Friday Flash Fiction Challenge: Human-ness


This week, the challenge at terribleminds was to write a 1,000 word piece of fiction using the theme “We’re all human, even when we’re not.”, so I went the predictable route and wrote about a non-human-being that has some very real human emotions.  This could easily be a story about any human with only a few words removed.

I was obviously harboring some deep, dark feelings when I wrote this.  I haven’t even really read it back to myself.  I sat down, typed for about fifteen minutes, and this happened.  It’s rough.  It’s depressing.  It’s…  well…  here it is.


I stand on the bluff with my arms spread wide, daring the gusts of wind to pull me over.  My heart longs for the crashing waves to drag me under, down to the darkest depth of the sea.  The gulls scream above me, daring me to jump, willing me to take matters into my own hands.

To jump would be an easy fix.  To jump would end the pain, the trauma, the shock.  I can already hear the mocking, the echo of their laughter in my ears should I return with my tail between my legs.  I thought he loved me, I was sure of it.  I can make anyone love me, that’s the nature of my DNA.  Just one breath in their ear, one brush of my fingertips.  Love is mine, should I want it.  All I need is to act.

But he was different.  From the first smile, I knew.  It wasn’t like the others, I didn’t need to breathe my seduction into him.  I don’t think I could have accomplished it even if I had tried.  Strangely, he was drawn to me without my intervention.  That had never happened before.  I wasn’t sure I liked it.  I resisted, but still he pressed on.  He sent me flowers, emails, texts.  He persisted, even when I avoided him in my confusion.

Eventually, I forgot about ducking his advances.  I was still unsure, but he was so determined and I was becoming weak.  We became lovers, and then friends.  I fell in love, something that was advised against.

Nobody approved.  My parents and friends, their DNA proclaiming their species to be the same as mine- siren, all reminding me that it wasn’t natural for me to love a human.  They were our prey, we were supposed to use them and send them away, a broken shell of a being.  We weren’t supposed to love them.

But I did.

We chose to have a life together, but we couldn’t do it with my clan demanding my death or his capture.  We had to leave, and we knew just the place to go.

He isn’t here.  He is supposed me meet me here so that we can make a life together, away from their judgment and politics.  Hours, I’ve waited hours.  He isn’t here.

I give in to the shrieking of the gulls, the screaming of the wind, the crashing of the waves.  I throw myself over the cliff toward the waves, backwards so that I won’t see the rocks coming toward my fragile body.  I’m not as tough as I like to think I am.

As my toes leave the cliff, I see him cresting the peak at a run.  His eyes look for me, and they are frantic as he sees me.  A scream escapes him.  It is pained, and long, and loud.  It echoes in my ears and I yelp, kicking to find solid ground yet again.  There is nothing there, and I am falling.  I have a second to act, a moment to fix my horrible mistake.  I have nothing to catch myself on, no way to stop the spiraling fall I am destined for.

Miraculously, my fingers catch the edge of the drop off.  I dig my fingers in, my fingernails bending and flexing with the effort.   I crash into the cliff side and all of the air leaves me.  I try to breathe, to replace the oxygen that I’ve lost, but I am unable to make my lungs work.  My blood freezes and boils at the same time, my stomach roils and a strangled cry blankets the landscape.  The tears I’ve been holding back break through the dam that is my eyelids and their hot tracks burn along my wind-whipped cheeks.

I feel his fingers against mine; I hear his panicked voice telling me to grab his hands, to hold on.  I try with everything I have, but I am not strong enough.  I never have been.  I feel myself slipping away from him and there’s nothing I can do about it.  I’m going to fall, I accept my end.  I look into his eyes and tell him I love him, one last time, to be sure he knows.

He doesn’t respond, he is not giving up; I feel him tug me by my arms and there is progress.  I don’t notice anything but the waves beneath me, the drop and the jagged rocks below.  Debris crashes against them, over and over.  If I survive the fall, I won’t survive the wrath of the wild sea.  I turn my mind off and shove my feet into the cliff face, gaining some purchase.

It’s not enough.  He can’t pull me up, and I can’t climb it.  As hopeless as our love, his rescue attempt is failing.  I sob; my wet, stringy hair clinging to my face and I cling to the overhang as best as I can.  It’s just not enough.

His fingers slip from mine and I’m hurling toward the sea.  I am falling backwards, arms and legs flailing in an attempt to slow down or catch myself on something.  I force my eyes open.  My last thought will be of him.

The next thing I see is him, throwing himself into the wind and waves.  He jumps over the cliff and pulls his arms and legs tight to himself, hurling himself toward me.  He crashes into me and we embrace, still tumbling toward our murky aquatic demise.  His shouts of love and devotion echo in my ears and I wrap myself around him, pull myself tighter to him.  My tears stain his shirt as we plummet, together.  We kiss each other frantically, it seems ages though it is only seconds.  We have each other.

Faster and faster, farther and farther, we fall.  The sea reaches to swallow us up, we are hers.



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