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A NineStar Press Publication

Published by NineStar Press

P.O. Box 91792,

Albuquerque, New Mexico, 87199 USA.

www.ninestarpress.com

Come to the Rocks

Copyright © 2018 by Christin Haws

Cover Art by Natasha Snow Copyright © 2018

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any material form, whether by printing, photocopying, scanning or otherwise without the written permission of the publisher. To request permission and all other inquiries, contact NineStar Press at the physical or web addresses above or at Contact@ninestarpress.com.

Printed in the USA

First Edition

April, 2018


eBook ISBN: 978-1-948608-46-6


Warning: This book contains sexually explicit content, which may only be suitable for mature readers.

Come to the Rocks

Christin Haws

Table of Contents

Dedication

One

Two

Three

Four

Five

Six

Seven

Eight

Nine

Ten

About the Author

For the mermaids and those who love them.

I

The rocks were cold and wet from the sea spray, slippery and dangerous to trek across, decidedly lethal to stand on at the water’s edge if the ocean was in a bad mood, which it often was.

Linnea did it anyway.

It was her place, the one place she could go where no one else dared. Often, her car was the only one parked on the sandy shoulder between the road and the rocks. Rarely did anyone drive by. Even on the nicest days, when the sun was bright and the water was happy, Linnea was often alone out on the rocks. There were much nicer stretches of shoreline, much safer spots that most people preferred to visit. To Linnea, the scramble across the rocks wasn’t treacherous; it was a brief adventure. Sitting on the edge with her feet dangling just inches above the constantly churning water, the mist of it coating her jean-clad legs until she could barely feel them from the cold, wasn’t reckless; it was a necessary meditation. In the most dangerous area of the cove, Linnea felt safe.

She would sit there most afternoons if she could as the sun sank toward the ocean, but always left before it touched the water. Most days, the overcast sky darkened and changed color with the impending sunset. The ocean was always gray, though, various shades of it that reflected the water’s mood. Lighter, almost silvery, when the water was happy and calm, which was almost never. Darker and angry, when the water was feeling vicious and would slap the rocks as hard as it could, hard enough to knock a grown man standing several feet from the edge right off his feet and into the sea where he’d be battered against the rocks by its rage. Most of the time, the water was a medium shade, an irritated, mood-swinging gray, and the waves would more lap than slap at the rocks, but on occasion, the water would lash out.

Linnea was never afraid of this.

Oh, she was never stupid enough to sit on the rocks when the ocean was angry, although she would either sit or stand at the edge of them and watch the water from a distance. It wasn’t very fulfilling for her to come to the rocks on those days. It was as though the water’s anger denied her peace and she’d spend her time there apologizing to the ocean and attempting to soothe the beast so she could move closer to it.

On an unremarkable Wednesday, Linnea sat cross-legged on the rocks, the darker-than-medium-gray water a little angrier than irritated, smacking the rocks soundly and frequently, but not too aggressively. Yet. The chilly spray settled over Linnea in a fine mist that froze her exposed skin and dampened the jeans and the flannel overcoat she wore in such a way that she didn’t really notice that her clothes were damp until she touched them. The gray sky met the gray water at the horizon in something of a hue change more than a definite line, and Linnea gazed across the water, thinking of nothing in particular.

And then something caught her eye.

A decidedly not-gray sheen appeared on the surface of the water for only a second or two, disappearing before Linnea could truly focus on it. Linnea stared at the spot, waiting to see if it would reappear.

It did, but not in the same spot.

The little glimmer of green and purple and teal lingered long enough for Linnea to know she was actually seeing something, that it wasn’t just a trick of the overcast light on the gray water, and only then did she realize that this little shimmer was closer to her than before.

Curious, Linnea dared to get up on her hands and knees so she could better see over the edge of the rocks at the water, squinting as the icy sea spray misted her face. Leaning as far over the edge, as close to the water as she dared, Linnea searched for the little glimmer again.

The gray water hid its depths and everything contained in it unless it was close to the surface. Linnea didn’t even know how deep the water was there. The face materialized in the water like an evening star gradually coming into its own brightness as the sky darkened into night.

Linnea found herself transfixed by the face as it hovered just under the surface, the waves rolling into the rocks sometimes obscuring it, but never really distorting it as it floated, perfectly still and undisturbed by the movement.

The face was beautiful in its otherness. Linnea had never seen one like it on land, that was for sure. Eyes, as silver-gray as the water when it was happy, stared back at her, blinking leisurely. Hair the same color fanned out and floated around the beautiful face, as though it radiated from it. The skin was pale and pristine, broken only by the slightly pink lips.

Linnea stared, and the eyes stared back.

