I love the feeling of diving back into the deep waters of the sea after being up at the shoreline for a few hours. However, I hated leaving him. I swam hastily back home before my guardians found out I was gone. My long black hair floated around me gracefully and my beautiful golden tail moved in fast rhythmatic motions. Today, I wore my favorite gold and black silk tube top. I spun around in a circle causing a whirlwind of waves behind me. I loved the water. I loved being a mermaid.
My name is Nixie which means a sea dwelling spirit. When I was four years old both of my parents were killed by a sinking ship. I was taken in by two appointed members of the kings council. They were a nice elderly couple and they take excellent care of me.
I swam around the enchanted coral reef and arrived at my guardians home. It was a modest house made out of beautifully decorated seashells and stone. When I went inside I heard Mrs. Caper call from the kitchen, "Nixie? Nixie, is that you?" She spoke very nervously. Her voice was always shaky. I'm sure I didn't help any with always making disappearing acts.
"Yes, Mrs. Caper. I'm home. I'll be in my room." I started to plunge into the hole that led to my basement bedroom.
"Wait!" Mrs. Caper swam over to me shyly. "Where were you today? Not by the shore, I hope."
I sighed and rolled my eyes. "Why does it matter if I was by the shore or not? I'm almost 18! You can't watch over me constantly anymore."
"Because it's a law enforced by the king! No one is to go anywhere near the shore. Nixie, if you get spotted there you will be arrested!" I felt sorry for her. She sounded so worried and concerned for me. I felt terrible. "Promise me you will not go there anymore."
I couldn't bear to see her so hurt and stress over me but I also could not make that promise. Luckily, Mr. Caper came home just at that moment and I heard him call from the living room, "Adella, I'm home." I took advantage of that moment and dove into my bedroom. I know it's the law, I know of the risks but I can't stay away from the shore. I can't stop seeing him.
I found Bradley lying on the beach on his stomach with his face in the sand about a year ago. He wasn't moving. I thought he might have been dead but he started to stir and I heard a low, muffled moan escape him. I hid behind a rock on the shore line with my tail still in the water. He sat up and turned my way but he still didn't see me. His hair was the color of the sun, his eyes the color of leaves on a tree, he stood up and staggered a bit. Around his one eye was swollen and purple and his black button down shirt was torn and smudged with wet sand. He looked around and then his eyes locked with mine. I shrank back further behind the rock but it was too late. He was already coming towards me. I tried to swim away at that moment but he grabbed the end of my tail preventing me from moving. "Ow!" I screamed and he let go quickly.
"I'm so sorry!" He held his hands up in the air in surrender. His eyes grew wide and he looked genuinely sorry. And shocked. I started to swim away again but he called out to me to stop. I turned around and he smiled. "What's your name?"
I stayed a good five feet distance from the shore and him but answered, "Nixie. And yours?"
"Wow!" He whispered and his smile grew wider. "That is such a beautiful name. My name is Bradley Johnson. I'm sorry if I scared you or hurt you, Nixie. It's just that I have never seen a mermaid before. I've heard of them, sure. Some people say we are even at war with them. But I don't know why we would be fighting such beautiful creatures." He winked at me which made my heart flutter.
I swam a couple feet closer. "My guardians tell me it's because some humans are intimidated by us because we are too independent and they can't control us."
"That's probably true. I know people who would think that. Your guardians sound like very wise people." He never once stopped smiling when he spoke.
"They are." I nodded my head meekly in respect for my elders. I looked up and saw his injured eye up close for the first time. Without even realizing it I reached my hand towards it. "Does it hurt?" I lightly touched my fingers to the darkened part around his eye and he flinched. "What happened?"
"Well, I'm ashamed to say it but I got a little drunk last night and was being a jerk and a few guys put me back in my place. A few times." He assured me he was fine and so we talked until the sun went down. We spoke mostly about the war that was tempting be brought on by the humans against the people of the sea. Bradley said he was sure that they would never actually go to war and it was all talk.
That was the first time we meet. Since then we have met every week and talked about nothing and everything at the same time. Today when I saw him he kissed me for the first time. His lips moved softly against mine and his hands gently caressed my neck. It was a beautiful, awkward, new and heart wrenching experience. I loved it. Yet, now Mrs. Caper wanted to make me promise I'd stop going. I never told my guardians about Bradley. I wasn't sure what they would do if they found out I was spending my time with a human.
A week later I again went to the forbidden shore to see my forbidden love. He was there sitting on the big rock, which I named Paradise, waiting for me. He greeted me with a quick kiss on the lips and a smile. I could see a dark secret behind his eyes which made my heart feel cold like stone. He must of sensed the change in our atmosphere because he hung his head low and started pacing back and forth. "I've been drafted." He whispered without lifting his head. "I have to go to war, Nixie. Against you."
My voice caught in my throat and I could feel tears start to burn my eyes. I shook my head to try to erase what he was trying to tell me. "No." I whispered and hope he would tell me it wasn't true.
