Thursday, October 31, 2013

Interview with Michelle Weidenbenner - Author of Cache a Predator

I have wanted to do a series of interviews and luckily this book review thing has helped me get in contact with many talented and friendly writers.
So here is my first interview with Michelle Weidenbenner, author of Cache a Predator, and the mastermind behind Random Writing Rants
Check out my review of Cache a Predator here.

Q: First off, tell us a bit about yourself.
Do I have to? Lol. I don’t like talking about myself. I’d rather talk about you.
Q: Which do you prefer e-books or paperback?
Both have a different purpose for me. When I’m studying a novel I like to hold it, dog-ear the pages, and write in the margins. But if I’m speed-reading I like to read it on my Kindle.
Q: What are you currently reading? And what is your favourite genre in general?
I’m reading THE BOOK THIEF. It’ll be a movie in 2014. The novel was agented by a lit agent who read all of my latest novel, SCATTERED LINKS, in a contest. I wanted to read the type of books she represents.
Q: What do you think of self-help books on writing books or novels and publishing them? (Are they helpful or are most of them just a hoax? Would you recommend any?)
Self-help writing books are a must. I’m always striving to learn more about this craft of writing, and if a book can help I’m all about it.  The EMOTIONAL THESAURUS is a great tool to have to help you flesh out character emotions. Jim Denney is a friend of mine and he wrote WRITING IN OVERDRIVE. This book is motivational. But there are a lot of them out there. Blogs on writing are great too.
Q: If you can have any super-power, what would it be?
I’d like to be able to fly, but I’ve always wanted to have the ability to keep going without any sleep. There’s too much I want to do and not enough time to do it.
Q: What is your favourite food?
I like practically anything someone else makes for me. I don’t like to take time to cook, but I appreciate a good meal. I’m not picky, but I like to stay healthy.
Q: You told me Cache a Predator is a self-published book. So, what can you tell us about indie/self-publishing that seems to be taking the US by storm.
For me it was the way to go, but not for everyone. I’d still like to land a high-profile agent and find a large publishing house that will give me an advance. But I’m an entrepreneur and find self-publishing similar to owning my own business. I enjoy that. I’m not afraid to market my work, but that’s because I have a great editor.
Q: What are the pros and cons of self-publishing? And what was the hardest part in producing the book?
This is a huge question. One that might take too long to write. I’ll try. The pros in self-publishing are being in control of the story, the cover, marketing, and the overall project. The cons are the same—it’s all up to you, you have all the risk, you handle all the different projects wearing a different hat for each task.
But if we don’t keep writing we don’t have a product to sell, so it’s important not to forget to write every day.
Q: When writing a novel, do you have a main theme in mind or do you write and then start highlighting the themes and dissecting the book?
I typically have a premise. I wouldn’t call it a theme. I have a character with a goal, and things get in the way of him reaching that goal. I like to mess up his life and watch him squirm. Some call it torture.
Q: How do you go about when it comes to negative critiques?
I listen closely. They matter. But typically I ask several different editors and beta-readers for their opinion. If several readers feel the same way then I rethink the plot line or edit the rough edges, etc. That’s why I like to have beta readers read the novel before it’s published. They can offer great insight.
Q: Aspiring writers claim that the hardest part is finding an editor. How did that work for you and for Cache a Predator?
A good one is expensive, but just like in any business you have to spend money to make money. At least, initially. It’s important to try different ones and see how they can help. Mine liberated me. She pushed me to write the best story, but gave me confidence. Once it was professionally edited I felt better about presenting a solid piece of work.
Q: When did the title of the novel come to mind, before or while writing the book or was it a friend’s suggestion? 
The title didn’t get “finalized” until weeks before publishing. It started out as THE MUGGLER, then I had people vote on titles. Some of the other choices were COLD CACHE, THE COLD CACHE EXPOSURE, CACHE 22, and CACHE a RELEASE. Some people pronounce ‘cache’ like cachet, with the dash over the e. So I wonder sometimes if I chose the right title. Self-doubt worms its way into my thoughts way too often.
Q: Cache a Predator entails psychology and knowledge of the law. How did you conduct your research? Did you meet with doctors for instance?
I can spend a lot of time on research and never sit my butt in a chair, so yes, I interviewed doctors, deputies, geo-cachers, counselors, and child protective services staff. I needed information to make my story ring true, but honestly, there’s so much on the internet that there were times when that was enough.
Q: When and why did you start Random Writing Rants?
I started this blog for writers almost two years ago when I decided I needed a platform based on what the writing industry said was important. But I really like to help other writers and share what I’m learning, so it made sense that I would teach writing. My goal was to mentor teens because most of my novels are for young adults –ranging from first-graders to high-schoolers. But finding teens hasn’t been easy. I like to feature a teen writer on Fridays at my blog. I call it FAN FRIDAY. They share a story and I invite other writers to come and offer them encouragement. We’re THEIR fan for a day.
Q: So, having published your first novel, do you have a second one in mind? If yes, will it be a different genre?
Yes, I’ve written several young adult novels, a mid-grade novel, and a children’s chapter book series. I’m not sure which novel will be next, but I think it’ll be SCATTERED LINKS, a multi-cultural novel about a Russian teen girl. I have an adopted daughter from Russia so I’ve always been intrigued by that country.
Q: Do you know anyone who acts a bit or a lot like Ali’s mother? (She was an obnoxious character but Brett’s replies and thoughts made for comic relief)
She was a piece of work, wasn’t she? I think her character was based on someone I saw on TV—a grouchy old lady who never took responsibility for her own actions.
Q: How long did it take you to write Cache a Predator?
I wrote 50,000 words for CACHE during NaNoWriMo in 2011, but probably spent a year after (off and on, not constantly) editing the story. Then I had it critiqued, rewrote it some more, and then edited. It’s a long process, but fun!
I like that you have motives behind writing Cache a Predator, such as exposing abuse and some loopholes in the system. I also like that the theme of love in the novel is that of father-daughter, even if there is a bit of Brett-Sarah.
Thank you! I think it’s important to make stories universal—something that readers can relate to—and who doesn’t want to keep kids safe?
Q: What genres would you like to experiment with in the future?
An adult romance or a romantic suspense novel. I’m open to all stories that move me and plant themselves in my imagination. I never know when someone’s plight might trigger a story idea.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

