The sirens of the two SecBots wail as they close in like hungry wolves, herding me toward the cliff edge.
I pump my slender arms as hard as I can, bare feet pounding stiff grass, lungs burning, the cool ocean so far, the blaring bots so close.
I swallowed the microchip I filched, so they won’t stop until they rip me apart.
At the cliff, I stumble, and pray I haven’t miscalculated. My mother died here attempting a similar feat.
Bare toes curled over the edge, I glance behind. I’m transfixed by my twin reflections in the faceplates of the advancing bots: an olive skinned woman with blue-black hair, naked except for a shift of woven kelp.
As I dive for the hungry waves below, the bots activate their capture nets, ensnaring me. I panic for a moment, bucking and kicking, then twist midair and plant my feet against the cliff’s stone face. I yank the two bots after me.
We smash into the dark foaming water. My kelp shift melts away and my legs fuse into a single finned tail. With a flick of silver, I’m free of the horrid nets.
The SecBots sputter silent and sink through the murky green onto a heap of mangled metal and rotten wood--remains of those my mother lured into the sea.
My sister kin swim close, admiring my catch--then dip their fins, acknowledging me as their new siren queen.