Flash Fiction: The Mermaids by Margaret Emma Brandl

Image by Chris Joel Campbell

It rained and rained and rained until the streets filled up like rivers; the lake was like a teapot, earth-heated near to steaming. The news said earth was water now, that this was only natural; that soon the crust would crack and we’d all boil in the lava. The news said we should stay inside, but (news be damned) we couldn’t—the water clear and purified and full of small fish swimming.

Our feet disturbed the dirt and yet the water wouldn’t muddy, a miracle of something small in face of such disaster. We waded to the lake in skirts and filled our best bone china—the water like a covenant, the taste like sugared silver. A book told us that once we drank the water we’d fall faster: the earth would staircase into steps to follow to the bottom. We breathed as easy as in air and slowly we descended; the fish bumped up against us, and how we gasped and giggled. And all was calm and lit so brightly as if in the daylight, and we were never hungry—or bored or even tired.

The months, we know, have somehow passed, and still we live unbothered. The earth has swallowed cities whole; but here we’re safe, protected. The news said not to go outside, but no, we girls knew better—and when the last of them had drowned, the world was ours forever.

Margaret Emma Brandl is a Ph.D. candidate in English specializing in creative writing at Texas Tech University, where she has taught English courses and serves as an associate editor for Iron Horse Literary Review. Her work has appeared in Gulf CoastThe Cincinnati ReviewPithead ChapelHobartCHEAP POPCartridge LitGravel, and other journals; and her stories have been nominated for Wigleaf‘s Top 50 Very Short Fictions and Best of the Net. Visit her website (http://margaretemmabrandl.tumblr.com/) or say hi on twitter (@margaret_emma).

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2 responses to “Flash Fiction: The Mermaids by Margaret Emma Brandl

  1. Pingback: Saint Florian’s Sanctuary published at JMWW – Brianne M. Kohl·

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