Release Date: April 21, 2016
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Something slippery brushed my ankle. I looked down but couldn’t see the cause. A river fish, probably, or an eel. Maybe I’d try to catch a few for dinner later. A few feet away, something rippled in the water. From her position under the waterfall, Kara suddenly pointed. “Look, over there, a mermaid.”
I whirled around. Sitting placidly halfway up the bank, a brunette mermaid sunned her hominoid half in the open air. She hummed a soft tune, something imitated from one of the birds.
Banishing all thoughts of Kara’s magnificent body, I raced forward and grabbed her by the arm. I pointed to the nearest part of the shore. “Go, run! Now!”
She blinked at me in confusion, struggling as I pulled her toward the bank. “It’s a mermaid. They’re harmless. I know they can’t actually converse like people, but they’re still pretty to look at.”
I’d heard people say that before. Foreigners and their ridiculous myths. Some of them believed mermaids were actually part human, with whole societies built under the oceans. Ocean mermaids were more solitary. Alone, no mermaid could submerge a human. But the river mermaids of Nazwimbe were amphibians that roamed in schools like fish. Where there was one, there would be more. A school of piranha had nothing on a group of mermaids. I’d seen them strip a water buffalo down to the skeleton in under a minute.
“Stop, Mnemba. You’re hurting me,” Kara protested, trying to yank her arm out of my grip. “It’s all the way over there. You’re being dramatic. Stop it.”
“They’re dangerous. We have to get out. There will be more around here somewhere.” Strong as she was, fear helped me win. I tugged her up onto the riverbank.
“Look, I appreciate you’re being a good guide and all, but the sailors up by us have seen mermaids as well. You think I don’t know anything and that all the research we did is worthless, so you’re trying to show me up. Do you think that I’m some vapid idiot from the North who can’t defend herself? You can’t just manhandle me out of the river with no explanation.” Her hands went to her wet hips and she glared.
Annoyance and fear made me turn mean. “All you do is study things in books from a thousand miles away, so whatever you think you know—forget it. In Nazwimbe things you can’t see can kill you. And sometimes we don’t have the luxury of sitting around at a table batting questions back and forth.”
“Thanks for reminding me that I’ll never get a chance like this again. I already know that. Books from a thousand miles away are all I’m going to get,” she snapped back, sitting down on the river’s bank.
Angrily, I squelched, still sopping, across the grass to the mules and took my rifle down. A wild hare sniffed at the grass in the clearing. Without thinking further, I shot it. The shot was clean and the hare dropped. I stalked over, seized the dead animal, and tossed it into the river. Kara’s face drained as its blood spread through the crystal water.
A tiny ripple appeared, and the hare’s foot twitched as if nibbled by a small fish. Then, in a flurry of aquamarine tails, the mermaids pounced. Their slippery bodies twisted around each other as they snapped flesh from bone with razor sharp teeth. With a toss of her hair, the brunette from the banks dove into the blood-crazed fray.
Social Media Links for Julia: Twitter
Isn’t the cover gorgeous? I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy! What do you think? Will you be picking up a copy once it hits the shelves in April 2016? Let me know in the comments below!