I don’t seek peace. A sea hag can never obtain that. We’re as good as demons. We are meant to darken the world, not to help fix it. With all that in mind, Enya confided in me. Why did she do that? And him. Timothy. He spoke to me like a person, a human. Or am I simply romanticizing his sexual curiosity? Why must I continue to think of him holding me, how warm his touch felt, how he pleasured me as well as himself? I didn’t realize I was so weak. I am not supposed to be a woman anymore. A sea hag is meant to be more beast than human.
My head feels so heavy that it begins to tingle. I am thinking too much. No. I am feeling too much. My ears ring. It is painful, this feeling I am holding deep inside of my chest. I grab my head and scream. I thrash about in the darkness, vomiting, begging for it to end. I don’t want to think about the humans anymore. They are poison. They have made me ill. They destroy everything.
A tiny light breaks through the darkness. I wonder for a moment if I am seeing things, but then several other little lights form around me. Little aquatic beings light my way. They help me get to where I need to go. To forget. It has been too long since I have ventured so deep. I nearly forget what it feels like to feel the water pressure change. I breathe easier the deeper I go. I like the compressing sensation it gives me. I look down at my body and it is noticeably thinner because of it. I wish I could see what my face looks like. I don’t focus too much on that, because it’s temporary. We are never allowed to stay within the trench for long. The tiny lit up creatures continue to guide me downward.
I see a well-lit opening to a cave. I take in a deep breath of relief before swimming inside. The lights of the sea don’t sting my eyes like the sun does. They are subdued, therapeutic. I swim for a long time until I reach the cave’s end. I reach my hand out and touch a hard, stony wall. It slides to the side and I swim through. Deep, red lights greet me then my eyes follow the forms of several other sea hags as they swim around in the open space.
I join the circle and swim along with them. A low, humming tone fills the water around us. It is the sound we all long to hear, an ancient chant that helps us focus and remember who are, what our purpose is. I close my eyes like the others. We swim around, chanting. It is intense. No one acknowledges or speaks to one another. It is meant to be a personal, spiritual journey for us to take ourselves. It helps us forget the past so we can focus on our own missions.
The darkness is where I belong. It comforts me in the same way that a soft, warm blanket comforted me when I was a little girl living on land. I can’t recall what happened to me when I ventured out into the light for too long, but I can still sense that something drastic must have brought me to the cave in the first place. Someone must have hurt me to drive me to such a drastic measure. I drift, falling in and out of sleep. Dreams and real time blend together. I have wanted for nothingness so long that it feels like a soothing balm. I long to become nothing myself and wish I could just disappear. I have lived for a very long time and I wonder how much longer life will force me to live. As this thought passes through my brain, I feel something. I wouldn’t describe it as a pang, but as a sharp, panicky feeling. My flesh feels cold, which almost never happens.
My heart races and I feel warm inside while the chills still inflict my skin. I don’t know why, but I think that I hear someone speaking my name above land. My ears are nearly as sharp as a whale’s. I follow the sound, unable to resist it. I brave my way out of the darkness and into the light that I despise so much. I reel in pain as my head breaks through the surface. That sun can give me horrible head aches.
As I swim for the rocks close to a distantly familiar beach, I am very concerned. I wonder why in the world I feel a connection to this place. I should have forgotten everything about it. That was how the special cave was supposed to work. As I peer into the air, I hear the voice again. It is the sound of a girl. She is crying. I know that I shouldn’t be here, yet I keep swimming toward the source of the voice.
A blonde-haired girl draws my attention. She is standing on the rocks holding a knife. It looks so bizarre that I stop swimming and gape at her. Her hazel eyes meet mine. I see the hate in them. I have done something wrong to her.
“Sea hag!” she snarls, gripping the hilt of her blade tightly.
I begin to remember her. That girl I wanted to kill. Enya. I had sex with her lover and he left her after that. They want to burn her books in the village. The thought of book burning sickens me so much that I had to go away to forget it all. It’s all coming back to me like giant waves and I don’t understand why.
The last time I came here, I nearly laughed at the somber nature of the whole thing, but this time I must take it seriously. I need to forget. I flip onto my back and try to think of her name. It has left me. I smile in sweet relief. The longer I stay in the strange place, the more I will forget, so I remain there for hours until I can’t recall anything that I did for the past week no matter how hard I try.
My work is finished. I slowly swim out, careful to avoid the other bodies. I make my way out the tunnel, past the living sources of light, and back into the dim.