Qualupalik and the Father

In a remote village, some workers are building a bridge, but are scared away by vampire mermaids. Some are pale with long dark hair and glowing red eyes and their tails resemble snake tails. Others have green skin, and long fingernails, such as Qualupalik. Read this creepy story about a Vampire Mermaid written by Scott L Vannatter.

Stutleyon, like many small European towns, carried on its life independent of the rest of the world. It was a mile or so inland, nestled in a wood near some mountains. This allowed both fishing and mining to work together to feed the few hundred people who called it their home. The lifestyle of the folk there was simple, a day-to-day life in which the years passed like butter on a warm plate. The woods were quiet, except for the noises made by the miners.

The road to the mine was a rough one and the bridge was old, fallen almost to disrepair. Relying on themselves to make things right, a dozen or so miners and a few fishermen had taken on the task of fixing the bridge. It was not a small undertaking and required many months of hard work. Most of the miners set up camp so that they could work long hours and not have to travel back and forth at night all the time.

Draylon was the head of the camp, 2nd in command of the mine, and a wonderful husband and father. His wife, Murie, kept a small, but beautiful cottage at the outskirts of the town. She and her husband had but one love that rivaled their own; it was the love for their daughter, Angutii. Eight years old and a thin, long-haired ginger, she played and laughed with others, taking her duties seriously and loving both her mother and father in equal measure. Everyone else called her Augi, but her parents had called her Willy ever since her pet dog Willy had died. She had loved that name, so they passed it on to her.

Each day, Angutii (Willy) would take basket of breads, fruit, and cooked meats to her father. The trip was not a particulaly long one. She would leave about an hour before lunch, eat with her father, and be home by around 3pm. She enjoyed the trips through the long grasses and amid the towering trunks, leaving making the soft shushing sound in the light breeze. Often she saw small animals who scurried away as she approached.

One morning, it was apparent that a storm would gather over the town, causing rain, lightning, and darkness. Willy’s mother looked at her daughter sternly. “Willy, the storm is coming. You get the food to your father earlier today and, if there isn’t time to return today, you let me know that you are safe and staying.” “Yes, Mama,” Willy nodded vigorously as she went to the counter to get the spare phone.

Stutleyon was small and not so much a part of the rest of Europe, but it did have cell phones. There was a tower nearby, mainly just for passing the signal farther down the coast, but it also gave the villagers a fairly strong signal , at least, between the town and the mine. Computers were scarce, not really needed for the town’s businesses, and the townspeople did not really care for what went on in the rest of the world. The big city’s paper was sent twice a month and kept at the market for all to stop by and browse.

After getting the phone and food, Willy put on her jacket and scarf, stuffing her knitted hat into her pocket with her glove. She kissed her mother and started off to see her father. Draylon was becoming tired as the months drew on. He didn’t mind the work itself; the men were dedicated and put forth 110% each day. No, it was the work of the vile mermayde, the supposed “maidens of the sea.”

Their folklore spoke of these vixens who tempted men to go into the sea, then drown and consume them. In this instance, there were too many times when a structure-bearing pole would sink, tearing or breaking the boards above them. The oft-occuring tasks were adding weeks their already long repair schedule and the men were complaining.

Willy’s laughter lit up the camp. When she arrived the men pointed her to her father’s tent and she went inside. Draylon caughter her, hefting her small form easily into the air, following it with a kiss on the cheek and a bearhug.

“Mama said I should come early before the storm comes,” she said, trying to be as serious as possible while laughing with her father.
“She was right,” he answerered. “And you will need to call her and let her know you are staying the night.” He said this as they heard the first rumble of faraway thunder.

Willy pushed in the buttons for “Home” and waited for her mother to answer. When she did, Willy told her she would be staying with her father for the rest of the day and night. Her mother told her she would miss her little “flower,” but would be glad to know she was safe.

Dinner was held in each tent as the rain began shortly thereafter. It was going to be what her father called a “worm-drowner”. They ate and talked avidly, her father wanting to hear everything she had done since the last time they were able to talk for such a long time. Willy would share a story and insist her father do the same. They had so much fun. She loved being with her father and he love her and not having to work for a few hours.

The storm lasted the rest of the day and into the early evening. When it ceased the forest life came back a bit slowly and the water noises continued with the dripping from the leaves and the roar of the small river now swollen to near raging.

After much talking, sharing, and spending an evening with the entire camp around a large fire, Willy began to get tired. Her father carried her into his tent and put her on his heavy bedroll. He would take the spare tonight and allow her some good rest. She never roused once her head hit the pillow. He sat on a rough chair by the fire thinking about how far behind schedule this storm would make them.

Several times he heard noises, some were common sounds of deer, squirrel, and even trees swaying in the wind. However, some were strange noises that did not seem to belong in the forest. A few high, piercing screeches, like nothing he had ever heard before floated up from the river and he wondered what mischief and damage might be happening at this moment. As he thought, he grew drowsy, falling asleep in the chair, the fire adding warmth to his dreams.

He awakened and looked up. It was near dawn. The day was beginning again and he, stiff from being in the chair all night, tried standing, his bones creaking and complaining. Each step grew easier, but the short trip to the tent drained him of his early energies.

Upon entering the tent, Draylon looked at his beautiful daughter. She was completely covered under the huge blanket. He went to fluff it and arrange it better around her. When he lifted the blanket, there was nothing under them except the spare pillows from his own bed! He immediately panicked, yelling for her and running around the camp. Most of the men woke from the noise, complaining, then just as worried when Draylon told them what he had found.

Moraknar, a seasoned miner and not one prone to panic, suggested they all search but did tell Draylon it looked bad that she took the time to fix the bed so it looked as if she was in it.