30 Scary Tales


Thirty Scary Tales by Rayne Hall is a collection of short stories encompassing an array of settings, narration styles and topics with theme of ‘scary’.

One should remember the varying difference between scary and horrifying. This collection is scary, occasionally gory, but rarely horrifying. Some tales involve elements of the supernatural – which I adore; while others are inspired from the writer’s real-life events, making these tales scarier than the supernatural ones.

There are tales of vampires, ghosts, magic and dreams and other supernatural elements. They are all beautiful and enjoyable but do not compare to the pleasure and intrigue I experienced while reading The Grey Walker, Arete, Through the Tunnel, The Colour of Dishonour, Burning and The Painted Staircase – just to name a few.

There are a few stories set in Rayne Hall’s dark epic fantasy novel Storm Dancer such as The Colour of Dishonour, The Grey Walker, and Each Stone, A Life. Each of these stories is exceptional in its vividness, creativity and unfathomable twists! You have no idea what you’re up against!

Hall’s use of imagery is consistent with her settings. An example of such imagery is seen in Never Leave Me, “My heart beat like the hooves of a herd of cattle.” The image is consistent with a farmer's background.

Thirty Scary Tales boasts a ton of stunning imagery in this collection, whether scary or just plain beautiful. The reader cannot help but highlight and enjoy.

Hall uses an array of settings for tales ranging from Germany to England to Turkey, and extending from Ancient Greece to the Middle Ages to modern times.

As I have said, some tales stood out. Among them is The Grey Walker with its use of a zombie-like creature, a parallelism with the trade made by Dr. Faustus, and its staggering imagery. It is a carefully-crafted story that will live on. I’m not a fan of zombies, but this story was different for me and I loved every bit of it. Few would find a beautiful image such as this in a zombie-like tale: “But his actions had not been waterdrops that evaporated in the sun without leaving a trace. They had been cruel flames, scorching deep holes into Laina's defenceless heart.
The Grey Walker ends at a climactic point. We finally know why the witch never mentioned a payment at the beginning. Turgan is not mindless, nor is he innately evil but he ends up being a Greywalker and understands his purpose.
The Grey Walker is a 10-star story.

