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Sea Dream

By

Edwin Tomes

 

 

 

 

 

 

The wind blew softly on the sea today, yet the man on this lonely stretch of beach was the only one there to notice. This little lonely cove was one of many on this part of the coast, but what made this cove special was that it was located on a long point that extended into the sea which attracted large amounts of sea life making it a great place to fish and scuba dive, yet this place was only known to the man. Ed remembered the day he found this place. The sea had opened up to him on that day.

      He had just lost his girlfriend to another man. The hurt he felt had welled up inside him so bad that he couldn't stand to see another human being any more for a while; he had to get away from civilization, away from the pain. So he loaded up his 25 foot  fishing / dive boat and went to the one place that was always there for him, the one place that seemed to comfort him no mater how sad or depressed he was, the sea.

             For thee days and nights he sailed. Never did he worry about sleep for the hurt in his heart kept him awake. " When will I find some one to love? " He cried to the sea in anguish, " When will I find some one who will love me for who I am and not to change me into something I am not." Susan had tried to make him into a business man, but the day he had went to work on the fishing boats to earn money for college had changed him. He found that he enjoyed the hard work in the open air. The feel of an ocean breeze against his face spoke more to him than the feel of cold hard computer keys beneath his fingertips. He changed his major to oceanography and learned how to scuba dive. The more he learned about the sea the more he loved it. Susan whom he had met in a business class at first didn't mind the change, because she had thought that he would give up this foolishness when he realized that there was more profit to be made in business than in being a oceanographer, but when she found out that he had secretly bought a boat and had kept that knowledge from her for two and a half weeks claiming that he was waiting for the right time to tell her she blew up. What made matters worst was that he had recently quit college to take a few months off to decide what he wanted to do. In the middle of the fight he had stormed out of the apartment, but when he came back to apologize and maybe work something out she was gone along with all of her things. She had left a message saying that she had enough of his wild ideals. Ed still loved her and the smell of her perfume seemed to linger for days in the apartment. This was more than he could stand, so he packed up his gear and went to his old boat that he had bought from a fisherman he had known from when he worked on the boats of a few months. Old Bob was quite the seaman, but there comes a time when the back is not as strong as the heart. This time had come for Old Bob. Bob sold his beloved boat to the young man who had come to work for him, now that young man was making payments to him to pay off the boat. You couldn't tell it was much of a true fisherman boats anymore because he had removed the nets and all of the equipment used to handle and replaced them with racks for holding scuba tanks, at the moment the racks only contained four tanks.

 

 A wave crashed over the port side momentary blinding him as it clung to the window of his boat. This brought him back to reality and he finely paid close heed to the weather outside. The sun had vanished replaced instead with large black boiling clouds that stretched across the horizon. Wind from the northwest started gaining in strength, but as they blew the pain in his heart began to fade. Adrenalin began to flow through his veins as the force of the storm began to become apparent. Ed had always loved storms although he could never figure out why. Whenever a storm happens on dry land he would love to sit and watch it out his window or from the inside the safety of his pickup, but a storm out on the sea was a very different thing. The sea was full of wrecks of those who had underestimated storms the storms upon them.

            One wave after another began to batter the boat. Joy swelled with in him as the boat crested another wave. His spirit soared with the wind outside. All thoughts of Susan disappeared as he tried to navigate his boat through the waves. For a day and a half he battled the storm. In it's wake it left behind an exhausted man. Mussels screamed in pain from holding the course steady as the storm tried to steal the steering wheel from his hands. Legs ached to be relieved of their burden and threaten to give out at any moment. His head was bobbing more than his boat did as he fought to stay awake. Only one thought rolled through his mind over and over again, " I've got to find safe harbor. I've got to find safe harbor." With weary eyes he scanned the horizon. The storm had left the sea choppy, but all remains of the storm had left the sky. All notion of time was gone, so he doesn't remember when he spotted the dark tiny splotch on the horizon that could only be land off the port bow. As the land drew closer he could see a small cove. Without any hesitation he steered towards it and anchored. At last he would be able to sleep.

             The full moon was just clearing the ridge of the island when he awoke.  It was a beautiful still night, too nice to stay cooped up inside, so he went below and heated himself a bowl of can soup and a cup of coffee. Then he came up on deck to enjoy the moonlight. The sea changes at night and on a still night sound tends to travel well. A sound that you ignore or that may have escaped your attention in the daylight suddenly attracts your attention like a magnet. Like when a school of mackerel chases bait fish to the surface. In the daylight it holds your attention for a moment and all you see is the bait fish being thrown about, but at night like this night you hear the slaughter of the bait fish, the small shimmering as the prey skims over the surface trying to escape, and the larger splash as the predator tries to catch the frighten fish over head. These sounds could be a little scary to some and at night for some one with a good imagination they can be terrifying, but to Ed who had seen it happen enough times in the sunlight knew it for what it was, nature going on with it's every day life. He felt like he was at last home.

