Marina awakened by degrees. She wasn't aware of her first conscious thought upon waking, for a host of strange sensations vied for her attention: a wonderful feeling of weightlessness, of a warmth that surrounded every inch of her body, and the quite unwelcome feeling of a stuffy nose.
She decided to focus on the warmth. It felt so peaceful, just lying on her side, and she luxuriated in it, enjoying the perfect feeling. She opened her eyes finally, feeling somewhat groggy, as though she'd been asleep for a week. Fish swam lazily in front of her, doing that interminable back and forth that fish do in an aquarium. Pretty, she thought dazedly, lost in their relaxing beauty: there was an orange and white one, that she vaguely remembered was called a clownfish; a small, brightly colored orange and blue one she didn't know the name of, its lower fins tinted a soft green; there was a foot-long blue and black one with a yellow tail, that darted about constantly; a breathtakingly beautiful reddish-orange one with vertical black stripes; and of course the regulation starfish, clinging to the glass wall of its aquatic home, its back a radiant reddish-gold.
What a lovely aquarium, Marina thought dreamily. Laying there, watching them swim about, she could appreciate why people kept them. There was something relaxing about the way they moved, something soothing. Maybe one day I'll get an aquarium of my own. But as she continued taking in the aquatic scene, another feeling tugged at her attention, and it was then that she noticed there was something wrong with this picture. Well, that's strange, she thought, puzzled. I'm looking at that starfish's back. I should be seeing its underside, shouldn't I?
Realization flooded through her at that moment, and a muffled scream tore from her throat, the bubbles issuing from her mouth a terrible confirmation of the horror all about her – I'm not looking at an aquarium! I'm inside one!
Marina shot upright, or tried to, only just discovering that her arms were bound behind her. Panic overtook her, and she began struggling against her unseen bonds, thrashing her legs where she lay, and found that they too were bound. Another scream stole from her throat, but she quickly stopped short, the bubbles paradoxically helping to remind her of where she was.
I'm breathing! she thought, lying on her back, her eyes closed tightly, hoping that this was all part of some waking dream, but knowing deep down that it wasn't. I'm breathing underwater! How... ? With an incredible force of will she forced herself to calm down, so that she could ponder the mystery of how she was able to breathe while on the bottom of this nightmare aquarium. My nose ... there's something in my nose. Fighting the urge to panic, she wrinkled her nose, and found that it was indeed plugged, and furthermore she could feel something pressing lightly against the lower part of her cheekbones, looping around to the back of her head. Oh my God, she thought, keeping her eyes resolutely shut, determinedly suppressing the hysteria that threatened to overwhelm her at any moment. How is this possible? Who would... ?
Keeping her lips pressed tightly together, in case hysteria should win out over reflex, Marina opened her eyes again, slowly. Her eyes had no more trouble focusing in the water than her lungs had of moving air; another mystery to ponder. She tried to ignore the gently swaying aquatic plants that loomed over her, their movement likely due to her earlier frenzied convulsions, which probably also accounted for the present absence of fish in the general area. She focused her eyes directly above her, and yes, she could see it now, but only very faintly: a single clear tube, about the size of her little finger, running from behind her head and upward, presumably to the top of this tank; an umbilical feeding her air, keeping her alive.
But why would somebody do this to me? Have I been kidnapped? As there was no one to ask, there was no one to answer, but it appeared, for the moment at least, that she was in no immediate danger. She felt rocks beneath her, pressing into her bound arms, which she could now tell were lashed together, forearms touching, her palms cupping her elbows. She tried to bend upwards so that she could sit up, but the constriction of her bindings and the weight of the water pressing down upon her made that all but impossible. With one last valiant effort she wrenched her upper body upward and kicked her bound legs hard, and felt herself propelled forward.
