist only now he was attempting to yank his grip from your yours rather than the nets. “I’m not gonna hurt you!” You attempt to calm him but it was no use, he was struggling and he was struggling hard. With one hard tug your knees slip on the dock, pulling you close to the waters edge. In fact, you’re just about to let go when the man gives one final tug, pulling you into the water with him.
Immediately water fills your lungs and you’re damn sure you scrape your feet along something sharp because the pain shooting into your legs most definitely isn’t normal. You bob back up to the surface, gasping for water as you hack up whatever you had swallowed all the while trying to wipe the water from your eyes. You cough a little as some water bubbles into your throat and out of your mouth, spraying back into the salty abyss. The man goes rigid, staring at you in pure fear and shock, his blue eyes widening in surprise.
“What the hell?” You deadpan, glaring at him with an angry gaze. “You could have killed me!” The man recoils just a tiny bit, those small whimpers bubbling in his throat again. You sigh as you paddle the water about you gently, keeping you afloat long enough to converse with this mysterious man. “I’m sorry- I get you’re probably stressed being caught in here but I’m just trying to help,” You give him what you hope looks like a sympathetic smile. “Can I try to help with the net?” You ask, gesturing to the offending material. The man looks at you and back to the net and back to you again, biting his lip in thought.
You can’t help but notice the way his teeth came to a perfect little point, just like his nails, like tiny daggers buried into his body. Sharp nails, sharp teeth, he wasn’t speaking to you, what the hell was wrong with this guy? But before your anger could bubble again the man nods, squirming just a bit within the water. You give him a grateful little smile as you paddle towards him, stopping just shy of his torso. The closer you got the more you realized just how beautiful this man was, with baby blues and stunningly dark hair, not to mention a strikingly strong jaw line and amazing cheek bones. Even with his strange hands and teeth you couldn’t help but feel the tiniest bit attracted to him.
“You’re not gonna try to drown me are ya?” You ask only half jokingly, the other half completely meaning the question. The man looks at you with those damn puppy eyes, shaking his head softly. He almost looked offended by the question if you thought about it but you didn’t have time to gawk at his face, you had to help free him from the net. With a determined albeit hesitant smile you reach out to gingerly work the net away from his chest, trying so desperately not to brush your fingers over his milky skin.
You gulp as you reach up, slowly but surely freeing his head from the net. It’s then, with your fingers grazing along his neck that you notice something, three small cuts along either side of his neck, pulsating as you moved your fingers along. You can’t help but stare at them, perhaps out of morbid curiosity, your eyes glued to the pink flesh of each cut. If you truly thought about it they actually looked like gills of some sort, just like the ones of fishes your father had brought home all those years ago. The man squirms, making some noise in the back of his throat under your intense gaze. You snap out of your trance again, electing to ignore the strange cuts until you freed the man from the net.
“Almost done,” You whisper as you let the top part of the net fall in front of him, all you had to do now was free his legs and- The man reaches down with his own hands- webbed might you add- and rips the remaining net to shreds, nearly ripping it from his legs like some animal. There’s another smack of water and suddenly the man disappears, completely gone after the water calms. You look around, twisting your body to get a good look around but alas you found nothing, not even a trace of the net he’d been confined in. Sure, you thought this was rather strange but you dismissed it as the chill of the freezing water began to set in. You give one last look to the ocean before climbing back onto the dock, shivering within your skin as you meander back to your art supplies.
Your clothes had been soiled by the water and you were freezing, the sun was far too high in the sky to sketch now and thus your morning had been slightly ruined. With an unhappy little sigh you bend down and pick up your supplies and shoes before making your way back towards land, shuffling as water pooled from your shorts.
You wince as pain spreads throughout your feet and something wet slops below you. You look down, grimacing when you noticed the thick red liquid oozing from the bottom of your feet. Guess you really had cut yourself on something. You mentally curse yourself as you limp towards land, most definitely not looking forward to going home and having to clean your wounds up. Grumbling angrily to yourself you waddle onto the sand, nearly yelling in pain as the sand seeps into your blood. God, is this what you got for saving someone’s life? Next time, you begged the universe to remind you to never help someone out again. You stomp as best as you could to your car, an angry cloud of hate brewing over your head. In fact you were in such a bad mood that you failed to realize a certain man staring at you from a few miles in the sea.
