Deep within her caverns the great mer-woman longed for death to end her loneliness. But then came a voyager from space—a man—also lonely....
had ever listened to. As she moved closer to him, her weirdly lovely voice whispered, "So my arms are hard as steel, man from space?" and put her arms around him, and they were soft and firm and fine arms to feel indeed.
Peter McCarthy, in sudden wonder, kissed the glowing weird lips of the lovely thing, and the taste was different but far more lovely than any woman's lips had ever been before.
"Now may God strike me, but I must be losing my wits," swore McCarthy, "but I had thought you were made of steel for sure!"
Somewhere afar there came a music of laughter; he could not exactly hear it but he felt it, as if the very walls were amused with him. It was a powerful laugh, with an undertinkling to it, like a distant bell beneath water, struck by a little stone so that it gave out both strong sounds and little sounds.... A very beautiful laugh but very strange to hear.
With the sound of that laughter an awe came to McCarthy; he felt the touch of some terrific magic, and he gave up