Sea Foam by Jessie Bryant

2015-2016 Magazine Featured Piece

She watched the waves, as dark and sleek as black silk, smash into the jagged rocks below, mesmerized by the beautifully chaotic movements of the water. The girl studied the pattern of the foamy troughs, absentmindedly using her fingers to signal when the next wave would wash up onto the rocky cliff, and
wondered how something could be so violent, yet so elegant at the same time.

Consumed by the rhythmic time and pattern of the ocean roaring hundreds of feet below her and the cliff she perched upon, she almost forgot he was there beside her, peeking at her with lustful crystal eyes from under blond lashes.

In all the time she had been unintentionally ignoring him, he had been stealing longing glances at her flawless form, thinking about how soft her porcelain skin would feel beneath his fingertips, or how gentle her lips would feel pressed to his mouth. He had known her for less than three hours, and they hadn’t
talked much, but already he wanted her—in every way possible.

The girl, not a few inches from the boy, could feel the uninvited tension pressed like thorns into her side. Every time he swallowed too hard, she noted his anxiousness, and dismissed a wry smile from her perfect lips. She knew the only reason he had approached her was because of her enchanting beauty—that was
the only reason anyone ever approached her. The attention she seized while she was out and about—on those rare but necessary occasions—was the exact reason why she loathed, and ultimately
avoided, leaving the comfort of her home.

But she had to do this—whether or not she wanted to, she had to come to this bonfire party. It was her turn to talk to people. And more importantly, based upon observation and close interpretation, it was her turn to choose who would leave with her.

The cute boy sitting crossed-legged and fidgety beside her was the one. It had taken many agonizing hours of meeting and being approached by intoxicated boys, and some girls, before scouting him out in a crowd of crazy teenagers. He had been alone under a tree, standing idly by without company. Once he had spotted her, he immediately moved from his spot and introduced himself. She realized then that he had been the most boring person she had come across throughout the night, and thankfully, that was what she was looking for—a boy who could easily be manipulated, and a boy who could easily disappear.

All it had taken was a small smirk from her perfect coral-tinted lips, and her soft, small hand in his to lead him up to this cliff. And it wouldn’t take much more to get what she needed.

“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” her voice was soft velvet, bewitching the boy almost instantly.

The boy stared into her opaque-like eyes and forced a charming smile. “Yes, yes it is. But it cannot compare to you.” The girl prepared to give an exasperated sigh. Fortunately, she caught herself and made an attempt to act flustered, as she imagined young girls might do in such a pathetic situation.

Before another word left her hypnotizing tongue, he scooted over until their shoulders met—and as the wind from below the cliff clipped over their heads, tousling short golden locks, she could smell him. His skin had the sweetest aroma of any human she had ever come across.

Saliva pooled in her mouth like venom.

A hesitant, course hand came up and cupped her cheek, which she had not been prepared for, as she was too distracted by his tempting scent.

“You’re so beautiful. I almost can’t control myself.” He let out a low chuckle, and she almost does too, for she knew he did not have control.

None of them did.

However, something in that instant overwhelmed her. As she stared back at him, she almost felt this strange warmth spreading throughout her being. In all of her encounters, she had never felt anything when dealing with her victims. But this boy … there was something about his golden hair, dimpled smile, and kind aura that almost made her feel … remorse? Pity? Regret? The undistinguished feeling felt heavy in her chest, and she was so angry that it was there.

Finish it. Just finish it.

Before she could let the feeling spread any further, she asked, “Are you going to kiss me, or are you just going to stare at me all night?” When he leaned in, eager to feel the gentle lips he had been thinking about all night, she encompassed him in—what outsiders would think if they had seen it—a romantic embrace. The boy was immediately consumed with the girl and blissfully fell out of reality. Her lips were sweet with toxins, put-
ting him in a peaceful reverie in which, once again, he had no control.

She detached herself from his body and whispered to him, “Follow me.” And he did so, stupefied by her kiss and her angelic voice. As they approached the cliff, she felt the feeling again, as hot as cooked coal in her stomach: pity.

Why am I feeling this way? I have done this so many times without remorse. Why now?

She looked at him and held his boy-ish face between her cool hands. “I’m so sorry, but I have to do this.” She knew he hadn’t understood or cared about what she said, but somehow saying that out loud had made herself feel better.

Dismissing the coals burning within her, she commanded the dark, dense waves to her; they submissively climbed the side of the cliff and met her waiting command at the top, collecting in the open air before them as thick tendrils. They spun and curled in the open air, elegant and waiting for a body to capture like
huge, hungry serpents.

She led him into the waves, and as soon as the water enveloped them, they retreated back, hundreds of feet below, into the ocean. As soon as his body was embraced by the ocean, the boy awoke from his trance, and found himself gasping for air. He had not remembered anything but the kiss, and here he was now, sub-
merged in dark, cold water, fighting the strong tide feebly.

When he finally fought to the surface for a single, gasping breath, he was thrown under again. And again. And again. His lungs were two flames burning inside his chest, and his head was growing dizzy. The waves were too strong to fight and he was miles away from help.

Eventually, he couldn’t fight a second more, and he sank, slowly fading out into the abyss as salt water trickled into his lungs.

Before he blacked out, he saw red through the water; an amazing red that shone between the blackness not a few feet away. Immediately he recognized that beautiful color, and remembered that beautiful face, and felt both confusion and hope reach him. Then—once he got a clearer look through the muck of
the water—fear.

The once beautiful girl now adorned a bony body, with sharp angles and features, and gray-green skin. Barbs of thick bone jutted out of her spine and forearms, while nasty, opaque scales embellished a long, muscled tail that curled about her body. Her hair was still that beautiful red, but now it coiled around her like flickering flames, bringing attention to her bulging, milky white-gaze. A frightening sneer stretched from ear to ear, revealing rows and rows of sharp, jagged incisors.

Before he could attempt to panic in his slowly fading state, shadows began to surround him, spiraling in the dark water like evil wisps. Bright reds, golds, greens and blues shone their way between the dancing shadows, and approached him from the ocean depths eagerly. Thousands of milky-white eyes reflected back, throwing flickering lights against the darkness.

She gave him one last remorseful look with that forever frightening sneer before she let a territorial growl gurgle throughout the water. Shrill shrieks of impatience pierced the water as others appeared amongst the chaos of the ocean.

He began to black out, salt water replacing the oxygen that had once filled his lungs. And as he faded into nothing, he saw those beautiful red flames spiral toward him.