Another Storm Dancer-set story is The Colour of Dishonour with its layers of puns and irony (“I have blood on my hands”). I still cannot shake off the admiration (for Hall) and the horror (for the Captain). The Colour of Dishonour is another 10-star story.

By Your Own Free Will makes you think: How far would you go for love? How much are you willing to sacrifice to be noticed by one man? Would you trade your IQ for it?

The final story in Thirty Scary Tales is called Burning. And I have not found a word to describe my love and respect for this story. It is written from the perspective for a seven-year-old girl; so naturally, her thoughts highlight the flaws of grown-ups and carry some comic relief as seen when she thinks that insurance “prevented families from getting burnt.”
Burning boasts many layers of love, trust, and ideology. It is an intense and deep tale. The reader sees how the girl feels a yearning for the love found in the Arab family that burnt to death, a love this is denied her in her own family. Her father is obviously cold, uncaring and pretends to be a know-it-all based on pre-conceived ideas that he speaks out as if they were facts. The girl sympathises with the Arab family simply because they care for their children unlike her father, whom she couldn't even picture saving her from a fire.


Special thanks to Rayne Hall for creating and collecting this set of stories in a single volume and for sending me a free copy of Thirty Scary Tales for a Halloween review. I enjoyed reading them all. As for the Storm Dancer-set stories, this collection has prompted me to begin reading the dark epic novel as soon as I can.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

In Progress/Under Construction


I wasn’t sure what to write about and figured my blog should also act as a reminder for the list of things to be done/books to be read and reviewed.

Currently writing:

·        Review of Shiri by D.S. Taylor (for Author Alliance)

Currently Reading:

·        30 Scary Tales by Rayne Hall (Halloween Review)
·        Entitlement by Mike Worley (Mystery) (for Author Alliance)
·        Twin Magnolia: A Soul Call by Victoria Propescu (for Author Alliance)

For Author Alliance means I will post it here on the blog, two weeks after its publication on the Author Alliance website and will also be tweeting about it from here.

Starting 1st of November, I will be reading the following:

·        2 Officers by Essam Youssef (Arabic), which I will be reviewing in both Arabic and English.
·        Twin Magnolia – if I haven’t finished it – though hopefully I will by the 30th of October.

I will be looking forward to some more Arabic reads then and hopefully pick up with studying and revising my previous German levels and reading some short or children’s stories or blog posts.


With all these to-dos, it’s a bit hard to focus on writing much, if at all. So the moment I finish October’s to-read, I’ll be back to writing poetry and stories and taking a closer look at the writing prompts. This week’s #VisDare looks interesting, might try to give it a shot sometime tomorrow. I’m also looking forward to Lillie McFerrin’s weekly word prompt, which will be posted tomorrow.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Doxy


Doxy, you little mean beastie
are you going to hurt me?
An extra pair of hairy legs and arms,
what could you possibly be wanting to harm?
Fairy-like thick wings and human form,
with you around, who could go to their dorm?
Five hundred eggs at a time?
My dear, your reproduction is beyond fine!
Labelled by the Ministry XXX
Can you also perform a hex?
And they sell your yucky droppings
and say we'll get better grades and less failings
Doxy, you mean Doxy!
Get away from me,
and stop trying to hurt me!


This is a REALLY OLD poem of mine inspired by the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling, particularly Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them :)
A Doxy is a bit like a Pixie but hairier and much more mischievous.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Wolf of the Highlands


The Wolf of the Highlands by Bil Howard is an interesting novella composed of 12 episodes. It mixes adventure with history and time travel. It is a novella of experience and self-learning as we see the Ray Barrett’s character develop throughout the book.

The story focuses on Ray, who goes to the mountains to rethink his life and clear his head. There he meets the Scotsman MacGregor and a wolf. At first, the reader is unsure if MacGregor is real or is a figment of Ray’s imagination. After their first meeting, Ray is hurled into the past where he is a Native American called Hoka. Ray calls his time-travel adventures “experiences”; they are sudden and frequent.

The language is simple and it is evident that Mr. Howard knows his history. I like how he lightly incorporates bits of it in The Wolf of the Highlands making it quite interesting.