In an instant, the water turned angry. Waves slammed into the rocks, obscuring the vision, driving Linnea backward to avoid a face full of water. She fell on her butt and rolled, painfully bouncing her elbows and spine and the back of her head on the unforgiving, wet rocks. Water rushed along the uneven, polished surface, seeping into her jeans and between her flannel overcoat and her shirt.

The shock of the sudden turn of the sea, the stinging cold of it, the pain from the fall only froze Linnea for a second. She scrambled back to her hands and knees and crawled to the edge of the rocks, daring the water to slap at her again as she searched for the beautiful image she had seen.

It was gone.



The face haunted Linnea’s dreams.

In the clouds of sleep, it appeared again and again, incongruent from anything else that might be going on in the context of her mind’s bizarre subconscious story. It would materialize as it had in the water, coming into sharper focus from beyond some kind of gray darkness and Linnea would try to focus on it, to reach out in some way to capture it, memorize it, only to be wrenched awake.

Linnea tossed and turned, sleeping and waking, with that beautiful face in her mind.

She never once questioned the realness of it. Linnea knew she’d seen a face in the water, that it was no dream or delusion or mirage. It was real. She just wasn’t sure yet what it was.

The next afternoon, Linnea returned to the rocks, hoping for a replay of the day before, wishing to see that face again, praying that when she did (and she was sure that it would be when and not if) she could overcome that feeling of mute fascination to speak to it, to call it to her and ask it every question that burned through her mind and wrecked her dreams.

The water, though, was raging, inexplicably angry about something, and as such, Linnea couldn’t step one foot on the rocks. She stood mournfully at the sandy shoulder, next to her car, as the water not simply splashed, but exploded along the rocks, raining down icy water over the stones and creating raging rapids in the cracks. Even there, leaning against her car with her arms crossed, a very fine mist of salty spray caressed her face.

Linnea didn’t hear Mikey’s truck, that big white beast, because if she had, she wouldn’t have still been standing there when he pulled in next to her and parked. The sound of the violent waves didn’t obscure it; the riptide in her head did.

“Hey, Lin,” Mikey said as he approached her, and Linnea jumped, immediately on the defense.

Mikey was smiling at her in that goofy way of his that belied his true nature. Linnea uncrossed her arms, forming fists that disappeared into the sleeves of her flannel overcoat, and stood up straight, planting her feet.

“Hey, Mikey,” she said, neutral.

“I thought I might find you here,” he said, leaning on her car.

“Oh.”

“I wanted to talk to you.”

Linnea didn’t answer him. She just stared at his face, the little flicker of meanness that lit up his brown eyes like distant lightning, and his shoulders as they tensed just a little even while the rest of him appeared to relax.

“Are you busy this weekend?” Mikey asked when Linnea didn’t speak.

“No,” she said.

“Good. Then why don’t we get together? We can talk about things.” Mikey grinned as he reached for her arms since her hands were lost in the swallow of the sleeves of her coat.

Linnea stepped back, bumping into the side mirror.

“No, thanks,” she said, her voice steady and neutral.

Mikey dropped his arms to his sides, his smile fading a bit before turning hard.

“Why not? You just said you weren’t busy.” He sounded playful, teasing.

“Because I don’t want to get together with you.” She kept the same tone, not showing how disquieted she was to have Mikey show up in her safe place.

“I just want us to be friends, Lin.” Mikey made it sound like it was a reasonable demand and she was being incredibly irrational not to meet it.

“Maybe we can be,” Linnea said, knowing full well that they couldn’t be. Ever. “One day. But not right now.”

Mikey exhaled hard through his nose, making Linnea think of a bull about ready to charge. She shifted and the side mirror of her car dug into her back through her overcoat.

Mikey put his hands on his hips and shook his head. “I don’t get you, Lin, I just don’t.” Any pretense of humor and good feelings was gone. “I’m trying to be nice here. I’m trying to make things right. I still think it’s a mistake that you broke up with me, but I’m trying to be the bigger person here. Why are you ridiculous about all of this?”

“I’m not,” Linnea said. “I’ve made a reasonable request and you haven’t honored it. I asked for space after we broke up. That’s all.”

“You broke up with me,” Mikey said. “This isn’t a we thing, Lin. The breakup was your choice.”

“Yes, I know.”

Linnea waited for Mikey to say something, but he only stared at her, his face hard, eyes angry.

“I’m leaving now,” Linnea said after a minute. “Please move.”

Mikey grinned at her and folded his arms. He leaned on her car. “And what if I don’t?” The playfulness in his voice was edged with a threat.

Linnea looked up at him, clinching her hands tightly in the sleeves of her coat, digging her nails into her palms. The pain kept her calm. “Yes, Mikey, what if you don’t?”

Mikey stared at her for several ticking seconds, and Linnea worked to keep her expression totally blank, passive, non-threatening, non-challenging. Finally, Mikey, smirk still in place, straightened up. He backed away from her, down the length of her car.