            Sitting there in the moonlight he felt very alone, then as he sat there a sound drifted over the still sea to him. At first he thought it was the wind, but there was no wind. Intrigued Ed sat very still and listen. It was a sad lonely sound. The more he listen the more it seemed like a song, but more than just a song. He closed his eyes and concentrated on the singer. The singer sound human, but the quality of the voice over the sea made it sound something more than human. There were no words, or none that he understood. It was a woman's voice, but what would a woman be doing clear out here? She sounded too lonely to be with some one. It song sounded like it was coming from the other side of this island, but since he did not know the island he could not say exactly where." Wait a minute Ed don't let your imagination get away from you." he said to himself, but the sound was there floating before him beckoning him to join. Well he had a good singing voice and if he wanted to he could sing a good baritone and this song seemed to call for a baritone to join. Since the song had no words, but was made up of harmonies that flowed from one to another it wasn't long before he began to join in. He sang softly at first, but before he knew it the song had latched a hold of him and he sang loudly letting his voice mingle with the other 's  over the sea. At first the other singer seemed unaware of the new singer joining her, but then the voice stopped. Ed couldn't stop, all the hurt and loneliness that he felt flowed into the song. On and on he sang singing, but not singing any words. The other singer joined back in again. Was it his imagination or did it seem as if the other singer was moving around the island towards him. He stopped for a moment to catch his breath and it did indeed sounded as if the other singer was moving closer and so it was until the voice sounded like it was just out of range of his night lights of his boat, then it stopped.  Looking where the voice had ended he too quit singing. Straining hard he could barely see a dark shape in the water. All was still for a moment, then he called out, " Is some one there? "  The trance was then broken as the still night was shattered with the sound of a loud splash and what ever it was disappeared. Concerned that the singer was in trouble the then called out, " Are you hurt? Do you need help? "  There was no answer to his call and the sea was quite once more.

            The song was not heard again that night. " Maybe it was a mermaid. ", He thought, and then he laughs at the ideal. " Mermaids were drunken sailor dreams, of men that had been out to sea too long with out seeing a women in months. Maybe that was his problem. The full moon and his loneliness had caused him to imagine the whole thing, or maybe it was a mating call to for some sea creature that he had unintentionally called to him. The songs of the whale can sound out human at time, so who is to say other sea animals don't have similar songs. The whole ideal was starting to sound more and more outlandish. The energy that he had put into the song had worn him out. Ed decided it was time to go to bed and let the strange happenings of tonight be for the moment.

            The next morning he awoke to the rocking of the boat. He laid there for a while tempted to let the boat rock him back to sleep, but the growling of his stomach convinced him otherwise. The happenings of last night were, but a distant dream. An hour later he was dressed and on deck with a cup of coffee in his hands looking at the tall ridge that surrounding his little cove. There was 100 yards of beach at the base with grass and brush from the top to bottom for the ridge. This place ached to be explored and who was he to deny such a request. It took only a few minutes to lower the dinghy over the side and jump in. The small gas motor that powered the craft started with out a problem. As he neared the beach he thought that he could make out a narrow trail gradually going up the ridge, but from the sea it was hard to tell where it began. Fifteen minutes after beaching his craft he found it. There was some kind of old animal trail running along the face of the ridge and the reason it took so long to find it was because some thick brush covered the beginning of the trail and it took some time to get through it. A half an hour later he was finely at the top and the view was incredible. He could see the whole island from up there.  The island was three miles long and was three fourth of a mile wide at its widest point. Looking behind the island he could see another. This could mean that this island was at an end of a long chain of islands. He turned and looked down the ridge as it turned to sheer rocky cliffs and then into boulders as the ridge gently slanted towards the sea. Boulders could still be seen a hundred yards out as the ridge continued under the waves. In the nest of rocks on the north side of the ridge he could make out a large flat rock that was just above the water level. It looked like some one could dock a small boat near it, but there was no reason to. "Maybe this was where my mysterious singer had been last night."  he thought, then realized that the tune that he had been humming all morning was the song of last night. He studied the spot and could see no signs that any one had been there, so he turned and went to explore the rest of the island.

             The exploration of the island had proved fruitful as he found bushels of wild berries and seven different kinds of edible mushrooms. He was glad he had taken that little college class that taught him about wild plant. He had even impressed Susan when he came home one day with delicious mushrooms that he had found along other deserted coast like this one, but in his excitement over his new found discoveries he had forgotten to watch the weather and keep track of time. Before he knew it the sky had darkened with clouds and daylight was fading fast, so he grabbed a few berries and a couple of mushrooms and headed for the trail.