There are four main characters along with many other minor ones coming from the various and distant periods of time that Ray travels to. Both MacGregor and Alexia are “Spirit Guides”, which Ray cannot grasp what that really means. We also meet Fasser, who constantly tries to kill Ray. A little towards the end, Ray considers what a Spirit Guide means: “What was a “spirit guide”? What did they do, really? Was it a job opportunity that was listed somewhere? He laughed at the thought. “Help wanted. Must be willing to travel through time and irritate the hell out of people.” (p. 103).

The pace of the novella is quick and exciting, though slightly confusing at first if the reader is unaware of the time travel theme. The reader meets the protagonist and the wolf, sees the past and present as well as witnesses a battle in the first episode of the novella.

The dialogue in The Wolf of the Highlands has two main purposes; it acts as a source of information and comic relief. The latter occurs when it is Ray and MacGregor speaking. Ray is short-tempered and MacGregor rarely gives him a straight answer.

The reason or rather reasons that made me give this novella a 4-star rating are: 1) there were several instances of incorrect use of ‘lay’ versus ‘lie’; 2) at the beginning there were many parts that were repeated word-for-word and at other times there was redundant repetition of certain words, like the repetition of ‘thick’ four times in one paragraph. An example for the word-for-word repetition is: “He remembered the sudden horror that came over them as they realized that it was not their brothers playing a trick on them.
It was not our brothers playing a trick on us, but…”. The word-for-word repetition here, and in other places, was rather annoying for me.

The Wolf of the Highlands has an abundance of verdant landscapes and some beautiful images like “the only salve that could take away the ache that was deep inside.” (p. 44). There were also several instances of philosophical thinking and introspection, which contained some interesting lines like “Knowledge should answer questions rather than create more of them. Or did it?” (p. 52)

As the story progresses, we see the development of Ray’s character, which is very nicely done. Ray compares his various experiences and reacts differently to the idea of death in each. “Although he couldn’t put a finger on specific lessons that he had learned in each one, he began to have a better sense of who he was. It was as though he were the steel blade of a sword which had been heated, hammered on and cooled in order to make it stronger.” (p. 114).

Episode 12 answers all of Ray’s questions as it mingles humour with revelation. Both Ray's sarcasm and MacGregor's light-heartedness are funny and amusing. Their constant tittle-tattle in many such instances throughout the novella creates comic relief.

Time travel stories are often tricky at the end but Mr. Howard manages a successful ending as both Ray and the reader see the various missing pieces of the puzzle fall in place at the end.

I had a bit of difficulty rating this novella, for I did enjoy it, though some parts (mentioned above) annoyed me. So, excuse the odd rating of 4.25 stars.


Saturday, October 12, 2013

A Beast


A figure walks alone
Beneath the hidden full moon

He looks up at the sky 
The clouds move away

The light is everywhere
But he just stands there

Hairs emerge from every part of his skin
Changing his past kin

His teeth & canines start growing
His figure and form start changing

He is human no more
He is a beast, that you must flee before





Written 25 September 2005

My apologies for not posting for so long - I was trying to make a habit of 3 posts per week but was too crammed this week; it felt terrible.
This is an old - ancient - poem that fits the spirit of Halloween

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Meeting


Kaya had passed the test – unfortunately. She didn’t want to, but she was a competitive girl and couldn’t just fail; not when everyone had their eyes on her like that. Now, she had passed the test, which meant she will be betrothed to a total stranger.
She respected the idea of marriage – if you knew your partner beforehand.
His name was Marek – so she had been told. What difference did it make?
She stood at the gate that led to the Meeting Table that bound their two worlds.
She sighed and reluctantly began to turn the doorknob.
***
Marek sat at the Meeting Table thinking of his bride-to-be. It was common knowledge that Fairy-Women were beautiful, but he wondered what would ‘Kaya’ - that’s what they said her name was – be like. He was restless, shy and afraid. He didn’t like the way Elf-Wizards and Fairy-Women met. He felt embarrassed; what if she didn’t like him. They were practically stuck.
As he sat at the Meeting Table, the Ancient Gateway door before him suddenly erupted into a shining sheen of white. It opened and Kaya entered escorted by her Unicorn.
Marek rose and gave them a small bow, which Kaya returned.
They were silent.
‘Hi,’ said Kaya.
So she was as embarrassed as he was – not a good thing but not a bad one either.
‘Hi. I’m Marek. I – er – let’s sit down, shall we?’
They did.
‘The colours of your wings are the most beautiful I’ve ever seen! – Er not that I’ve seen many!’
She smiled, turning pink.
She was far more beautiful than he’d imagined.
They were silent again.
‘Erm, can I try your hat on? I’ve always wanted to try one,’ said Kaya. She realised that in order to break the silence, she had to be her fun-self.
Marek was a bit surprised but gave her the Wizard’s cone-shaped hat.
‘At home, we try to make ones like these out of cloth and leaves to see what it’s like,’ she explained, ‘but they don’t stand up pointy like yours.’ She said as she tried his Wizard’s hat.
He chuckled.
She’d broken the ice.

