Sirena

This prompt (in brackets) is taken from Complete the Story by Piccadilly Inc., which I got from the Scribbler box.

[Reporters are trained to develop a sixth sense, a nose for when a story smells fishy. And something about this one wasn’t right. First of all,] there was, well, the fish. It was exquisite, buttery, delicate, delicious. It was the hottest new sushi dish, but no sushi chef would comment on where it came from. The ones who would say anything at all only said the siren was a new breed of tuna, or a new cut of snapper, or a variety of salmon. The inconsistency of the answers made it clear: the chefs were hiding something. And that meant a hell of a story.

I scoped out the alleyways of the restaurants, and I tailed the delivery trucks. Finally I found where the cuts of siren were being delivered from. I snuck into the unassuming dockside building through a side door, and there seemed nothing amiss inside. It was clean, practically sterile, the workers precisely chopping up cuts of fish on the chopping room counters. But I made my way further inside, avoiding the workers stalking the hallways. I just knew there was more to this story than just a new cut of fish.

I found my answers in a cordoned off section where the meat was being wheeled from, already cut into slabs. Slabs that were too large. I opened the metal door and entered a room that smelled partly of fish, and partly of blood.

The floor held a pool of that blood, fresh and red, dripping down and away through the grates embedded among the tiles. And on countertops lay the source of the blood and the smell.

I saw the arms first, pale and limp, the fingers dangling off the edges of the tables. The hair tangled, the lips parted, the eyes wide and unseeing. But then I saw the rest, below a thin white waist. Scales, blue and yellow and shimmering, leading down to a delicate tail. Here was the source of the favorite menu item, laid out for cutting and packaging and consumption, skin and scales and buttery delicate flesh. And the thought that came to my mind was clear:

Will anyone mind that their meal came from a mermaid?

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