"I'm sorry." He knelt down on the wet sand in front of me and tiny waves rolled under us. "I'm trying to figure out ways that I don't have to go. I could run away but then I'll never see you again."
"And if they find you they'll kill you!"
"Tell me what to do! I can't do it. I won't go to war. I'm not going to fight your people. Tell me what to do, Nixie!" He started to cry and pound the ground with his fist causing water to splash up in his face.
"You have to." I whispered and quickly wiped away the tears that threatened to roll down my cheeks. "I guess we were never meant to be."
He looked into my eyes and glared at me. "What?"
"Face it, Bradley. How would we have ever worked out anyway? I can't be on dry land for long before I start drying out and you can barely even swim!" I laughed bitterly. "There was no hope for us. So it really doesn't matter if you go to war against us."
He grabbed me by the shoulders and pulled me up a little higher to his eye level. "I said stop it, Nixie! Just shut up!" He shouted in my face in pure anger but I could see love and hurt in his eyes.
His grip was so tight on my shoulders but I couldn't bring myself to tell him he was hurting me. "This is for the best." I squeaked.
"No! We'll figure something out." He lowered me down but still held onto me just as tightly.
"I have to go." I pulled hard and he fell face down into the water which caused him to release me and then I quickly plunged into the waves. Once I got about fifty feet deeper into the sea two mermen starting advancing towards me. I was tempted to swim away from them but then I saw that they were two of the kings guards. They were appointed with magic to use if force was needed. I didn't have a chance. "Ma'am. you're under arrest. Please, come with us peacefully. It make things a lot easier." The guard closest to me said. I gulped and tried to hide my nervousness and let the two guards lead me away.
My heart nearly stopped when the kingdom's prison came into view. I thought again about trying to escape but before I could make up my mind I was behind thick, rusted, steel bars. I don't know how long I was in there before I saw anyone again. Days. Weeks. Since no one was coming to see me I just slept the entire time. Finally I was woken up by a guard telling me I had a visitor. "Mrs Caper!" She came in and reached her arms through the bars and held my hands tightly. "I'm so sorry!" I started to cry when I saw the pain and disappointment in her eyes. "I should've listen to you."
"No, dear. I'm sorry. I'm the one who turned you in." She said without her usually nervous tone.
I let go of her hands abruptly. "You? I trusted you all my life and you betrayed me like this. Why?" I felt sick to my stomach and had to swallow a gag in my throat.
"Keep your voice down!" She whispered through gritted teeth. "I'm going to get you out of here, Nixie." She pulled a key out of her bikini top and unlocked the cell door. "We have to hurry." She grabbed my arm and we swam out of the prison without any sign of any guards. She took me back home and then explained to me that it had been a week since I had been arrested and the war between the humans and the sea people had begun. Loaded submarines began emerging two days ago and are now thirty feet deep. Once they get seventy-five deeper they will have completely reach our kingdom and begin attacking. I was trying to process all the information she was feeding me however, the only thought running through my mind was Bradley. I had to see him!
I quickly swam away and started for shore. I past hundreds of submarines and luckily avoided them all. When I finally got to shore I gasped at what I saw. There were men dressed in camouflage with huge guns and ships skimming the horizon, and submarines being lowered off of docks into the water. I was horrified. I hid behind Paradise and glanced around. I didn't see Bradley anywhere. What if he was already in one of the submarines getting ready to fight. I pushed him away so why wouldn't he. Just then I saw him running onto the beach. He was frantic. He started punching soldiers in the head and tackling anyone who got in his way. "Bradley!" I called out without trying to. He turned to look at me and then he started charging towards me. Soldiers were trying to drag him down to the ground but he just shook them off. He was smiling as he came closer but then he came to a halt just as he reached me. "Bradley?" I whispered. He dropped to his knees and then feel on his face. A man stood behind him with his gun aimed. I looked down and saw a hole in the back of the only man I ever got the chance to love. I looked at the soldier who killed my love and turned my eyes dark and cold on him. He lowered his aim and stared at his feet. I grabbed Bradley by the shoulders and pulled him closer to me. "Bradley, I'm sorry." I whispered through sobs. I kissed his face all over. "Please don't leave me." His eyes stared up at me. They were empty and glassy. I tried to close them but I couldn't do it. My hands were too shaky. Before I knew it I had started screaming. Soldiers were dropping to the ground covering their ears. A sea person has a scream that is very loud and can be heard from over twenty miles away. It was used to ward off predators but today I screamed for myself and Bradley. I screamed because of the pain I felt from a broken heart. I screamed for so long, soldiers started retreated and people stopped getting submarines ready. I wasn't sure what was happening under water. I continued to scream as I dragged Bradley's body under the water with me. I took him down deeper and deeper, past the halted submarines, past the kingdom, I took him to the darkest and very bottom of the sea. I stopped screaming and just held him close. I kissed his lifeless lips and cried. This is where I belong. With my love.
I stayed there, holding my dead lover, for the rest of my lifetime.
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