The men of Thyatira load the fishing boat while the boy sneaks around the corner to see his new found friend.
“I brought you another fairy,” he says as he sees her surface from the water.
“Why are you in the water?” he asks.
“Because I cannot walk,” she answers.
He’s silent and hands her a jar with the fairy.
“I wish I could walk on shore like you. It’s something I often daydream about. My name’s Emerald, what’s yours?” she asks scooping the fairy from the jar.
“They call me Little One.”
“You’re not very little.”
“No, not anymore. “
“Don’t worry, You’ll have a name soon,” she swallows the fairy whole.
“How would you know?”
“Mermaids can see glimpses of the future.”
“What will it be?”
“I don’t know”
“But you said…”
“Well we can’t see everything,” she smiles.
She ducks into the sea just as one of the men round the corner.
“Little One! Get to the boat, we’re waiting for you.”
Each week the men sail twice in one day and each week the boy attends the afternoon sail. Seafood is only part of what they hunt for. There’s a high demand in the tribe of Thyatira for spell working ingredients. Some of which includes specific types of seaweed, fish, water sprites and even mermaid’s tail. The boy never speaks of his new found friend. The tribe doesn’t care much for empathy and are well known as hunters of all other creatures. But still, each week he comes back with another fairy in his jar and visits with the mermaid.
“Sometimes I feel like I really am a human and wish that I could walk right up onto the sand. Being a mermaid can feel restricting.”
“Interesting. I use to feel like I was a monster. Being trapped in this body felt restricting. Then this woman made me a special potion. It took her a while to put the ingredients together. She told me it would help me discover my true self. It worked, just not the way she thought it would. I became that monster I knew I was.”
Emerald’s eyes glisten bright,
“Do you think it would help me become human?”
“Maybe, if that’s your true self.”
“Please ask her to make me some. I can gift anything from the sea in return if it works.”
“Oh,… well do you remember how to make it?”
“Umm, not really. I could find out I guess. There are others who know how. But it will need something of your body. Like your blood or a clip of hair.”
“I’ll clip my hair,” she looks around for a sharp object.
“Hair is terrible to swallow,” he says.
As she picks up an empty shell she pauses. She hadn’t considered that. She takes the jar that had the fairy, breaks the shell for a jagged edge and bleeds herself into it.
The next week he eagerly returns to see her.
“Emerald!” he calls. But there’s no answer.
He waits. Nothing. This brings an unfamiliar feeling he doesn’t like. Reluctantly he walks back to the boat. The morning shift is packing up their catch as the afternoon shift is ready to go.
“You nearly got left behind,” one of the men shouts to him.
“I’m not feeling well, I’m going back,” he says.
“Good, the morning shift can use all the help they can get with their catch. First mermaid in over a month!” the man smiles big as he hops onto the boat.
To be continued