Life On The Ocean Wave

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
Five friends go windsurfing with unusual consequences for one of them.

Submitted: December 18, 2011

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Submitted: December 18, 2011



I still find it hard to believe what happened on the 4th of November.  As I write this account it seems too incredible, impossible and far-fetched to be taken seriously even by me and I was there. However, it did happen and it leaves a terrible tragic mark on my conscience. Perhaps for those of us that were there we will carry the scar for the rest of our lives. We all tell our own accounts of what happened that day as truthfully as we can yet no-one believes us. When you hear my tale you will side with them too. Therefore in this account I shall stick only to the facts and events as I recall them with all the honesty I possess. Whether I submit this document for publication is not yet decided. One thing is certain though. Arran Hunt, Ewan Michelin and Ryan George must all agree with the content and sanction its submission. Unfortunately I cannot ask Ben Rivett because he is not available to comment.

It was Ben that had originally suggested the idea of a long weekend windsurfing on the South Coast as one last hurrah before the cold winter months curtailed our sailing opportunities. He even joked that in the unusually very warm weather we were enjoying for the time of year that we may be lucky and meet a few mermaids. We all knew his jocular comment hid a secret obsession. Recently he had become very interested in ancient maritime beliefs, customs, rituals and history. He was particularly interested in the mystery of the mermaid. He read everything he could about them from stories of the old seafarers to more scientific accounts about what sea creatures could possibly be mistaken as the elusive half human half fish creatures. His obsession, I sensed was leading him to desperation. The rest of us just teased him mercilessly. Thankfully he took it all in good grace.

Ewan Michelin was an exceptional artist in his spare time and since our little trip coincided with Ben’s birthday he had been working on an illustration for him as a gift. It was intended to be a light hearted wind up but also a genuine gift created with care and attention to detail. Ben had sold us the idea of spending the long weekend on the South Coast on the basis that since our club had not gone to Egypt this year on its annual windsurfing holiday we should at least have some sort of club getaway. We all guessed he was also planning to do a bit of mermaid hunting as well although he would never admit it. However his proposal was a sound one and we all jumped at the opportunity to spend a few days away with our mates windsurfing.

Ewan had been working on the painting ever since he had heard about Ben’s planned trip. Being an avid Facebook fan and practical joker he realised that the proposed trip date coincided with Ben’s birthday and in collaboration with the rest of us suggested he do a painting. Ewan has quite a dry, dark sense of humour and brilliant talent as an artist and cartoonist. We couldn’t wait to see the finished article.

I was eager to join the party because although I am a proficient windsurfer I am not very experienced at sailing on the sea. I was therefore very excited about going but also slightly nervous about how I would get on. I didn’t believe in mermaids or any other fictitious creatures, Gods, Goddess’s, myths or legends. I was more concerned about tidal currents and shore dump.

 We had all agreed to drive down to South Coast and meet at the Inn on the Beach on 3rd November. Ryan was the first to arrive as usual. He had driven down very early to maximise his time on the water. Ben, Ewan and I had rented a van between us and arrived just after lunch. We immediately spotted Ryan enjoying himself out in the surf. Arran had arrived just ahead of us and was leaning against his car watching the sailors. The weather conditions were not particularly appealing on that first day. It was heavily overcast, the wind was on shore creating ugly shore dump that mashed anyone that tried to get away from the beach. It was also just starting to get dark so we decided we would not sail today but get the most out of tomorrow. Instead we watched Ryan having the time of his life in the waves. Eventually he wore himself out, returned to the beach and joined the rest of us.

Once we had all checked into our hotel we agreed to meet in the bar in an hour. I noticed that Ewan lingered behind us in the lobby as we headed for our rooms. A few minutes after entering my room the phone rang. It was Ewan.

“Hi mate, I’m just letting everyone know I’ve got Ben’s painting, we should meet in 45 minutes so we can give it to him tonight before we go out.”

“OK, see you shortly.” I agreed.

At the proposed time Arran, Ewan, Ryan and I gathered in the bar. After buying drinks we sat at a low table and waited for Ben. Ewan had the painting with him wrapped in brown paper, after allowing us all a quick glance he slid it under the table out of site. 

“Am I late?” Ben asked seeing us all already drinking.

 “Not exactly,” Ewan said, “we arranged to meet early so we could buy you a drink to wish you happy birthday and to give you this.” He reached below the table, retrieved the painting and handed it to Ben. As he did we all raised our glasses and wished him happy birthday. For a brief second or two he looked taken aback and slightly suspicious. He put his drink down and unwrapped the painting. As the image became apparent he started to laugh.

“Thanks very much, this is much appreciated. I also take it you think I bang on about mermaids a bit too much.”

