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She felt the water pushing her back down as the force pushed her to the top. Her mind was numb and didn’t want to about the life she was leaving behind. Visions of blue dresses and diamonds filled her head, and she knew she would never see these things again. Her name was Peggy, the beloved Queen of the Underwaters. The Underwaters had been home to the merpeople before a terrible war broke out between merpeople and sea witches. Nothing was more powerful than a vengeful mermaid who turned to the dark side. Led by Sutton, she and other sea witches overturned the King’s power, killing him. Peggy was heartbroken and in order to protect her son she escaped to land. Peggy jumped back to the moment when she felt her son stir in her arms. Poppy, only two years old would have to grow up with only stories of his home. This was hurt the most, having to taking her sons natural birthright. Peggy looked up as the surface of the water hit her face; she took her first breath of human air. Her nose filled with the awful scent of the human land. As she looked up at the moon, Peggy told herself it was much brighter on land than from the ocean floors. The history of humans was filled with money, slaves, sex, war and vengeance. All things merpeople never heard of until the past month. She glazed down to Poppy, his beautiful brown skin and hazel eyes gleaming. She kisses him letting him know how much he is loved. Looking back at the ocean Peggy knows this is no longer her home. This new world was now home to both Peggy and Poppy. Peggy slowly walked to the shore taking her first steps, her legs weak but mind strong. She quickly dressed in the few human clothes she carried with her from the Underwaters. The key was to fit in, and the attire for the Underwaters would have men looking at her sexually and women fuming. Peggy had heard stories about Human culture and she knew on land her beauty was rare and highly wanted. Her hair was long dark, her skin a tanned brown and her eyes light golden. Peggy brushed her hair out while singing a beautiful song to Poppy. Poppy smiled and let out a small laugh. She scooped her son up into his bundle and began walking along the shore. The beach was empty except for a few groups of people, mostly women. The women all looked as if they had been by the shore for a while, not properly dressed and had quick looks on their faces.
Peggy noticed a woman younger than herself holding an adolescent son of her own. She had blonde hair and a sad look on her face. Peggy noticed how skinny her son was who looked around three.
“Hello,” Peggy introduced herself to the woman not sure how to interact with humans.
“Can I help you?” The woman sounded upset, but Peggy could tell all she wanted was a friend.
“Your son, he looks hungry?” Peggy said.
“Look lady, if you are from a church I do not have time!” The woman yelled as if she were about to break.
“No, I have a child of mine own.” Peggy kneeled down to show the woman Poppy.
“He’s handsome, sorry. I’m Kim.” Kim extended her, but Peggy had no idea what to do with the hand.
“Are you homeless as well?” Kim asked.
Peggy did not know how to answer that question and looked back at the ocean. She just wanted to hear her folk singing to her from the ocean letting her know it would be alright.
“It’ll be okay. You will learn how to survive. You have to do whatever it takes to keep your child alive.” Kim put forth.
The two women turned at the sound of a group of loud men walking towards the shore from the parking lot.
The men were of all ages, but each had the trucker look going for them.
“Who is your friend Kim?” One of the men asked. He was not the best looking with his round belly and grease stains on his shirt.
“I don’t know your name.” Kim said ignoring the trucker and looking at Peggy.
“Well, nice to meet you Peggy. Are you working tonight?” The man questioned.
“Leave her alone Jimmy, she just got here.” Kim yelled.
“That’s nice, the homeless moms bonding together. Daddy left you broke I am guessing. Such a shame, some men don’t know how to treat such beauties.” Jim said his breath hot as he stared down Peggy.
Kim rushed up, pushing Jimmy away from Peggy.
“Get the fuck out of here!” She yelled at him as he took off.
“What did he mean when he asked if I were working tonight?” Peggy wondered.
“Like I said, you will do anything to keep your child alive.” Kim answered.
Peggy glanced around the beach, and most of the women were gone. She noticed one woman step out of a truck counting some green paper and shoving it into her back pocket.
A few weeks had passed, and Peggy found it harder to find food from the ocean. She refused to eat fish or any living creature from the sea. She was grateful that Poppy was still breastfeeding, but days without food made her milk thin and low on nutrition.
Peggy’s body was once beautiful but she found it was losing the natural curves and bones were brushing against her skin. After two weeks without food, she drove into the ocean, using what little merpeople power she had left she caught two crabs. This pained her to kill them since they were her family. As she sucked the meat out of one, giving the other to Kim and her son she cried for two hours straight.