            Darkness pounced upon him before he could reach the trail. Up on the ridge he could see ok, but shadows covered the trail making it impossible to travel down without a flashlight the one thing he had forgotten to bring along. It looked like he would have to spend the night up here, so he sat with his back against one of the few trees on the ridge and began to eat his super of mushrooms and berries. The sky had turned cloudy, but there was nothing really threatening about them. A strange feeling began to settle over him. The air seemed to thicken about him and the clouds started to change, then he heard it. It was the singer, but this time the song she was powerful, as if calling to the clouds filling them with energy. The clouds thicken and soon turned into storm clouds. Ed walked to the top of the ridge that looked over the point. In the darkness he could see nothing below, but above the point the heart of the storm was forming. As with the song from the night before this song called to him, but called not to join in loneliness, but to join in the power of the storm. Before he knew it he was singing with the mysterious singer once again. His deep voice boomed down to the singer and the woman's song rose up to meet his, power rippled around him, and this time the voice didn't stop, but seemed to grow in strength with his. Ed focuses on the storm, channeling the power and strength from him and those of the singer into it. The winds began to pick up in ever increasing magnitude till it had almost blown the tree that he had sat next to flat. Lightning danced across the sky, then the rain came pounding down on him, but he couldn't feel it. His mind wasn't with his body, but with the storm. Never had he felt such a glorious feeling. Savage winds tore at him, and instead he rejoiced in it. Rain pounded down on him soaking him to the done making his clothes stick to him showing every mussel of his body, yet he didn't feel it. The other voice began to change. At first he couldn't figure out why, then it dawn on him what the singer wanted to do. The time had come to let the storm go. It was hard at first, but the other singer leaded the way. When it was done he stood there both physical and mentally drained. The other singer had ended her song, yet he still felt connected with the storm. Lightning flashed and the following thunder soon brought him to his senses. He looked out to the sea at the storm he had helped to create, clouds stretched from one horizon to the other, lightning danced from one portion of the clouds to the other in a brilliant light show and in one of these lightning flashes he looked for his singing partner. At one brief moment he thought he had seen a woman's head poking out in the water 50 yards past the point looking at him. When the lightning flashed again there was nothing there. In his right hand he felt something mushy. Suddenly he remembered that he was eating a raw mushroom before the storm. Throwing the mashed mushroom down he swore that he would never eat that species of mushrooms again. "The mushrooms must have combined with the berries that he had eaten earlier.”  he thought," That must have acted like some kind of drug and had given him some kind of weird hallucination. It was the only logical explanation, no one can create a storm." and began to look for a dry place to spend the night.                                          

            Daylight found Ed nestled on a bed of leaves under an old oak tree still shivering from the cold of the night. He got stiffly to his feet with a groan and made his way to the now muddy trail. Before going down he looked out to see how his boat had weather the storm. What he saw filled him with dread. The boat must have some how become lose and was drifting towards the rocks near the mouth of the cove. He never remembered how he got down the cliff, but he did, he didn't remember throwing the dinghy into the water, but his pant legs were wet. The only thing he did remember was pulling on the outboard motor and praying, " Please God let me get there in time." over and over again so fast it sounded like one word. God must have heard his prayers for he got to the boat just as the bow started to rub on a half submerge boulder. In a blink of an eye he was over the rail and at the wheel starting the engine. Once he was safely in the middle of the cove he carefully checked the boat out from one end to another. The boat was scrapped up a bit near the bow, but that was it. He had been very lucky to reach his boat in time. This time when he anchored the boat he made sure that there was no way the anchor would lose its hold unless some one dove below and loosen it.

When at last he knew that every thing was secure he cooked himself a bowl of canned soup and headed to his bunk and fell fast asleep. His was body stiff and weak from enduring a cold night under the stars. He awoke later in the middle of the night, but didn't now what had awaken him. His entire body called to him to enter the sandman's realm, but some strange uneasiness would not let him. Maybe all he needed was a little night air. There was a breeze coming from the northwest and the stars seem to be shining brighter this night, as if the storm from the night before had polished them, but the uneasiness continued. It felt as if some one was watching his every move. Looking around he could see nothing that gave any hint that he was being watched, but then again here he was in the middle a cove with the stars behind him making it a lot easier for some one to watch him from the shore than it would be for him to see them. Sleep called to him and since he could do nothing about the real or imagine watcher he went back down below to answer the sandman's call. A minute later the water swirled twenty feet from the port side of the boat, as if some thing below the surface had decided to swim off just below the waves.

            Sunrays blinded Ed when he awoke the next morning. It was just his luck to be position where the sun could shine through the porthole at 7 am in the morning. After completing his daily ritual of making himself a pot of coffee he went out on deck to see how the weather was. On this day the sea looked so inviting. It was a perfect day for diving, and who was he to turn down such a request. It didn't take long for him to grab his spear gun, assemble his diving gear and head for that promising point that he had seen from the other night, "Besides a nice fat yellow fin tuna would be great for lunch." he thought.

            Although the point was a pleasure to dive the fish were a bit spooky, as if some one else had been hunting this area a lot, so instead of fish he had to settle for clams that he dug up from the beach for his noon time lunch. With a full stomach he began to approach the problem of how to obtain dinner. If the area had been heavily fished, or had too many divers hunting there that would make the fish nervous, but if he drifted the dinghy around the point and fished with a rod and reel jigging a spoon over the side then dinner might be had.