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Scribe and the Lotus


The Scribe and the Lotus by Bakr Fahmy is a historical fiction novel set in ancient in Egypt in the years 2169 – 2167 BC. The main character is a Scribe called Thut-Nefer, who constantly attempts to become one with or achieve his Maat, which “creating truth and upholding the balance”. In other words, he strives for justice and its application.

The story tackles ancient Egypt where King Ibi and his governors wreak of corruption, greed and injustice, where poverty is prevalent and where the people hope that justice would be served one day; “Corruption is eating at us, from the inside out.” (p. 35)

The pace of The Scribe and the Lotus is slow, as it mostly deals with Thut-Nefer’s reflections, thoughts and philosophy concerning the ancient texts he has memorized. The blue lotus flower is a dominant theme throughout the novel and it always appears as a source of relaxation, meditation and revelation. It has a strong effect on Thut-Nefer and allows him to transcend the boundaries of human life. The novel mixes philosophy with politics and modern-day problems.

There are several instances of rise in tension such as the disappearance of Nar, Thut-Nefer’s friend, and the appearance of the jackal but these instances only act as a means to push the novel forward.

The novel is filled with beautiful imagery – many of which are associated with the blue lotus flower. Amongst these images are “The scribe’s mind is as sharp as the ibis’s beak and can draw blood, especially when it’s being provoked.” (p. 15); “That girl has a special magic about her. It must be from her perpetual contact with the lotus, as if the plant entwines itself around her body and soul, creating a unison of the seen and the unseen, finally blossoming into one singularly beautiful flower… When I stare into this blue lotus blossom’s brilliance, my eyes become imbued with her very essence, her light. When I breathe in her sacred fragrance, my nostrils dilate as if I’m standing at the Other World’s garden gate.” (p. 63).

One of the significant images in the novel is “The rat has begotten a ferocious appetite, just like the crocodile, and the crocodile has become filthy, just like the rat” (p. 32 and 33). This comparison between the rat and crocodile is both interesting and significant. Thut-Nefer applies it to humans and the political image reveals how the greedy have become corrupt and how the evil or the corrupt have become greedy; there is a mixing of evils.

The Scribe and the Lotus is not an average novel for it is very philosophical and contains many references to texts written in ancient Egypt. Bakr Fahmy relies on these texts and quotes several throughout his novel, giving it a heavy weight in the historical fiction genre.

It is not an easy or light read and I personally felt that there was extensive use of verbose language, which did not appeal to me, but in some instances, it fitted the text since the main character is a Scribe in the Holy City of Men-Nefer. The story is written in the third person but using the present tense, which was rather undigestable to me at first and which took me a very long time to get used to.

It is quite obvious that the author, Bakr Fahmy, has done extensive research to write and compile such a heavy-weighted novel. He must be lauded and applauded for that. The novel is set in ancient Egypt so the language has an archaeological and ancient nature to it. The use of references and quotes, gives credibility to the historical side of the story. The author has also made many good choices with his selection of ancient Egyptian texts and references.

There were some spelling inconsistencies in the novel such as the spelling of Sakkara and Saqqara; also, the reference to the doctor or physician as “Swnw” and later as “Swnswn”. This annoyed and confused me a fair bit.

Though the final chapter in The Scribe and the Lotus is the shortest chapter in the entire novel, it is also the perfect conclusion to such a piece as it links the present with the future. In many instances, the reader, and particularly an Egyptian or Arab reader, feels that what is to come is similar to the recent Egyptian Revolution that took place in January 2011.

