At first, he thinks that he must be imagining things. The fog is thick, the hour is late, and his eyes feel so very heavy, even as he forces himself to keep the jib straight. Ned blinks, then stares out into the darkness- and there she is again.
She watches him from atop a seaweed-covered rock, her golden hair flying into the breeze. He feels his jaw drop at the sight of her tail- rich crimson scales, flecked with gold. Her breasts are bare, and her full lips curve into a smile.
He’d heard tell of mermaids, but in all the stories, the maidens of the sea would sing to lure their human prey into the depths. This creature makes no sound at all. She merely stares at him, her green eyes sharp and arresting, as if daring him to approach, challenging him to come closer-
Ned cries out in frustration when he loses his grip on the jib; the sail sinks down, and the ship tilts precariously. As he rushes to grab hold again, he hears a silvery laugh behind him- cold, mocking, beautiful.
He glances back at the rock, but she is nowhere to be seen.