The Ghosts of Mermaids
by Coral Alejandra Moore
The ghosts of mermaids can not sing to the sea. They float, listless, on the surface of the water like flotsam. When riled by a wave, they do not howl, only stare with eyes full of desperation.
The Answer Atop Mermaid’s Rest
by Cathin Yang
“This is as far as I go. Sure you want to do this?”
No, Bethany thinks, but her smile betrays nothing as she nods. Her destination, twin rocks in the near distance, looms dark and silent in the rain.
The centuries granted the formation no shortage of names and fame. The Ocean Arc when the two rocks were once connected by an expanse of stone at the apex of the formation. The Sun’s Setting for how at certain points of the year the sun centered perfectly on the bridge like a brilliant gemstone. After the bridge crumbled into the ocean, it became The Broken Bridge or The Haystacks. Colloquially, and due to rumors of mermaids gathering in the area, it became Mermaid’s Rest or—coined by sailors—The Mermaid’s Tits.
The last may have proved too crass for the denizens of the deep. After over a century of persistent storms and shattered ships, most mutter under their breath about cursed tits and ship graveyards and give the formation a wide berth. Even now, Captain Roshana refuses to sail any closer, Windrider anchored soundly where it is.
“You’ll wait here until tomorrow?” Bethany asks.
The captain glowers at the rocks, clutching an amulet around her neck. She mumbles something under her breath; a prayer or a curse, Bethany doesn’t know. “Only until two handspans past sunrise. Nothing good to be found in this area. Accursed sea witches and storm singers.”
“It’ll be safer once they’re calmed,” Bethany says. “The passage between the rocks will be open again.”
Captain Roshana’s eyes narrow, mouth curling in disdain. “So many have claimed. What makes you different?”
Bethany stands a little taller and lifts her chin, hoping she appears more defiant and brave than childish or petulant. “Because they aren’t me.”
“Huh. That so?” Captain Roshana doesn’t seem any more moved by the statement, but it’s not an outright dismissal. “You got gumption, I’ll give you that. My people will row you as close as possible, but you’ll have to row the rest of the way. I’ll give you a flare gun and ammo for it. You send that up tomorrow and we’ll come get you. But remember: two handspans past sunrise. We’re out after that.”
“Yes, Captain. Thank you.”
The Captain nods and leaves to check on final preparations. Bethany watches her go, swallowing her fear and tugging her hood down. Her thumbs worry over the engravings and stitches embellishing the leather straps of her bag, seeking comfort in the workmanship. Everything she needs is stuffed into the small bag, the rest stored in a crate by her hammock in the hold. The conditions of the boat aren’t luxurious, but what she sought and paid for was swift passage to the rocks. Of everyone she spoke with, only Captain Roshana didn’t laugh outright at the idea.
Five days on the choppy seas wore on her spirit; facing the enormity of the task directly ahead of her, a little more erodes.
Put the ghosts to rest. End the storms. Many have tried, none have fully succeeded, but any improvement on the current situation is positive. Small positive steps can build to something bigger. One day there might be peace with the mermaids and the trade routes will open back up.
Wouldn’t it be great if it was her? She knows she’s in for rough competition; every single mage, wizard, warlock, necromancer, hydromancer, or other type of magical specialist wants that glory. The promise of fame, honor, riches, and a title and land for anyone who solves the problem has been an unclaimed bounty since Queen Annabelle, the great-grandmother of the king, declared it.
The few that return are haunted or touched by the sea in some fashion, mumbling nonsensically about the murder of children and stolen land. She’s even heard stories of one man who claimed the history of the kingdom was false and driven on lies. But the storms abate for a few days and the mermaid attacks lessen. Sooner or later the storms return and another boat gets dragged down, but progress is progress.
Captain Roshana whistles and waves. “Boat’s ready!”
One wobbly step at a time, Bethany sways over to the waiting rowboat. She smiles nervously at the waiting crew as she’s helped into the boat and handed the flare gun.
