Pub date October 20, 2020
Price $0.99 (USD) Kindle edition
She had gill-like grooves on both sides of her swan neck. They were curly, like the ends of an antique drapery, and fluttered in the cold November air, as if the Nøkken was breathing underwater instead of above the surface. I bent forward, reaching for her, wondering if those gills disappeared in her natural habitat. Fairytale creatures existed. But what if fairytales had it wrong? What if these beautiful creatures actually used their gills for breathing in our world instead of in theirs?
Something pliable, yet strong, circled my waist and yanked me back.
At the same time, the gentle hand around my ankle strengthened its grip. I fell on the rocks, stuck between two pulling forces. Monika was trying to drag me away from the edge, while the Nøkken was trying to drag me over it.
Only problem was, it wasn’t a Nøkken anymore.
A gruesome thing had taken its place, erasing all traces of the captivating beauty floating there a second ago.
Her elegant skin had turned into ferric steel, which hung onto me like a fist made of iron. The silvery nails, once so fragile, now appeared sharp and coarsely jagged, as if they had broken after violently trying to dig into the solid rocks under me. The long fingers were now membranous, and extended to a scaly arm attached to the body of a dreadful creature.
A pair of pitch-black hollows stared at me, mirroring the greatest depths of the oceans. Blood-red stains surrounded her eyes, contrasting against the ferric flesh. What I initially thought were gills, now appeared as sharpened blades protruding from the horrifying creature’s neck.
“Marked by Amyria.”
Her voice no longer sounded sweet and charming. It was simply a gurgling sound, escaping through a set of jaws filled with thin, excrescent pinnacles.
The creature’s hand tightened its grip, and a stinging sensation painfully pierced my ankle. It burned like nothing I had experienced before, making me feverish, even though the temperature around us was close to freezing.
Gasping for a breath of cold, fresh air, I let myself get dragged away from the edge.
Monika shouted words over my head. I couldn’t make out any of them. All I could do was stare ahead, where something even more terrifying than that creature played out before my eyes.