The next day you tried the shore again, this time picking a different dock to sit on and sketch from. This time you picked on closer to shore, just to be on the safer side and once you had gotten comfy you began to sketch, hoping to complete your picture today but when you had only been drawing for five minutes you were suddenly interrupted. That telltale smacking sound resounded around you and all of a sudden an almost familiar head of black hair bobs above the water, only the man’s eyes and nose visible.
“Have you come to drag me into the water again?” You ask, a hint of smugness to your tone as you look back down to your drawing, completely dismissing the man. The man shakes his head, a look of remorse crossing his only visible features. “Are you ever going to talk to me?” You ask, suddenly setting down you art to look at him. “I saved you, you nearly killed me, and I don’t even know your name,” The man looks up to you then to your pencil and sketch pad. You follow his gaze, your own landing upon the pencil and paper. “Do you want to write it down?” You ask, the man nods and suddenly he bobs from the water, resting his elbows upon the dock as you hand him a piece of paper and the pencil. He quickly jots down a few words before handing the paper back to you.
James Buchanan Barnes
You smile at his choppy hand writing, it was cute if you really looked at it. “James?” You question, looking at his name again. The man reaches for the pencil and the paper, quickly jotting down a few more words before handing them back to you.
I like Bucky better
You smile even more, nodding. “Bucky it is then. So uh Bucky-” You test the name on your tongue, allowing the taste of it to settle in. You liked it. “Any reason you’re using up all my paper?” You joke but the look of regret that crosses Bucky’s features has your chuckling coming to a stop. “I’m sorry, I uh- I didn’t mean to offend you or…” You trail off as Bucky grabs the pencil and paper again, proceeding to write out another message.
I’m sorry, I can stop using your paper if you’d like me to
“No, no!” You quickly say, “I was just giving you shit, I really don’t mind,” Bucky looks at you for a moment before looking back at the pencil in his hand.
You really don’t?
“I promise,” You smile at him, hoping the small gesture reassured him. Bucky smiles, a small quirk of his lip is all, but it was a start. “So…you really like the water huh?” You ask, chuckling awkwardly at your own question. Bucky apparently doesn’t seem to notice as he nods, looking down to the water almost fondly. “Even after the whole…” You wave your hand, coughing a bit as you allude to the incident the previous morning. “The whole net thing?” Bucky’s brow creases as he reaches for the paper, quickly jotting something down before handing it back to you.
I’m sorry I dragged you in, I was just scared is all
You smile once more, his words alighting something within your heart. “It’s okay, nothing I couldn’t handle,” Bucky nods, his eyes wandering about the scenery almost lazily when suddenly his eyes land on your bandaged feet. You’d gotten home, cleaned the deep cuts out and went in to get stitches and now here you were again, sitting in the same place that gave you the cuts. Bucky pouts as he reaches out with a webbed finger, gingerly running his nail along the white bandage.
“Be careful,” You warn softly, not wishing to startle him. “It’s uh- it’s pretty sore,” Bucky pouts as he reaches out for the paper and pencil again, quickly jotting something down before shoving it towards you.
You bite your lip, contemplating whether or not you should tell him what exactly you had done. “Um, I just cut them up a bit, it was a complete accident,” You add, hoping he didn’t suspect you had cut your feet when you fell in. Bucky nods, reaching out again to run his clawed fingers along the bandage.
“Buck?” You ask hesitantly, biting your lip as you stare at his hands, his very strange, not at all human like hands. The man hums, a low purring like sound issuing from the back of his throat. “Can I uh- Can I ask a question?” Bucky nods as he pulls away a bit, resting his folded arm on the dock to keep part of his body up out of the water. "What’s with the hands?“ You gesture to his, specifically to the webbing. Bucky looks at his hands, a sudden blush rising to his pale skin. He quickly hides his hands under his arms, hiding his face in the flesh part of his elbow.