“Fine. Just fine, Lin. Have it your way.”

Linnea waited until he was behind her car, moving toward his truck, before she opened the driver’s side door and got in. It took every bit of restraint she had not to throw herself in, slam and lock the doors, crank the engine, and peel away. Mikey would enjoy that too much. Instead, she locked the doors as though she’d just finished an uneventful trip to the market, calmly started her car, and pulled out onto the road.

Mikey followed her across town, shadowing only feet behind her the entire drive. Linnea continued to check on him in the rearview mirror, but kept her route home simple and her speed around the limit. Linnea pulled into the driveway of her house, and Mikey paused for a second at the end of it before honking and then driving on by.

Linnea pulled into the garage and waited until the door was down before getting out of the car. In the house, Linnea made sure all of the doors and windows were locked, and then went upstairs to change.

She was cold and she couldn’t get warm.

II

Linnea didn’t leave the house again until Saturday. Working from home allowed her that. She did data entry for a local fishery, a dull, repetitive job that she was very good at, paid very well, and didn’t require her to wear high heels. Linnea had gotten so adept at her job that she was usually able to finish her eight-hour day in five or less, which allowed her to spend her afternoons at the rocks.

Which was what Linnea wanted to do on Friday, but didn’t. Instead, she stayed at home, worked some overtime, and struggled to keep her mind off of the face she’d seen in the water, the one she was desperate to see again, but couldn’t.

Because of Mikey.

She and Mikey had dated for a few months. Linnea didn’t think she was at all Mikey’s type—Linnea was chubby, a little prettier than plain and Mikey was an overly attractive guy with a track record of preferring hot girls. But when Mikey asked her out one night at the bar where their group of mutual friends were hanging out, Linnea had said yes. Linnea hadn’t been in the market for anything serious, anyway, and Mikey had sworn he wasn’t either. They had a good time. At first. But despite Linnea’s objections, Mikey had pushed the relationship to get more serious than she wanted. The harder he’d pushed, the more Linnea resisted until she finally broke it off with him, unable to tolerate his insistent behavior any longer.

The breakup had triggered Mikey’s transformation from a pushy paramour to an overbearing bully, his wounded ego driving him. “It’s not over until I say it’s over.” Mikey’s manhood hadn’t been able to handle Linnea making the decision to end the relationship. Over the following few weeks, Linnea had realized that Mikey’s control issues went a lot deeper than just special ordering everything he ever ate in a restaurant.

Mikey’s harassment had lasted longer than the relationship.

Working from home gave Linnea the advantage of having one less place for Mikey to unexpectedly show up and attempt to force a reconciliation.

Linnea went to the rocks on Saturday. The sky was blue and clear, unusual for that time of year. The water was the happiest that Linnea had ever seen it as she sat cross-legged on her favorite spot. The sun sparkled off of the water, making it seem like glittering silver. Instead of focusing out on the horizon, Linnea gazed down at the calm water by the rocks, hoping to see that glimmer of teal and green and purple that preceded her first glimpse of that beautiful face.

The sun was too bright, though, the angle all wrong as it sunk toward the horizon. As lovely as the glittering surface of the water was, it would obscure any sign of that colorful glimmer.

Linnea tried not to let the disappointment overtake her. It was probably only by the greatest of luck (of which Linnea was sure she didn’t have much) that she’d seen that beautiful face in the water at all.

So, Linnea sat on the rocks and gazed out across the sparkling water, the cool ocean air caressing her face and gently smoothing her hair. She daydreamed, unafraid of where Mikey was or what he might be doing; thoughts of him never bothered Linnea out there in her safe place. There was calm and safety at her spot on the rocks where no one dared come to. When the sun began to turn orange, signaling its impending plunge into the ocean, Linnea finally came back to herself and reality and moved to stand up so she could make the uneven, ankle-breaking walk to her car.

A shell lay next to her left knee.

Linnea stared at it for a moment before reaching out and picking it up, almost surprised to find it real. It was a scallop shell about the size of a silver dollar, white with a swirl of iridescence. Linnea held it in her palm and stared at it, knowing for certain that it hadn’t been there when she sat down. Linnea had been coming to this spot for years and never found any shells. And this one was too pretty, too perfect to be missed.

Carefully, Linnea leaned over and looked down at the water.

The water sparkled back at her.



Linnea brought the shell back to the rocks the next day, securely in the pocket of her flannel overcoat. The water was happy once again, calm and languid, but the sky was the gray ceiling that Linnea preferred, at least for the time being. The sun on the water was pretty, but Linnea needed to see into the water, even if only a few inches.

She sat on the rocks, cross-legged as she’d been doing, as though any other way might jinx her, and she stared and waited.

Linnea didn’t sit alone for long.

