Josie and the Sea Prince

Waves of dark navy crashed over the rocks. The sea-stained granite glistened in the moonlight and the rumble of an oncoming storm purred in my ears. The scenery was washed over by a deep blue hue and my cold, stubby fingers were dyed purple where they felt red. My eyes, shadowed by the dark bangs of my hair, climbed the jagged, wave-beaten cliff until they reached the peak. An orange beacon waved against the gray, illuminating the surrounding pines nearby and making them clash against the atmosphere.

“Josie!” A woman’s voice echoed through the thick air, the first letter of my name being drowned by the waves, but I knew what she said. Her tiny figure on top of the cliff was at the center of my foggy vision. With a fed up groan I slid my glasses off of my face and wiped the sea-spray off on my cotton sweater. Another echo of her voice broke the air, but her words were reduced to incoherent rambling by a burst of crashing water on the shore. A lazy sigh dribbled from my lips and I got moving. The flats on my delicate feet hardly kept them safe from the rocks and razor clam shells scattered about the beach. My eyes shuttered from the rugged landscape to the woman waving the glowing signal smoothly through the air.

“I’m coming, I’m coming…,” I huffed to myself, taking in the scent of fresh air and petrichor leading the storm into the coast. My right stocking was soaked with salt water from a rogue wave I had encountered in my leisurely walk, but I didn’t mind. Living on the coast with such dubious weather made the cold nip of seawater as common as a mosquito bite in a damp forest.

I felt the goosebumps on my short legs as a chilly breeze buffed against my thighs and wafted the skirt of my dress behind me. My strides got longer and the thin soles of my shoes crunched against the smooth rocks along the shore. The line of dampened rocks creeped closer with each crashing wave, a thin layer of salt water seeping through my shoe as it reached out and grasped it. My teeth clenched at the familiar feeling and a sharp breath hissed through my teeth. I glanced over at the pleading water, my thin brows wrinkling in concern.

“I’m sorry, it’s the storm, mom really wants me inside,” I tried to explain this gently to the vast, wrinkled sheet of the sea. It just crept right back up to me, my running feet splashing about in the crystal clear water. I pointed my toes, allowing them to be buried by the rolling rocks, bringing my body to a halt. A broken shell poked the side of my foot. “Listen, I can come back tomorrow, okay?”

My mother’s voice cut through the air, she was getting louder now. She always worried. I’m afraid one day her face will be blue with it. Even with all of her bellowing it was still lost in the rampant waves which seemed to be drowning her out on purpose. I knew what she was saying though.

“I really have to go now, I’m sorry. I promise I’ll come back tomorrow.” The sea would not be content. The waves chopped at the air like kitchen knives as a roll of thick thunder growled in the sky above. I set my teeth, my deep brown eyes narrowing at the sea’s anger.

“Don’t be mean, you know I have to go.” I stood tall, short as I was, making my chin level to the broken up horizon. My purple fingers curled up into my palms and my exposed shoulders were squared. The breeze gnawed at my bronze skin and I could feel my white nail polish chip off in my hand as I squeezed my fists tight. “Don’t argue with me again.”

A huge wave smashed against the pointed rock on my left. The force of the splash slapped me backwards and I nearly lost my footing. My feet frantically jabbed at the course rocks below as I struggled to regain balance. When I did, cold salt water was dripping in front of my face off of my bangs and soaking the back of my dress where the rest of my hair had slapped across it. My white dress was soaked, my skin instantly pinched with goosebumps. My arms were out at my sides, lines of liquid draining off of them in thin streams. My glasses had been knocked askew, hanging on by the loop of one ear and the side of my jaw.

“Edgar!” I stopped my foot and shouted out at the frey in the ocean. “Cut it out!” The waves quieted and the tide shrunk back to where it had been moments before. I stormed right up to it, following the waves inward as I pushed my glasses back up to the bridge of my nose. The dark storm clouds billowed and scraped across the sky. They were nearly overhead. “What has gotten into you?!”

Bubbles popped and rippled the surface of the calmer water just a few feet ahead. I plunged my already cold feet into the freezing bite of the sea to meet the oddity.

“Well? What do you have to say for yourself?” My hands jabbed into the bend of my hips as I stared coldly at the bursting bubbles. A dark, jagged shadow rose from the green tinted sand at the bottom of the sea floor. Its blue value darkened at it rose and broke the surface. The shine of a long, slimy neck dripped up out of the water like a lava lamp, pulling a, ovular head along with it. The slim, black eyes of this strange creature stared down at Josie, it’s long, dragon-like face sporting a stretched grin of needlebone teeth. Its nostrils were cut all the way up its snout and seaweed-like flaps of skin wriggled from its chin and down its neck. Its shimmered just like the sea in the morning sun. It too was dyed a deep blue, useful for hiding when it did not wish to be seen. The rest of its body remained under the sand, but I knew what it looked like anyway.

“Hmpf,” I huffed up at Edgar, “you’re lucky you can’t talk.” I had named him myself since he didn’t already have one. Or perhaps he did and he just couldn’t tell me. “Don’t you have a mom? Why don’t you go bug her?”

“Josie!” With the sea calmer I could hear my own mother’s voice perfectly now. I dared to glance up at the top of the cliff. She was red in the face. “Now!”

“Okay! Okay!” I shouted back and turned to Edgar. “I’m leaving, you big slime. Don’t go too far, okay? I’m coming back.” I reached a hand up and Edgar’s snout met me halfway. His skin was slick and very slimy, coating my palm in a thin mucus.

“Ick,” I couldn’t help but giggle as I spoke, “you’re gross.” I pulled my hand away, a string of clear goo still connecting my hand to his face.

A crack of thunder shook the air. I could feel my bones vibrate and I jumped, my voice squeaking involuntarily. Edgar squeaked too, its echoed like a whale’s voice. I dashed up the hill to get to the cusp of the peak. The clouds were whirling and twisting over my head now. I hadn’t even noticed. I quickly craned my neck back and flapped my hand about in the air to wave to Edgar.

“Bye! I’ll see you tomorrow!” On the journey up the hill my feet were met with the sweet relief of soft grass and longer blades scratched against my legs as I whisked by. I could see mom standing in the doorway, holding the door open and scowling at the rolling clouds.

The faster I ran the colder I got as the stormy breeze blew right through my drenched clothes and chilled me to the bone. On my way back to the house I managed to swoop my hand down and snatch up some flowers for mom so she couldn’t be too angry with me. I reached the top of the cliff and jogged around the cliffside to look over the water like she had when she called for me. Edgar was nowhere to be found. The place I had left him was now filled with a crumbling amalgam of sand and seaweed. Even that was snatched from my sight as a storm-driven wave washed over it. The sky finally broke and rain poured down all at once, making my dress one solid shade of damp.

“Josie, get inside! You’ll catch a cold!” Mom always worried about me.