200 CCs - March 2016

ironsoap

Volume 1, Issue #3

Regrets

by Alison McBain

I saw her hair first, the same color as the wind-blown clouds. She was

wearing only a thin shift, and her skin glittered with a thousand liquid

stars, as if she had just bathed in the lake behind her.

She smiled over her shoulder at me, but before I could accept her

invitation, I noticed something that sent a sudden chill up my

back. Her fingers dipped below the surface of the water, but

they caused no ripples in the lake.

I’d never seen a kelpie before, but the villagers had piqued

my curiosity with a warning about unexplained drownings

—I’d not believed them until now.

Glancing one last time at the most beautiful woman I

had ever seen, I forced myself to turn away, my heart

singing in agony. Her banshee shriek followed me all

the way home and echoed through the many seasons

that followed.

Decades later, I still dream of her at night, even

though I have never returned to the lake. I dream of

her with regret, although it is not my only one.

Twice, she broke my heart.

I was born knowing the ways of the world, with a heart that

could resist her malicious magic—an old man’s heart.

I had a son, once. But… his heart was young.

Alison McBain lives in Connecticut with her husband and three daughters. She has over thirty

publications, including stories and poems in Flash Fiction Online, Abyss & Apex, and the

anthology Frozen Fairy Tales. You can read her blog at alisonmcbain.com or chat with her on

Twitter @AlisonMcBain.

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