            After a half an hour of listening to the motor roaring he turn the engine off. With a gently wind blowing at his back the boat would drift across the point in no time. "For this kind of fishing a 4 inch silver spoon should do the trick." he thought as he let 50 feet of line spool on out before he began giving a quick jerks to give the spoon a fluttering appearance. Settled back he made himself comfortable by placing a jacket under his head and placing his feet on the rail of the small boat.  It wasn't too long before he had a bite. Setting the hook he reeled in a nice 2 1/2 pound Yellowtail Tuna. Throwing the fish into the cooler that he had along he went back to fishing. The tuna thrashed about in the cooler noisily unwilling to give in to it ultimate fate. There were not more bites after that. In is boredom and the warmth of the sun he closed his eyes. The rod began to be jigged less and less until it finely stopped. Quietly the boat drifted past the rocky point unknown to Ed. It was during this passing that the Yellowtail decided to make one last useless effort to escape. The banging cooler didn't bother Ed, but the sudden loud splash near by woke him out of his pleasant daydream and into the real world about him. Ripples were still spreading out in the water near the large flat rock that he had seen the other day. What ever was on that rock had spooked when it had heard the noise from the cooler. Then it dawn on him, what ever it was would make for deep water and the straightest course was under the!!! Suddenly the rod almost leaped from his hands and on instinct he set the hook. Hurriedly he jumped to the front of the boat. The drag squealed like a banshee as the line rolled off the real. The boat shot forward and the fight was on. What ever it was diving deep and heading northwest. The rod bent in half like a horseshoe and the hum of the line told him that the line could break at any moment, but he had caught large fish on this outfit before so he knew the exact limitation of the rod. After what seemed like forever the line stopped. Looking at the spool of the reel he could see that he was almost out of line. He waited a moment and then began to pump the line. Slowly the rod came up. Inch by inch he started to gain back some of the line he lost only to be stolen from the reel a moment later. This seesaw battle went on for hours. While this was going on it gave him time to think on what was on the other end of the line. Remembering the splash near the shore it must be a seal or one of its cousin, which meant that the hook was probably snagged some where on it's body. " I could cut the line." he thought, " But that could leave feet of monofilament line that could entangle the seal."  He had seen pictures of both land and sea creatures wrapped in lose monofilament line wrapped in its deadly web. It was not a pretty sight. Usually the animal suffered agonizing death. " Well I'm not going to let that happen to you." he said. Suddenly the reel squealed again and the line that he had so patently gain was lost in an instant." If I can help it." he said under his breath. This time the rod didn't point down, but off to the side. Then the rod started bouncing in ways that he had never seen before, but then again he had never hooked a seal before. A thought popped into his head as he tried to figure out what could possible be happening on the other end of his line. Not once had the thing surface. It had never come close to the surface during that time since the battle had begun, so maybe it wasn't a seal!!! And if it wasn't an air-breathing animal, then what the heck was it?  The rod bounce a few more times, and it was during that time he started putting pressure on the thing. It felt as if it was trying to shake the hook out. Line shot from the reel once more and again the little boat was towed through the water. This time how ever it was heading towards the rocky point. It didn't take a genius to figure out that what ever it was going to the rocks to entangle and break the line. Immediately he put even more pressure on the rod. The line hummed a strange tune as it threatens to break at any moment. Up ahead the point loomed closer and closer. By some miracle Ed had some how keep the creature out of the rocks. It seemed to struggle less and less, as if giving up to its doomed fate. A fishy tail flashed near the boat and as he looked over the side he could see rest of the tail leading under the boat where the rest of what he believed to be a fish hovered. Keeping tension on the line he manage to he eased slowly towards the front of the small boat where the anchor rope lay, holding the rod high all this time he made a simple loop in the middle of the length of rope. When this was done he reached under the seat to get a fishing glove on his right hand, (This glove had been designed with small rubber knobs on the inside palm, so to allow the owner to get a better grip on smooth objects making it a great item for handling most species of fish.) The tail was still there moving slowly up and down. Now came the tricky part, he would have to grab the tail at just the right moment and quickly put the loop over the tail before the fish could shoot away from his grasp. Gently he put his gloved hand through the loop and grabs the fishing line, then with his other hand he reached through the loop and grabbed the line. If the fish was to suddenly take off the monofilament would slice his hand to ribbons, but that was the chance he was willing to take. Very slowly he pulled on the line with his gloved hand bringing the tail more and more from under the boat. The tail was three and a half feet long so he opens his arms to the correct length. Finely the tail was just under the surface moving up and down. It was now or never. His hand with the glove on shot into the water lifting the tail clear his left hand let go of the line looping the rope around the tail with lightning speed, then it was gone leaving a white line of the rope as the fish headed for the depths. With both of his hands at last free he swiftly grabbed his rod just as it was going over the side and flicked the release lever, then set it to the side. The anchor clanged against the front seat only to be hooked under the seat as the rope reached the end. Suddenly the small boat lurched forward, but this time the run didn't last long. With the fight at last close to the end this gave Ed a chance to relax. Glancing at the sun he knew that he still had 3 hours of sunlight left. Looking at the rope in the water he hoped to see what he had actually hooked, but the reflection off the water was too great only showed him the waves on the surface of the ocean. Now was the time to decide how to land this thing. He could try to make it back to his big boat or he could try to beach it somewhere on the island. That large flat rock came to mind.  It was big enough to motor right up to it with room to handle the fish and it was a lot closer then the boat.  After what seemed like eternity the rock came into view. On the way in the rope had to let him know that the fish was still there trying to escape. Now he would have to be careful. The plan was to hop out just before the boat banged onto the rock while hanging on to the boat, drop the anchor, then pull the boat along till he swung the back end around to get the rope to bring the fish in. At first it as working until he touched the rope, then water filled the air. He was drenched in an instant, and the tug-of -war was on. Seawater blinded his eyes, so he kept them closed and relied upon grip of the rope and his hearing to tell how he was doing. He lost ground at first, then braced himself and started to slowly haul the rope in. All day he had been fighting this fish with every bit of strength he had. Now it was almost at the end and his arms felt as if they would fall off. " Dam it fish I won't give up now.”  He said grinding his teeth and really put his weight into the rope. Very slowly he pulled the rope in, suddenly what he believe to be the fish quit fighting. Something slapped against the rock. On this signal he turned away from the fish and with the rope over his shoulder he dragged the fish farther upon the rock, so it couldn't get away. In front of was a 5-foot boulder, after he tied the rope around it he turned around and his jaw dropped. Before him laid a creature that he believe was only a myth.  A mermaid. Long blond hair that would have flowed to the waist now rested on the rock pointing to the ocean that he had pulled her out of. The deepest blue eyes he had ever seen stared at him. Thin lips upon narrow face, which had a hurt look upon them. Perfect round breast and the softest slightly tan skin sent his heart a pounding. She was the most beautiful woman that he had ever seen from her head down to 3 inches above her waist. There her skin slowly turned an electric green and small scales appeared. She was the most beautiful creature that he had ever seen; yet her beauty was not perfect. On her right hip the hook had buried itself deep into her side.