“Thank you for taking me to the rocks.”
The man at the front oars gives her a flat look. “We’re taking you to the reef. You’re rowing the remainder. Tie your bag down, Miss. It’ll get choppy on the water and you’ll want to hold on.”
The boat lowers to the water, bobbing up and down as a second, smaller rowboat is lowered. The crew deftly connect the two boats with a rope before casting off. A team of four row confidently, strong arms propelling the oars through the water. A navigator sits next to Bethany, mapping out their route and scanning ahead with a telescope.
A translucent blue stone dangles from a cord around her wrist, a faint glow in the center like a caught mote of light. An ocean gem, though whether they’re gems or something else is a constant point of debate. Regardless of their origin, the glowing stones are popular in jewelry or among sailors as a good luck charm; the royal crown has over ten. More than a few on the market are glass cabochons infused with a bit of magic that fade within a few days. The stone on the navigator’s bracelet looks genuine enough. Maybe it’s the luck they need to survive.
Bethany opens her mouth to ask the navigator where she got it, but the boat drops suddenly from a large wave. Her stomach twists and her mouth snaps shut, now focused on keeping her meal inside. Even when Bethany’s stomach feels girded, she doesn’t dare break anyone’s concentration with conversation. The crew doesn’t talk much outside of directions or warnings, though their faces aren’t always wrought in concentration. Maybe they don’t like to talk around outsiders. Maybe they’re around each other long enough that the silence is welcome.
It feels like they bob endlessly on the water, but eventually they draw closer to the stone pillars. Their shadowy presence takes on a clearer form. The jagged shape, the slight off-hang all that remains of the natural stone bridge. Birds circle the expanse, white and grey bodies speckling along the rocks. Rain still pelts them, but it feels like the worst of the storm has passed over them. Yet ships have sunk here too, tricked by the calmer waters and subsequently broken on unseen rocks or otherwise dragged under. She peers over the edge of the boat at the shadowy shapes deep under the water but whether it’s a broken boat or rocks she can’t tell.
“We’ll be dropping you off ahead, where the water is shallow,” the navigator says. “It’ll be easy for you to row the rest of the way in. Tomorrow, you fire off the flare gun. We’ll signal back when we’ve noticed it. Then you row up to where we’re going to drop you off at and hold tight for pick up.”
“But only before two handspans past sunrise,” Bethany says.
“Between you and me, the captain will give you three. She likes people with guts. Later than that, we’re going to guess you’re dead and leave. Gotta hit the right currents for the way back.”
“Do people often die?”
The navigator shrugs. “You’re the expert. Personally, I’m rooting for you. Mermaids are damned nuisances. It’ll be better if they’re gone.”
Bethany frowns slightly but remains quiet. The navigator’s words don’t sit right, but everyone knows how mermaids attack ships in other areas too. The navigator spends more time on the sea than she does, so who is she to question her?
They pull into where the reef thickens out. A ghostly spread of dead coral shows through the clear water. Some are spindly and spiral out, others form large masses that look solid enough to stand on. Deep channels cut through sections of the reef like ugly scars. The oars maneuver around them, stopping once the coral rises up higher. One sailor slings his legs over the boat, testing his weight on the coral before stepping out. Coral cracks under his steps. Pale dust and tiny fragments swirl around his feet, but the coral holds. Another sailor joins him, the two wrangling the other rowboat in closer.
“Here you go, Missy. Don’t stop until you hit the shore. You pull the boat up high as you can, stake it in good.”
“Yes, sir. Thank you.” Bethany releases her grip on the tether. Her bag is untied and moved into the other boat as she’s helped over and given the oars.
“Good luck!” the navigator says. She grins and waves. “If you make it back, I’ll treat you to a drink on shore!”
Bethany’s cheeks redden as she returns the grin and wave. “I’d like that!”
