He had named her Syrena.

He named her for Saint Serena; a martyr whose name appeared once or twice in scripture, but whose life and history was relatively unknown. She was a mystery.

Syrena was a mystery.

From the moment he first saw her, desperate and clawing at the rocks that blocked her escape, he was captivated. She had attacked him. Such a wild, forsaken creature… and she could be his.

The Devil had him mesmerized. Philip pulled his dagger and, in one deft move, pinned her to the sand by her wretched tail. She didn't cry out, nor did she gasp. Motionless, the mermaid watched him with pained eyes as her blood let out into the waves. But then and there, Philip knew that the pain she felt wasn't in light of her injury. His heart sank deeper than a stone in the ocean as he realized the repercussions of this single action. He begged God for forgiveness.

He realized later that it was Syrena he must beg for forgiveness, as she pressed her face against he glass wall of her prison and gasped; she didn't have enough air to cry out, or else Philip was sure she would have. He quickly rushed to free her, to save her- her, that hellish being that had tried to take his life for her own- as though he were as much under her spell as any mortal man.

Until the spell was broken by the sound of waves of rushing water and crashing glass pounding in his brain. Syrena flopped around on the hot jungle floor, hurrying to straighten herself and cover her nakedness. The men stared. Philip, not at all ashamedly, stared too, but for reasons other than the crudely-carved crew around him; she was frightened. Vulnerable. Vindicated.

The deep, dark pools of her eyes met his and he knew at once that she was unlike any of the other mermaids they had encountered at Whitecap Bay.

He named her for her serenity.

"She has a name!"

But when he looked at her, he could not see a single vein of serenity in her body; her eyes betrayed any essence of tranquility, a golden storm that raged behind widened irises as she watched him with a mixture of fear, curiosity, and anxiety. Her eyes reflected his own soul.

Now she bore into him with eyes of wonder and love as he pushed her up the beach, his hands roaming her body as her delicate, pale fingers curled in his hair. He wondered vaguely how her soul was damned. If she was Hell-bound, was he as well? So be it.

How could such a lovely creature be godless?

When they joined together at last and Philip welded his hips to hers, and she cried out and gasped, Philip knew that their passion was not a sin; how could something so pure, so true, something done out of mutual love and respect and understanding and need be Satan's doing? He would not believe it. He could not believe it anymore.

They moved together on the moonlit-beach, thrusting and kissing with nothing but the sounds of their moans and their breaths and the waves that lapped at their restless feet.

He whispered her name, salty and sweet on his lips.

He was reminded briefly of the day he had carried her- her wet, nude, soft, cold body against his own sweaty, dirty, warm chest. Rubbing against his lower abdomen with each step in a rhythm not unlike that of intercourse. His shirt may have hidden her well, but that didn't stop his hands from slipping on her slick skin, trying his damnedest not to renounce his faith and take advantage of such a poor girl.

Selfish lust may have clouded his vision in the beginning, but nothing but love remained now.

You caught me, she whispered, spent, as the tide overcame them at last, dragging the entwined couple back out to sea. I'm yours.

Forever.