            "What have I done!" he whispered. Slowly he walked towards her. On his first step she brought her tail up bending it where her knee would have been hiding her human form behind it. " She must be terrified of him." he thought. In a soft soothing voice he said, " I'm sorry, I'm so sorry. I didn't know."  Over and over he repeated these words as he slowly moved towards her.  The first thing he needed to do was to remove the rope around her tail. Now instead of apologizing he said, " Every thing is going to be alright. Don't worry. Every things going to be alright." She flinched when he touched her while untied the rope.  Fortunately all the damage that was done was a few scales had been rubbed off other wise the rope had done little damage. He looked up when he was finished with the rope and seen one eye watching him behind her barrier of her tail. One more thing had to be done and he was afraid of what she might do.  Slowly he reached into his pocket feeling her eyes upon he removed a jackknife and pulled out the smallest of the two blades, then he reached down and cut the fishing line that still lead from the boat up to the mermaid.  Fore a moment he thought he saw her let out a long breath when he put the knife back in the pocket.  Picking up the line he formed a loop and bent down to the hook embedded in her side. He placed the loop around the bend in the hook saying with out looking up at her, " I've done this a million times to myself so don't worry. "  Carefully he pushed down on the hook with one hand as he pulled on the loop with the other. She jerked with pain, and then hook was out.  Blood started seeping from the wound. Immediately after the hook was removed and carefully thrown to the side with out hooking himself in the process he tore off his shirt and rolled it up gently placed it on the wound holding it there waiting for the bleeding to stop.

            "See now that wasn't so bad. Every thing is going to be alright." he said, then he looked up and lost his heart. She was no longer hiding behind her tail, but her arms were still wrapped around here chest with her hands tucked under the chin. She was still scared he could tell, but at lest now she wasn't terrified of him. He removed the shirt to see if the bleeding had stopped. It hadn't, but it had slowed. Then she moved and this startled him, but she had only done this so she could lean against a nearby boulder where she closed her eyes and relaxed. Moving back to her he went pack to applying pressure to the still bleeding wound. She had to have been exhausted from the fight, so he sat next to her holding the shirt against her side and let her have her rest.  As she slept Ed looked upon her peaceful expression on her face, a face whose image would be imprinted in his mind for as long as he lived.

            An hour later she awoke. Looking around she seemed like she was trying to remember what had happened, she looked at him and sucked in a startled breath, then started to relax, but the tension never quite left her face. Never saying a word Ed stood, stretched, reached down and placing his right arm around her tail his left arm behind her back he gently picked her up.  He could feel her relax in his arms, as if will to accept what ever he had in store for her. Walking to the rocky edge where he had pulled her from the sea he carefully kneeled down and placed her tail first into the sea. Once she was under the surface she turned looked at him and smiled.  Looking down upon her he never knew when she left only that one moment she was there, and the next moment she had disappeared beneath the waves. The sun was setting and soon it would be dark. If he wanted to get back to his boat he would have to leave now. Gathering up his shirt and almost in a dazed like condition he untied the skiff and took of to his boat. The sun had dipped below the horizon and darkness was closing in fast when he reached the boat. He banged his right foot on the cooler in the skiff. This reminded him that he still had one job left to do. When he lifted the cooler lid and seen the fish in side it brought back the image of the mermaid.  The thought of taking a knife its scaly side horrified him. He hated to waste such a delicious tasting fish, but he just wasn’t in the mood to eat fish right now, so he threw it over the side and hoped a seagull would find it in the morning. Gathering up his fishing tackle and cooler he transferred it from the skiff to the boat. Food didn't interest him and instead went to bed with out eating a bite.

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            The fish that he had thrown into to sea drifted on the surface. Soft winds from the north pushed it not to shore, but to the open sea. Three hours after entering the water it had just passed the opening to the harbor and into the open sea when a creature from the ocean depths zeroed in on the fish that it had first smelled miles away.  A large dorsal fin appearing just before the fish vanished. Ed was to have a new neighbor.

            For three days he had done nothing, but repair and checked equipment and odd jobs around the boat. During that time he had done much thinking on the meeting of the mermaid. Was she still out there? Did she leave the area and go back to where she came? Did she hate him for what he had done? If she did would she try to get even? But the question that bothered him the most was; would he ever see her again.

There had been no more singing at night and this fueled his suspicion that she had left the area.

             On the fourth morning he had just got up gotten up and decided to have his morning cup of coffee on deck. He would have to leave soon. His supplies were running low. As he sat there he looked out upon the ocean. The sun was high enough to light up the ocean in the bay rather well, then he thought he could see some thing entering the bay. He couldn't see it clearly, but he would guess that it was 6 feet long with what looked like a blonde color around the head of the creature. It cruised just below the surface. His heart leaped, then went cool. Another form had also noticed her and had changed it course to intercept. This too was just below the surface and its large triangle dorsal fin left little doubt as what it could be. A Great White Shark. Ed darted inside his cabin and rushed to a locked cabinet digging in his pocket for the keys to open it. Inside the cabinet was a 12 gauge automatic Bennelli shotgun and next to it was a bolt action Remington 7 mm rifle with two fully loaded clips next to it. He was from the plains and had hunted with these weapons before. Out here they had proven to be handy in case of trouble.  In an instant the rifle was in his hands and had a shell in the chamber when he reached the door. The mermaid still had made no moves to escape the shark, which meant that she still didn't know about. But it didn't forget about her and was closing in fast.