She grips the oars and begins to row. Due to her inexperience, it takes more than a few strokes to find the right rhythm to propel herself through the water. The crew lingers long enough to make sure she’s on her way before they set off. Even against calmer waves, it still feels like it takes an hour to row to where it’s shallow enough she can wade to shore and pull the boat up.
“Here I am,” Bethany mutters under her breath. She sits on a large rock to catch her breath and pour water out of her boots. Her fingers are blistered and raw; even the simple act of loosening her laces and tugging off her boots feels excruciating.
All the notes she’s read and stories she’s heard mention shelter on the climb up. Some natural caves, others carved out by other visitors. The paths on both rocks differ slightly, but both have well-worn paths to the tops, set in when the rocks were a popular spot for ships to anchor and sailors would come in to rest. Where the seabirds and plentiful fish and shellfish made for good eating. Bethany doesn’t remember seeing any fish on the way in, but the call of seabirds echoes through the air.
Exhausted as she is, the current location is a poor place to sit around. A steady drizzle leaves her feeling sticky; it’d be nice to sit somewhere drier before preparing for the ritual. Tugging her shoes back on, Bethany shoulders her bag and trudges off. Circling around the shore, she finds the mouth of the path curving up the rockface itself. Step by step, Bethany works her way up. There’s a smoothness to the rock from national erosion and thousands of people crossing over the paths, but it only adds to the danger of the way up. The frayed and broken rope nailed into the rock wall among more treacherous sections provides a suggestion of safety but Bethany clings to it anyway.
Someone should really fix this path, Bethany thinks to herself. She’ll have to spread the word about bringing new ropes in to repair things. Stoneworkers could find good work chiseling out the path too. Maybe one day the location will become a rest spot for weary sailors and travelers again. Old stories say the view from the top of the rocks is gorgeous; a sight she may enjoy in the evening. The ritual calls for the full moon at its peak. Thankfully the ritual relies on nature’s timing and the seemingly constant cloudy sky has no effect on the ritual. With a cave near the top of the rock, she’ll shelter there until just before sunset. Then she’ll travel up to the top in the remaining light and prepare the ritual.
Though she had planned on hiking up to the topmost cave in one go, she slumps into the first cave to rest. It’s a small, cramped space for two people at best, but mercifully dry. Hundreds of initials, dates, messages, and crude drawings are etched into the rock walls. Bethany sits against the wall and runs her fingers over the nearest etchings. Her legs ache from exertion, the light pulse of her aching hands joining in. She drinks water from her water skin and nibbles on a honey cake as she admires the history around her.
The view here isn’t so bad: grey ocean spreading out endlessly, ghostly reefs muted through the water, the hint of shipwrecks and sea life dark shadows in the distance. The caw of seabirds and the whistling of the wind add to the ambiance.
Yes, once the storms end, this will be a nice resting spot for sailors.
The scenery and small meal bolster Bethany’s energy and resolve. She takes a shard of rock and chisels her initials and the date into the rock before moving on. The difficulty of the climb fails to lessen any as she climbs higher and higher. More than once, she screams as a foot slips from the path, clutching desperately to the guide rope as she regains her balance. More than once, she wonders how many failed to even complete the climb to the top.
By the time she reaches the topmost cave, the sky is dark and heavy with thick rain clouds and the sun long set. Bethany drags herself into the cave and sits down, gasping for air as she leans against the wall. A far roomier natural cave, there’s space to stretch out her legs and even lay down. She drinks more water and nibbles on another honey cake, eyes closing for a brief rest.
It’s pitch black when Bethany opens her eyes.
“Oh no, oh no.” She gropes around for her bag. Her hand jerks back as she touches something soggy and sticky, a puddle around it. A scream echoes in the space and her heart skips a few beats before she realizes it’s only her dropped honey cake and spilled water skin. It takes a bit longer to find her bag and pull out a box of matches. By the light of the tiny flame, she finds her lantern and lights it.
