The ocean lulls us, rocking the little ship with its rhythms. I thought being locked in this cabin would be the end of us, but, instead, we find we are happy not to be bothered by the others. We can be with each other and fly through the waters whenever we please. I have been watching the moon, trying to make it so it fits just so in the circle of my cabin window. It is nearly full, and when it is low on the horizon, it almost fills the window. Melusine loves this game. She sings when the moon rises. Her voice makes love to me as surely as any touch. It runs over my skin and enters me through my mouth. I swallow it and it runs down into my lungs making me moan. It is her voice that carries us, of course. It draws you in so there is no humanly way to resist it. She cannot be out of the water for too long, but I do not know why she brings me with her. I do not understand any of this anymore. Any explanation I had before—the dreams, fever, imagining, or something explainable through enquiry—has disintegrated. I am with her in the ocean. We have travelled thousands of miles. I have seen creatures I could not have believed possible. I know there are pathways and highways, there are shelters. I know there are mountains higher than any in Europe. There are others like her, but we never approach them. I have learned she is dangerous, but she is never dangerous to me. She is everything to me now. I think I would die if she were not with me. I think I might suffocate if I did not breathe under the water for too long. The daylight is starting to feel harsh to me now. Even filtered through our little window, it shines too brightly off the polished floor boards of our cabin. In the sea, the light is always soft, its colors shift through an azure spectrum until we have descended to where it cannot reach at all. It is safest there. She is in no danger from any predator—she is always the predator. I am able to curl up in the soft bed of her hair. It is indescribable how she envelopes me, how she can hold me, her shape shifting with every motion and movement I and the sea might make.
I think I would stay in the water infinitely, but there is something she wants here. Perhaps it is simply to keep me alive, for, of course, I must eat and, I think, breathe the air. To keep me alive because she loves me? I know this to be true. But I believe there is something more. Something pulls her back to this world and I with her. A wanting.
The moon was full last night. We played our game and filled the window with its light, our hair braided together on our pillow. I giggled and she smiled, though her expressions are nothing like a human’s. They are beautiful and endless. Her eyes become pools of laughter. Her transparent skin flickers as if the moonlight were filtered through water, reflections playing on her face in little constellations. She kisses my cheeks with her strange mouth—cold caresses along my skin. We are so full of wanting and still content to be here where I thought we were imprisoned. We are surrounded by waves. We can hear the echoing calls of sea mammals. We can dive away with ease. It is as if I am free for the first time.
But the wanting is immense. I don’t know what it means. Last night I could not sleep. The sea was calm and the rocking gentle, but it seemed I could hear every creature as it moved beneath us and called out to its own, or hoped its silence would protect it. The sheet scratched at my skin as if it had stretched too thin across my bones and my desire. I could not see Melusine, but I could feel the throb of her voice inside me.
It was quite late when I gave up on sleep and rose from my bed to look out at the waves. The moon was high and the line of its reflection drew itself toward us. I turned to see where it pointed. The locked cabin door no longer agitated me—it was a barrier from interrution and the goings on of a busy ship when we prefer our own company alone. I walked over to it despite all this and tried the knob. It was unlocked. Perhaps they had grown careless knowing we, I rather, did not seem to want to leave. I left my cabin. I walked through the narrow corridor, my hands running along the wood paneling. It was soft and cool like Melusine’s skin.
The last door on the left was the one I sought. It too was unlocked. Peter slept, an innocent unprotected in his unconsciousness. His dark hair curled against the white linen of his pillow. The sheet covered him to his waist, but his torso was bare—he looked large and dark, fathomless. I lifted my nightdress over my head and dropped it on the floor. I went to his bed and slipped under the sheet, pressing myself against him. He made a low noise and turned toward me slightly. I nuzzled into his neck, breathing in his scent—sweet and woody, nothing like the sea. I reveled in his sleeping state. I pushed my stomach against his back, feeling his warmth spread from my navel down into my thighs. He pressed his big palms back, pushing me away and grasping me at once. If I had stopped for a moment, thought what I was doing, that I was unable to keep myself from him yet again, that my desire was overruling what I knew was right, perhaps I could have prevented every consequence, all the remorse and shame and beauty that was to come.
But I did not stop. She would not stop. Something ancient described to us every movement that must be made. My body curved itself into him, but his fingers had slacked. My urgency had not awakened him. I sat up with my back to his, my eyes closed. My pulse beat too hard. Certainly I was not myself. I did not need to look for her, I felt her inside me as surely as my own want. I felt her inside me more than I felt myself. She is fathomless where I am small. She is a hunter, her movements and thoughts are one. Her thoughts are shaped like nothing I had known until I dreamed her. There are no pictures, no words, only raw emotion and knowing. In that moment, I was too small to resist her. I would not have wanted to if I could. The room filled with sound. The notes floated softly over every surface, tickling, taunting, pulling the heart of every object out of itself and into a denseness that seemed to be in the center of me. It was me: my voice singing her song.
Peter opened his eyes at last. He looked up at me, fixated. Part of me saw him and part of me was nothing but song. His hand reached up to my face, his fingers hovered above my skin. And I sang to him. I sang to him about a thousand years past, when the sea was the only thing I knew, when I was young and stronger and believed what I knew then was eternal. A thousand years ago, I swam with the others. We shifted as it suited us—there was nothing we could not hunt if we wanted it. My cheeks were cool under his warm touch. I sang to him of all my longing for the world I’d lost, the way I once knew just where I belonged, what was my purpose and my place and what it is to no longer know. His hand moved softly down to the curve of my waist. He easily wrapped it around me in that tiny form. I wanted him to know me as I could be. I sang to him of all the ways I could take shape, how I am more and so much larger than a mere girl will ever be. But he drew back suddenly then. No man had ever done so before. He pushed me down beneath him on the bed, his hand clasped around my throat. But he did not try to stop my breath, he did not try to hurt me. He looked at me as if he were in some kind of great pain, a look which only made me all the hungrier for him.
“Clara,” his voice broke as he gasped her name. His left hand gripped her thigh as he held her down. “Clara, please.” I could feel his sex hard and searching against us. Against me. Against her. I wrapped my legs tightly around him, closing myself onto him, closing out the space between us.
“I need you.” Our bodies rocked like the swells of water pushing and pulling the ship in which we lay. I needed him. I could not afford for him to be too careful with us.