The Mermaid

This is a bit of an odd one, as I’ve been meaning to come back and finish it but just never did. It’s a couple of years old and I wrote it all in a day, basing it entirely off my enormous interest in the ocean and all the mythology that goes with it. It’s in a diary / journal format (which I hope you’ll forgive me for), as it just seemed to translate best when told through a Captain’s log of sorts.   I’m pretty fond of this one though, so I do think I’ll be giving it another look soon. As for now, I hope you’ll enjoy a fairly grim story about a Captain’s descent into mindless infatuation. Cheery stuff!

November 12th

The men hate me for this, I know it. They don’t say it outright but they certainly make no secret of it.

No matter, our course is set whether they decide to join me or not. It is my word, or death. Food rations will allow for a deviation to Western tides, I have already put a lock in place to the lower storage, one that I hold the only key to. I have this under control, they must understand that.

November 13th

With four attempts at a breaching of the lock already I must say that I thought better of them. I shall make a grave example of the next sailor who dares question my methods. Progress is slow with almost no-one following orders immediately.

November 15th

They have calmed. I am now merely resented. The waters have been kind so far, which surely gives them less reason to complain. Earlier I gave the order to belay all attempts at communication with England, perhaps not a wise decision to make outright as now some of the men look positively terrified. I find myself laughing at this, though I am not quite sure as to why. I will have to release the birds during the night as I do not trust any of them now, they will try to contact home. I take them somewhere glorious, they will see that in time. Tonight the moon is beautiful; full and ethereal. She sings for me and I follow, silver light carving a path for us. If only I could describe the music.. Such beauty, such sorrow. Screams and whispers, both in equal measure.

November 16th

Last night I awoke with a sharp pain ringing in my ears. I cried out in fear but only the ship answered, waves breaking against its hull. I may have slept again but my bedclothes were damp; soaked in fact with seawater, pools of it gathering at my breast. My love, you have visited me. Would you not linger a moment longer? Had you watched me sleep, envisioning the day our eyes lock again? No, you torture me. I have set out my orders to increase our speed. My darling cries out from all directions, a test to decide if I am worthy enough to find her. I will not fail, and I do not plan a return journey.

November 17th

His death was unavoidable, mutiny cannot be tolerated. May he rest in peace, he was once a good man.

November 18th

You Must Leave You Must

Leave Dear

God You Must

Leave!

November 19th

I awoke late, the afternoon sun already gleaming the surface of the water. It concerns me to say that I found the door to the pantry had been given a new lock, infinitely more complex than the first. I have no recollection of doing this, and little recollection of last night at all. I feel…sick, perhaps with some minor ailment that will pass in time, although I doubt that. My disease is more substantial. In any case, the others will survive a day or two without food until I find the key to the mechanism I myself must have placed. I need no food in any case. Though I am undoubtedly ravenous, my stomach turns at the sight of it.

November 21st

They have realised that I don’t know where we are. This enrages them. Simpleminded rats such as those who serve on this ship find fear in everything that is unknown to them. I may not know where we are, but I know where we are going.

November 22nd

A group of six left last night. I awoke in time to see the back of their crude vessel, curses thrown not only at me, but to the rest of the crew as well. Half our food went with them, the door splintered and cleaved in two. As I watch their lamp-light flicker on the horizon, she sings to me. It is a soft lament; wordless and beautiful. Its tone is not of sympathy and the hope that I long for, but instead I make out laughter.

My vigour for writing diminishes, particularly about her. I no longer write the words down or speak them aloud, with that I admit it.

November 23rd

I hear them whisper. They seek to kill me. Such a task would be difficult.

November 24th

With fifteen less now, the ship has become impossible to fully control. I have taken to doing most of the work, struggling to keep us heading towards the music. The others watch in silence. I wake with her hands around my neck and her teeth on my skin, tearing and caressing. I howl with agony, but there is no-one there. Just the breath of the sea air.

November 25th

We have not seen land for seven days now.

November 27th

It is a magnificent night, the clouds swirling around a blue moon.

A man paces back and forth along the deck, sleep stolen from him and his heart longing for home. Another cheer erupts from below as drunken men celebrate a successful expedition and the beginning of the return journey. With them they carry a cargo of exotic smells and new flavours. The man is impatient for the return as well, but he also feels heavy, sometimes too weighed down to even support himself. He hangs over the side of the ship and looks out over the water. His life changes, his heart sets into a rhythm previously unknown,  and he sees the most beautiful creature that has ever existed. She smiles and treads water with the elegance of a crystal swan. It takes everything the man has not to dive in alongside her but he calls out to her instead in a cracked voice. He cannot remember what he says, but she laughs in seven different harmonies and dives beneath the surface. His mind erupts, snowflakes and knives swirl within his head merging into one concise thought- If I do not love her,  then I know not what love is. And then, for the first time, he hears the song.

I wake up still hearing that song, and I weep. I love you my darling, but I wish I did not.

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