“Not half,” Ewan said also laughing. “We thought she could watch over you and guide you in your quest. I should also point out I think you are completely mad and wasting your time and you should get a life.”

Ben wasn’t listening he was too busy admiring his new painting depicting and old navy frigate battling to stay clear of some dangerous looking rocks while the crew stare over the deck rails at a group of sexy mermaids inviting them to their peril.  In the foreground sitting provocatively on a jagged rock was a particularly attractive siren. She has looking over her shoulder out of the picture at the observer. Ben went white as a sheet when she winked at him. This was unseen by the rest of us but I did notice the change in his demeanour.

“What’s wrong, you’ve gone white as a sheet? Don’t you like your gift?” I asked.

“Nothing I’m fine and the gift is intriguing.” Ben responded in a quiet subdued voice. “I’ll take it up to my room and then we can go to dinner.” He said.

The rest of us moved to the reception area to wait for him. When he returned we went to dinner. Throughout the evening Ben was very subdued and not like his normal self at all.

The next morning after a hearty English breakfast we re-convened in the car park to decide which beach we would visit. We settled on the main beach used by windsurfers. Over night the wind had strengthened and the prospects for a good day on the water were high. The only downside was that it was grey and misty day. We were not disappointed. The wind direction was generating nice, well formed waves that broke cleanly on the shore.

Ben was still very quiet. When we arrived at the beach and started to rig our sails he seemed reluctant and less enthusiastic than I expected. When the opportunity presented itself I asked him what was wrong.

“I can’t tell you. You’ll think I’m mad or cracking up.”

“You don’t know that for certain till you tell me.”  I replied and I was slightly concerned because he really wasn’t acting like his usual self.

“Well,” he muttered hesitantly and under his breath. “You know yesterday when you gave me the painting. I was very pleased with it, so, while you were laughing and joking amongst yourselves I had took a long hard look at it. What shocked me and quite frankly scared me senseless was the moment the mermaid in the foreground winked at me.”

For a brief second I thought he was spinning me a line, until I noticed the intense expression and the look of fear in his eye.

“Are you sure it wasn’t a trick of the light and Ewan’s skill as an artist.”

“Absolutely not, when I took the painting up to my room she did it again. Needless to say I left the painting face down all night so I couldn’t see her and still I hardly slept a wink. I fear something is going to happen on the water today, it may be positive it may be disastrous I have no idea which, I just have a terrible sense of foreboding.”

I wanted to laugh out loud but seeing how distressed Ben was I bit my lip and just tried to reassure him that there was probably a perfectly logical explanation for what he saw or think he saw.

“What’s holding you two up, come on let’s get going.” Arran said.

 “Ben was just telling me in graphic detail about how he’s feeling a bit delicate. Something he ate last night disagreed with him and he spent the night on the pan. Consequently he’s not his usual self and I think we should keep an eye on him just in case his strength goes while we’re on the water. ” I spoke loudly enough so everyone could hear. There were a few light hearted and well meaning comments about being a light weight and amateur but they all agreed to keep an eye on each other.

“Thanks.” Ben said as we carried our boards down the beach to the water’s edge.

“No problem, just don’t freak out on the water OK. You were just imagining whatever it was you think you saw. You owe me a beer.”

We both entered the water and mounted our boards. The wind direction was blowing on shore making it difficult for us to sail away from the breaking surf and into the large sets of waves we wished to enjoy. Arran, Ewan and Ryan were having similar difficulties but they were further out to sea than us and were almost free of the mushy boiling shallows that threatened to rip the fins clean out of our boards. As we progressed slowly into deeper water my confidence grew. I wouldn’t say I became totally at ease with my surroundings or that I could predict what the ocean would do next but I was beginning to relax and realised that I could cope with the conditions.

I followed the course being sailed by my friends. We were heading across the mouth of a bay and slightly up wind thus taking us out to sea. Our aim was to get behind the breaking rollers. Our journey would require several tacks and trips back and forth across the bay in order work our way upwind. The bay was bookended by large cliffs with ugly looking fields of giant rocks and rock pools at their base. I could see them in the distance gradually getting nearer as we sailed towards them. Their hard, razor sharp surfaces and irregular shape was causing the tide to explode into violent fountains of noise, spray and energy. Despite the constant shifting of the water under my feet I was convinced the immense power of the waves pounding against the rocks was causing shock waves to ripple across the bay and vibrate the board beneath me. I made a mental note not to get too close and to make sure I left my self plenty of room for my tacks and jibes. We sailed on in follow my leader formation without speaking. It was pointless to try we wouldn’t have been able to hear each other anyway.