The beach had many chances to make money, but Peggy could not work because Poppy was too young to be left on his own.
“I know a couple; they will babysit for the right amount.” Kim suggested one day sitting on the shore.
“I don’t have any money to offer.” Peggy cried.
She had learned a few things about humans and one was how valuable the green paper, they called money was to them.
“You know what you have to do.” Kim had a glimpse of sadness as she said this to Peggy. She turned her attention back towards her son and left Peggy to figure out what she would do.
Peggy walked slowly to the edge of the shore letting the water soak her feet heavy with sand and desolation. Images and memories of her husband filled her mind and images of the life she would be living if not for the Sea Witches. Tears filled her eyes as the pain finally pushed her down to the ground. She took a little rock and threw it out onto the water yelling at the waves.
“It should not be like this! Our lives should not be like this” Peggy yelled in the mist of her tears.
“I just want to come home, please send me some sign. Please, if anybody down there can hear me, please.” Peggy begged holding tightly onto sand.
She opened her eyes and was taken aback by the face she saw in the water. She could see it was Poppy in his twenties. He smiled at her and extended his hand palm up.
Peggy put her hand on top of Poppy and tried her hardest to tap into her merpeople power.
“Don’t give up just yet mom. Whatever choice you make I will be fine.” Poppy smiled and disappeared from the water.
Peggy tried not to think about it as Jimmy grinded his body on top of her. He was fast, aggressive and noisy all Peggy wanted was for it to be over. She was sicken by his pant and felt crushed by the weight of his body.
When Jim was finished he rolled off her and handed her two pieces of green paper. Each slip had the number fifty and the face of a man.
Peggy took Poppy to the couple Kim mentioned to her. The house was beautiful and she could tell these people lived in a life of luxury. She knocked on the door gently trying to figure out what she would say when someone answered.
A little boy opened the door and smiled at Peggy. He was young but older than Poppy, and he looked as happy as young boys could be. Another boy ran to the door, and Peggy was amused by the fact they were twins.
“Boys, what did I tell you about opening the door without me or Daddy?” A woman yelled and showed up at the door.
“How may I help you?” The woman asked.
“I was told to come here from a friend, Kim.” Peggy’s voice was weak, and she felt ugly in front of this beautiful woman.
“Boys, go play in your bedroom please.” The woman told her children who both ran off.
“Come in, my name is Becky.” Becky was small, but she looked particularly strong.
“I know you do not know me, but I need to make money. I need a place for my child to sleep and be raised. Will you keep my child for me?” Peggy did not know why she asked that. She had come to ask for a babysitter but after seeing the twin boys and Becky she knew Poppy needed a more stable human life.
“Let’s sit down and talk about this.” Becky said pointing to the kitchen table. She looked at Poppy and told Peggy to put him into the boys’ bedroom to play.
“What are their names?” Peggy was curious after setting Poppy into the bedroom.
“Andy and Dallas, they are only five but it feels they have been around longer.” Becky attempted at humor, but Peggy could not deal with light chat.
“I can’t give my son the life you can!” Peggy tried to say while she broke down in tears.
“Hey, it will be okay. This world is a hard place.” Becky grabs Peggy’s hand and hugs her.
“I will work, and when I save enough money I will come get my son back.” Peggy felt she would break down again but held her tars.
“My husband, Anthony is very good with children as well.” Becky pointed out.
“Your husband, does he work?” Peggy asked.
“He is a scientist; he is helping with the new Species discovery as of right now.” Becky told her but Peggy felt she left some things out.
Becky glanced at the television and his faced dropped,
“Speaking of which, take a look at the news.”
“Today marks the twenty-third attack on Species here in America. Eighteen year old, Matthew Dow was jumped by a Hunter gang and beaten to death. Reports show young Dow had the power to move objects with a flick of his finger.” The male reporter announced as pictures of Matthew filled the screen while music played.
“It’s such a shame that we discover people who can do above normal things and this is how we handle it.” Becky turned the television back off.
Peggy had heard little about the entire Species discovery. All she knew is that the government gained knowledge of different beings. The term “Species” came about to define any person who is not human. Vampires, witches, werewolves and the unclassified were all Species. Unclassified were considered the most human, they were living and had gifts that made them different. Some call the unclassified superheroes. Peggy was thankful the existence of merpeople still remained a secret.