It’s dark outside. Did she already miss the window? Shouldering her bag, Bethany picks her way out of the cave. One hand on the wall, the other clutching the lantern, she grabs the rope on the wall and resumes the treacherous hike to the top. Even with the lantern guiding her way up, she’s forced to inch her way up the path out of caution. Bethany’s heart thunders in her chest. If the moon is at its apex, it’s either covered by the dense cloud cover or hidden behind the top of the rocks. She can salvage things if she’s early, but too late and it’ll all be for naught. The disappointment of her failure weighs on her with each step.
Bethany bursts into tears of relief when she crests the top. It flattens out enough to walk on, though the terrain is still uneven. The true peak of the rock juts out at the far edge. The rock’s twin sits across from it, a dark shadow. The clouds thin enough, the light of the moon piercing through. It’s higher on the rise than the set. There’s still time. She isn’t too late. The thoughts become a mantra as she sets her bag and lantern down and searches for the wrapped box with all the ritual reagents. A clam shell, unbroken and mirror polished on the inside. A sapphire, crushed and mixed with purified salt. A piece of driftwood wrapped with kelp and carved with runes. All carefully purchased and collected and prepared for this moment.
The flame of the lantern blinks out. Bethany curses as her light source disappears. The smell of the sea is strong, almost heady in the air. Something slides along the rocks. Bethany looks up, the realization she’s not alone dawning on her. Bethany’s eyes follow along the sleek snake-like form leading up to a human-shaped torso. The hint of bladed fins jut off the arms. Blue dots glow in a pattern criss-crossing up smooth scales and filling out the details of the shadowy shape while Bethany’s mind fills in the rest.
Mermaids are so much bigger in person than the books make them seem.
“Human representative. You have arrived. You bring word?”
The mermaid’s voice sounds like sand rolling over gravel, lingering too long on some syllables, too curt on others. The glowing dots continue up her chest, shoulders, neck, and onto her face, changing into dimensional bumps studding her face like glowing gems. A vague unease settles into Bethany’s gut as she gapes at the mermaid. Everyone knows the fins on their arms are sharp enough to cut into a person. That the speed of a mermaid on land shouldn’t be underestimated.
“What?” Bethany says.
“Has he agreed to our terms?” the mermaid continues. “Will he surrender the crown?”
Even in the dark, Bethany recognizes the feeling of a withering glare.
“The last human representative promised to speak to the king and present our terms.” The mermaid’s words are slower, over-enunciating. “Are you not the messenger sent to deliver his words?”
“What? No. I mean…. No, I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Bethany finally rises to her feet and looks up at the mermaid. “I’m here on my own. I mean. I came here. To help you. Your people.”
The mermaid leans in. The glowing gems and dots lighting her face. It’s not a solid glow, at least not everywhere. Some dots pulse or flicker. Others light up in succession. All the same constant soft blue glow. Bethany finds herself noting the mermaid’s features. Most of the drawings she’s seen are accurate. The mermaid’s face isn’t too dissimilar from a human’s in shape but the similarities end there. The scales carry up her neck and along her jaw, larger scales along her forehead. There are fins where ears would be and a great translucent frill instead of hair. No nose or lips either, and her eyes are solid black with some kind of film over them.
“How do you plan to help, human?”
With every word from the mermaid’s mouth, rows of sharp serrated teeth glint in the dark. Bethany gulps and tries not to think about what would happen if the mermaid bit her.
“I’m here to put the ghosts to rest. Put the ghosts to rest, end the storms. I can do that.”
Bethany offers the box of reagents to the mermaid for inspection. The mermaid pokes through the collection of items. The pulse and glow of her spots flicker then go dark. She scoffs and drops the box to the ground.
“Useless trinkets. What do you bring these for?”
Bethany tries not to shrink back, forcing her voice to remain steady. “It’s what the stories say. Bring gifts of the sea to calm the spirits.”
The mermaid’s dots flash red. She draws back with a hiss, rising even higher on her powerful tail. Thunder booms above them, shaking the world. Bethany yelps at the sound, looking for lightning that never comes.
