Ten years ago my family and I went on vacation to a beautiful well known chain of islands. It was Halloween back in the states but instead of fall colors and chilly winds we enjoyed hot days and blue skies. It seemed like any other day on the island, I had forgotten all about the candy I was missing out on and instead splashed around for hours. My brother Milo and I were playing in a designated area for kids to swim in while our parents laid on their backs sipping on their margaritas.
Milo and I were around the same age, we were the only kids in the area playing. Father had paid a lot of money for us to enjoy that part of the island alone. We were assigned one staff member to cater to our needs but everyone else was not allowed to disturb us. We were splashing around laughing and playing games when he abruptly stopped. Milo stopped laughing, he turned around and quietly stared out into the beautiful blue water. I stopped splashing when I noticed he stopped playing and made my way to him to see what he was looking at. I didn’t see anything special so I began to splash again until he told me to stop.
“What?! Why aren’t you playing?!”
Milo’s eyes were locked on a small gray dot that was approaching us.
“Is that a woman swimming?”
Frustrated that our play time had been interrupted, I glanced over again to see what he was talking about.
I could barely make out what looked like the tip of someone’s head just barely above the water looking at us. Being the little brat that I was at that time, I called out to the woman. I yelled out that she couldn’t swim there because our father had paid for us to swim undisturbed in that private area.
The woman slowly submerged her head back underwater and didn’t come back up. Milo began panic, he squinted to see where the woman had gone. I glanced back to the area where she had been.
“Keila? How long can someone hold their breath for?”
We floated quietly waiting for the woman to make her way back to the beach but she never did.
“She’s looking at us again…”
“What?” I looked over his shoulder to see where he was looking at but didn’t see anything.
It was silent, I couldn’t hear the happy chirping of birds anymore or the sound of the waves.
My gut feeling was making me nervous, I told him that we should probably head back to the beach. He nodded his head when we both heard a small splash not too far ahead of us. Milo and I looked at each other, his eyes were wide open and I could hear his heavy breathing.
I don’t know what compelled me to look underwater, perhaps it was the hope that we were overreacting or the fear that forced me to confront what was stalking us. To this day I still wish I hadn’t looked. It would have been easier to convince myself that what was coming towards us was a normal animal if it hadn’t been for the fact that I saw it clear as day. The water was so clear, so blue compared to other beaches my family had visited before. I could see surprisingly well, my family traveled a lot. Milo and I were used to the water and were excellent swimmers.
What I saw underwater that day still sends chills up my spine. Milo was right, it was a female… but it wasn’t a human. As a child I had heard the princess stories and talk about mermaids however that’s not what I saw. I still don’t know what it was…
I didn’t see a beautiful creature with long hair and a beautiful face with a shiny glimmering tail. What I saw was a face full of small hives, slanted white eyes, and bumpy gray scarred skin.
The creature stopped swimming and looked at me while slowly opening its mouth. Its jaws protruded away from its face exposing rows of sharp teeth. Behind her, more creatures swam up each as terrifying as the next. I panicked and went up for air. I started screaming and grabbed Milo’s arm attempting to swim as fast as possible. It was strange. No matter how loud we screamed, our parents didn’t hear us. We weren’t far enough from them for them to not hear us yet they slept there like nothing.
Milo immediately caught on that something was tailing us because he also submerged his head for a few moments to see what was after us. I could hear him screaming when he saw them. We both started to swim faster when I felt a hard tug. I looked back and Milo was struggling to keep afloat. Something was grabbing his leg. I pulled harder and wouldn’t let go of his arm all while screaming when I felt something cold grab my waist. It felt slimy and full of bumps, it pulled me hard until I heard something pop. Milo screamed in pain as he was pulled away from me.
The creature that pulled me away attempted to drown me until a loud echo vibrated past me. The creature stopped and swam back to Milo. I could see them circling around him. I managed to swim to the surface. I gasped for air trying to pull myself together, the water was calm even with my splashing. Ahead of me I saw the same gray spot slowly rise above the water. It came out above the water just enough for me to see her eyes. In an odd way it felt as if she was taunting me. Behind her Milo floated out of the water, he didn’t move and looked at me his eyes pleading for help before disappearing underwater.
I was frantic. Knowing it would be impossible for me to catch up to them or put up a fight I screamed in desperation. I looked underwater, but they were all long gone. I can’t explain how our parents didn’t hear us. They weren’t sleeping when we were playing but when I yelled for help they were passed out. When I finally made it back to the beach they woke up dazed and confused. It took several minutes for them to even remember their names. They only had one margarita and were known for holding their liquor so the alcohol shouldn’t have impacted them as much.
My mother recalled hearing a beautiful melody before suddenly falling asleep. They both didn’t know what to make out of it. Even the staff member that was assigned to us had fallen asleep in his booth. He looked at us frightened when I explained what had happened.
The search didn’t help. I knew Milo was gone.
To many people think Halloween is associated with a town, a killer, or some monster on land. However, no one ever considered a monster here in paradise with the sun and sand. It wasn’t a mermaid; it was some kind of creature that’s been hiding in our oceans.
Every year a week before Halloween I go back to that shore. For years I’ve gone back to gaze out into the water, and each year I’m greeted with nothing but memories. However this year I saw something…
I caught a glimpse of something gray looking back at me just above the water.