Day 53 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: Write a story with a mermaid.
Shannon: “I don’t feel right about this,” I spoke out loud as I stared at the tank.
“We’re not hurting her,” Mark argued. “We’re just studying her like you would any other abnormal human or animal, or in this case both.”
“But it’s against her will, and she’s not sick.”
“How do you know that? We could be saving her life, and it’s going to make us rich in the process. We’ve been given a permit. She’s lucky she ended up in the hand of scientists. Imagine what other people could have done with her,” he tried to downplay his role in the situation. “Why do you want to ruin this? Do you want her to go to another team, and let them get all the glory?”
“I don’t know. She just looks so unhappy,” I watched her lying motionless at the bottom of the small tank, with her face buried beneath her arms. It was a position we’d come to expect from her when we weren’t picking at her for some other reason.
“She’s sleeping,” he slapped the tank and she didn’t move. “See.”
I shook my head, frustrated. “So that’s the problem, she’s just always sleeping?”
“When you’re closing up tonight just remember we have cameras. Don’t let her go. It’s coming out of you’re pocket if you do, and I know you don’t have that kind of money. You’ll paying for it for the rest of you’re life, and I won’t be able to save you,” he put his hand on my shoulder.
I breathed out. Why’d he have to remind me? “Don’t worry I won’t let her go. Have a good night,” I assured him and soon after he left the building.
After I was sure I was alone I grabbed the sack of seashells I’d collect by the ocean for her, my best attempt at peace offering. I when up to the top of the tank and tried to get her attention, but she wouldn’t look up. I didn’t blame her. Instead I started dropping them all in the water, hoping to gain her interest. There was movement, and then she swam up to me, and let her head float above the water. “What are you doing,” she questioned.
I never heard her speak before, so I was a bit in shock. “I’m sorry,” I held out the huge conch shell I didn’t want to drop on her. She took it from my hand immediately and the rough scales on her skin brushed my fingers.
“Why did you get me this?” She took it over to the edge to examine it.
“Tell me the truth and I’ll forgive you for what you’ve done,” she looked back at me with her piercing blue eyes.
“My grandma used to tell me you could hear the ocean if you held it up to your ear. I know it’s not true, but I didn’t know how to bring the ocean to you, and I can’t bring you to the ocean,” I explained, defeated.
“Hmm,” she furrowed her brow, and glided back against the glass. She then held the shell like a telephone. She listened silently.
“Do you hear it,” I questioned.
She stuck her hand up and pushed it to the side to silence me, and I listened. “Mom,” she smiled with genuine relief. “No, no everything is fine. My shell just broke, and I had a hard time finding a new one. I’ll call more often, I promise,” she flashed her eyes up to me with hope in her gaze. “Don’t worry I just need to stay up here a little longer. I’ll be back when I’m ready. Yes I’ve made some really great friends. Okay,” she listened for a while and pressed her lips together. “Yeah of course go. I love you too,” tears fell from her face. “Goodbye,” her voice cracked.
She nodded. “Yeah,” she dunked her head to clear her eyes and I heard a noise from the water. I think she might have been screaming. She resurfaced and swam to me. “Can you hide this? Can you bring it to me whenever you’re alone?”
I nodded, taking it from her. “Why did you tell her you were okay?”
She shrugged. “Because I will be. Why worry her over something she can’t fix?”
“Well I’ll bring her to you every night,” I held up the shell. “And I promise I’ll get you out of here. I just haven’t figured out how yet.”
Erin: “Wannera,” I said her name as I dangled my feet over the edge of the dock. I made sure to flash my rainbow toes toward the bottom of the water.
I felt a tickle on them and I knew my favorite company was just beneath me. “You’re here,” she squealed shooting her head and upper body out of the water.
“Nice to see you,” I bent down and she raised enough to embrace me.
“I’ve missed you,” her smile gave the summer days sun a run for its money.
“Me too,” I assured. “You’re not going to believe what happened at school.”
“I’m sure it was amazing. I’ve always wanted to go to school,” her tail flipped out of the water as she did a little twirl.
“Calm down Wan,” I splashed at her and that only caused more giggling. “School is not fun,” I tried to burst her bubble.
“Yes, it is,” somehow her smile grew.
“No, it is not,” I tried to be stern.
“You’re there right,” she asked.
“Yes,” I answered.
“Then school is the most wonderful place in the world,” her eyes turned to glitter.
“That’s a little dramatic,” I started giggling as well.
“No, it’s not,” she sighed. Then swam over so she could prop her elbows on the dock. “You are my favorite person. I wish I had someone who understood my insides as much as you do down here,” she plopped her hand into the water.
“Well I wish I had someone who gets me like you do up here,” I tried not to let my frown show.
“Our worlds are lonely, aren’t they,” she added as a tear dropped from her eye. I didn’t know mermaids could cry.
“I don’t know if I’m supposed to be with you or if you’re supposed to be with me. All I know is we were created to be in the same world,” I kicked the water some more.
How about we bring our stories down under, the water that is?