Science Fiction Saturdays: Mermaids.

As some of you know, one of my other hobbies is writing fiction, mostly fantasy and sci-fi. Sometimes I write short treatments hoping to birth a larger work and they just end up filed away somewhere on my hard drive gathering dust. So now in an effort to force myself to take my own work more seriously, I’ll subject you guys to the other, odder, side of my creative bent. (note: This is MY work. Anyone steals it, expect my wrath. Borrowing with my permission can be negotiated. 😉 )

Mermaids.

Novella idea: Reverse of the common theme- a man falls madly in love with a mermaid and trades his legs in for fins.

Odd thought: How would mermaids reproduce? Would it be like seahorses? Or would they lay eggs like fish? Or would they be more like underwater mammals? In other words- just how human ARE they?

* * *

The first time he saw her was in the late evening. He was walking along the lava beds taking photographs when a flash in the sun caught his eye. There she was, head and shoulders out of the water, one pale hand brushing black-as-tar hair away from reddened cheeks. When she saw him she looked startled and immediately dropped out of sight.

This is a game, he thought, she’ll resurface in a little while, laughing, closer to me.

But she didn’t. He counted silently in his head, wondering how long she could hold her breath, and panic started to set in. Perhaps she’d been caught in the undertow. But how could he possibly swim out to her in time? More time was wasted counting his options.

Then she reappeared, farther out. Strangely large eyes peered at him, unblinking. Pink mouth pursed, pensive. Pale hand lifted out of the water and slowly every finger unclasped and clasped in turn. A slow wave.

Isaiah lifted his own hand and returned the gesture. He could see the confusion and fear in her eyes and it troubled him. “Hello?” He called out.

She winced, visibly, but returned his call with a timid “Aloha.” Her voice was far more musical than any other he had heard, deeper in tone and resonance. She blushed furiously and then was gone. This time she did not resurface, and oddly enough this time he did not panic. He saw a ship a little farther out, and some part of him assumed that was where she was going.

Another, deeper, part of him had registered the feathery gills on the side of her neck as she’d pulled back her hair, and the fact that her unblinking eyes had in fact blinked, with a third eyelid like a cat’s. This part of him accepted the fact that she simply disappeared with no haven in sight simply because it was used to accepting all of the irrational things that the rest of him didn’t want to deal with. This inner part of him was harmoniously tuned in to the inexplicable world living just beneath the skin of the one the Western world so empirically stated as the whole of existence. This inner Isaiah was about to permanently become the outer one, but he didn’t know it yet.

*And so ends the odd love story of Isaiah and Anala, as far as I’ve written. Part of me really likes it. A bigger part of me doesn’t want to engage in the necessary research to make Anala’s world more believable than Disney’s Ariel. Time will tell which part of me wins.

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7 thoughts on “Science Fiction Saturdays: Mermaids.

  1. Mermaids would give birth to live young a la manatees (who probably were the original inspiration for mermaids) because clearly they are air-breathing mammals (OK duck billed platypusses (platypussi?) are air breathing mammals who lay eggs, but that is just too bizarre even for a novel)

  2. Thanks everyone! This is one story I keep going back to in my mind. I need to finish editing my current novel before I pad my mattress with another manuscript, though. 🙂

    @mmonyte: My mind failed to make the manatee connection even though I know about it. Hm…

    e2c: Or do Hawaiians speak MERMAID? 😮

    I was thinking that she would have been watching humans for a long time and practicing their speech (similar to Ariel). So she’d end up speaking a confusing mish-mash of separate languages, as she’d not understand the concept of multiple languages, only dialects.

  3. “I was thinking that she would have been watching humans for a long time and practicing their speech (similar to Ariel). So she’d end up speaking a confusing mish-mash of separate languages, as she’d not understand the concept of multiple languages, only dialects.”

    OK, that makes sense, but then – where does she live? Does she travel around a lot, or is there a particular place that she calls home? Seriously – if she knows “Aloha,” she is likely to speak Hawaiian pidgin… check the movie “Picture Bride” for more on that. (Since it has subtitles for the pidgin.) Here’s one page on this – there are many more.

    It seems to me that Hawaii (or another group of South Pacific islands) would be a nice place for a mermaid – coral reefs, warm water, etc. etc.

  4. shush, one other though occurs to me, re. “Lady in the Water.” There’s one extremely tantalizing scene where Paul Giamatti finds a place that is, apparently, the mermaid’s shrine (or maybe a place that’s supposed to look like home)… He didn’t do *anything* with that – foolishly – but you can!

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