“Unless you bring the crown, unless you recover our prince, you cannot do anything. You waste your time.”
Crown? Prince? The words mean nothing to Bethany. She pushes on anyway. “Can’t you let me try? I know I’m young, but I’ve done all the research I can! I’ve read all the stories. I understand the problem. The trapped mermaid ghosts, the ones who can’t move on. They need the help of humans to pass on. I can be that huma—”
Another boom of thunder crashes overhead. The force rumbles through Bethany and she jumps in surprise. The sea churns violently, large waves crashing onto itself and smashing higher up on the rocks. An eerie green glow pulses underwater as mist rises off the surface. The mermaid’s spots match the same green, glassy black eyes pierced with a pinpoint of light in the center.
“You know only lies.” Her voice echoes and reverberates, building and layering with the voice of hundreds. “Like so many glory seekers before, you know nothing. Why are you here?”
Bethany shrinks onto herself, expression faltering. The wind howls as rain begins pelting down. A whirlpool forms in the sea, the green glow condensing into a single spot. She sucks in a breath, grasping what remaining resolve she has.
“I want to help!”
The mermaid’s frills flare up. “Do not think yourself special, human. We have spoken with many of your kind over the centuries. We have learned your language because you would not learn ours. We have learned your manners because you called us uncivilized. We have agreed to negotiate in the ways of humans and we have seen nothing. We tire of your lies. Of your ignorance. Of your glory seeking.”
Anger boils up at the mermaid yelling at her. She did her research. She looked up stories people had mentioned about mermaids, what they said about their trips to and from the rocks. No one mentioned anything about talking to the king or getting a crown, or how the mermaids had negotiated before. She’d visited one man who had come back with scales on his face, but his words were mad rambling about missing children plucked from the sea and how good Queen Annabelle had blood on her hands.
“You could be nicer and help me instead of yelling at me!” Bethany shouts back. Her hands ball up at her sides and she does her best not to cry. “Maybe you’re lying!”
Bethany stumbles as the world shakes, overcorrecting and pitching onto her knees. A cast of green shines across the water as a massive mermaid rises out of the whirlpool. She shines brighter than any light, but her eyes and open mouth are pits of pitch black. All light is devoid, showing nothing against the stark green glow. The nature of her visage grows clearer as she moves closer; thousands and thousands of swirling spirits make up her form. Water rushes into the chasm left in her wake as the ocean shudders.
Bethany scrabbles backward, eyes wide and unable to look away. Her mouth opens and closes, but no words escape. The mermaid surges in and grabs Bethany by her shirt, hefting her into the air with a single hand.
“The ghosts of all those who cannot pass on.” The mermaid leans in and smiles, eyes solid black and teeth lining a dark pit. “Human, you wish to know the truth? Come. Face the truth.”
Bethany twists and flails, struggling to get free, but the mermaid’s grip remains strong. The collective of ghosts reach them. The massive mermaid’s mouth splits so wide it cuts across the sky. No glow, no clouds, no moon, no light; only the inky black of nothingness. Another scream cuts off in Bethany’s throat as she’s dangled off the rock like an offering, snapped up as the ghostly mermaid lunges and swallows them whole.
Bethany flails in the darkness, unable to tell whether she’s falling or floating or something else. The mermaid holding her is gone.
“Hello?” She calls into the darkness.
A mermaid appears in front of her, spectral and glowing green. Her mouth hangs open and she stares with blank eyes. The orbs on her face are replaced with dark holes, the edges ragged and thin cuts sliding across her scales. Bethany jerks away as the mermaid reaches for her, clawed fingers digging in. More mermaids swim in and surround her. Their frills are ragged and shorn or missing outright. The orbs on their faces are cracked or replaced with black voids.
Bethany tries to shrug off the hands of the mermaids, but they grab her and pull her deeper into the dark. Spectral voices flow into her head, overlapping, insistent. Most of the words are incomprehensible, rising and falling like whale song or a deep hum reverberating through her. Others are stilted fragments of scenes. The din crowds her thoughts as images flash to life around her.
