Leaves burst into the air as a young girl bolted down the littered forest path. Her shoulder-length blonde hair whipped her face as she glanced behind her. She raced deeper and deeper into the woods as heavy footsteps followed behind her. Still, she ran faster. She needed to escape, get away. Faster. Just keep running. I can't go back. Tree branches snagged at her clothes like grabbing fingers and scratched her face, arms and legs.
She ignored the voice. To her, the voice meant betrayal, pain, and lies. Don't believe him. Don't trust him. It's his fault. His fault…
She just kept running. Soon, the trees moved closer and closer to each other creating a barricade. Their branches held onto each other, making sure the little girl couldn't get past. It was like the whole world was against her. She stumbled, giving the man a chance to grab her. He easily lifted her, the same way he did when she was a toddler. "NO!" She screamed, kicked and struggled. She tried everything to escape his grasp, even biting and scratching.
"Listen to me, Eve! Nothing is going to happen to you!" He tightened his grip painfully on her.
"I saw what happened to mommy! You're taking me to the same place!" Eve kept struggling. She didn't care if she made him angry. She was ready to face him.
He grew livid and raised his hand against her, making her cringe and freeze. "I'm your father, Evangeline. You will do as I say."
Eve began to cry. She knew that struggling was useless, especially when he let his ill temper show. She was set onto her feet and was dragged back towards the cave. She stumbled along, not caring to keep up, and thinking about how they got there. In an unexpected splurge of kindness, her father had decided to take a vacation across the little island they lived on to Mermaid Cove, which was once a popular vacationing, sailing, and fishing spot. Yet she didn't know what his real intentions were. They slowly neared the cave where she once witnessed the horrifying, yet beautiful sight. She closed her eyes and listened to them. They were singing intricate melodies, harmonizing with each other. It was beautiful, yet fearful and chilling. Suddenly, Eve began to struggle again. "I don't want to go back! Please!"
"Shut up and keep walking," her father yanked her forward. When she wouldn't stop resisting, he roughly grabbed her shoulders and knelt in front of her, "Listen to me. I love you," Lies, "I wouldn't let anything bad happen to you," Blasphemy, "You want your mother back right?"
Eve stifled a sob. She nodded, knowing he was lying, yet something in her heart made her believe that the lie was truth. She wanted to believe him. She wanted things to be the way they used to be- happy, peaceful, and loving.
"Don't worry. I'm here to protect you," more lies.
Eve nodded. She shivered as the creatures hit an unsettling chord. Her father grabbed her wrist like a shackle and continued walking. The young girl closed her cerulean blue eyes and began to think of dreams she had of adventures on the high seas, life on the ocean. The spray of the sea and the constant smell of salt, and the never ending cry of the gulls. They inched closer to the dreaded cave. Every smell, every feeling, every sound was experienced before. He's going to make me disappear too…Like he did to mommy…
Her father continued onward, dragging her behind him. It was amazing how those hands could show gentleness and kindness one moment, and the next moment conflict great pain. "We're almost there. I need you to listen and obey my every word."
Eve nodded, not making a sound. The singing became louder, clearer. The voices told a tale of an old sea captain of The Infernal Demon, an infamous pirate ship. She shivered. Soon the source of the singing came into view. At the mouth of the cave, sitting on the rocks, there were four or five women. They had beautiful bodies, the kind any girl would dream for. Their soft, wet skin glistened in the moonlight and was slimy and scaled from the waist down. Fins replaced feet and trailed off into the deep waters. They kept singing until the two humans came into view. They watched them with lustful, hungry, red eyes. The moon, which had sank since the beginning of the night, gave the beautifully horrifying creatures a glow behind them- a kind of halo effect- that distorted the way they looked. The pair stopped. Eve's father shoved the five-year-old child forward, condemning her to the creature's wishes. They sank into the water, soon bobbing to the surface, and slowly drifted closer. The music began again. It wove enchanting promises to Eve. The child hesitated, but some unknown force made her legs move towards the water. Visions filled her head. Visions of a beautiful blue sea, a ship bouncing on the surface, Eve's mother holding her arms open for a hug. The visions promised Eve happiness. A life without her father and a life without pain. It promised to fulfill her every wish.
Before she knew it, the creatures were stroking her hair, leading her further into the water. They caressed her cheeks, her jaw, her nose, her eye lids. The left a burning trail at every touch, but her eyes felt like they were on fire. Her vision filled with red and slowly faded black. Several hands were grabbing her, pulling her towards deeper, more frigid water. She began to kick and scream just before she was pulled under.
Underwater was terrifying. Her lungs hurt from not being able to breathe. The swirling water was disorientating. She felt her body being crushed by the monsters pulling her under. A pair of familiar hands seized her just under her armpits and lifted her out of the water. Eve coughed and heaved for air. Footsteps rushed her away from the pit of the hellish, screaming creatures. "Evangeline, I'm so sorry…" Eve recognized her father's voice and touch, "I don't know what I was thinking…" Eve began to cry.
"Daddy, where are you?" She bawled.
His voice sounded shocked, "I'm right here, chipmunk. Right in front of you. I'm carrying you."
"Daddy, I can't see you…" Eve felt her father's embrace, something she hadn't felt since her mother's disappearance, "What's happening?"
"I don't know… I promise I'll fix it. I'm so sorry, chipmunk…"
That's when Eve knew she would never see again; she knew that her father would not remain faithful to his promise.