Marina's eyes opened wide as she came to rest, still on her back, but now several feet from where she'd started. No, this can't be! It just can't be! Gritting her teeth, she kicked again, harder this time, and felt her body actually leave the aquarium floor, heading upwards until she was nearly vertical. Oh my fucking God! she screamed inside her head, her eyes downward, locked on the insane vision of her iridescent green tail.
Marina sat upon a largish rock, one that appeared to have been formed of molten lava, but was in reality as soft as a foam mattress, distractedly considering the bright flashing tail that made up her lower body. I'm a mermaid, she thought, her mind focused solely upon that one concept. I'm a mermaid. I'm a mermaidamermaidmermaidmer...
She had been thinking the single thought for the last five minutes, unable to wrest her eyes from the vision of her tail. She hadn't moved it once since she'd come to rest on the rock, fearing to do so, because if it was a real tail, then she was truly fucked, and if it wasn't real, then she was just as truly fucked. Finally she could stand it no longer. Ever so slightly she raised it upward, about six inches, and noted with neither triumph nor despair that she couldn't feel the flow of water over it. Well, she thought, her lips pressed tightly together, that's settled that. A real mermaid would feel that, wouldn't she? She tried shifting her hips, to see what exactly she could feel down there, and was rewarded with the sensation of movement of her calves, though very slight, which meant that her magnificent green tail was just an appliance.
But as appliances went, it was really rather beautiful. The scales were fine and clear and evenly spaced, and would sparkle when they caught the light just right. It looked as real as anything in nature, with yellow-gold highlights that set off the green perfectly, a green which also happened to match her own emerald-green eyes.
But who would do this? she whined inwardly, wanting to cry, wondering if she could do so underwater. What is happening? The answers, she knew, lay above her, but she found that she was afraid to go up and have a look, perhaps fearing that what she would find would solidify things all the more, confirm that which was already apparent. She looked about her, her long red hair floating about her shoulders as she did so. The fish were now back to swimming about, seemingly mindless of her presence, accepting that she belonged there, that she too was a denizen of the deep. She was a little surprised that she wasn't more scared than she was, that she seemed to be accepting things so well, which she put down to low-grade shock. If her mind ever truly came to grips with this underwater reality, she knew she would go completely insane.
But this reality, she noted, was incredibly detailed. Everything that one would normally find in an aquarium was here: rock formations, a set of stone ruins arranged in a circle, plants and aquatic grasses, even a large, open treasure chest with bubbles floating out of it. The lighting was soft and beautiful, with pinks and purples reflecting off the rocks here and there, as well as the soft white light from above.
Someone is fucking with me, she thought, her fear and shock subsiding somewhat, anger seeping in to fill the void, but who, and why? It was time to find out. She tried getting up from her rock but discovered it wasn't as easy as all that. The construction of her tail was such that her feet were extended fully downward within the rig, as though she were standing en pointe. With her arms bound behind her and her legs immobilized within her tail, normal movement was completely impossible, which was obviously what her captor wanted – if she wanted to move about she was going to have to swim. Throwing caution to the wind, or to the waves at least, Marina leaned back slightly and kicked her tail. She was instantly lifted from the rock and propelled backward. She quickly twisted her upper body and came about, darting right, then left, almost as quickly as the blue and yellow fish she had first seen.
She stopped kicking, and began to sink slowly downward toward the blue rocks that made up the aquarium floor. She flexed her bound ankles once, lightly, and was propelled slowly upward again. At least I'm getting the hang of it, she thought. Well, when in Rome... Hesitantly she began making her way about the aquarium, preferring the evil she knew down here to the evil she didn't know up above. She swam around the tall plants, absently wishing that her arms weren't bound, especially as it caused her to bounce her breasts about as she kicked her tail, their buoyancy causing them to feel larger than they were, though practically weightless in this watery prison. She wove about the periphery of the aquarium, her ability to gauge her distance from the glass aided by the abrupt termination of the blue rock floor, as well as the vertical steel struts into which the glass panels that made up her undersea home had been fitted.
.... There is more of this story ...