A Sea Creature Romance
by Rebecca M. Latimer
I swam to the blackest ocean depths, to be alone, all on my own, to curl up on the sand (or whatever that lowermost plane is made of) and just...be.
But I was never meant to merely be.
Where the light can't touch, and the pressure makes the world moan, I stretched my arms before me in expectation that the bottom would soon rear up. I would grasp it, walk fingers over rock, searching for crevices and crags 'til I could burrow no further. But no. Miles and miles and miles stretched open beneath me, and I did not know yet, but my dear-darling filled half that space.
It sent one of its blackened arms unfurling, endless coils, and though the limb was long and muscular as death I laughed to see it. Another living thing, down here? A companion? I danced with the arm, corkscrewed myself around it. Rough, mottled skin stroked my face, my hollow cheek, repulsed me, and I loved it. Even when it grasped me around my middle and dragged me down.
I like to travel alone great distances, to see your dangerous cities from their little bays, marinas, from the undersides of their snail-speckled docks. You light your cities so brightly they burn my eyes and give me headaches, and I know, I know I could be caught, captured, put on display: studied in a secret laboratory, gazed upon in a gallery or troupe, worse in a back alley pleasure house. It's dangerous for little things like me to swim up where the water's shallow.
But I like the lights, and the cold air blasting my face, and the buildings that go up and up and up, and I want to see them. That's reasonable, isn't it? Yes. Reasonable.
Spines, suckers, fur, and teeth. Too many tentacles, not enough eyes. My dear-darling, so beautiful. It might be strange and wrong but my heart belongs now and forever to this heavy, unswimming thing.
Two of your boys stole my treasure. I swam too close, and they grabbed me and took it, and they went crashing bow-legged through the sea foam on the shore, grinning, laughing. They pranced over the sand where I could not reach them. They fled into the woods.
Damn them. Is it my fault? Is it mine?
I swam to the blackest depths to be alone and weep myself a brand new ocean, a bigger ocean, one that could crash over the dry lands and give me the freedom to move about their streets. If only, if only.
But now I've found my dear-darling.
Imagine. All those arms and legs unfurling all at once, endless, muscled coils, heaving, heaving. The currents would swirl and froth and rush and the sea would rise, rise, higher than your tallest mountain, streaming over my dear-darling's trembling body, upthrust...
It would douse your pretty lights, taint your cold air, shadow your tall buildings. And nothing could hurt it, nothing could stop it. It is too big. And it could find those boy-thieves of yours, and pull their legs off, and toss them into the bay where they wouldn't be able to swim or run away from me again.
Yes, my dear-darling, my love, it would do this for me, for me.
All I have to do is ask.
This story was originally published in 2014 in Phobos Magazine Issue Two: Emergence, edited by Luke St. Germaine and Robert M. Corry.