"I’m sorry,” to attempt to backtrack, already feeling horrible. “I didn’t mean to make you feel embarrassed, they’re just different from mine, see?” You hold a hand up, showcasing your short, trimmed nails and most definitely not webbed fingers. Bucky poked his head up a bit, looking at you with uncertain eyes. His piercing gaze then falls to your hand, the blue orbs scrutinizing each finger as he stares. He cocks his head to the side as he studies it, almost with a childlike curiosity.
He gently shifts his arms, hesitantly pulling his hand out from hiding an slowly but surely raising it to yours. It even felt different, it was slimy, practically clammy against your own but it wasn’t unpleasant. He studies the two hands together, pushing his fingers against yours only to pull them back again, he looks at his webbing and then yours, studying his webbed hands almost distastefully. He then moves onto the nails, studying your small stubby ones and then his long, jagged ones. He hums softly, cocking his head to the other side as he places his fingers between yours, watching the way they only went so far due to his webbing. He was studying you like he’d never seen another human being before and at this point you were starting to think he hadn’t…
An AU Nix/Hunter Reylo One-Shot that’s inspired by all the awesome Mermay beautifying my dashboard.
The bleeding stag across the hunter’s shoulders forced his boots to sink deeper into iced over mud.
Each pull up took more effort.
Each step down felt more final.
Verdammt! How far can I be?
“I’ve only been here a hundred times?” he shouted through chattering teeth. “H-How can I be lost!”
For not the first time, he regretted separating from the group, but regrets wouldn’t keep him alive. Sucking down a stabilizing breath, the raven-haired man gathered enough strength to stumble back along the right way. One foot in front of the other stuck close to the stream. Across thickets and around trees, he followed the slow merciful gurgle until the Aufeis stopped the flow.
Staring at the hunks of ice blocking the stream, the hunter could only sense his impending end as well.
This time when the stag slipped off his shoulders, he didn’t stop it. Leaning against a rock, the worn man submitted to the inevitable. Under all his pelt layers were shiver swells that wouldn’t quit. Under the eyes of the gods who he thought had abandoned him, the man prayed to make it back to his village.
I will not make it.
Liebe Götter, please let me make it.
Long after panicking, the man called Kylo urgently spoke his oldest god’s beloved names. Every praise puffed out into a harsh winter wind, but he kept praying. On and on, he showed reverence while never daring to close his eyes when the frozen dew caked his eyelashes.
Context: Same group as the sensitive Knight. One of the players interrupted the game to be upset that she broke her nail, so I made it that her character (a pretentious male rogue) had broken his nail. We all had a good laugh, and I made it a reoccurring thing.
Rogue: I roll to stab! *rolls a 1*
Me: You move to stab the creature, but at the sight of your hand and it’s pitiful missing nail- you drop the dagger instead.
Produce Offers: Fruit, vegetables, tubers, leafy greens, fungi (legal and otherwise) Character: A drunkard
Butcher Offers: Fresh meat, jerky, smoked meats, tripe, soup bones, mystery sausage Character: Wants his son to take over shop so he can go adventuring with the adventuring guild
Farmer Offers: Eggs, milk, chickens, some cheeses Character: Promised to marry daughter to butcher’s boy when they both come of age
Jewelry Offers: Mostly brass, some gold and silver, a few gems (discount on cursed items) Character: Obsessed with the popular theatre performace of the season.
Hawking and Hunting Supply Offers: Arrows, bowstrings, hoods, jessies, feather repair supplies Character: Nearly half her business comes from cartographer. Will kill the next person who makes a joke about “hawking her wares”
Blacksmith’s boy Offers: Horseshoes, nails, daggers, helms, knife sharpening, etc. Character: In love with butcher’s boy
She walked screaming out of the white smoke, a black-clad goddess of death, exuding aggressive sex. Her eyes held just a tinge of threat. Her nails, phallic daggers of implied violence. Waist shrunken to a ghastly circumference, her eyebrows archly painted, her long black hair swirling behind and around her, she shocked, titillated, angered, obsessed.
She called herself Vampira.
