Examine: A Merpeople's Tale
They'd escaped, at
least for a while, away from their world to go explore another.
The atmosphere, the deep greenish-blue the sea tended to be, was
serene and silent. Like they preferred it.
held his hand as they swam to their Sanctuary. It wasn't because
she could get lost; naturally not, for she knew the way better
than him. But because she loved the way his hand felt in hers,
the way his fingers gently touched her own in a way like a
caress. Like a glove, his hand fit into hers perfectly, like
they'd be crafted from wood or stone for each other
arrived at their Sanctuary, and their hands fell apart to
explore. She, to the ocean floor, to search the sand for
treasures. Her pink scales shimmered beautifully in the soft
streak of moonlight that cut across the cove. He watched in
amused adoration as she found a small shell, luster strong from
the moonlight, and brought it up to him.
grin, he drifted to a deep crevice in the surrounding circular
wall of rock and placed the shell in a group of others that were
identical. She appeared at his side, and when he glanced at her,
he saw the glint of happiness in her eyes and felt happy
when she leaned in for a kiss, he felt his fins quiver and lift
above his head as he returned it shyly.
took her hand once more and pulled her up, so that they were
directly in the light of the moon. He did a back flip, hoping to
impress her, but when he looked, she was doing one as well with a
effort, he did two in a row. Striking a triumphant pose, he
looked to her, only to see her do three. When she ended with her
hands on her chin, blinking her eyelashes up at him
mischievously, he furrowed his brow and pretended to push up
imaginary sleeves (a thing they'd seen the Humans do
giggled, her yellow hair floating up like a fog around her face.
Then she crossed her arms across her chest and smirked at him,
almost as if saying, Let's see what you got.
With a puff of determination, he back flipped numerous times in a
row, the movements sending him up, up, up, towards the surface.
After doing ten without pausing, he was moving onto his eleventh
to bring it all home when something collided with his
stopped and blinked dizzily, rubbing his head. She had her hands
out-cupped, and something dropped softly into them. He swam down
to join her.
a strange thing. A gold, solid object, misshapen and on a chain.
They glanced at each other in wonder. She examined it and they
both started when the thing popped open.
The inside was even
stranger. On each side was a small picture, one of a boy, the
other of a girl. Both smiling. The boy wore strange glass . . .
things on his face, the middle hanging loosely off his
He looked at her in
astonishment, and she pointed up.
His blue eyes widened
in disbelief. He shook his head, making the tuff of curly dark
hair wriggle. But she was already on her way to the surface. He
followed quickly, frantically.
their eyes broke the water.
Sitting on the deck that connected their ocean to the Human World
was a little girl. Her eyes were filled with tears, leaking over
and streaking down her cheeks. Her hair was the color of
driftwood, and it was in two long braids down her back, the ends
tied in ribbons. She wore a plaid pink dress and stockings and
shiny brown shoes. She was sobbing into her hands. The girl
couldn't have been older than ten.
felt his heart soften for the girl, but what to do for her? Then,
in an instant, they looked to each other in an alien sort of
quietly as she could, she ducked under the water and got closer
to the dock, and he followed nervously. Contact with Humans was
certainly forbidden. But who was watching? And what could a
little girl do?
peeked out from the water and whistled to get the girl's
attention. The girl wiped her eyes and looked. Then she blinked
in confusion. "Who-who're you guys?"
smiled warmly and extended her hand, so that it was mere inches
from the girl's leg. She dropped the gold thing in front of the
locket!" squealed the girl in delight. She hugged the thing to
her chest. "Oh, thank you, thank you! I was so afraid I'd never
see it again! I dropped it while looking at the photos inside."
She grinned toothily (for she was missing both front teeth) and
opened the "locket" and pointed to the female. "This is my older
sister Annie. And this"-she pointed to the male-"is my older
brother Spencer. And I'm Ophelia May, but you can call me
blinked, silent, then she smiled and nodded. Nervously, he
"What're your guyses' names?" asked Ophi innocently with a sweet
smile. "I wish I had some coins to give you guys as a thank you.
Oh! I know what I can give you!" Ophi reached into her dress
pockets and frowned. "Huh. I thought I had . . ." She winced.
"Awww, man. I left the candies at home. Well, all I have left is
. . ." She dumped the deposits of her pockets before them. "A red
hair ribbon and a coat button. Sorry."
they were fascinated. She ran her finger along the fabric of the
ribbon, mesmerized. And he peeked through all four of the tiny
holes on the teal button and smiled.
. . like them?" Ophi cocked her head, but let out a laugh. "Well,
then that's great! You can have them, if you want."
nodded vigorously, and Ophi grinned, relieved. Then she glanced
at the faraway clock. "Oh no! I'm gonna be late!" She smiled
apologetically. "Sorry, I gotta go. Annie expects me home for
dinner. But thanks again for saving my locket!" She rose.
appeared bewildered by her, but didn't object to her having to
"Wait!" Ophi stopped them before they could sink below the
surface. "I never got your names."
response, he smiled good-naturedly and allowed the end of his
grassy green fin to come above the water. She did the same.
mouth fell open in shock, her hands going slack and her eyes
bulging. "Wha-wait-y-you guys-are-merm-?!"
didn't hear her entire question. They'd already disappeared,
eager to try out their new treasures.