Mother of Pearl (765 words)


Feb 1, 2018
Reaction score
So this is how it would end. She had fought to tear off her soggy clothes pulling her down, wriggling out of her leather jacket sleeves and tight jeans. She had turned lopsided somersaults with the current, trying to grab her foot to get her shoes and socks off. She had been been thrashing like a broken windmill, arms attacking the water over and over to try to get her head up, but every time she struggled it felt like another weight added to her body, sinking it under another foot of water.

She remembered now, as light betrayed her for the darkness of the ocean depths, as the cold swam between her legs, that she couldn’t swim. The faint shadow of the boat passing high above her fluttered, a farewell wave of her last hope sailing away. She let her eyelids fall, and then squeezed them shut tighter. The end had come and she didn’t want to see it. Her cheeks puffed up like tiny floaties, holding the last gulp of air there for as long as she could.

When her lungs emptied her heart instinctively screamed, panicking, racing up and down the veins to find another breath, one more bubble, one more puff. Her diagram clawed at her from inside, her hands scratching at the water, trying to climb up.

Then she felt his lips against hers. They fit perfectly, two halves of a shell, and his breath danced into her mouth, between the kiss, his tongue around hers. She felt his body drawing closer to hers, his webbed hands running through her hair, his toes floating above hers. She drank in his air, deeply, swallowing his scent as tendrils ran around her neck and down her spine. They circled around her hips and curled around her ankles, weaving their bodies into one.

His lips pressed harder, pasted against hers, each movement devouring more of her mouth. She followed his kisses, her head turning side to side to match his. But the pressure in her jaw grew, the crushing of his force making her gag. Her eyes flew open and she stared at the blue scales on his face opening and closing in quiet rhythm. Her eye sockets burned in the seawater and she tried to break away but the tendrils tightened, twirling and squeezing her against him. His eyes flipped, green and then blue, and then the air in her mouth changed, twisted into a whirlpool.

The tension increased, a black hole forcing the roof of her mouth higher. She could feel her insides being uprooted and sucked up, her stomach being pulled through her esophagus, her intestines getting tangled with her lungs before being jerked out, her bones shattering and swimming with the blood through her mouth and into his. She tried to move, a feather twitching against the gravitational pull of a universe, a match trying to light underwater.

His lips dug into hers like razors, a fatal seal as her body poured through the channel of their joined mouths; her heart dissolved on his tongue, her skull collapsed and crumbled, the pieces getting stuck in her teeth before her jaw was pried out and sucked away. His hands sprouted claws that tugged at her hair, strand by strand stripping her scalp bare.

She blinked one last time, the last tear joining the waves as her eyeballs followed the vortex into his mouth.

The tendrils loosened, releasing the hollow corpse of skin, letting it drift away and slowly fill with water, a human balloon carried by the tide to it’s final resting place. The sun shone through the gaps in the face and reached the ocean floor, illuminating a path for it’s journey. The current tore through the translucent skin, a crashing wave ripping the body in half; the eyelid caught on a coral reef and peeled the head off. A passing school of fish nibbled through the torso, sending the two arms off in different directions.

A stray strand of seaweed tied the bottom of the right arm and it bobbed along like a glove full of water, past the sleeping crabs and starfish to the sand where it slow danced with the eels. The hand tore from the arm on the barbs of a puffer fish, and the fingers were pinched off by a family of crabs.

The palm of her hand floated on, over the open casket of an oyster shell where it settled like a linen shroud laid to rest, a pearl for a tombstone.


May 23, 2018
Reaction score
Greater Denver, CO Area
Interesting story! I like the evolution and subversion of my expectations as the story progresses.

The first paragraph could use some work though. It could be much more active if you simply make it all present tense like the rest of the story. However, it might be even better to just drop the first paragraph altogether. The second paragraph is an even more compelling opening and I don't think the story loses anything without the first.

Then there are just a couple phrases that strike me as odd and take me out of the story momentarily:
• "her heart instinctively screamed, panicking, racing up and down the veins to find another breath, one more bubble, one more puff" – I'm not sure what it means for a heart to scream, or race up and down veins (it is the blood that races, not the heart itself). Also not sure how that is connected to one more bubble or puff. Probably those last two just need to be in a separate sentence.
• "Her eye sockets burned" – why not just her eyes? Not sure what "sockets" adds.