“I have some money saved up, I will bring you more.” Peggy said pulling how the hundred dollars.
“No, keep your money. I want you to go out and find an honest job.” Becky said touching Peggy’s arm.
Peggy felt an instance rush to her head as if something in her mind were readjusting.
“What was that?” Peggy asked.
“Just a little bit of good luck, your son will be safe here.” Becky hugged Peggy tightly.
Peggy walked into the playroom where Andy, Dallas and Poppy were playing with GI Joes.
“Mommy!” Poppy yelled reaching his arms out.
Peggy tried not to cry in front of the children, she picked Poppy up and gave him a giant hug. Andy watched and Peggy noticed his eyes were a beautiful blue color and she felt she loved this boy.
“Poppy, mommy has to go away for a little while. You are going to get to stay here and play with Andy and Dallas.” Peggy said to her son.
Poppy took his hand and touched it against Peggy’s face; she smiled at the illusion that popped into her head. Poppy was older, attractive by a wishing well. Peggy was watching him from the water, and he looked happy.
She pulled his hand away kissing him on the cheek. She held him as tight as possible wishing she did not have to let go.
“I love you Poppy.” She whispered into his ear.
“I love you mommy.” Poppy kissed her on the cheek.
“I’ll come back for you.” Peggy said giving her son one last hug and thanked Becky once more. She hugged Becky and walked out the door thinking to herself one day she would be able to come back for her son.
Becky finished her last lap around the track after a long two hour work-out. She never cared much about her body before; now she was going on thirty and all she could think about her body.
She knew this was a stupid and human fear, but even a Succubus could lose her beauty if she did not take care of herself.
She opens the fridge up and grabs out a tray full of fruits she had prepared earlier on in the day. Anthony, her husband was at work.
He told her the other night that he was working on creating an army to fight the Species who were harming humans.
Becky looked into the living room; the three boys were watching television together. Poppy had been with the family for about two years now. Peggy would stop by every few months to drop money than she would disappear. She stopped visiting all together about four months ago.
Poppy had adjusted well to her family, she noticed he and Andy were close, but all three boys had bonded as brothers.
A loud bang sounded from the door causing Becky to jump slightly.
She slowly walked to the door and opened it up to a man standing. The man had glasses on, and she knew him.
His name was Dr. Evans, and he worked with her husband in the Species lab.
“Aaron? What are you doing here?” Becky asked.
“Are you out of your mind Becky?! Anthony told me everything; you are letting a Species in your home?” Dr. Evans looks into the living room at Poppy.
“He is just a child, and he’s not the only Species in this house.” Becky whispered in anger.
“You know damn well if the lab found out you were hiding Species in your own home, your whole family could be destroyed!” Dr. Evans tried to control his anger.
“If they found out I was a Species? A succubus, which is not only rare, but one of the lethal Species. My husband works for the lab, and you two are going to figure out a way to make them understand.” Becky declared.
“Becky, you are protected by the lab we need more of you on our side, but a Species who can control water, that is a serious hazard.” Dr. Evans informed her.
“He does not know that he has an ability. Every time he uses it he is just as shocked as the rest of us. Believe me, he is just a child.” Becky pulled Dr. Evans into the kitchen so they couldn’t be overheard any more.
“I need you to keep this secret at least until we figure out what he is.” Becky begged.
“I’m not going to say anything, Anthony was just concerned.” Dr. Evans told her.
“As he should be, for the other issues we have! Zombies? What is next?” Becky was referring to a report of a potential Zombie sighting in Texas a few days before.
“Yes, but it is some stupid person playing a joke. Zombies are not real; we would have come across one.” Dr. Evans informed her.
“For the sake of this world, I hope you are right!” Becky whispered back.
A few hours later Becky got the boys into bed and was finished tucking Poppy in who had his own room.
“Did she call today?” Poppy asked.
“No, I’m sorry Poppy she did not. When she does call you will be the first person to know.” Becky replied kissing him on the forehead.
“Am I different?” Poppy asked her and to Becky this boy seemed so much older than four.
“That’s a question for your mother to answer. However, Poppy I want you to know Andy and Dallas a lot and they will look after you. I will make sure of that, if they do not I will beat them up.” Becky joked.