She introduced every show with a scream, a bloodcurdling extrusion that had to issue out of some cavern too big, dark, and lonely to live inside her impossible 36-17-36 figure. She screamed and looked directly at the camera, a goth Garbo who seized the eye of the audience, refusing to become a simple object of their regard. She seduced them with the offer of a night of B-movies, horror and sci-fi fare, mostly execrable, but seasoned with her spicy sweetness and her undertone of aggression that radiated underneath heavy white pancake make-up.
Nobody could turn off the TV. It was 1954.
Maila Nurmi screamed in a postwar America of chilling optimism, everyday repressions, and awkward silences. She was the child of Finnish immigrants, a runaway in the 30’s who worked as an actor, a model for softcore men’s magazines, and a burlesque dancer. She had a taste for the macabre that led her to delve into the sediment of midcentury America until it yielded its dark treasures. A pin-up model who found herself turned into the 50’s American middle class housewife, she refashioned herself to escape the confines of cultural expectation.
Nurmi had explored the tangled underside of the country since the mid-1940s; an underground gothic land lived beneath the sun- lit world of postwar America. As a young runaway, she performed in a New York horror/burlesque show known as “Spook Scandals” that had called for her to rise out of a coffin and scream. There she had begun to craft the character of Vampira, thinking about how the sexy and the horrific could intertwine, a dance between Eros and Thanatos.
“Dig Me, Vampira” was like nothing that had yet appeared in television’s brief existence. Premiering on April 30, 1954, it became an instant hit in the Los Angeles area. Then things exploded. *****
Vampira quickly reached a larger audience through a Life magazine photo shoot. She appeared on Red Skelton’s popular show alongside Lon Chaney Jr. and Bela Lugosi. She hung out with James Dean and his entourage at Googie’s Restaurant, one of the few late night spots in 1950s Hollywood. She became part of “the night watch,” aspiring actors and directors that hovered around Dean, the strange and beautiful boy from Indiana who had yet to reach superstardom in East of Eden.
Ratings for the Vampira show shot through the roof in the year to come and Nurmi seemed on the verge of major stardom. But KABC cancelled her contract around the time of the death of James Dean. Despite her popularity, Vampira had spun a web of controversy that entangled her and the station. FCC warnings, a lawsuit by a starlet who thought her career had been ruined by the image of Vampira, and, finally, the end of Nurmi’s marriage to Dean Frank Reisner, a blow to the station’s public relations campaign that had attempted to portray her as a normal housewife who liked to play dress-up as a bit of “horrific whimsy.” Dean’s death, or at least the bizarre rumors that surrounded Nurmi in the aftermath of it, represented the final straw.
By the late 1950s her television career was over; she lived with her mother while receiving unemployment benefits. She appeared in the Ed Wood directed Plan 9 from Outer Space that, while later a cult hit, barely had any audience at all in the first years of its existence. True and lasting stardom never came calling again. By the 1960s, Nurmi supported herself as a tile contractor. Stories, patently untrue, circulated of roles in pornographic films. She became a figure of local legend in West Hollywood, part of a cast of peculiar characters who’d once been famous and now were not.
Vampira disappeared. But she thrived in the cultural underground. Maila Nurmi hung out with the punk/metal band the Misfits in the 80s at places like West Hollywood Vinyl Fetish. She also worked on a book she never finished, a memoir of underside of a 50s Hollywood that stayed up late nights at Googies Restaurant, popped pills, and lived off the warm glow of stardom it stalked.
She died, alone, in 2008.
Perhaps this is all that we need know of her story. Perhaps it’s more or less all that can be known. It’s true that her influence has spread far and wide. There may not be a horror convention where her visage doesn’t influence the tattooed seductress cos-players, not a horror host who doesn’t owe something to her camp humor, no mistress of the night anywhere whose ultimate origin point can’t be traced to this runaway, this late night comedian.
Vampira borrowed from many of the ghosts that haunted American culture, elements never before brought together with the kind of sexual energy and threatening cultural pose that Vampira adopted. She described her character as a monster crafted out of the elements of American history, the terrors of the great depression, and the postwar style of the Beats. She raises questions about everything we think we know about the American fifties.
Excerpted from Vampira: Dark Goddess of Horror. Copyright 2014 by W. Scott Poole. Published by Soft Skull Press. All rights reserved. Photos: Collection of the Author