Karen and I spent the summer making fun of the beach selkies and the girls who mooned over them. I dunno, maybe we were jealous. Those guys had rippling muscles and oozed sex appeal, but they never looked at us, two gawky girls whose breasts hadn’t budded yet.
At the end of the summer there were a few who’d had their sealskin coats stolen by lovelorn women. They stood on the beach, unable to go home, looking haunted and broken. Searching.
Giggling with glee, Karen and I ran to the thrift store, buying every seal fur coat we could find. That night we hid them all over the beach.
We set up our beach towels for the day to watch the selkies find them and rush around with mistaken joy, only to be crushed when they discovered the truth.
It’s still the meanest thing I’ve ever done.
Karen laughed at me when I told her I felt bad. “They’re not even human!”
I gathered up the remaining coats and brought them back to the store. It made Karen furious. We never hung out much after that.
*this post was first written as a comment on a writer’s prompt at the Write Practice
The mermaid didn’t like to admit the moments that made her feel jealous. She lived a carefree, solitary life, swimming in an endless sea. Once or twice a year she might another of her kind, and often that was enough, but of late she found herself wishing for a friend.
The barnacles crusted together in their community upon the rock, dying together as the whelks feasted upon them. Mermaids tended to die alone, their hair matted with seaweed, their bodies adrift on the tide. Even the marauding whelks had companions in their feasting.
Ugh, these dark thoughts. She tried to shake them from her mind. Such things led to mermaid madness and falling in love with two-legged humans who lived in cities or villages, locked up in houses. She shuddered, grateful for the freedom of the sea once more.
He whispered to himself as he placed rocks into the puddles. Ancient rhymes and old spells spilled together without reason. He smiled to see pieces of the sky become trapped in the water’s reflection. A few more rhymes and he’d be able to smuggle them home in his pockets.
Not that he knew what to do with them. He’d probably just tuck them into jars and leave them on a shelf to frighten youngsters. It seemed a disappointing conclusion for his work and a sad fate for a bit of sky.
He added a new rhyme. The bits of sky grew restless, reaching up with wings which lifted them from the sand and flew them back up where they belonged. Much better to have invisible birds flying around than a chunk of depressed stratosphere trapped in a jar, he reasoned.
This baby hydra first appeared on the shores of the Bay in the summer of 2016. Most people looked upon it with an idle curiosity. Others, perhaps with some ancient Greek DNA hidden away, felt a shiver despite the August heat. Most important: no one did anything about it, and the hydra was left to grow, safe and hidden away in the cool depths of the Bay.
The sunlight winked upon the water’s surface, sending secret messages to the bottom of the sea. There the mermaids scooped them up in long lost buckets and relayed them to whom they belonged. Who that is, I cannot say, but I’ve always dreamt of hidden sea beasts, impossible and mythical, whose deep sea movements become the waves that greet us on the shore.
Identifying which half-shell is the queen is no more difficult than searching for her crown. Yet take heed, for she is often confused with her more dangerous counterpart, the Medusa.