             The first shot was high and behind the dorsal fin. The second shot was just a head of the fin, but on this shot the mermaid seemed to sense that some thing was wrong and shot through the water with the shark close behind her.  The third shell found its mark putting a hole through the dorsal fin. This and the fact that the chase had lead to shallow water caused the shark to break off the attack, but for how long. The shark had to be dealt with now while he knew where it was. He could always leave and let the shark be, but what of her. She would never be safe with it in the area. He made his decision without hesitation. Inside and above the door of the cabinet was a 7-foot stick with a 3-inch tube on the end. It was a called a bang stick. All it was was a stick that had a gun shell attached to the end. This one was made to handle a 3 inch 12 gauge shotgun shell. Inside the cabinet was a box of 00 buck shotgun shells. He grabbed one and loaded the band stick. The shark was nowhere to be seen, but that didn't mean that he still wasn't in the bay. He looked about and the mermaid had also disappeared, he could only hope that she was safe some where.  On the deck was a large wooden box where he kept his scuba gear. There was no time to waste, so the only thing he grabbed was his mask and snorkel. With bang stick in his hand and one over his mask so it would come off he jumped over the side. It soon became evident that he had made one mistake, he should have taken the time to put on some fins, but," That is ok."  He thought it would make the bait that much more tempting.  The plan he had come up with was to use himself as bait to lure the shark into attacking him and with luck he would deliver a lethal blow before the shark got him.

            Nothing moved under the water. It seemed as if the world under the surface was holding its breath. As best as he could Ed looked in every direction, yet saw nothing. On some special Ed had seen on TV he recalled that it had said that sharks prefer to attack from behind.  Movement to his far left caught his attention.  He started to turn in that direction, swinging the bang stick with him.  In a blink of an eye the attack happened.  A large tunnel open before him lined with teeth.  The bang stick disappeared half way in it before it connected on some thing solid, went off and broke. Upon impact of the stick pushed his hands back bringing his right shoulder forward, when this happened the shark began to close its massive mouth. This went unnoticed by Ed as he watched the teeth closed upon him.  His shoulder caught the snout causing his body to turn on his back and allowing the shark to clamp down on his lower mid section trapping his right arm across his chest which saved him from the teeth puncturing his right lung. He found himself being dragged through the water with his eyes a mere inch from those of the shark that had him. Eyes that seem to swallow all life and reflected nothing back.  Blackness engulfs him.

 

            For eternity he drifted in the blackness alone, seeing nothing, feeling nothing, he felt himself slipping deeper and deeper in its depths. A sound reached him, at first he didn't understand what it was, it was so far away that he could only faintly hear it. In the darkness it was his only light how ever so faint. He moved towards it and as he did a current seemed to form pulling him back down. He struggled against it forcing his way through the mighty current. The more he struggles the harder the current became. Every now and then the sound would quit only to start up latter, but it didn't matter now for Ed now knew where he wanted to go, to the light. The black void slowly turned gray suddenly he burst into the light and..

             Seagulls screeched overhead somewhere, strangely he could feel himself breathing as if for the first time and he savored every breath. Water could be heard lapping near where he laid. Sunlight almost blinded him when he got the courage to open his eyes. Blues sky with white seagulls greeted his vision. He lay there a moment absorbing the sounds around him and just staring at the sky. "  Where am I? " he thought. Under his left hand he could feel the leathery texture of some kind of vegetation. Letting his head roll to the right Ed got a better ideal where he was.  His body laid upon a bed of seaweed under the seaweed was a large almost flat rock with the sea caressing the edge of it.  " How the heck did I get here?” he thought. It was then that he tried to sit up, but two things hit him at once. His right arm hurt like heck and when he was half way up his strength gave out. Lying on the bed of seaweed he tried to sort things out. His mind was still foggy, but through it he slowly began to remember what had happened up the moment that the shark had attacked him, but that still didn't explain how he got where he was now. Other places on his body started to hurt, so he turned his head and looked down the length of his body. On his arm was a gash and when he placed his arm over his body a half a circle outline was showed itself in the form of a deep cut that could be felt on the back part of his body also. The wounds were not open though, instead they were sew together with fishing line that could be seen sticking through some green paste that covered the wounds. Looking around he saw a needle near a fishing spoon without a hook. For some reason that spoon looked familiar. Later he would find that it was the fishing lure, and that the hook had been straightened. The eye of the hook had been flattening too making a perfect needle. Sleep creep upon him, he was tired and weak, never in his entire life had he felt so weak. Before he knew it his eyes were closed and he was sound asleep.