—A merman tugging a shattered rowboat to a cove as a storm rages around him. He pulls a woman out from the splintered wood, looking around before journeying up the steep rocks —
—The same woman sitting on the beach as the merman brings her shells from the sea; she laughs and smiles.
“Queen Maria?” Bethany gasps, reaching for the image as it blinks away.
”—Our prince went to shore—”
“—He came with peace and they killed him—”
“—We are the unwhole—”
—A handsome man arriving at the castle, a blue streak in his black hair. His clothes sparkle like the ocean at noon and the court gasps as he kneels before the princess and takes her hand—
“That’s Prince Amir.” Bethany says. The queen’s beloved. They ruled together for years before he suddenly disappeared and the queen went into isolation to mourn. She died from her grief, most say, and the kingdom mourned her loss.
—Prince Amir, at the beach before morning’s first light. He steps into the shallows, blue scales washing over human skin as he swims in the sea. His human form returns as he returns to land. Unknown to him, a woman watches him, hidden in the sea rocks.
Queen Annabelle. Bethany shudders, now wondering about the bounty she declared.
—Queen Annabelle with her guards, dragging Prince Amir into the sea. As he changes forms, they seize him with nets and chains. A covetous leer washes over her kind features as she approaches with a dagger, pressing it to the edge of the largest orb on the prince’s face—
—Queen Annabelle bowing gracefully at her coronation, receiving a gold crown studded with glowing blue orbs—
“—pieces are lost—”
“—ripped to shreds—”
—Mermaids tending to the rainbow bright coral and feeding fish in pools made with kelp nets while The Haystacks jut proudly in the background, a stone bridge gapping the two rocks together—
—The echo of rising and falling mer song as mermaids tend to baby mermaids in translucent egg sacs—
”—Ships! Ships are coming—”
—Coral crushed under the hulls of ships driving into them—
—Blood in the water as bodies fall into the sea. Some are human, some are mermaids, fins and face orbs missing. Sharks drive themselves into a frenzy as they feast—
Bethany squeezes her eyes shut and clamps her hands over her ears as she shrinks onto herself. Dismembered body parts, mermaids taken away in water-filled tanks, chests full of blood-covered orbs, a royal crown passed again and again, the images drill deep into her mind as the wailing continues in her head.
“I’m sorry! I’m sorry!” She cries out. “I’ll go back! I’ll tell everyone the truth, I’ll make them understand! I’ll bring the crown back! I’ll stop people from hurting all of you!”
The din in Bethany’s mind falls silent as a voice cuts through. “No, you won’t.”
Bethany cracks her eyes open and sees the mermaid who spoke to her on the rocks. Her strong arms cross over her chest, tail slowly swaying back and forth as moving through water. Her spots and orbs glow blue, pulsing steadily. The ghosts no longer crowd Bethany or the mermaid, but they hover and swim around them in an endless spiral, voices a constant murmur.
“You are not the first who has heard the truth. You are not the first to promise change. What makes you different?”
Bethany falters for an answer. What can she offer in the end? Her research proved false, her knowledge inadequate. She spoke to someone who had gone to the island, but the ease with which she dismissed his words haunts her. Will her words go the same way?
She swallows and lifts her chin. “Because they aren’t me.”
The mermaid flashes her teeth as her mouth pulls open. “Are you sincere in your desire to help?”
She nods. “Yes. I’ll do anything.”
The mermaid snatches Bethany’s wrist in a tight grip. A glow surrounds her hand; when the mermaid pulls away, blue scales cover the back of Bethany’s hand.
“What did you do to me?” Bethany jerks her hand away, touching the scales. They’re smooth to the touch, a glossy rich blue of the sea.
“You have been marked. Find the others. Work with them. When there is change, come back and we will remove the mark.”
