Happy Thursday, everyone!
Today I bring you the second story in our Bleeding Heart showcase & giveaway, and my God it’s a good one. If you missed the first story
you missed out, click here.
HELL HATH NO FURY is a story of nautical heartbreak by the fantastic Rhiann Wynn-Nolet. Please show Rhiann some love for this fantastic story by leaving a comment or paying her a visit, either on Twitter or on her blog. We’ve even given you little links because we’re just that nice. Enjoy!
HELL HATH NO FURY
Camouflaged by floating kelp, she watched the crowd of eager spectators. Singly and in groups, the citizens of Galveston claimed viewing spots, spread blankets on the soft white sand, unpacked picnic hampers, and readied their binoculars.
The cruel, serrated blade of betrayal carved a jagged valley through her heart. She knew why they were here.
Her mother was right after all. Humans weren’t to be trusted. Not under any circumstances. She’d allowed herself to be seduced by his adoring glances, his tender kisses, and the sensation of his fingertips, warm and eager against her cool skin. She’d been deceived by whispered confidences and summer afternoons spent splashing each other in the marshy cove near his cottage. During lulls between laughter and caresses, he’d taught her English words. Yesterday, while his lips blazed a fiery trail along her neck, she finally relented, agreeing to reveal herself to a few of his friends. He claimed they’d teased him about having met a real mermaid. They called him a liar. He promised to bring a special gift for her, to celebrate their two month anniversary.
She clamped her lower lip between her teeth to control its quivering.
Diving below the ocean’s glittering mantle, she undulated through its turquoise depths and resurfaced within the shadow of a moored dory. The crowd buzzed with anticipation—scarcely believing they were about to see, in all its shimmering piscine flesh, a bona fide mermaid. Some, unable to contain their excitement, had waded into the water. It was unseasonably warm for early September, like bathwater a few were heard to say.
He’d told her to meet him here. Where was he?
Her quicksilver eyes scanned the shoreline, dotted with genteel ladies shading their porcelain complexions from the sun, discreetly wicking perspiration from their upper lips with folded hankies. Surely under those corsets were unladylike trickles of sweat and angry welts made by unforgiving whalebone. Served them right—murdering the gentle giants for lantern oil.
There he was. The beautiful, faithless coward. High on a dune, one hand resting on his lean hip, the other shading his eyes as he searched for her. His wheat colored hair nestled along his collar in sweat-damp curls. Beside him, an older man fiddled with a camera.
For the past hour, her tears had swelled the ocean and pain had circulated through her body like molten lava. As she watched couples stroll hand in hand along the beach and children run after the ice cream vendor, the lava cooled and coalesced into something else. Something cold, hard, and far more dangerous.
She opened her mouth wide and roared.
A sudden icy gust blew out of the Gulf, ruffling skirts and flipping parasols inside out. The wind pulled churning, violet clouds in its wake, covering the sun like a theatre curtain.
Her restless tail whipped through the water.
The waves seethed. The current strengthened. A riptide dragged floundering swimmers toward the open ocean where enormous swells loomed like mountains against the horizon.
The frozen shards of her broken heart fused. She began to spin, her arms and flowing hair driving the waves in a violent rush toward land.
“Henry, get out!” One mother’s frantic scream tore through the symphony of wails and shouts. Her eyes darted between her son and a vast wall of seawater racing toward him.
The sea rolled right over the island, smashing nearly everything in its path. Its merciless claws ripped babies from their mothers’ arms and sundered the desperate embrace of lovers. The women’s full skirts ballooned underwater like jellyfish, and then wrapped their wearers in shrouds. Even the strongest men were transformed into rag dolls, unable to save themselves from the onslaught. Henry and his mother perished. As did eight thousand or so other Galvestonians, many of whom hadn’t even heard about the opportunity to see a genuine mermaid.
The survivors were unable to bury the casualties in the flooded ground, so they dumped the dead into the sea, burdened with heavy stones. But the ocean, or its denizens, tossed the bloated corpses back on the beach, the way fisherman discard incidental catch. Where once fresh salty breezes and heady gardenia had perfumed the air, now the cloying reek of decaying human flesh hung heavy over the Texas coast.
Great funeral pyres began burning throughout the town, casting an eerie orange glow against the ruined buildings and the black night sky. Those enlisted to collect the dead and tend the flames were provided free whiskey, but it wasn’t enough to make them forget the sights and smells.
Exactly a week later, the photographer’s camera washed ashore. One photo was salvaged from the roll of film. It was the first and last he ever took. Neither his body, nor that of his young assistant Ethan Tarbell, was ever found.
My story was inspired by the The Great Storm which hit Galveston on September 8, 1900. One third of the city was destroyed. Eight to twelve thousand people were killed, making it the second worst natural disaster in US history.
*AMAZING story, Rhiann!!*
If you think this was as good as we do, don’t forget to show Rhiann some love by leaving a comment or hitting her up on social media.
And to show our appreciation for taking the time to read these fantastic #BleedingHeart2014 stories,
ENTER OUR GIVEAWAY…