            Some time later he awoke again, but the ache and weakness of his body made him feel more comfortable to just rest with his eyes closed. Sleep called to him like an enchanted temptress beckoning him to come back into her warm loving arms promising him peace, yet Ed resisted her call.  He could feel the sun beating down upon him; hear the waves softly breaking against the rocks. The sound was so soothing that it almost put him back to sleep, yet for some reason he couldn't. Listening to the tranquility of sea and wind remind him how dearly loved it all. He never did regret moving to the coast. His thoughts were interrupted by a slight change in the sound of the waves close by. A presence could be felt, then a loud splash and the sound of water dripping from some thing fresh from the sea. Fear and anxiety raced through him. His heart pounded so thunderous that surely this presence must have been able to hear it. Slowly he calmed himself down and cracked open one eye ever so slight.  There she was, the mermaid that he had seen what felt like a life time ago sitting near him combing her long wet hair untangling the knots that had form from her recent swim.   She looked as beautiful as he had remembered, more so in fact, because a memory can never be as good as being there at that moment. It seemed as if she had not notice that he was awake.  Then she turned her head and looked him, this time there was no fear in them, but kindness and understanding in them. She put the comb down and picked up something that lay beside her and handed it to him, it was some seaweed. As she put it in his hand he notice webbing between her fingers. Long sharp fingernails seemed strange on such a soft smooth looking hand. Picking up a piece of her own she brought it to her lips and bit off a piece, then encouraged him to do the same. It had the texture of soft leather, but the taste that reminded him, of fresh mowed grass. He swallowed the strange tasting seaweed half expecting it to come up faster than it went down. Instead it seemed to make him feel better. Maybe it was because he had not eaten as far as he knew, or maybe it was the nutrition from it that he could feel that his body needed. When she offered him more he was more than willing accepted. "This time it didn't taste as bad. What if he grew to like the stuff. Now that is a scary thought."  He thought as he down his third helping.

           

            After lunch done both the mermaid and him laid in the sun letting their stomach settle a bit. A few times he tried asking her a few questions like:

“Who are you?”

“Are there more of your kind?”

“Are you here alone?”

“Do you have a family?”

“Do you have a boyfriend, or a mate?”

During these questions she just looked at him strangely with a slight puzzled expression on her face. Turning his head away her Ed chuckled to himself after asking the last question. He knew that she did not understand him, but he found himself attracted to this maiden of the sea. If she had responded in any way to his questions he never would have asked if she had a mate, " You don't ask such a question to some one who had just saved your life." he felt.

 

            When he looked back at her he saw the puzzled expression had turned into a smile. " What was she thinking? " he thought.  She turned suddenly, placed her tail underneath her like a seal and dove into the water.  Surfacing 20 feet away she called to him in a song like word waving for him to come and join her in the sea. Was he in good enough shape to jump into the ocean and swim? He tried to stand, but fell half way up. Seeing this she moved closer, but still encouraging him to join her that for some reason reminded him how a parent would encourages a child to walk for the first time.  Slowly he crawled on his hands and knees to the edge to the large flat rock. Looking at the mermaid swimming now 30 feet ahead. Gathering what strength he had left he manage to get himself into a kneeling position and launched himself into the sea. Sputtering to the surface he found himself face to face from the mermaid. " My God she is beautiful!" he thought again.  Smiling she said some thing in some strange song like language. From the feeling in it she was happy that he had joined her.  Slowly he started to sink, his strength was at its end. When his nose was almost below the water she notice his trouble and swam up to him, placing her soft arms under his and across his chest.  Once more his head was fully above the surface, but instead of letting go, or swimming pack to shore she swam out into the ocean going along the island. Gently she sang a soothing tone that helped him to relax until she came to a small sandy beach. She did not swim toward it till, but instead swam to were the beach ended and the rocky shoreline began.  Under the wave rocks dotted the seafloor. Finding a large boulder in 3 feet of water she leaned him against it, making sure his head could rest comfortably just above the water.  He looked at her with a questioning look on his face. " What was she doing? Was she going to leave him again, and if so how long? If she was going to leave him why did she have to leave him sitting in the water and not on land? ", more questions were readily to race through his mind when she put up her hand and said another word in her strange language which she repeated over and over. It didn't take much to figure out that she wanted him to stay where he was.  Whispers of doubt crept into his mind. " The shore was not far away and beyond that was a thickly brush area where he could hid. What did he really know what the mermaid had in store for him, didn't some of the old legends talked about mermaid luring sailors to their deaths, maybe this one had some thing special planned. Was he willing to trust her with his life? " He thought about this for a minute, the answer was, " YES  " Dispelling the mistrust of her harming him once and for all.

           