There was no glimmer of purple-teal-green to announce the arrival of the beautiful face; it just appeared in the water below Linnea, gradually coming into focus as it rose from the depths. Linnea got to her hands and knees and leaned over the edge of the rocks, a kind of panic hitting her nearly toppling her into the water. Linnea didn’t want to let the face get away.

They stared at each other for a moment, Linnea fighting the hypnotic sensation coming over her as she gazed into the pretty silver eyes. She wanted to speak, say anything to the face, but her words were nowhere to be found. She would reach out and touch the face, but she was afraid of it disappearing, dissolving like sea-foam on sand.

The face began to fade, sinking down into the water, the silver hair floating in front of it.

“Don’t go!” Linnea cringed at the sound of her own voice, the grating desperation in it.

The face stopped sinking, holding just at the brink of fuzziness for a few seconds, before pushing to the surface, through the surface.

Linnea sat back as the beautiful face became a head, the silver hair flowing down, plastering to a bare neck and bare shoulders, skin so pale. Linnea stared in wonder at how effortlessly this person, this woman, floated there. The water was calm and happy, but it still appeared as though she were standing, untouched by the ripples.

“Hello,” Linnea managed to say, and the woman smiled at her. Linnea’s heart fluttered so hard in her chest that for a moment she thought she might be having a heart attack.

“Hello,” the woman said, and there was something about her voice. It was sweet and liquid, as cold and comforting as the water.

Linnea sat cross-legged once again, mesmerized.

“Who are you?” Linnea asked.

“Mren,” the woman said. “Who are you?”

“Linnea.”

“I’ve seen you here many times,” Mren said.

“Yes. This is my place,” Linnea said, aware of how stupid it sounded. But she was so transfixed on those silvery eyes and that sweet smile that she didn’t care.

“Yes, it is,” Mren said.

And with a little laugh, Mren leaned back in a graceful arch and dove under the water. Linnea’s eyes widened as Mren’s pale torso rose, her bare breasts obscured by her long, silver hair, smoothed into a green-teal-purple fish tail. Mren reappeared, completing a perfect circle.

Pure joy surged through Linnea. “You’re a mermaid!”

“Yes. That’s what you call us.” Mren began lazily swimming back and forth, flipping her tail playfully as she kept her head above water, her silver eyes focused on Linnea. Her hair remained perfectly in place over her naked bosom.

“What do you call you?” Linnea asked.

“We don’t.”

“So, if you have your own language, how do you know English?”

“We know many languages. We learn by listening.”

“Oh.”

A silence passed between them. Mren swam back and forth and watched Linnea. Linnea should have been in some kind of shock, maybe questioning her sanity. Mermaids didn’t exist—at least they weren’t supposed to. Yet, one was swimming in front of her, talking to her, and Linnea didn’t question one bit of it. In fact, she was thrilled that it was happening. Linnea experienced a joy that had never touched her heart, utter elation at merely being in Mren’s presence. It was like magic.

“You gave me the shell, didn’t you?” Linnea put her hand in her overcoat pocket, gingerly touching the delicate scalloped edge.

“Yes,” Mren said, stretching long as she swam past Linnea, her hair streaming over her skin, her scales somehow sparkling despite the gray day.

“Why?”

Mren stopped swimming. She turned to Linnea, a curious expression on her face. She floated there, head and shoulders out of the water, the swell of her breasts just visible.

“I wanted to give you a present,” Mren said, sounding amused.

“A present?”

“Yes.”

“For me.”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

Mren’s eyes narrowed and her pale pink lips pursed just a little as she considered the question. Linnea realized that she must be as frustrating as a toddler who’s figuring out how the world works by repetitive questioning, but it was something she truly couldn’t comprehend at the moment. Why would this beautiful creature want to give her a present? What had she’d done to deserve it? It made no sense to Linnea.

“I wanted to give it to you,” Mren said after a minute and started swimming again in her lazy, playful way.

“Oh,” Linnea said.

Once more, they fell into silence, Mren swimming and watching Linnea gaze at her. Linnea tried not to stare, but she was fascinated with the way that Mren moved through the water, so languid and easy. It was as if she was as liquid as the sea. It was strangely soothing to Linnea, almost hypnotic.

“Why is this your place?” Mren asked, her saltwater voice breaking the spell that enchanted Linnea. Or maybe further enchanting her.

“Because I’m safe here,” Linnea said without hesitation. “No one comes on the rocks. It’s too easy to be swept away.”

“But you sit here often. I’ve seen you.”

“Yes.”

“You are not afraid of being swept away.”

“No.”

“Why?”

Linnea had to consider the question. She honestly didn’t know. Maybe it was because she’d learned the moods of the water. Maybe it was because she didn’t really care if she got swept out to sea only to be battered against the rocks and drowned. Maybe it was because…

“I know I won’t be swept away,” Linnea said, staring out at the line that separated the sky from the water. “I just know I won’t be.”


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