It’s been a while but I think I’m finally starting to get on the other side of this wretched illness. And so today, finally I am inspired to do some a new lyric prompted writing. I do hope you enjoy this story. I think perhaps one day I’d like to write more of it.
No Captain Will Save Our Souls
It was said that a son born of man and mermaid would command the seas and bring back great bounty each voyage. And so many a sailor searched the seas for the beauty beneath the waves.
A mermaid brought from the sea against her will would grow legs if kept from her home for three nights, a mermaid kept from the sea for three turns of the moon would never be able to sink beneath the waves again. And so, mermaids were captured and kept from their homes, they became as mortal women but with a desperate longing for the seas and the family they could never return to.
A son born to a sailor was celebrated. A daughter more often returned to the seas of her mother. She was no mermaid herself and the sea claimed her life.
The mermaids changed. Whereas once they might have fallen in love with a sailor and willingly given their tails for legs, now they would cheerfully drown any sailor who came into their waters.
The hatred in the hearts of the mermaids was passed down and with the aid of their siren sisters, they lured many ships into storms, against jagged rocks, or simply called sailors to jump from the decks.
Time passed and man forgot the stories, but the merfolk never forgot and they never forgave. For each mermaid stolen to land against her will, they would kill a thousand men. For each daughter drowned by a heartless man, they would kill another thousand. They would not be happy until all men had been punished for the wrongs that had been done.
Katilea took great pleasure in her task and always had but it changed and became something more when tragedy struck. While it was uncommon for a mermaid to be stolen now from the waters, men could still take their lives. Her sister had been killed by fishermen. They had pulled her body in their nets and then made it into exhibit charging people to come and see the mermaid. From the water, Katilea had watched as the dead body of her sister was poked and prodded by these people for the price of a coin. Some people had been horrified, others they had laughed.
And then on the fourth day, the body had been dumped back into the sea. In life or death, after three nights, a stolen mermaid’s tail would turn to legs. They could make no more money off her so they dumped her.
Katilea had taken the body back to her family. Her anger at the men grown to something dangerous.
“I swear it Kaliewai, each man will be punished. Each of those who laughed at you, who screamed at the sight of you, who made a mockery of your life, they shall be punished. I swear it on the stone of Amana, they will be punished for what has been done to you.”
She rose back to the surface near to the town of the men when her sister was at peace. Fishermen’s boats lined the wooden docks, waiting for the tide to change so they could put out. Katilea did not know which boat had first captured her sister, but they all had a part in her humiliation and so, they would all pay.
They would find the fish gone from where they once caught them. Storms would come for them. And Katilea would lure wicked souls into the depths and cheerfully drown them. They would get what was coming to them. Each and every soul would suffer.
It was what they deserved.
“Come, Eren. You have not smiled in a week.”
“And why should I smile, we found and destroyed something wondrous.”
“Are you still going on about that trick? It was just a woman, she probably just washed into our nets.” Berk clipped Eren on the shoulder and pushed him toward the boat. “No time for daydreams now. We sail on the tide.”
“Yes, Uncle,” Eren replied. He obediently followed his uncle onto the boat and began to work on the nets ready for them to released when they were out to sea.
He did not stop thinking about the body of the beautiful woman. He was sure the stories of his grandmother when he had been a boy had spoken of mermaids growing legs if kept on land. He was certain this woman had been a magical creature from the depths and something to be honoured. Instead, against his wishes, his uncle had made her a sideshow, making himself extra coins to show her off.
Eren sighed and leant against the starboard railing of the boat, looking out across the waves where they would soon travel. He glimpsed something in the water, something sitting out of the water. He could have sworn he saw a head, shoulders, a beautiful face but then she vanished beneath the waves.
“They are real,” Eren murmured.
“What was that?”
“Nothing, Uncle.” Eren knew better than to suggest to his uncle that he had seen a mermaid, even though he was certain he had. Perhaps they had come for the body of the beautiful woman when he had returned her to the water. He could not let her stay on land and he had returned her to the sea before his uncle could have her thrown in a nameless grave.
Eren hoped her family had come for her. He had never seen anyone more beautiful in his life. She could be put to rest with her family and mourned properly.
It was what she deserved.