Ningyo, Tashi Saheb-Ettaba
CW: mild blood
I just want to be left alone.
To roam wherever I please as I sing my song.
But men like you keep coming after me.
You assume I’m some exotic animal that’s easy to dominate because of my soft voice and delicate scales.
If I don’t give into your orders, you tear me apart and eat my flesh.
If you believe I would grant you some kind of immortality—the joke’s on you.
Don’t you know? When you consume my flesh, I’ll transform into your curse.
My song will always echo all around you.
Even if you chop your ears off, my song will never stop rattling your bones.
When you peek into a mirror, my watery face glares back at you.
You’ll throw out all your jewels because they’ll reek of my rotting flesh.
Your luxurious food and alcohol will taste like ashes.
Water will taste like my blood.
Your starvation will drive you deeper into your madness as you spit out your broken teeth.
Bugs won’t stop crawling from all the pore of your decaying skin.
And when Hell opens up, you’ll sink right in.
As the flames swallow you up, our song will be the last thing you hear.
Our song of our pain and suffering.
Our song of our curse’s victory.
Our song of our warning to men like you.
So the next time you hear our voices
Or notice our passing—
Keep your grubby hands off our scales.
Our bodies are not yours to conquer.
Breaking our spirits will never serve you well—it only strengthens our curse.
So heed our warning:
leave us alone.
Tashi Saheb-Ettaba currently lives in Tucson, AZ. Whenever she's not writing, she love to dye her hair in wild colors, spend quality time with her cats, and decorate the world with stickers.