            Out in the rocks in what looked like 10 to 20 feet of water he could see her swimming over and around them. After a half an hour of doing this she let the rocky area of the sea bottom swimming back to him, but she was not alone. A school of silvery fish seemed to be swimming about her in a shimmering cloud.  They stayed close to her all the while she swam reminding him of how some school of young fish will swim near their parent for protection. She swam till the waters depth was 5 feet or so and in the voice he knew meant, " Come to me " called to him. This time when he swam to her he didn't have to struggle to stay afloat, because he was able to stand leaving his head just above the water. She smiled to him with an infectious smile that he couldn't help but to return. Softly she began to sing once again, but this song was different, not like any she had ever sung when he had been near. Very slow she swam towards him singing all the while, but this time she did not swim up to him, but 4 feet away she began to swim around and around him her tail hardly moving. The cloud of small fish pressed close to her giving the impression that she wore a silver simmering evening gown. Her singing sooth the small fish, causing them to loosen up their tight formation about her. One bold fellow swam up to him seem curious of the wound on his side. This gave Ed a chance to check out his new friend. The little guy was only 3 inches long, narrow, and fast.  He moved close to the wound, stopping just an inch from it totally engross with it. Suddenly picked at it and darted back to the rest of the school. There must have been something he liked about it, because after circling with the rest of the school around him it seemed like the same fish came back for another nip. Because the little fish had such small mouths Ed hardly felt the tiny fish. Soon another fish from the school joined the first fish, hoping to find where he had found this little treat that his fellow school member had. It didn't tale long for a few others to join, then others. The rest of the school caught on and a short time later the whole school had left Ed's mermaid friend to swarm over Ed. None of this hurt, in fact it felt like some one was using a long soft feather on him. All of this tickling sensation caused him to giggle, then to wholehearted laughter. It was all he could do not to thrash in the water, because if he did it would disturb these tickling fish and he most surly didn't want them to stop with all of the fun he was having.  Tears flowed down his check to mix with the salty water of the ocean. Ed had not been tickled so much since he was a small child. It felt good to feel that way again.  When he had time to think in all of this laughter it dawned on him what these silvery fish were doing. They were removing all of the dead and damage skin from his wounds cleaning them. Both of them were benefiting from it, he was getting his wounds taken care of and the little fish were getting a free meal at " Ed's all you can eat snack bar."

            What seemed like forever, (It was hard to know how long they spent cleaning him because he had lost himself in the joy of the moment.), his little friends left him to join with the mermaid who had been swimming around him singing and laughing with him the entire time. Swimming about her, they looked down her greenish tail searching among her small scales for anything to eat. Others swam through her long hair like kids playing hide and seek. Slowly she moved to the rocky seafloor where she had gathered the small fish, smiling all the while as the silvery gown gave her a thorough checkup. Peacefully he floated with a smile on is face that refused to leave. Waves gently drew him closer to the shore as he still could feel the massaging effect of those silver wonders. So caught up in their lingering tingles Ed hardly notice the mermaid swimming up to him, or felt her place her arm around him once more to carry him back to the flat rock.  When they arrive at the rock he climbed up to a patch of seaweed that he used as a bed. The loss of so much blood was trying on him, he was soon asleep, but before he did Ed placed some of the seaweed over him to protect him from the sun. It was almost sun set when the mermaid returned. With her she had what looked to be a 4-pound halibut clutched in her hand hands.  The fish was dead, and gutted.  She threw the fish over to him. Then put her hands on the rock to lift her up and forward enough so that she could get the apart of he tail that would have her knees to the edge of the rock. She moved towards him in much the same way a seal some times move, placing her ands forward. Then bringing up where her knees to her hands, then placing her hands a foot and a half forward again and bringing up her tail. This time he notices that her hair was not as clean as he had seen it before. In it there was mixtures of different kinds of seaweed and kelp. It looked as if some leaves a gotten tangled up in her beautiful hair. Instead he was to find out that she had done this on purpose. She untangled the seaweed and kelp making a pile for him and her. Picking up a piece of kelp she put it into her mouth and began to chew. Then she motions him to do the same. It had a kind of a sage taste to it. “ Why was she giving him such a strong tasting piece of kelp?” he wondered. Ed was to find out the answer to this when she grab the fish. Near by there was palm size flat stone. It looked like it was a piece that had flaked off of a much larger stone. One end of it an inch thick, but it narrowed to a sharp end forming a crude blade. With this she cut into the fish giving him the first piece. Mixed with the sage tasting kelp still in his mouth the raw fish tasted quite good. Together they ate in silence till Ed felt he would burst. Never had he tasted such a meal.  The remains of the fish she threw off to the side for the crabs to have their meal, and what the crabs didn’t finish the seagulls would in the morning.

            It was all ready starting to get dark. A silhouette of the mermaid against the fading light could be seen moving towards him where he lay on the bed of seaweed. When she was a long side of him on the seabed she pulled him close to her and together they curled up within each other. Ed’s heart was pounding, “ Were they going to make love right now in his weaken state?” he wondered.  She had thrown her long soft flowing hair over the both of them in a warm blanket. He lay there not moving feeling her wrapped about him thinking about what she should do now. She had not moved since she had made herself comfortable about them. With her so close he could smell the sent of her. It wasn’t the smell of fish that had been sitting in the sun for a few days, it was a fresh smell like that of just washed hair, but there was also another smell mixed in with it. A hint of that a kin to what one would smell of a fresh caught fish, it wasn’t a heavy smell, but light one, and there was just a hint of it mixed in the smell of her hair. Combine it was almost a clean like odor. He didn’t find it repelling at all, but intoxicating in a way. Still he waited for her to do something, or to give him a sign from her for him start in their lovemaking. He listens to her breathing, and he began to notice it was slowing. It finely dawn on him. She was asleep! At that moment it began to make perfect sense. She must have curl up like this ever since she brought him here. It wasn’t that she was trying to make love, but to keep the both of them warm through the nights. Suddenly he felt very foolish about himself. His pounding heart began to slow as he began to relax and let himself fall into sleep. If Ed had been facing her instead of away from her he might have been able to seen the smile that was slowly creeping across the mermaid’s face as he fell asleep.

 

The story is uncompleted, yet I plan to finish it one day. I have worked on and off this story for years making changes here and there, and it is very dear to me.  If you enjoyed the story I would love to hear from you. Just send a e-mail to

merknight7777@yahoo.com

 

 

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