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The Shelling Ceremony

Chosen word hunt words: Mermaid, Scallop, Seashell

By Donna FoxPublished 12 days ago Updated 12 days ago 4 min read
Image Created withe DALL-E

As a scallop, there are fewer more deadly creatures in the sea than the merfolk. Should we escape the clutches of our natural predators and live to the ripe old age of 5, we become susceptible to a new kind of predation.

The Shelling Ceremony.

Image created with AI IMage Generator API software.

The Shelling Ceremony is held once a year on the eve of the summer solstice.

This is the night when all the females of the merfolk gather for their first shelling and re-shelling ceremony.

On this night they will welcome young females into their womanhood by allowing them to select their first set of shells, which is an exciting time for a young mermaid. It signifies their coming of age and welcomes the new generation into the new phase of their life. Womanhood.

After the ceremony of the first shells, the teens will take a turn, followed by the elderly and then the middle-aged. Every mermaid will renew her shells until all have gotten the refresher they needed.

During the shelling ceremony is when mermaids are at their most violent, which is odd to see considering they aren’t known to be particularly cruel. At least not to sea life, humans are a whole different story for another day.

Mermaids will select their scallop victims and dismember us by ripping us apart at our ligaments. Then feed our innards to their fish and sea star friends before adhering our still-warm carcasses to their chests as some kind of trophy. Which they wear as badges of honour while they parade around the sea for another year, before trading them in once more.

At the end of the shelling ceremony, the retired carcasses of our friends will lay in a pile alongside what is left of us. Our numbers having been diminished greatly as few and far between are the mermaids who give up choosing a fresh set of shells rather than collecting from the discard pile and saving a life.

As violent and barbaric as this sounds, scallops are the only creatures that oppose The Shelling Ceremony. It is a highly celebrated event for all sea life, as they will join in on the festivities. Once the mermaids begin feeding them our innards it only increases their appetite. That’s when the true massacre begins. The moment the mermaids have finished their tradition

we will then be ravaged by sea stars, lobster, fish, and any other predator you can think of. Until their bellies are full and we are left to repopulate the best we can before next year.

Now, being that I have seen more than 8 Shelling Ceremonies in total, I am a rather sizeable scallop and find it hard to hide from the likes of these predators. Both mer and non-mer in species.

Often, I will hide below the pile of discarded seashells once the ceremony is done, as non-mer predators do not tend to look there. But during the shelling ceremony, it’s a little trickier, as I am now 12 and my shells are rather sizeable. Meaning I have a lower chance of being chosen since a very specific mermaid of a certain maturity and shape would choose me.

Not to mention that I have taken specific action to appear as unattractive to a mermaid as possible. One year, I covered myself in so much clay that mermaids couldn't see my true design and colouring. Another year I used a discarded seashell and adhered it to my underside so that I appeared to have mismatched shells. But this year I feel that I have outdone myself, I found a way to create a chip at the end of my shell so that I now have two ridges instead of a singular one. Meaning my shape is forever changed which will secure my safety from selection in the Shelling Ceremony for-ever-more, as I should be undesirable now.

Image created with AI IMage Generator API software.

Or so I thought.

This year the Shelling Ceremony went as planned until the last round of selection. A young and shapely mermaid in her mid 20’s approached, scooped me up, and held me close for size.

She had no hope of filling my shell as her species had intended, but as she put me back another mermaid approached.

“Is that one heart-shaped?” She inquired with excitement in her voice.

That sent chills throughout my shell and before I knew what was happening, it was over. Everything, all my hard work had come to an end.

In hindsight, I may have made myself unique and more palatable rather than as unattractive as I had hoped.

Image created with DALL-E software.

A note from the Author:

A month or so ago, I saw this comic on social media and it was part of the inspiration behind this piece! I had touble finding it but Andrei Z. happened to find it.

Here is the inspiring comic:

Also, if you haven't checked out Andrei Z.'s work I highly recommend his page! He has a great sense of humour and enjoys weird twists similar to this comic!

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About the Creator

Donna Fox

Canadian born and raised budding author.

Please take the time to leave a comment on my stories, so I can repay the favour and visit your page!

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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  1. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

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    Creative use of language & vocab

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    Well-structured & engaging content

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    Writing reflected the title & theme

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Comments (32)

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  • sleepy drafts4 days ago

    This was absolutely wonderful!! I loved the twist at the end! And what a great narrator! I loved every line of this story. 💖

  • very good

  • Ahna Lewis7 days ago

    haha, this was a fun one! Loved how it was told from such an unexpected narrator!

  • Heather N King9 days ago

    Wow! This is some awesome mermaid horror! Love it!

  • A shocking new dynamic is shown from the perspective of a humble scallop!! I love it!!

  • Mackenzie Davis9 days ago

    Congrats on TS, Donna! So glad this story made it! 🥳

  • Paul Stewart9 days ago

    This was so good. Imaginative and creative and I like the backstory and build up. Nice take on the challenge with the chosen words, Donna! Congrats on Top Story!

  • Dana Crandell9 days ago

    Stop the slaughter! Free the tatas! LOL Great job, Donna! Congratulations on Top Story!

  • Chantae Harding9 days ago

    This was a great look at a different type of mermaid than we see in mainstream. Very well done.

  • Carol Townend9 days ago

    This is amazingly told, and good luck with the challenge!

  • Caroline Jane10 days ago

    Ingenious. Well done and congratulations! ❤

  • Roy Stevens10 days ago

    There it is! Congratulations on this (had to be a) Top Story, Donna. The whole package is just so beautiful, funny and perfect even if it's a scallop horror!

  • Naomi Gold10 days ago

    Congrats Donna! 🥂 I really loved this one, and just knew I’d see it in Top Stories.

  • L.C. Schäfer10 days ago

    Well done on your Top Story!

  • Dana Stewart10 days ago

    Charming and a good message in this one, Congratulations on Top Story - I enjoyed the art pieces as well!

  • Gerald Holmes10 days ago

    Great take on the challenge. Congrats on the Top Story.

  • Donna Renee10 days ago

    Congrats!!! 😁❤️👏 this was a great entry!! And omg that comic at the end 🤣🤣🤣

  • Heather Hubler10 days ago

    Congratulations! I enjoyed this story so much and loved the different perspective. Wonderful work and the pictures were a gorgeous addition :)

  • Novel Allen10 days ago

    Great story Donna. Wonderful pictures.

  • ThatWriterWoman11 days ago

    I really liked this! It had a note of horror, humour, and darkness! Well done on this one Donna! <3

  • Naomi Gold11 days ago

    This was so creative. I loved the progression of the scallop keeping safe through hiding, then thinking an imperfection made them undesirable—only to discover that what makes us unique also makes us highly valued.

  • Lol, this was so creative, humorous, dark and very intriguing! I literally Lol-ed when he tried to come off as having mismatched shells! That was super funny! Poor scallop, he accidentally made himself aesthetically pleasing! I've seen that comic before too and it's so fascinating that it inspired you to write this story! Also, I saw that there is SOLSTICE in that word hunt puzzle. So you used four words from there! You're so talented and amazing!

  • Katrina Cain11 days ago

    This right here is the winning piece :)

  • Caroline Craven11 days ago

    Brilliant writing! Love this story - the shelling ceremony sounds pretty barbaric though! Zoiks!

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