“Perhaps, she wanted to wander just a little and not have you worry?” the older man stated. “She failed,” replied Draylon. It was at that moment Draylon’s phone idicated a text received. He leaped upon the device, checking the text. It was from Willy.

Willy: Papa, I am lost.
Draylon: Don’t worry. We will find you.
Willy: I wanted to pick some wildflowers for mother and went too far away.
Draylon: Scream my darling! Scream so we may hear you!
Willy: Father, I fell and hurt my neck. I can’t scream loud enough for anyone to hear me.
Draylon: We will find you, Dear. Don’t worry. Any help as to where you could be?
Willy: I hear water, Father.
Draylon: You must be near the river. Stay where you are.

With the new information, the group split up by the river, one-half heading upstream, spread out into the woods, and the other half did the same downstream.

After about 2 hours, the group met back at camp; Willy had not been found. “We lost 2 men. They both fell into the river and were never seen again.” “The same with us,” stated Draylon. “But Gregoni says he saw a mermayde in the river. He says she pulled one of the men underwater to drown.” “Aye,” agreed Gregoni, young, but observant. “She was something to look at, pale, long-haired, and eyes the glowed like small lanterns. I even saw her tail as she swam away. Draylon looked at his men. “Go home, my good friends. Go home. If this is the work of those water demons, then it is only I who should pay. No more of you are to be lost today. Go home.”

They argued with him, but saw he was not going to be swayed. He hugged Moraknar, stood with his hand on his shoulder. “Old friend, you take over the repair of the bridge tomorrow. But arm the men. These things, if that be the case, are demonlike but they will fall to the arrows and clubs. It is times like these that I wish we were just a bit more modern and had firearms in town.” “I will do as you ask, but not willingly. Why would they take her?” “You know the folk tales as well as I. They will eat the ment; but Qualupalik, daughter of Sedna, givers her mother a special sacrifice every 30 years. I think we may have found out the fate of Raylini, who disappeared when we were much younger. Tell my wife, not to come for me and that I love her.”

The two parted and the group headed home while Draylon gathered what he had. He took a jacket, gloves, and his father’s hatchet, as much for luck as for defence. The hatchet had killed a black bear, or so he had been told. It even had a name: Medusa, for it was a terror to behold. He left and headed back down to the river, following it toward the sea. He made a promise to himself and his God that he would not return without Willy or her body, and the mermaydes would pay dearly if they had harmed her.

*****

Willy had never been so scared in her life. The evil thing that had taken her while she slept was so vile and ugly. She had heard one of the others call her Qualupalik, and leader. She was pimple-faced like her older friend Sagoriti, though ugly, had long fingernails, and a tail. Her skin was green and reminded her of the storied her mother had told her of witches. She smelled of old, dead fish and had fangs that looked as if they could easily tear flesh from bone. Willy remained absolutely quiet, hoping they were forget about her. She had not been tied, yet. They were in the water up to her waist when sitting. She was wet, tired, and scared and truly wanted her father now. As for Qualupalik, she hissed out orders and smiled grotesquely whenever she looked at Willy. The young girl did not know what was in store for here, but knew, instinctively, she might not see another sunrise.

She heard a small soft sound and could not place it. The others did not notice it. Then she heard the sound again, but a bit closer. She thought it sounded like the times she had watched Fredero use his heavy blade to cut the heads off the fish at the market in town. She heard the sound once more, very close, and Qualupalik turned her head in her direction. Willy imitated the sound the best she could, not wanting Qualupalik to think what Willy was dearly hoping for: rescue.

Twice more, close together, she heard the squishy sounds and out of the dense fog that had settled in the area, stepped her father, bleeding and so very tired looking. She thought he looked more handsome than she had ever seen him.

Qualupalik moved much quicker than Willy would have thought possible. The creature had Willy held tightly, its long nails held at her neck, the fangs looking to bite. Her father spoke first.
“It was you doing the texting, wasn’t it?” his eyes nearly gleamed in hate.

The daughter of the mermayde Queen snarled, but nodded. “The device was hard to work; your fingers are all so small. But work it I did and to good effect.” The voice sounded like a drowning animal, water noises mixed in with the rough and heavy words.

“You are by yourself, hag! Give me my daughter and I will let you swim away.”
“You, weakling. You should not give me orders. I will slit her thoat.”
“Why? You can find another. Give me her and go in peace.”
The mermayde paused, knowing this “weakling” had just killed her five guards. He was not to be underestimated. She also knew she could drag this child back to her lair, but not without a good chance of being mortally wounded by the father.

As for Willy, she took well after her father and had concealed a sharp stone in her tiny hand. Gripping it tightly, she brought her hand up and downward with all the might she had in her. The stone cut into her palms, but she buried the top half of the pointed rock into Qualupalik’s leg. The grip on her throat loosened for a moment and the girl slipped downward out of the creature’s grasp. Draylon had been ready for nearly anything, and the second he saw his daughter drop to the ground, He hurled the hatchet, as he had done for many years, with all the force he could muster. The head of the blade struck the mermayde in the center of her forehead, all but burying itself into her skull. The foul beast dropped to the side, hitting the floor dead.

Draylon took no chances. He pulled the hatchet from the skull and cut off Qualupalik’s head. Then, after a long hug with his daughter, his brave daughter, he went to the other four mermaydes and performed the same ritual, severing all heads.

The walk home was a long and slow one. The pair took their time, knowing each had pains and bruises to nurse, so hurrying was out of the question. Willy never took her eyes off the skies and forest, as well as never letting go of her father’s hand. No words were spoken, but smiles said it all.


Illustration by Joy Ang


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