Meant to Be

Outside, the waves crash against the bank. The seagulls caw.

I take a deep breath, the smell of pine fills my nose, and sit up. I scratch the dry marks on my neck, and stare idly at the evergreen tree standing in the corner. The dark green bulbs distort the reflection of the living room. Strings of pine cones, holly, yew, and mistletoe are dimly illuminated by the yellow-white lights.

Underneath sits a present, wrapped in green, bound in red. A tag protrudes from the top. To My Love

I laugh and snatch the card from the table by my side. Read it again.

I can’t do this anymore, Rebecca…

The words blur. I wipe my eyes. Skip ahead.

I won’t be coming on break, or ever…

…My parents found out… 

…I’m sorry.

I fling the card away, sit back and run my hands over my face. The waves crashing on the bank are louder now. Calling. The seagulls, if they still remain, are quiet.

I stand and pick up the present, quickly undo its wrappings. The box is opened and inside, sitting on a green silk cushion, is a snorkel and a rolled wet-suit.

Removing the wet-suit, I drop the box to the floor. Running a thumb over the slick surface it feels almost life-like, but not quite. Would’ve been good enough for her. 

I move from the tree, through the living room, into the kitchen to the backdoor. A faint, frigid breeze leaks through the cracks. The scent of salt and brine replace pine. I shiver. Goosebumps stand on pale skin. Not from the cold. From anticipation, excitement.

The door is opened and I step down from the house onto the craggy rise. Take the icy, worn path down to the bank. Seagulls watch from white splattered, dark boulders. 

Gray-blue water laps over my bare feet, soaking the bottom of my jeans. The cold bites at first, but soon is welcome.

I let the wetsuit fall where it may, push the thought of her into the recesses of my mind. I tear off my clothes until I’m nude. I walk into the tide and my body sings. It yearns for more. The marks on my neck are now damp, slick, and open, shut, open. Winter air fills my lungs, and I dive into the Sea. Pale flesh tears like wrapping paper from oily cerulean muscle. Once brown eyes now onyx. Transparent membrane webs in-between fingers and toes. Chitin seals my sex and breasts, becoming nothing more than slick bare mounds. 

I am meant to be with the one I love during the holiday.

And now I am.

Boo-graphy: Micah Castle is a weird fiction and horror writer. His stories have appeared in various magazines, websites, and anthologies. Currently, he has a novelette out through D&T Publishing, and three collections.

While away from the keyboard, he enjoys spending time with his wife, spending hours in the woods, playing with his animals, and can typically be found reading a book somewhere in his Pennsylvania home.