Sometimes, I am inspired to write a little short story to accompany my blends or colorways. I wrote this one for the Merman blend about two years ago. I hope you enjoy it! It is most enjoyable when you have the Merman blend to spin while reading, of course.
You notice light reflecting off the glittering fin of some... creature just over the horizon. It disappears between blinks, dipping below the surface of the water. You feel compelled to get closer, to see what manner of fish it may have been--if you haul in that catch, your entire village could feast for weeks. Quickly, you yell to your men to pull up your nets and you set sail, gaining speed and scanning the distance to spy another glittering flash of those fins. The waves are getting choppy, foam spewing across your bow as you crash through the waves. What seems like hours later, you see a rippling beneath the waves, a shining fin, and... something else, something odd.
Puzzled, you yell back to your men, tell them to back the mainsail, when, with a horrible BOOM and a wrench, you're thrown forward, off your feet, flying through the air. You arms fling out, trying to grab a rope, a barrel, anything your fingers can grasp, but your hands find nothing but water as your body crashes into the swelling waves. Spluttering, you choke in a breath and wipe the salty water from your face to see what had happened. You gasp violently at the sight, then cough to clear the water you pulled in doing so. Tears from coughing and from sorrow run down your face. Your ship is split in half, but not cleanly, not evenly, more like a rotten melon that has been stomped on by a angry child. The remains of your ship are sinking before your eyes. What could it have been? A rocky shoal, hit just the wrong way?
The shouting and crying of your men--your friends, your neighbors, men you have known your entire life--push away thoughts of "why?" Floating in the waves, you scan your crew; some are still aboard the dangerously tilted halves of the ship, some are shouting from the waves. Worse, some are silent; they aren't moving, they aren't shouting, they aren't swimming toward you. You shake off your shock and start swimming toward the ship. The shouting and crying of your men sounds more desperate as you near--almost a wail, a keening shriek. Only a few have survived. You each find something to grab onto--something that will float. There are no provisions, no water, nothing you can salvage. No one in the village expects you to be this far out. No one in the village expects you to be back for days. No one in the village will start to look for you before you die of thirst. Some of the men have been injured worse than can be treated. You lost two within hours from excessive bleeding. Another sank beneath the waves while you slept. Your last companion slowly faded from exhaustion and an infection in the gash on his chest.
You bob up and down in the waves, alone, surrounded by shards of wood. Your life, your livelihood, everything you are has been shattered. The sun beats down on you; you are wet, but your mouth is dry. Your body is cool, but your head is baking. It would be easy to slip under the waves and cool off. Just for a moment, to escape the harsh sun, the glare in your eyes, the heat that clouds your thoughts almost as much as the dehydration has. Slowly, you let go of the bits of wood you had clung to for days. The waves gently rock you as you slide below them.
As you start closing your eyes, you see a flash of gold. You tense, and gasp, but you are underwater now, and you are choking, trying to cough water out of your lungs, but you only suck more water in. You struggle weakly--you haven't had water or food for days, and you don't have much fight left in you. Your lungs are on fire; your brain is burning with lack of oxygen; your eyes are bulging and darting, looking for a way to help yourself, something to hold onto. Your struggle slows, your muscles no longer obey your brain's panicked impulses. The light is fading as you sink deeper. Somehow, you catch another glimpse of glittering gold, flashing as the dark closes in around you. You feel the water's grip on your chest tighten as you sink. It feels like you're rushing through the water, being pulled down faster and faster, crushing your chest with the pressure. The burning agony in your brain seems to *snap,* that crushing sensation starts to fade, and you let go completely; there is no more struggle, you have accepted your death.
Suddenly, you find yourself vomiting up water on a beach, waves lapping at your feet. Your eyes are crusted with salt and sand, everything is blurry, your whole body aches and throbs with pain. You feel pressure on your chest again--but it's not the depths of the ocean crushing you, it is strong hands pushing at you to expel the water in your throat and lungs. You cough and vomit and inhale sharply. Tears help clear your vision. You sputter, trying to thank the man before you for saving your life but instead cough up more water. He smiles at you, raising an arm to brush back his wet hair from his face. You see muscles rippling beneath his skin as water drips down his arms and chest. He's shirtless. His trousers are unusual bright, definitely not from your village. As you start breathing normally and your vision clears, your brain realizes--those aren't trousers.
This man who rescued you, the man laying down on the beach next to you, is not a man at all. At least, not entirely. You see the glittering gold sparkles as you glance below his navel. You prop yourself up on your elbows. What you see makes you stop breathing again entirely. You reach a hand out to the man's waist, then pull back, looking to him. He nods, and you touch just above his hip, where his smooth, golden skin merges seamlessly with sleek, glistening scales. The man's fin is smooth and supple, almost soft, and warm to your touch. Each scale gleams iridescently, now green, now blue. Streaks of gold run along the edges of the scales, creating intricate patterns that seems to shift as if alive.
You snap out of what seems like a trance, suddenly realizing that you are laying next to a merman, slowly stroking where a man's thigh would be. You're unsure of yourself, you pull away, you try to sit up, but your body tells you it isn't ready for that, and you collapse back on the beach. The merman does a little wriggle-jump, pushing himself higher on the beach with his tail, and he sits up behind you, propping your head up in what would be his lap if he had legs. He brushes sand off your face and strokes your hair. You finally find your voice, and trembling, you say, "Thank you for saving my life."
He looks down at you. When your eyes meet his, it feels like fire in your brain--not the burning pain of drowning, but a fire that sears through your body, invigorating and restoring you from the fatigue and hunger. The merman never speaks with his mouth--everything he needs to say, he says with his gaze. All of your pain, of losing your men, of struggling to survive, of letting go and giving up, all of it is washed away. You know the merman will care for you. He chose you, and you were his from the moment you first spotted that glittering flash in the distance. Calm with the knowledge that you will be safe and loved, you relax and feel yourself floating away, sinking into the merman's embrace, rocking gently like the ocean's waves.