PodCastle Episode 264: Mermaid’s Hook

Mermaid’s Hook

by Liz Argall

She caught treasures from the ship with her sisters; dangerous, exotic objects that plummeted through the water. Metal not yet rusted; fractured glass and timbers not yet smoothed by the sea; woven filaments as delicate as jellyfish, and as treacherous. Curiosities from the world above to be dared, caught, examined and discarded.

She found him falling. He fell fast, tangled in chains, his shirt billowing up around him, shedding bubbles in all directions as his body tore through the water. She surged towards him, caught him in her arms, then paused. Here was no special prize. Normally, they would let humans sink to the bottom and serve as bait for delicious crabs and tastier morsels, but this one still struggled. His urgent desire to live evoking something almost forgotten; an electric hum on the back of her tongue of land-life never known, but bone-remembered. She hummed low and chirruped in surprise, “Who are you? Why are you in my arms?”

He spasmed for a moment, his convulsions almost knocking him out of her grasp, the whites of his eyes flickering through half opened slits.

Her sisters hummed, “Why are you playing with the land-thing? Wait for the crabs to come.”

“I think it’s alive.”

About the Author

Liz Argall

Liz Argall often writes speculative fiction and interstitial work that explore spaces between genres. She is especially fond of gritty urban fantasy, thought provoking science fiction and fantastical literary fiction.

Find more by Liz Argall


About the Narrator

Julia Rios

Julia Rios is a queer, Latinx writer, editor, podcaster, and narrator whose fiction, non-fiction, and poetry have appeared in Latin American Literature Today, Lightspeed, and Goblin Fruit, among other places. Their editing work has won multiple awards including the Hugo Award. Julia is a co-host of This is Why We’re Like This, a podcast about how the movies we watch in childhood shape our lives, for better or for worse. They’ve narrated stories for Escape Pod, PodCastle, Pseudopod, and Cast of Wonders. Find them on Twitter as @omgjulia.

Find more by Julia Rios