Finally after 45 persistent minutes we reached the backside of the waves. Ryan was at the front of our little string of windsurfers.  He sailed to a point where previously we had been tacking to turn up wind, this time however he turned down wind pointing at the shore. He sheeted out to slow down and looking over his shoulder watching the ocean intently. Slowly the water below him gradually began to rise and swell into the embryonic form of a huge wave. Instinctively he started to accelerate, until he was travelling faster than the forward momentum of the wall of water. His board broke free from the tip of the wave and he dropped immediately from our view. Unconsciously I held my breath for what seemed like eternity. Then an involuntary cheer for a fleeting second drowned out the noise of nature as we all screamed and hollered in delight and encouragement as the underside of Ryan’s board seemingly speared vertically out of the depths 100 meters away from us. He spun the board through 180 degrees and disappeared from view once more ripping back down the face of the wave. We didn’t need any further encouragement and one by one we selected our own waves and followed him. Somehow, I found myself behind Ben on the same wave some distance behind him. This was good news for me. He is a better wave sailor then me and I was able to follow him copying each move he made and turning when he turned. We sailed like this in total synchronicity along the length of a perfectly formed wall of water to the far end of the bay. As we approached the point where the wave threatened to hurl us onto the rocks Ben sailed down the front of the wave, scribed a beautiful arc at the base, he then shot back up the face of the wave and exited over the crest. I followed in his wake, as I broke free of the lip of the wave I soared into the spray filled air a good ten feet clear of the water. Unfortunately my landing was not as elegant as I intended.

While airborne I was distracted by what Ben was doing. My fleeting loss of concentration was enough to result in a massive wipe out when my board crashed back into the sea. My speed, momentum and abruptness with which my board stopped resulted in me being catapulted clear of my rig somersaulting in the air and landing on my back. The impact was violent enough to knock the wind out of my lungs. The salt water stung my eyes and burned my lungs as I inhaled mouthfuls of air and sea water in a frantic effort to get my breath back. A task not made any easier by the need to recover my board and sail for buoyancy and safety. Hauling my exhausted, battered body aboard, I gasped repeatedly as I slowly recovered. Blinking rapidly and wiping the seawater from my eyes I looked around to see where my friends were and to reassure myself that I was not imagining what I had just seen.  

Ryan, Arran and Ewan were bunched together circling like predators as they prepared to catch another wave. They were quite some distance away so I wasn’t sure whether they were looking in my direction or not. With trepidation I turned to look towards the rocks I had been hurtling towards at full speed moments before and that threatened to dash me into a million pieces. I was dreading receiving visual confirmation of what I thought I had seen while airborne above the crest of the now extinct wave. Unfortunately what I saw was Ben sailing straight for the rocks at maximum speed.

This would have been stupid enough as an act on its own but what really chilled me to the bone, caused me to gag with fear was the group of figures that were perched on the rocks and signalling for him to join them. Although I was floating about 200 metres from the rocks I could quite clearly see the long flowing hair and upper body curves of the finest female form. They were surprisingly large, in the way that a giant is large yet exquisitely beautiful and perfectly proportioned. Where there should have been a brace of shapely legs however, was the glistening, muscular shape of a fish’s tail glinting in the weak winter sun.

“Stop, come back.” I yelled painfully at Ben. My throat was soar from all the saltwater I had swallowed and the subsequent coughing. It was stupid to even think he could hear me above the noise of the wind and water. I knelt on my board and looked back to see where Arran, Ewan and Ryan had got to. Fortunately they were all heading towards me, spaced out on the same wave. I gestured to them vigorously by waving my arms back and forth above my head. Ryan was leading and gestured back that he had seen me. He changed course and started to sail directly towards me. I continued to gesture to the others. I think Ryan’s sudden change of direction drew their attention and they too quickly caught site of me and headed towards me.

“What’s up?” Ryan asked bringing his board to a halt alongside me.

“Look.” I pointed towards Ben.

“Bloody hell!” Was all Ryan could say.

Arran and Ewan arrived together and asked what was going on. I just pointed to the rocks. We watched on in silence, stunned and dumbfounded by what we were witnessing. As we looked on two of the mermaids slipped into the water and started to swim in circles around Ben. They began to sing to him as they teased and toyed with him. The remainder of the group on the rocks joined in.

“Ben, Ben, join us, come to us, and make love to us.” They sang. The sound they made was intoxicating, musical, enchanting and hypnotic.

“Join us; leave this earthly world for a life of immortality with us. We want you, we need you, we love you.” They chanted

“You are the chosen one, the one we have been waiting for, Ben. You know you want us. Come with us.”

“Someone tell me I’m not dreaming this.” Arran whispered.

