Don’t step into puddles made by rainwater. It’s the worst thing you can do for your shoes.
The rainy night didn’t stop my guy and me from going to the store for some good old wine coolers and beer. Along with snacks and wholesome food, of course. We had to park so far from the store, though, I was dreading the walk in. I just had to wear my new stilettos today. Though, in my defense, it was clear when we hit up the movies hours earlier.
“If we run, it won’t be that bad,” he smiled, “on the count of three, ‘kay?”
We jumped out of the car and ran as fast as possible, splashing through the puddles. I tripped and nearly fell in a deep one, but was saved when he grabbed my arm.
“Watch out. Don’t want to eat wet asphalt.”
I laughed, holding his hand the rest of the way.
It was only when we were almost done shopping, I realized my purse was still in the car.
“I’ll go out and get it.”
“No, it’s alright. I don’t mind,” I grabbed the keys from his hands and headed out, “pick up the rest and I’ll meet you at the registers!”
I started out the door, thinking I would get soaked again. However, the rain had stopped.
This time, I only walked a fast pace.
But then something snagged my heel. I stumbled a bit but caught myself. I looked around. Finding nothing on the ground, I kept going.
Again, something caught my shoe, clipping the top of my toes.
“Ah!” I tripped, skidded a little, but saved myself.
My eyes washed over the ground. Nothing but asphalt and puddles.
“What the hell.”
I started again, being extra careful of where I stepped.
When I reached the car, I was just about to unlock the door, when my foot slipped from under me.
I squealed and landed on my butt, the keys falling out of my hand. “Seriously! What the hell was that?!”
I tried to get out of the big puddle that was soaking my jeans, but something clutched around my ankle.
A scaly blue hand with sharp claws gripped it tightly.
Before I could yell, it pulled me down with a great force, hurling me into the puddle. The rush forced my eyes shut. I opened them a second later and saw only darkness. My fear grew as I realized I couldn’t breathe. I was trapped underwater.
What was going on?!
Then, a creature swam up in front of me. Her whole body was blue and green. She had scales covering her breasts, and fins sprouting from her giant tail. Her flowing black hair encompassed the space around her.
She must have seen the surprise and fear on my face. The next second, she hugged me, placing her thumb on my throat. Her pointed nail slit the skin. Pain escaped from my mouth along with the last bit of air I tried to save.
But I didn’t drown.
She let go of me and smiled. She then took my hand and placed it on my throat. I could feel the slit she had made. It had morphed into what I could only explain as a gill.
“What is this?” I stared at her, “Wait! I can talk underwater!”
She seemed to giggle, the sound of soft bells ringing in my mind.
She grabbed my hand and started swimming away from the opening. She was so strong, I had no choice but to follow.
She led me to what looked like a castle carved out of enormous rocks. Seaweed almost as high as the structure entirely surrounded it. I couldn’t take in much more, though, before she pulled me into one of the several tower openings.
Inside, a fluorescent fish caught underneath a glass bowl gave off a dim green light. I could hardly make out the sea sponges and little corals that engulfed nearly every surface of the room. They seemed to hug the huge opened oyster in the corner. I was stuck in a fantasy.
The mermaid pulled me towards the oyster and sat me down on a soft material that took up its bottom shell. A sponge, maybe? She smiled once more, staring intensely at my eyes. I shuddered at the attention. Something about her made my spine crawl. But something else made my body stay where it was. It was urging me to leave before it was too late and, at the same time, to stay to see what she would do next. Not out of curiosity. No. But out of a growing need. As if my life depended on her.
Her hand cupped my cheek. Her lips moved, but no words came out. Only the soft humming of flutes from inside my head. My lids began to droop. My whole body was becoming limp. I was about to fall into her opened arms, when I saw the glint of white light. On the wall right behind her leaned a tall, mirror-like object. It did not reflect her backside, though, but a more grotesque version of her body. Fully black eyes. Long, sharp fangs. Claws twice as big.
Uncontrollable fear came over me. With new found strength, I pulled away from her. It was then that I saw her beautiful smile had slowly been changing into those fangs that were reflected.
I screamed, throwing her off of me. She was caught off guard, and hit the back of the shell, making it come loose from the wall and falling nearly shut on her. I swam off as fast as I could.
I nearly got tangled in the seaweed before making it out into the opened darkness. I didn’t know where I was swimming, but I knew I needed to get away from her as fast as possible. A moment later, I started to see the light from what looked like a hole carved out of the blackness. It was a shining yellow, just like that of the street lamps in the parking lot. A ringing shriek filled the waters. She was coming for me. I swam faster, pushing my muscles to their limits, though they ached and groaned.
I was almost at the exit when the mermaid latched onto my ankle once again. With unseen hands full of strength she started to pull me away from the hole with her fangs bared.
I started kicking as hard as I could, only hitting her once or twice. The third time my stiletto heel hit her right in the eye. She let go, shrieking again as she cupped her face. I swam as fast as I could for the light. But she was faster.
Right before I could break through, she grabbed onto me once again. She pulled me down. I was a goner for sure.
But something else grabbed onto my wrist and pulled me towards the light so fast, the mermaid was thrown off of me.
I heaved up water from my lungs. I tried to open my eyes, but the light from the lamps was so strong it stung.
“What’re you doing on the ground? You okay?”
A shadow hid me from the lights. I looked up to see my boyfriend, a worried expression on his face.
I took his hand and he lifted me up from the ground. I looked around. The puddle was still there, like the rest, but nothing was coming out of it.
“Did you help me?”
“I was just . . .”
I looked around again.
He wrapped his arms around me tightly, “I don’t know what happened. But I started to worry when you didn’t return. I just found you on the ground.”
I leaned into his embrace, “I guess I just fell and hit my head or something.”
A moment later, he released me, “Let’s just get home ASAP.”
Like the true gentleman he always tried to be, he lifted me up in his arms, bridal style, opened the car door, and sat me inside. He then raced around and took his place in the driver’s seat.
“I’ll drive right up to the entrance, go in and pay, and come right back out. That way you won’t have to walk anymore.”
“We might have to get that ankle checked out too if the swelling doesn’t go down by morning.”
I looked down, seeing a blue ring around my ankle.
He looked around, “Hey, sweetie. Where are the keys?”
“Oh! I dropped them somewhere right outside,” I started to open my door.
“That’s alright. I’ll find them.”
As he opened the door, I realized it was raining again. An ache seared through my ankle. I leaned over to examine it, taking off my stiletto. It was then that I found the heel of it broken.
The end was covered in a green slime.
© E.N. Chaffin 2017. All rights reserved. Any reproduction without author permission is against the copyright laws of the United States of America.