Though it is not a light read, The Scribe and the Lotus is an interesting novel that mixes philosophy with modern day ailments and problems. It is a novel that distinguishes itself in the historical fiction genre.

Overall rating: 4/5 stars.

Check out Bakr Fahmy’s website here
Like his page on Facebook here
Follow Bakr Fahmy on Twitter here.
Buy his book here

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


Longing - A Short Story


Every morning the waves rose to greet the sun for a new day in the ancient city of Alexandria. And each day, the sun embraced the waves and its inhabitants as it rose to announce the coming of the new day.
Every morning Kreer rose with the waves and his eyes rested on the same place; the Qayet Bay Castle.

It was many years ago when he walked the halls of that majestic castle. He had even seen the establishment of the famous Alexandria lighthouse and with much sadness saw its destruction when the earthquake hit the ancient city.

Now the Qayet Bay Castle stood where the wondrous lighthouse had once stood. Every morning he rises to gaze upon the Castle. His heart beat for the memories he had there. For in that Castle was where he met the love of his life, Yasmine, a beautiful and breathtaking dark-skinned Egyptian woman.
Yasmine was a tour guide who came to the Castle often to show the world its beauty. Kreer would come to meet her after she finished work.

But that was many years ago. He lost count for he didn’t age as Yasmine and humans did.
He remembered the day she professed her love for him.

‘Kreer,’ she said, ‘there’s something I want to tell you.’
They were holding hands while taking a stroll inside the Castle after closing hours. He had taken her to the balcony overlooking the sea. The night air was fresh and slightly salty with a full moon shining proudly over the water.
‘Kreer,’ she began again, her face blushing as she looked down then up to meet his eyes, ‘I’m in love with you!’
His heart beat strong in his chest at the sound of those words. She touched his face and he closed his eyes and rested his head on her hand.
She had stood on her tiptoes and kissed his cheek then his neck.
He could feel her excitement.
He wrapped his arms around her waist and laid her head against his chest.
But it didn’t seem enough. She wanted more.

Kreer was old in life not in years. He did want to spend his life with her but he did not know much about humans let alone women, and Yasmine’s excitement scared him.
As a Merman, he had had crushes on other Mermaids before but Yasmine was the first human; and though mingling with humans was not well thought of, Kreer did it often for he could easily come and go between the two worlds as he pleased.

Yasmine was about 30 at the time. An age frowned upon by society even if opportunity had not presented itself and even though a man of the same age was considered young. Kreer did not quite get that part.

As he wrapped his arms around her, she tiptoed again to kiss him more. He felt her desire on her lips, enjoyed them immensely but was equally afraid for Yasmine did not know he was not human. They had been seeing each other for several months but Kreer had not told her much about himself. He told her that he was from a well to do family that was travelling most of the time and that he lived and worked in Alexandria. Yasmine had shared some of her secrets with him but he hadn’t shared his biggest secret with her. Part of him feared her reaction, another part feared she would let his secret out. He trusted her but because his knowledge of humans was not of expert level not even intermediate, he had his doubts; those same doubts that ruined many of his relationships with Mermaids.

She was acting childishly, or so he thought. 

The sea had bred him strong and slightly cold. Yasmine, on the other hand, was high with excitement and longing then. A kiss would have excited and calmed her at the same time. So it was with women. But Kreer did not know that. He wanted to calm her but did not know how. He also did not truly know much about human love and desire. Merpeople had desires but they were never as strong, stormy or sudden as human desires.
He just held her.

‘Kreer! Do you understand what I’m saying? I love you and I don’t want to spend another moment without you!’
She was excited still but fear and frustration had begun to creep in. Again, she kissed his neck, but he didn’t seem to feel or rather understand what that meant. She felt like she was kissing handsome rock.
Where had his feelings gone? She had felt them before. What was going on?

Yasmine had been heartbroken before. When she met Kreer, she was scared but he had calmed her and eased her previous pain. He did not talk much but he had this soothing and calming effect that lingered with her.

He could hear her heartbeats screaming when they first stood under the moon and she told him how she felt. Bit by bit, her heartbeats began to slow till they were at normal pace.

