I can hear him, feel him inside my secret heart. Looking up through the water, his feet hang over the jetty just above my world. We, who are blessed with the gifts of Neptune know the feelings of man – but rarely do we bother. They are such an arrogant species. They destroy more than they contribute to their world and their actions in our homestead have been unspeakable. Their relentless harvesting of our seas, the polluting of our precious waters – all of this has been their great shame.
Is it no wonder that we avoid them at all costs? That their petty hearts and selfish grasping minds are no friend of those who live amongst the waters. And yet, he is but a child. Golden haired and slight of frame. Tears run down his face as he laments alone. He has lost his way and does not know how to return to his people. He had wandered off in pursuit of our sweet water homestead determined to see our expanse before continuing on his way in their loathsome metal wagon.
Fear not, young land dweller, already I can feel your Mother near searching for you amidst the dunes of sand. Dry your tears and I shall keep you company while your Mother comes to you.
I shall sing for you.
I rise out of the water slowly revealing myself to the child. He is not afraid as my form is familiar to him if I do not lift myself too high in the water. My tail I keep hidden beneath. I lift my voice in song for the child and sing of our great palaces and deeds. Long have we dwelled in these waters and our home is a long-established boon for all that seek a refuge.
I sing of light and sun and freedom as the child watches me. Tears are long forgotten as I sparkle in the sunlight and share our love of the waters and our great dominion.
The Mother is near. I can feel her keening heart as I drop back beneath the water before she can see me. It would do her nor the child any good to have to explain my presence. Better that we remain a mystery or a fairytale for those who would not believe. I shall return to my own home knowing that this moment was one that shall be lost in memory to the child but I shall treasure forever.
For we, the Mer have memories long and hearts that reach beyond the waters. May we never know the hatred and avarice of their land.
Julian Grant is an animator, an educator, and author of strange and unique short stories plus full-length novels/ non-fiction texts and comics. A tenured Associate Professor at Columbia College Chicago, his work is enjoyed worldwide. Find out more about him at www.juliangrant.com.
Artwork: Anna Dittmann, The Surface Breaks