“They will never let anything bad happen to you.” Becky finished and kissed Poppy on the forehead once more.
“Now get some rest.” Becky turned the light off and closed the bedroom door behind her.
She walked down a few doors to her bedroom where her husband Anthony had just arrived home from work.
“It’s late,” Becky said as she changed into her nightwear.
“I made a huge mistake today.” Anthony sat on the bed with his head down.
“Yes, I know, Aaron paid me a visit today. Anthony, you must be careful. I promised Peggy I would take care of her son.” Becky scorned.
“You did not even know the women, for all we know she could be living a nice kid-free life.” Anthony said as he took his shirt off.
“You know me better than that baby.” Becky said referring to her Succubus powers.
Succubus could read people, their emotions and even take away the pain a person felt.
“You’re right; I just do not want anything bad to happen.” Anthony stated.
“Everything will be fine. I mean, yes, this whole Species thing is big but it will die down soon.” Becky suggested to Anthony wrapping her arms around Anthony.
“Let’s get some rest; I need to be at work early.” Anthony said and rolled over in bed.
Becky found herself unable to sleep; she removed herself out of bed and casually got dressed. She made sure Anthony was sleeping.
As she went out the front door the cold wind hit her face, and she could see winter was coming. She walked as fast as she could, it was late she did not want to get hurt. She came along the beach after about twenty minutes walking. The women were out as usually, and the truckers were drinking by their vehicles. As she walked by one of them whistled to her motioning her to come party with them.
Becky ignored the obscene gestures and looked among all the women until she saw Kim with her son. “Kim, how have you been?” Becky asked her.
“The same I have always been.” Kim’s voice was soft, and Becky could tell all she wanted was to put her head in peace. “I’m looking for Peggy, her son Poppy is staying with our family.” Becky informed her. Kim laughed and shrugged her shoulders at Becky.
“What is so funny?” Becky asked.
“You do not know? Peggy raced out of here about four weeks ago when she drowned some guy in the ocean. Get this she did not even touch the man, the water like jumped into him or something.” Kim told Becky the news.
Becky put it together; Peggy must be a Species like her son.
“Cops are calling Peggy some freak of nature like one of those sick Species things all over the news.” Kim said.
“Do you know where Peggy would have run off too?” Becky asked as she got annoyed.
“No clue.” Kim said.
Becky kneeled down at Kim’s side and touched her face; she felt her power rushing to Kim’s brain. All the hurt in her head Becky removed some of it. Kim smiled and looked at Becky as if she just saved her.
“You stay warm Kim.” Becky handed her some cash, hugged her and started to walk.
“There is this safe house for Species about two blocks down.” Kim called after her.
Becky turned to her and smiled saying thank you and quickly got back to the road.
She arrived at the house Kim told her about and knocked at the door. A teen boy, around sixteen opened the door up.
“Can I help you?” He asked.
“I’m looking for a woman her name is Peggy. I am currently caring for her son Poppy.” Becky informed him.
“Becky?” Peggy’s voice came out from inside the room, Becky nodded at the boy, and he let her into the house.
The house was clean, and others slept on the floor, all Species, with nowhere to go. Kicked out of home for what they could do and society refused to help them.
Becky looked into the only other room, and there rest and Peggy on a bed. Her skin was sunken in as if she had not eaten in days and she looked dehydrated.
“Peggy? What happened to you?” Becky rushed to her bedside.
“I…I do not think I have much time. Where is Poppy?” Peggy could hardly talk as if her teeth were missing.
“I did not bring him with me.” Becky confessed.
Peggy coughed a dry cough and Becky could tell this woman was dying.
“I will go and get him right now.” Becky said but Peggy grabs onto her arm telling her to stay.
“I wrote him a letter, when he is old enough you can give it to him.” Peggy handed an envelope to Becky who took it.
“Tell him I am sorry I could not give him a life he needed. I’ll see him one day soon.” Peggy said crying and Becky hugged her broken body.
“I will make sure he knows all about you even the Species part.” Kim whispered.
“No, no he cannot know. Let him be a normal boy, he will discover his gifts when the time is right.” Peggy said serious and Becky knew she would have to listen to this dying wish.
Becky broke down into tears when Peggy took her last breath. She closed Peggy’s eyes and tried to stop crying.
“I will protect your son.” Becky said to the lifeless body and kissed her on the forehead.