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Prateeti Sengupta



Prateeti Sengupta




4 mins 347 4 mins 347

Warm and thick fluid affection pouring down her cheeks welling up from somewhere deep inside the soft dark cavities, veins and fine arterial vessels. Licking behind her eyelids, almost like love. A shimmering orange and green and peacock blueish light, iridescent and  throbbing pinpoint of light from behind the globular eyeball, enlarging slowly in the soft cobwebby darkness. Downy and enveloping, moving and changing colours, in a multitudinous layered green wave after wave, surging up, and sinking again.

And then, there it was: a searing pain on the soles of her feet, wracking her whole slender frame tearing her nerves apart.

Wait. What? Feet?

"But I don't want feet !!" her scream echoed silently in her head. "Where's my lovely tail covered in shiny scales and silvery fins...

Legs and feet belong to those strange creatures I see leaning over the rails of those huge, ugly wooden bowls floating in the waves and sometimes come sailing up to my gleaming pearly windows, bobbing up and down. And I don't want feet; no. No!!!"

"But it's too late now, my dear!" a tinkling laughter caressed her face and floated up close to her ears, as a swirl of green-gold hair lashed her eyes.

"Feet you wanted and feet you shall have. Yes! "

"Don't you see what wonderful things they are, my dearest? Now you can run to your heart's desire, into the arms of the handsome land creature," softly the voice went on. "And you can dance with him, your pretty little toes and pink ankles glimmering and tripping; the polished marbles of the dance floor kissing your soles!  The chandeliers overhead lighting up the vast hall like a thousand glorious suns .. you are dancing, whirling round and round, to dizzying heights! no looking back, no looking down."

"But now you must rest. Sleep now my dearest," and the whispering voice floated away in the waves. "You're sinking slowly softly into a deep and dark and restful  slumber…"

And now she is speeding away down dark winding lanes, through swirling misty greyness, away to fairy oceanic glades, perhaps. No light except the purple rays filtering in through the leaves of the sea anemones and weeds floating and waving on the blue and yellow sands of the ocean bed. All over her head , and eyes and ears it wove dark melodies to charm away all black fears, till at last the fading grey of dawn crept about the lattices and mazes of soft, yellow cortical matter with pale pointed fingers dipped in dew of blood-red drops of the morning sun.

A sudden deafening roar crashing and thundering around her head, sent her flying through the air higher than the falcon and down the next instant, landing her on the rocks. A blinding pain shattered her spine and gurgled up her silent throat in a vice-like grip.

"Open your eyes my love!" Is it a whisper in her brain? Is that the face she has dreamt of ever since she saw him on his ship? The raging tempest, the head she had held above the water to keep him from sinking. Oh! the excruciating pain, when he had opened his eyes amongst his own people and smiled at them, and never knew her who had saved him! She closed her eyes tight to shut off that pain.

"Open your eyes, my love and look at me. Speak to me - I am with you", he whispered again.

So, it is a dream. No, this isn't real. How often she has imagined this. But it is not true; he cannot speak to her and she cannot possibly understand. His tongue is human.

"Oh! my love," she moaned aloud but not a sound escaped her, for her tongue she has paid as a price for her feet. The pain stabbed again up her feet and legs.

Thin coral-pink eyelids parted softly; the blue veins stood out as her fluttering lashes lifted to his face. Trembling all over, her sapphire blue eyes (like two spoons full of the vast ocean) scanned his face and shoulders, his strong arms and marble chest and then below his waist? Are those scales? Fins?? A tail???


"... but Your Highness, such creatures do not exist, they are stories made up to scare sailors!" (Yes, I know, it was a dream, yes, yes, of course!)

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