A short story about the little mermaid, only a little bit different from the one everyone knows.
The invasion of Normandy happened a bit differently than they told everyone back home in the US. Some called the phenomenon a low-scale rogue wave, coming in for battle against the Germans, but I knew it was something else, and I remember it well.
We sat on the beach in the midst of chaos. Each of us were in varying states of injury and trying to keep our bearings. But the thing I remember most about those first moments before that secondary invasion was that there was tinfoil everywhere. It fell from the sky like shimmering rain, but no puddle formed once it hit the ground. It had served its purpose, to interfere with the German radar waves. But sitting on a beach without a purpose, it just looked out of place as did the rest of us.
I noticed the sky was beginning to grow dark as the sun disappeared, almost black. The sunset was supposed to come then, but something was different about that arrival of night. There were no colors in the sky, only a deepening hue of blue until there was nothing. We were consumed by darkness, no stars or moon to show us light. Our vision adjusted so we could barely make out shadows of each other and the surroundings. All was still but the waves crashing up on shore, which were steadily growing larger, more heard than seen. Something was coming out of the water, we could sense it.
The first thing I saw was it’s eyes, large and glowing red. They emerged from the water slowly up into the dark sky. It’s presence was overwhelming, the giant shadow, barely visible, towered over the beach and starred us down. It’s eyes were the only light, casting the beach into a red glow, also making it known that we were in Its sight. It was paralyzing. American, German, we were all the same to it, human, inferior.
It’s voice rang out, deep and menacing, “Walk into my waters and be with those you love in death,” It threatened, though it seemed fake. Was it a dream? The people along the shore looked to one another, the confusion building. They were familiar to war, not…this, whatever it was. I heard a few whispers of ‘devil’ but that didn’t seem quite right. “Resist… and suffer a worse fate at my many hands,” It finished and moved its arms methodically through the water.
A swirl of water pooled on the sand and shot up to the sky, creating a glowing beacon of water. A few went towards it, most others were paralyzed. I did neither. We were fighting a war of men, not of gods, or whatever it was. I didn’t even want to be there in the first place, and now I was in the middle of something else entirely.
Small shadowy figures started to emerge from the water, leaving the beacon as soldiers went into it. I was not going to be one to go willingly and when they came towards me I cut them down with my knife one by one. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough, they were coming in greater numbers and they were coming too fast. They overtook me and I became one with the darkness before blacking out.
I woke up covered in sand. I couldn’t remember much, but I remembered being overtaken and I remembered a girl’s face. I wasn’t too sure which one was more perplexing. A while later I learned that two thousand men died that day at Omaha Beach. Two thousand men whose real stories were never told, that I couldn’t even get my brothers to remember the truth. Why then, had I?
*To be continued*