Lit Mag Short Fiction

Upon the Jersey Shore

They say that the day Bob Derell’s body washed up open the Jersey Shore, the Jersey Devil himself promenaded upon the sand. 


The poor men that found Bob on that poor, gray day barely had a chance to reel in their fishing net before the golden eyes, or were they red like blood?, accosted the two sailors on their boat. 


Both survived yes, their physical flesh still melded together, but their minds had quite the shock. 


Dr. Willis, the head of the State Asylum for the Insane at Morristown, says the two men are likely to make a recovery but shall be scared the rest of their lives by the creature who raised his claws at them. 


What Bob Derrell was even doing so far out in the waters, or even what his boat was doing so close to the rocks, we will never know. 


As for now, the only thing we can do is lock our homes, care for each other and pray that the thing which had taken Bob Derell’s life has no need for another. 



“You didn’t have to kill him” Lorelei sighed, splashing her fins in the water. 


She knew he liked it, said she looked like a goddess when she did so, but even that couldn’t seem to fix the bitterly solemn mood that the pair were caught in. 


“He would have…hurt you.” Nathaniel rasped back. 


He shifted from one hoof to the other as he talked, as if the very idea made him uncomfortable. 


“Dearest, I have knives for teeth. One good bite out of him and he would’ve never bathed again.” 


“He had a net with him. You like…biting…that less.” 


Lorelei couldn’t help but smile, the crease growing in one corner of her mouth overtaking her whole face. 


Ever since she had first heard the name Nathaniel she had known exactly what type of man would stumble upon her shores, if he ever did so. 


Old-fashioned, still dressing like his grandparents had way back when. 


Probably English. Probably Christian. 


And probably very, very scared of witchcraft or worshiping or whatever it was that they said to people that they were afraid of.  


He would probably faint. Would probably scream first. Would call for a net and rip up all her corals while dragging her writhing body to the shore. 


She never expected one to bring her flowers. Especially from the meadow she had ogled from the waves. 


He was still English. Still a little old-fashioned. 


But now, she could think of no Nathaniel but her own. 


Reaching across the drying rock, Lorelei put her hand on his. 


It rested gently against his leathery skin, drying in the breeze. 


“Thank you for worrying about my teeth. They certainly appreciate it.” 


A low groan rumbled from Nathaniel’s throat. He knew that she was teasing him, and she knew he didn’t like it. 


Too much. 


“And for worrying about me. I don’t know where I would be without you.” 


She craned her neck upwards to look at him, dark lashes batting as she smiled. 


He stared back, and even in the light of the setting sun his eyes seemed to glow, like a lighthouse out at sea. 


They were the same hue as the clouds, burning in the distance, and the golden threads weaving through the water, making Lorelei shine. 


And she decided then, that she had never felt safer, never felt warmer, than in this moment, when the whole world seemed to be alight with some strange blessing the color of her lover’s heart. 


Sighing, she moved even more atop the rock, until only her fins remained in the water and her head was cushioned perfectly against Nathaniel’s knee. 


“Happy anniversary…my love.” 


And oh, Lorelei couldn’t help herself sometimes. 


“Well, it’s not over yet” she could feel the confusion in his eyes before she even looked up at him. 


“I remember someone promising to serenade me with song.” 


Nathan’s groan rumbled in the air, and the seagulls perched upon the rocks closest to them took off, never to return again. 


“But you…sing better.” 


“But I like it when you sing. It sounds like the lapping of the waves. Please?” 


Lorelei’s lashes were darker than ever, sea-green eyes shining. 


Nathaniel signed before bending his neck, allowing her outstretched arms to circle around him. 


“Fine…but just…one song.” 


“Whatever you say dearest.” Lorelei whispered, cuddling closer to him. 


They both knew that this would not be the only song that he would sing that evening. 


They also both knew that neither of them minded. 


And so, as Nathaniel’s voice rolled like thunder upon the waves, and the golden sun made way for shining lanterns, only the feeling of something amiss remained. 


And the image of a mermaid and The New Jersey Devil caught in an embrace, basking in moonlight’s glow. 


Or so did old, One Eyed Jim say. 


But then again, the scratches could be a cat’s. 

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