May 29, 2015

Mermaid 40

Dylan turned back. “Don’t cry. It’s just the way it is.” He trailed off as he swam right up to Cordelia, their noses almost touching. “You are salty.”
She nodded covering her face to hide her tears. “I’m never going to find her.”
Dylan blew bubbles at her again, but he was so close that they tickled her fingers, cheeks and nose. “Who is your mother?” he asked, sounding tired or annoyed.
Dylan shrugged. “Nope, don’t know her, but we keep to ourselves, meeting only once in a while.”
Cordelia nodded in understanding. “You stay in your own lake.”
“Exactly.” He wrinkled his nose, blowing bubbles again. Cordelia wanted to tell him it was rude, but it felt so nice and friendly that she couldn’t. “I’ll help you as far as the next lake. Maybe Chara will help you from there.”
“You’ll help me?”
“Only through the rapids, then you’re on your own.”
Cordelia smiled and nodded, brushing her tail along his. “Thank you.”
“You are weird, Cordelia, not like anyone I’ve met.”
Cordelia stretched out on the lake bottom to sleep. “You are like my brother, Dallas. You want to get rid of me.”
“Yep,” he said. “We go in the morning.”

May 26, 2015

Mermaid 39

“You are lying,” Dylan accused. “There are salty lakes and they do kill.”
Cordelia looked at her tail. “Yes, I suppose it would, just as mountain water is difficult for my folk to breathe.”
“Then how can you be here?”
“My mother,” she said. “My mother lives in a lake and my father lives in the ocean.”
“How did that happen?”
“I only know what my father told me about meeting my mother at the mouth of the river where the waters mix. I was born in her lake, but I didn’t grow in the mountain water.”
Dylan flicked his tail to swim away. “I don’t believe you.”
Cordelia didn’t expect his words to hurt the way they did. She should be angry, like she was when Dylan ignored her or teased her. That wasn’t it. She was lonely and her fear rose with a wave of despair. She was never going to find her mother.

May 22, 2015

Mermaid 38

Mountain water sounded so strange in his way of speaking. So much that she thought he might never have used it. That wouldn’t surprise Cordelia. Most of the merfolk she knew didn’t pay the mountain water any mind. There were even a few misguided folk that thought there was nothing but the ocean. They had never seen the shore.
“Mountain water,” he said again.
“Yes. I came from the ocean, saltwater.”
Dylan’s blue eyes widened and his tail twitched. “Saltwater? I thought that was just a story. My mother told me that if I let the stream claim me, I would die in the saltwater.”
Cordelia chuckled. “We have stories about mountain water too. Not that it will kill us, but that there was mountain water long ago, before the creator salted it all.”
“You are lying,” Dylan accused. “There are salty lakes and they do kill.”

May 19, 2015

Mermaid 37

“Please, let me rest? I don’t know where I’ll be able to stop next.” May he was protective of the plants. “I won’t eat anything.”
Dylan huffed and a stream of bubbles came from his mouth. “You can eat, but you can’t stay.”
“Not even a little while?”
He blew another stream of bubbles at her. “Yes, a little while. In the morning, you go.”
“Thank you,” she said, relief relaxing her and sending her to the lake bottom.
Dylan sank beside her. “Who are you?”
“Oh, I’m Cordelia,” she said, touching her tail to his in friendship. As she did, she saw that hers was both greener and lighter than his. “You’re the first mountain water merman I have met.”
“Which lake is-“ he started to say over her but stopped. “Mountain water? Where are you from?”

May 15, 2015

Mermaid 36

“Who are you?”
Cordelia flipped in the water to face the merman. He couldn’t be much older than she was. He also had a blue tail and dark grey-brown hair that would blend into the lake bottom.
“This is my lake,” he told her. His voice was strange and he used words without clicks.
“I’m looking for someone.” Her words were conducted through the denser water, bouncing and rebounding off fish, the shore, the bottom, even particles in the water. Cordelia covered her ears.
The merman cringed but didn’t life his hands to his head. “There is only enough room for one in a lake. You must go.”
Cordelia chose her words carefully and spoke them softly. “My mother-“
“Isn’t here,” he interrupted. He circled her so he flick his tail and push her back toward the river. “Now go.”

May 12, 2015

Mermaid 35

Cordelia had seen that bright flash many times. The unintelligent fish darted toward it thinking it was the sun on the scales of a friend. It wasn’t; it was metal. It would shine until the water turned it brown or green.
She should ignore it, swim away, but she was so angry that was impossible. She swam under the cylinder and flicked her tail up, out of the water.
From just below the surface, she could see it fly through the air toward the boat. Cordelia had heard humans speak before. They communicated the same way merfolk did, but it sounded strange, nothing like the merfolk language. She couldn’t hear their words clearly under the water, but she did know it was louder and sharper than before. She laughed at how she had scared them and swam away.
Where was the other end of this break? The farther she went, the more certain she became that this was a lake. A lake like the one her mother lived in.

May 8, 2015

Mermaid 34

She was so fascinated that she almost missed the humans approaching. They were quiet, their vessel lacking a noisy engine. However, it also lacked the height she was used to seeing. Nothing towered over the mens’ head and they didn’t have rope in their hands but large branches from a tree that they swept through the water, not so different from the hairy black one.
There was one thing familiar about the humans. When they put the wood down inside the boat, they dropped lines into the water.
Cordelia watched the fish swim toward the bright objects dancing in the water like small fish.
“Silly fish. They will catch you and eat you.”
As with the black hairy one, eating fish was not the reason she hated men. She started to swim away after their first catch. Something splashed in the water, making her turn back.

May 5, 2015

Mermaid 33

Cordelia popped through the surface, curious. She spun to make sure no humans were on the water. Once it was safe, she stared at the black creature walking on all four limbs. A fish hung from its mouth, tail still flapping. The killing didn’t bother the mermaid. In the water, everything was eaten by something else. NO, she had seen sea lions and walrus that were shaped like this creature, but nothing quite like it.
The black animal shook itself, water spraying in all directions.
Cordelia’s mouth dropped open. It had hair, like she did. No, this was different, shorter and covering limbs, face and tail, not just the head.
The longer she watched, the more furred creatures she saw. Some, with long front teeth, swam through the water as she did, but the surfaced more often than the sea creatures she was familiar with.
There were also ones with long, graceful limbs that waded in the shallow water. They nibbled and tore at the plants growing around the edge like she did.

May 1, 2015

Mermaid 32

She was relieved to find a new break. It was different from the others, though. The nearness of the shores had frightened her, pressed on her, when she started up the river, but they had been so consistent that not being able to see the other side of the break was strange. This place was also deeper from the other breaks. A current ran through it, but a soft one, like the neap tide.
The strange fish abounded here, and these didn’t speak. They swam lazily in circles and Cordelia joined them, eager for a rest.
She screamed when a black creature reached into the water, swiping through the water like the dolphins swept through air. It was there long enough to be seen and was gone again.
Cordelia swam away from the shore with the fist, scattering. When they actually gathered again, she found the group was smaller.