Mother was screaming. Jax didn’t know why, this type of thing just happened every once in a while. Through his tear-smeared vision, he watched her point at the old claw-foot tub. As if from a great distance he heard her shouting, “Get in the tub you filthy rat! Dirty boys need to get clean!”
Faster than Jax could comprehend, her fingers were in his hair and her strength was pulling him towards the tub. Then, despite his protests, he was falling over the side and she was pushing him under. He thrashed and fought with all his might, popping above the water’s surface just long enough to cry out, “No!” and gargle, “They’ll get me!”
But mother didn’t listen, she simply pushed him back under, because mother didn’t believe in the things that lived in the tub. No matter how much he tried to make her believe, to help her understand, she never did. She always sneered and said, “There’s no creatures in the tub! The only monster here is me.”
Jax took a deep breath just seconds before his mother slammed his head back under the water. And that’s when it happened, just like it had happened every time before.
The bottom of the tub disappeared, and Jax found himself descending into the depths, into dark, endless blue. His eyes darted side to side. The tub walls were gone and an endless sea stretched out on all sides. And far below him, Jax heard the sea creatures cry out.
The bathroom light shimmered across the surface above. For a brief moment, Jax contemplated swimming toward the dim glow. Still, he knew mother would be there, waiting to struggle with him like so many times before, so instead, he turned and swam into the darkness, feeling that the monsters below certainly couldn’t be as bad as the one above. He suddenly realized that he had been mistaken to fear the creatures of the deep. It was true; mother was right: she was the monster.
Deeper and further down Jax swam. His eyes adjusted to the murky depths and he saw wondrous beings that his mind knew no names for, life forms birthed from the water’s imagination.
The secret world of the tub whispered their magic to Jax. The creatures surrounded him and sang their power into his being. And while he marveled at the wonder around him, Jax’s body transformed.
Fins sprouted from his forearms. His skin became rough and scaly. He breathed in deep, drawing in water and not choking or suffocating but instead becoming invigorated. The mystical song of the sea rang in his ears, and long, sharp claws appeared on his fingertips while webbing grew between his fingers and toes. Along with the changes his body was making, all the fear that he’d held inside was vanquished, and, in its place grew a burning rage.
Mother was leaning over the tub, staring into the water, not comprehending where her son had gone, when Jax broke through the surface and attacked her. She was screaming before she knew it, shrieking at Jax, but this time now instead of crying out with rage at her son and life and the world, she wailed in agony and terror as Jax sank his new claws into mother’s tender flesh. He clamped his wonderfully hideous new teeth around her neck and jerked her into the tub, smashing her head against the wall as he pulled her down.
Blood filled the tub and Jax dragged mother down, down into the depths of his new, secret ocean home where the creatures of the deep would tear her apart.