It was at that moment that Yasmine backed away from him, looking at him as a puppy looks at a fully grown wolf.
‘What is wrong with you?’ Her voice had changed. It was angry, scared and uncertain.

‘Yas-’, he began but she cut him short. ‘Don’t Yasmine me! What’s the matter with you? Here I am dying to be with you. I’ve been counting the hours till our meeting and here you stand as cold and as silent as stone.’
Her voice was rising and he saw anger in her eyes. He didn’t understand why, but guessed it was his lack of emotions compared to her.

‘If you’ve been playing with my feelings all this time –’, she began but overwhelmed she stopped.
‘No. No. I haven’t been playing with your feelings. I care about you,’ he told her. The word ‘love’ was not something he had heard before amongst Merpeople, and all he knew was what he felt through her. When she professed her love, he felt her tingling desirous emotions. She wanted him. And that was all he knew about love; all he had come to know about love, in his long life, a few minutes before.

‘Care?’ Her tone was venomous.
‘Care? No love? Nothing?’
‘You have to understand. I’m not like you.’ His words were poison.

He did not mean it. Now was not the time to tell her that he was a Merman but there was no other way to explain why he acted this way.
‘Let me show you,’ he said, taking her hand. She pulled away.

He heard her heart beat differently. He’d never heard a human heart beat like that before.
‘Yasmine, what’s wrong? Why is your heart beating like that?’
‘May be because you’re breaking it!’

Tears were forming in her eyes. She looked away, burying her face in her hands.
He came from behind and held her.
‘I’m not human. Please believe me.’ He whispered.
She whimpered.  
‘Will you just let me show you?’ He pleaded, ‘please?’
She was not convinced, but might as well see whatever it is he was saying. Her heart was broken anyway, what did it matter if he turned out to be another liar with a better excuse.

She nodded silently, but tears were already streaming down her cheeks.
She turned around slowly. He was already standing at the edge with the sea banging against the castle walls.
He took off his shirt and jumped into the dark water.
Yasmine screamed and went to the wall to look. Seconds seemed like eons but finally Kreer’s head and torso appeared unharmed.

‘Look!’ he called out, and dived again. As he did, Yasmine did not see legs and feet but a beautiful silvery-turquoise tail fin. Her sadness turned into awe and surprise.
She gaped.
‘Come down,’ he called out.
‘I’m scared. I’ll come from the shore,’ she answered.

She raced down the castle steps, doing her best not to fall and break her neck.
The shore was empty. It must have been quite late. Yasmine took off her sandals and put her feet in the water. Freezing was not the word to describe it but she didn’t know any words colder than ‘freezing’.
‘Kreer!’ She called out, but her voice was lost over the late night wind.
‘KREER!’ She said at the top of her voice as she took a few more steps in.
Now her whole body was shaking and she felt as though her legs were going numb from the cold.

Kreer appeared in the distance. The tide was getting stronger. He edged towards her but for some reason she wouldn’t come forward to meet him. 
Strong tides were harder to swim against but then again it was something he was used to and no longer considered dangerous.
She moved in more, trying to fight the growing tide. The water was a little over her waist now. ‘Kreer, I’m scared.’
‘I can’t come that far with my tail fin. You have to come to me. I’ll keep you safe.’

She wasn’t sure what to do. But he hadn’t intentionally broken heart; he was in fact different. As she debated and turned the thoughts over in her head, several massive waves came down on her like an avalanche, while the tide pulled her from underneath. She dived, came up to take a breath and was pulled down again.
It was only then that Kreer realised that the water was too strong for his beautiful flower. He inched as much as he could but the tide worked against him too. He had reached the utmost he could but Yasmine was nowhere to be seen. He called out at the top of his voice but to no avail. He dived and searched for her and still nothing.

As the sea began to calm, he saw something floating in the distance. A lump formed in his chest and he swam as fast as he could. It was Yasmine, or her lifeless body at least.
He screamed and cursed in all the languages and tongues he knew.

It was then that he knew what heartbreak felt like. That day he tasted fury and bitterness. That day he hated the sea. He had heard humans speak of the sea as treacherous but had never believed it – not until that day when the sea took his life away. That day, he understood. And he has never forgiven the sea since.