I laugh darkly. So much for forgetting.
She brings a knife to her throat.
“What the hell are you doing?” I ask.
“What does it look like?”
“Pull the knife away from your throat, you fool!”
“Why? So you can kill me yourself? You have already taken my life away from me!”
“I did nothing of the sort.”
“Yes, you did! It all started when you wouldn’t leave me alone. You’re so pathetic and old and lonely that you had to latch on to my life so you could ruin it!” she screams.
I can almost feel the way that Timothy took me from behind on the rock. It makes me smile. I can’t help it.
“You must have a wonderful life if one lost man makes you grieve this way,” I say.
“I just want it all to end.”
Enya is more than angry. She feels hopeless. The fear and hurt is gone from her eyes. I recognize that look because I have seen it before in a mirror. I, too, held a knife to my throat a long time ago in the very same place.
She seems serious, but how can a girl like her want to die? It makes me feel very angry as I look up at her.
“Why aren’t you saying anything?” she cries, leaning forward, but not taking the knife away from her neck.
“Get the knife away from your throat, you little witch.”
She lets out a hopeless wail. She takes a deep breath, shakes her knife-bearing hand for a moment, then brings the blade back to her throat. She is serious. If I don’t speak, she’s going to cut deep into her own flesh.
“I wasn’t the one who ruined your life,” I say, slowly moving close to her. “In fact, your life isn’t ruined at all. Don’t you see?”
“You made a spectacle out of seducing Timothy! They think he sought you out, because he was threatened by my mind,” she cries. “Now all of my stories are nothing but ashes in the wind. They’re gone, sea hag! Everything good in my life is finished because of you!”
“If you keep screaming like that, they might come for you,” I warn. “They already think you’re insane. Remember?”
She looks beyond me to the watery horizon. The wind blows and her hair dances wildly in the wind. She doesn’t care anymore. She wants to kill herself. I swim rapidly toward her. My tail propels me out of the water and I leap into the air like a dolphin, smacking into her and shoving her with my hands into the water. She falls into the water with me. She screams, realizing the loss of control over her own fate now. It has been passed to me.
She tries to swim away, but I grab her by the wrist. She screams again. She is in my hold. I can kill her any time I want to. My mouth waters. How I want to taste her blood and see it turn the water red, but I let her go and she swims pathetically for the rocks. She clings on to one of them and looks at me. Her eyes are exhausted.
“Why did you do that?” she asks me, shivering.
“Save me!” she shouts.
“Because several years ago I killed myself and now I am a sea hag.”
She frowns. “Killing yourself in these waters transforms you into a mermaid?”
“That’s what it did to me.”
“And the last thing you’d want is a rival in your own territory,” she sneers.
“Trust me. You do not want to be me.”
She throws her head back in exasperation.
“Look at this. I can’t even kill myself without the threat of turning into some other being. I just want to escape and I can’t. I am trapped on this island no matter what I do!”
I roll my eyes. “I’ve had enough of this talk. Look, if you want to write so badly then you should just do it.”
“They burn all the books women write! Are you not listening? They have banned writing for women in my village!”
“Then write somewhere else. Why stay in a place that gives you such misery? Besides, there is no rule that states you must live on the island for the rest of your life.”
She scowls. “Where else should I go? I don’t want to live anymore. I hate it here.”
I sing. She shrieks and tries to start swimming away, but my voice ends her escape. She stops, unable to move and begins to sink, paralyzed. I see too much of myself in her. She is giving up too easily and I can’t have that. There is nothing I want more than to see a woman defy the men on that damned island.
I dive deeper into the water and grab her by the arms, pulling her back to the surface. I carry her light body to shore and leave her on the soft sand. I retreat and swim away. I stop at the rocks and watch her. She gets up slowly, looks in my direction, then makes her way back to the town.