Author Note: This tale is based on a story I remember reading as a kid called "Lutey and the Mermaid". It's stuck with me for about 18 years, and now I know what it is I must do with this beautiful story. This is a three-chapter story, so hopefully it's enough for a good fix. Disclaimer: Hellboy, Roger and B.P.R.D. are not mine, nor will they ever be. I'm borrowing them. ;) There are also a few other references in here to various folk songs and such.
To first-time and repeat readers: I have fixed most of the irritating text formatting. Please R&R!
Whalebones and a Curse
Twenty-six ivory spikes stood from a melting shamble of what was once a graceful and elegant creature. Once singing in a haunting and melodious underwater voice, it now sounded out with the irritable drone of squawking and flapping of feathers. Ahikmu, the whale, lay dead on the shore. Here aged body now a feast for the scavengers that swarmed around her lifeless and rotting form.
Luke walked among the many dunes and tidepools, searching for bits of beach glass, coins, treasures and perhaps the occasional whiskey bottle washed up from the sea. He kicked out with his boot, flipping over numerous pieces of weathered driftwood in his search. His four-year-old son followed him at a distance, mimicking his drunken fathers behaviour.
As the sun reached its' peak, the man approached the rotting corpse. He chased away the birds with his cane and empty whiskey bottle, only to have them return to their feast, squawking angrily. Luke cursed out at the birds, throwing his bottle down onto the sand. Suddenly there was a loud screech. The birds scattered, the water began to crash against the rocks. Suddenly, a large wave swept over the whale and Luke. The screech did not stop.
When the waters parted, all that remained of Luke was an iron knife. The young child walked up to where his father had stood but moments before. He kicked the old knife handle with his big toe, then picked it up and placed it in his pocket.
A set of cloven footprints lay on the damp sand below the towering cliffs, near those of a large pair of boots. Hellboy and Roger made their way along the isolated Cornish beach towards Luke's home where his wife and child awaited their arrival.
Roger adjusted his belt anxiously. Hellboy walked up to the door, questioning whether or not knocking would cause the fragile glass door to shatter. He held his hand, bearing a fingerless glove, inches from the frosted glass. The door swung open to reveal a small boy holding a green plastic turtle in one hand a sippy cup in the other. The child giggled, then ran back into the house.
Moments later a woman in her late thirties appeared at the door, child in tow. She stared for several long moments before asking her two visitors inside. Hellboy patted the kid on the head as he walked by, his eyes focusing on the décor of the home. Rare paintings, sculptures and relics filled the home. Ikea furniture brightly contrasted the older pieces.
"Hellboy, B.P.R.D." He offered a gloved hand to the mother, who stared at his right hand, then shifted her gaze to Roger.
"This is Roger, who will be helping us find your husband." Roger offered his hand to the woman, smiling. The woman remained still, her eyes fixated on his white eyes.
"Dolores." The woman stuttered, still staring at Roger nervously. "Dolores Havelock. Welcome to my…"
"Bare bottom!" screamed the boy, causing his mother to turn a similar shade to Hellboy. The boy giggled and pointed at Roger. Hellboy scooped him up and placed him into his mother's arms.
"M'am. If we are going to find your husband, we're going to have to need some information."
"Of course. Please help yourself to the coffee. I will be back in one moment." Dolores disappeared with her son, who was still giggling.
"The mouths of babes." Stated Hellboy, stifling an odd grin. Roger pulled his vest and belt a little lower. "Notice anything?"
Hellboy nodded towards the mantle, where a wooden mermaid sat fixed to the wall, a knife through it's contorted and painful body. Roger stood in the kitchen, pouring two large cups of coffee and gathering a large handful of shortbread cookies. As he walked to Hellboy he stared at the mermaid, torsed and twisted body skewered on the old knife.
"Celtic legend describes a beachcomber who, while looking for treasures, came upon a mermaid trapped in a tidepool. In return for his kindness, she offered him three wishes, for a deadly price."
Hellboy sipped the warm, weak coffee and completed Rogers thought about cookies, taking several.
"He saved himself by pulling a knife of iron on her, but was claimed years later."
Dolores returned to the room while Hellboy studied the knife.
"You'll not find him, you know. Like his father before him, and every other man in his family, he has succumbed to the curse." The mother burst into tears. "What I need is for you to save my son!"
"M'am." Roger spoke softly, extending his gray hand toward Dolores, who pulled away slightly. He pulled his hand away from her, returning it to his naked leg. "We're here to help, we just need to know a few things."
Dolores closed her eyes, stifling tears while quickly nodding her head.
"The knife is cursed. She will claim whatever man holds it. My son, my precious Wade, as taken it into his hand. She will claim him as she has every other Havelock male for the past three hundred years."
Dolores swirled her tea. She continued to explain the family history and all the men who had died as a result of the knife. Sometimes it had fallen, other times it had been touched as a dare. Even those who had moved inland would eventually succumb to the power of the knife and family curse.
"She took our minister, too. He tried to cure the curse; he took the knife in his hand. Three weeks later he disappeared. My husband stepped on the knife last year, it washed up on the beach and went into his foot."
Hellboy pressed the palm of his right hand to his forehead. Roger looked over at him and heard the words "stupid" "inland" and "foolish sons of –" muttered into stone.
Hellboy reached up to the mantle to grasp the knife. Roger seized the blade in his hand before Hellboy could touch it. Hellboy's eyes flashed at Roger as he held it in his hands. Dolores remained frozen on the sofa, nearly dropping her tea on the tile floor.
"She will destroy you."
Hellboy downed the last of his coffee, setting the mug next to the pained mermaid sculpture.
"We'll need a boat, m'am. Where's the best place to set out onto the water?"
"Take Lukey's boat. It's the wooden one at the very end of the dock."
Hellboy stifled a grunt and stepped away from the doorframe. The mothers' face turned white as the two visitors left her home. She stood at the door for several moments after they had departed onto the cold sandy beach.
"She likes you" chuckled Hellboy.
Roger held the knife in his hands, feeling the time-ravaged lines and nicks in the whalebone handle and iron blade.
"Why doesn't the family just move away or destroy the knife?"
The two agents continued to walk down the sandy beach, stomping beach glass and washed up treasures into the pure white sand.
Thanks for reading!