Most people think that all mermaids have long, flowing hair, but that just isn’t true. If they did, then their hair would tangle and catch on everything from coral to small fish. Sand and seashells would collect in the mats, and frankly, that’s no way for a mermaid to live.
Instead, they take whatever they can find, often the sharp edges of oyster shells, and they cut it short.
People also tend to think that the mermaids live in lagoons or visit the horizon through island pools; however, that is also merely a long ago memory. Because when humans first brought their wars to the seas and their hunting to the deep oceans, the mermaids taught themselves to dive deeper.
And in the deep dark of the ocean, their eyes got bigger. Their bones grew thick and strong to withstand the pressure of the water. A thick layer of mucus sprouted from their skin to insulate them from the cold of the sunless water and the heat from the volcanic vents. Their nails grew longer and sharper since they no longer had to handle rocks to crack open clams.
Away from humans, stories of unfortunate interactions became oral tradition. The mermaids who were once cheated and tricked by the worst of humankind told their daughters who told their daughters who told their daughters. Stories of humans who refused to share their full fortunes from selling the mermaids’ goods for them twisted into tails of dark betrayal and murder. A once meaningful, yet slightly strained relationship became hostile. Grudge turned the mermaids into aggressive creatures.
Some say during the darkest and more violent of storms, a mermaid or two may swim up from their trenches just to claw a sailor tossed from their ship down into their depths. Not a spare piece of cloth or a loose tooth of those drowned washed up on the beach. The mermaids take their necklaces and golden earrings for themselves.
That’s why I began to worry. In the middle of the Atlantic, the sky darkened. The winds picked up as rain began to fall, but I kept my cool. My modest sailboat had won her fair share of open ocean trials.
I didn’t start to sweat until I peered into the depths below me and saw the glimmer of a necklace coming toward me. At first, I didn’t know what to do.
So, here’s the last thing they won’t tell you about the mermaids because they don’t know. They only know the soft, distant memory of mermaids who no longer live. The mermaids who sat on rocks and sang their ancient songs for gold coins and pretty rings… they no longer swim the seas.
If you ever find yourself in the worst of storms, throw all your metal overboard. Rings, necklaces, coins, shining trinkets: all of it must go. You might as well include glass bottles and well-crafted music boxes, too.
Thankfully, I had just the thing for her: my great grandmother’s pink cameo necklace and matching earring set. I tossed her both and then continued searching for something else for her. Everything I had was hers. I prayed that she would follow the sinking items down and forgive the sins of my ancestors.
In the locked compartment of the heart of my sailboat, I found the diamond ring that I had bought for my girlfriend. Grabbing the velvet ring box, I rushed back to the side of the boat. The mermaid had caught my great grandmother’s things on her sharp nails. I opened the ring box and showed her. The haunted creature paused. I knew at that moment, I could save myself from the mermaid.
I threw the box as far as I could. She chased it, giving me enough time to restart my engine and move far from her. Of course, I’m sure she could have called the others and tell them of the lone sailor, but I made it back to dock without a scratch.
So, my advice to you: throw anything you can to distract them, and hopefully, they’ll have mercy on you, too.
Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!
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