The visibility of the mark displeases Bethany, but she can cover it with gloves or something else. At least it wasn’t her face like the man she’d thought was deluded. They’ll have to speak again it seems. “And… will you let people sail through the rocks again?”
An uproar swells in her head as the ghosts hiss. The mermaid’s spots shine red. “This is our home, human. We will not let the humans desecrate it further. Find new routes.”
“Will you stop attacking ships at least?”
The mermaid’s glare is again withering. “We attack to defend our lives. Our territory. Cease hunting us and we will have no reason to attack.”
Bethany shrinks back. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know.” The words feel inadequate. The enormity of the situation feels daunting, but it’s the task she’s agreed to. It’s not the result she expected, but it’s progress, isn’t it?
The mermaid watches her, expression inscrutable. Her shoulders drop somewhat. A soft sound like a huff escapes her mouth. “Now you know. May that matter. Now sleep.”
“Wait, I have more I want to ask—” The mermaid places her hand on Bethany’s forehead. Her eyes and body grow heavy and limp. She struggles, grasping for the mermaid’s arm as her body pitches forward and darkness surrounds her.
The soft crash of waves and call of seabirds rouses Bethany from her slumber. She blinks and rubs her eyes as she sits up inside the rowboat. Even her bag is tucked into her side. The shine of blue scales on her hand dismisses any notion it was a dream.
Bethany digs through the bag for the flare gun and loads in one of the canisters. She walks into the edge of the tide. Saltwater laps over her boots as she raises the flare gun and fires. She winces at the loud pop and whistle, the bright flare shooting high into the sky like a star, white smoke trailing behind it.
A second flare shines far in the distance. Acknowledged by the ship, Bethany untethers her rowboat and pushes it back into the water. She tries to imagine the shallows filled with basking mermaids. Of colorful reefs and teeming with life. Of an intact rock formation never touched by humans. Of a prince and his queen and the joyous life they could have had.
Gripping the oars in her blistered hands, Bethany pushes off the shore and rows away.
© Copyright Coral Alejandra Moore and Cathin Yang
Coral Alejandra Moore has always been the kind of girl who makes up stories. Fortunately, she never grew out of that. She writes character driven fiction, and enjoys conversations about genetics and microbiology as much as those about vampires and werewolves.
She has an MFA in Writing from Albertus Magnus College and is an alum of Viable Paradise XVII. She has been published by Vitality Magazine, Diabolical Plots, and Zombies Need Brains. She loves aquariums, rides a motorcycle, and thinks there is little better than a good cup of coffee.
As her most recent venture she is the co-editor and co-publisher of Constelación Magazine, a bilingual speculative fiction magazine publishing stories in Spanish and English.
Cathin Yang is a Taiwanese American writer living in Oregon with their spouse and two cats. They enjoy traveling, creating props and costumes with their spouse, and playing tabletop RPGs. This is their first published piece.
Read the Rest of the October Issue
- The Ossuary at Ocean’s End by Marisca Pichette
- Elemental by Marlan Quade Cook
- portrait of a girl in water by Ashley Bao
- A Thousand Souls by Marie Brennan
- Seafloor Skull by Inkshark
- The Ghosts of Mermaids & The Answer Atop Mermaid’s Rest by Coral Alejandra Moore and Cathin Yang
- Awoken by Elyse Russell and Miranda Leyson
- The Abyssal Architect by Ori Jay
- One Last Shriek by Umiyuri Katsuyama
- Merfolks as a Passage from My Thoughts and Doings by Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto
- This Is Your Home by Stefan Slater
- Mermaidsong by Csilla Kleinheincz
- Fish Out of Water: How Mermaids Represent Disabled, Queer Folk Like Me by Melanie Jayne Ashford
- “a sea-like condition” by Felicia Martinez
- This Is You by Kathryn Kania
- Before You Go in Search of Spirits & The Truth They Hear in My Heart by Cathin Yang and Coral Alejandra Moore
- Dreams of Another Life by Elizabeth Kestrel Rogers
- Charting the Next Adventure by Meg Frank