“We’ve got to break his trance.” Ewan said, “Otherwise I fear something unthinkable is going to happen here.”

“Why what do you mean.” I asked “I’m still trying to come to terms with the fact that five fully grown adults believe they are in the presence of real live mermaids for Christ sake.”

“While I was researching images of mermaids for Ben’s picture I couldn’t help but read some of the mythology surrounding them. According to some accounts this is typical behaviour. The female mermaids use their beauty to lure susceptible humans under their spell and into their world. Usually as a slave since the female is the dominant sex.”

“We’d better be quick then.” Ryan interrupted, “Look.” While we had been discussing what to do to help Ben, the two mermaids in the water were gently guiding and shepherding Ben nearer to the rocks and the rest of the group.

“Come on then!” Arran yelled and started sailing towards Ben. Ryan, Ewan and I followed. We used every trick we could think off to gain that last little bit of speed. Ahead of us Ben was now very close to the rocks. I was astonished to notice that he was not being thrown about in the raging waters like a matchstick. My unconscious mind was telling me the mermaids had something to do with that but I didn’t want to really contemplate the implications. Ben on the other hand seemed to be unaware that anything unusual was going on engrossed in conversation as he was.

Despite our efforts the situation looking good. Ben had reached the rocks and dismounted from his board. He was climbing out of the water helped by the outstretched hands of two gorgeous mermaids.

We were finding it quite difficult to make headway towards him. The wind buffeted around the rocks and cliffs’ causing all sorts of eddy’s and gusts. This played havoc with our ability to sail in our intended direction. We had to tack back and forth making our progress frustratingly slow. As I watched Ben scramble clear of the water I also saw that the two maids that had been assisting him were now heading in our direction. The water was also becoming seemingly more violent too.

“Keep clear, he is our chosen one.” They commanded as they circled us menacingly.

We ignored them and pressed on clearly enraging them. They repeated their warning and began thrashing the water with their elegant tails. Diving briefly below the surface and then launching themselves clear scribing perfect arcs in the air they crashed back into the water. Like sharks they harried us deliberately nudging us and interrupting our progress.

“Bugger off!” I yelled, kicking out at the mermaid closest to me.

“He’s ours; he has been chosen to further our race. He believed in us and sought us out. He has been granted a great honour to become one of us and live amongst us. Open your eyes and see for yourselves. There is nothing you can do to stop it now.”  They laughed a beautiful sonorous laugh that chilled me to the bone and filled me with dread. With a final shriek of delight both mermaids dipped below the surface once more, seconds later Arran, Ewan, Ryan and I were dumped in the ocean. The two mermaids started heading back to the rocks still giggling.

“Holy shit, look! Ewan said as we clung to our boards. Over on the rocks Ben was now engaged in deep conversation with the largest most beautiful mermaid. He had his back to us but was quite clearly leaning towards her as she whispered something in his ear. Ben removed his wetsuit, not a pretty sight.  A few seconds later the mermaid wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him.  

What happened next is difficult to articulate. Before my very eyes and with Arran, Ewan and Ryan as my witnesses I swear Ben lost the use of his legs and crashed to the rocks. The scary thing though was how this happened. It is something I have never seen before and never hope to see again. Very slowly his legs began to fuse together. The skin of each leg gradually morphed with its counterpart until finally he became unbalanced. The horror didn’t stop there. His transformation continued along with ear splitting screams. His feet began to thin out and spread across the rocks as they also merged into one large translucent fin eventually causing the loss of balance. The rocks were so sharp and his impact being totally uncontrolled was so heavy he drew blood from his bare back. He writhed around in pain opening the lacerations further till the blood streamed down his body. The fin terminated where the top of his ankles used to be at which point hundreds maybe thousands of scales rapidly formed over the rest of the trunk that used to be his legs.

The whole ordeal lasted about fifteen minutes. We watched on in stunned silence apart from the occasional groan and expletive. Ben was lying motionless on his back. The Queen mermaid as I now thought of her approached him, lent forward and kissed him again. This had the affect of reviving him, as he struggled against his new deformity to sit up she whispered in his ear again. Ben looked across at us floating off shore and waved to us cheerily. He then took the hand of the mermaid and together they dived into the sea.  We stared and stared at the spot where he disappeared from view for what seemed like ages but he never resurfaced. The remaining mermaids followed closely behind them, the last one to leave blew us a kiss and we found ourselves all alone in the rolling swell.

Back on shore we agreed we needed to report our friend missing just in case there was any hope of finding him. That was a month ago. There is still no word of him although sometimes when I am out on my board I do sense his presence. 

© Copyright 2018 Matt Black. All rights reserved.

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