The lagoon wasn't always black.
Back a hundred years ago,
it was deep, deep blue,
and there were many of them.
On lazy summer afternoons,
they swam for hours beneath the waves,
teasing each other into ecstasy.
When they groaned inside, and could take no more,
they would crawl up onto the beach
and make abrasive love in the sunshine.
Mariners called them "Mermaids" or "Southern Seals".
What did they know?
But at least they left them alone.
A paradise for a million years . . . .
And then the coral eel appeared,
squirting poisoned sludge into the ocean.
As the grey clouds blotted out the light,
they didn't worry.
It had happened before, during storms.
It would pass.
But then the young began to die,
floating listlessly in the water.
Their mothers killed the sharks who dared to venture near,
and their fathers attacked the coral eel,
ramming it with their snouts.
But it was hard, like rock, and knew no pain.
The bravest one tried plugging its end with his body,
but the current was too strong for him.
And then the males began to die,
their eyes puffed up and their joints swollen into agony.
At last the females perished too,
until the lilting songs were silent,
and only one was left to wonder why.
The blackness held a terror for her then,
the last survivor of a vanished race.
She longed for land, and the sunny passions of her youth.
Up onto the beach she crawled,
a beach of broken glass and rusting metal.
Her siren song, once so irresistible,
now became a tired lament for lost friends.
Dusk would be the time to end it all, she thought.
She had had enough.
But then a shadow caught her eye,
as two moons danced across the sand towards her.
Their growl became a roar before it stopped.
And two creatures emerged,
light streaming from their limbs.
They stood upright - "like Gods" she thought,
and hope kindled in her heart.
But as they approached, she saw
their bulbous heads and sunken eyes.
She knew the truth at last.
Monsters had taken over the earth,
and the time of paradise was at an end.
© 1989 Gavin Miller. All rights reserved.