Posted by: Jess | September 11, 2011

Fantasy / Reality



The other night I had a dream that I was a mermaid. This was unusually because I am not a girly girl and don’t usually have Disney like dreams. I have more Lord of the Rings or Doctor Who like dreams. The other surprising thing about this dream was how vivid the colors in it were.

It started out that I was a mermaid in a group of other mermaids (about 6) and an older mermaid who was the matron of our group. The matron, lets call her Madam, was in charge of teaching us young mermaids and keeping us safe. She kept reminding us of how endangered we were with such intensity and I thought it was just her over protectiveness for us. One of the things she would over emphasis was cleaning your tails and the correct way to dispose of our scales. This I found so mundane and repetitive that I usually didn’t do that great of a job of throwing away my scales and got many punishments for it. I couldn’t understand why this was so important. The scales on my tail were so brilliantly colored with iridescent blues and greens and would shimmer even in poor light. The color within the scales would last even after the scales were detached from my tail and I would leave them around my alcove in pretty little patterns. The school in which we all lived was a series of tunnels and crevices and instead of doors there were blankets of sea weed and kelp to separate one area from another. Most dens had natural sun light and the others were lit by glowing lava like rocks or luminous sea creatures.

One day I was fed up with not getting any clear answer as to why we couldn’t keep our old scales. So I asked a friend of mine who was older than me. *I can’t remember her name but her hair and tail were a wonderful color of red, yellow and orange (ginger mermaid).* Lets call her Ginger. I told Ginger that I thought it was stupid for us not to keep our used scales and that I didn’t see any harm in keeping them. I ranted and raved untill she finally decided to tell me or rather show me why we couldn’t keep them. She told me to bring one of my scales and to follow her in a hushed tone.

We snuck out of her alcove and through many tunnels until we were in a very narrow but deep channel. The walls of the channel were lined with a dull dark green slimy grass like vegetation. I noticed that the lighting and color of things in this channel were almost a smoggy dim color. Even the water in which we swam wasn’t clear like the water back at the school. We then started to swim toward the surface were I could see the roots of trees and long weeds trailing in the small current of the stream we were in. We reached the surface and I could see sad-looking willows and thorn bushes and choke weeds everywhere. I couldn’t believe the contrast to the dazzling vivid colors I had grown accustomed to at the school. Just as I was starting to become frightened of this eerie place Ginger turned toward me and whispered to put my scale on a mated grassy area. I looked at her puzzled about what this could possible accomplish, but I did what she said. I reached up over the muddy edge and placed my scale onto the grass. Almost immediately I saw the thin sickly grass grow into a bright lush patch of grass and then a small pink flower arises out of the middle blooming into a magnificent radiant pink evening primrose. I couldn’t believe what had happen before my eyes! Because of my one scale this once dead tangled piece of land was now plush and vibrant. I reached up and retrieved my blue scale. The soft bright green grass moved effortlessly out-of-the-way then springing back into place still green even without the aid of the scale.
“Now you understand why we have to stay hidden and how precious our scales are,” Ginger said.
I looked at her confused and replied, “Not really.”
“If people knew what our scales are capable of doing we would be hunted down and kept in tanks. Never to swim in open water and harvested for scales and who knows what else!” she shrieked failing to keep her voice down.
“OK,” I said, “I get it. We can go now.”
She dived under the surface when I noticed a small flat bridge going across the river. I continued to stare at its dusty wood boards and the small foot path on either side of it. When Ginger realized that I wasn’t following her back down into the channel she returned to face me with worry in her eyes.
“What are you doing?”
“What’s that?” I asked pointing at the small bridge. She turned to see what I was referring to then sharply turned back to me.
“That’s nothing.” She said with her eyes wider than before.
I raised one eyebrow and said, “That most certainly in not nothing.”
I swam a little closer to it to see if I could see where the path was coming from or leading to. This sent Ginger into a tizzy and she started to wave her hands back and forth.
“It’s a human path. We are not safe here! We must leave!” exclaimed Ginger with more and more terror with each syllable.

Just as I was about to each out and touch the wooden planks Ginger and I both froze to the sound of the soft thudding sound of boots coming closer and closer to the bridge. In a flurry, that had very little splash, Ginger was gone swimming to the shadowy depths of the channel. Curiosity overcame my fear and I ducked under the bridge to see if I could gather just a glimpse of these horrible humans. I could hear a group of foot beats coming steadily toward the bridge.
“Is it much farther then ye Captain?” I could hear a rumbling scruffy voice say.
“I ‘ope so. Me back can’t take much more ov this.” Came a squeally voice in reply.
“Now good gentle men. The ship is just down in the harbor. Anxiously waiting our arrival of goods in hand. It won’t be long now.” rang out a deep strong voice.
“Aye Captain.” groaned both the men.

A first set of boots came across the bridge and louder slower set followed after it. I peered out of the shadow of the bridge to see two dirty men, one short and barrel chested and the other taller and thinner than the other one, slowly struggling to carry a huge dark green truck. They continued to carry the truck after the path to the left and down a steep set of stairs groaning and swearing with each step. Then I saw the most hansom men I ever laid my eyes on. Surly the Captain of the three men. He stood there with is face to the wind wearing a dark blue naval suit and high collared shirt. His light orange slightly curly hair catching the last of the days sunlight. His face was clean-shaved but for a long patch running parallel with his ear. I stared in wonder at this distinguished man. How could we possible not live within the same world as these humans. He must have felt my presence and he looked back at the bridge. I panicked and dove under the surface creating a small splash. Could he have seen me? I only had my eyes above the water. My heart pounding in my chest I could now hear the soft thudding of his boots coming closer to the water’s edge. I swam deeper into the channel for fear he would see me. His face then peered standing over the river’s edge. I watched his eyes to see if he could see me in the murky depths, but his eyes darted from side to side without recognition of me. He was just about to leave when his eye caught sight of something down along the river’s edge. I watched as he walked to the newly grown patch of grass with the pink rose in the middle. He bent down admiring its beauty up close. His hand then went to grab the base of the flowers stem when he stopped and hesitated. I couldn’t tell what his saw beside the flower then he reached through the tall grass and pulled out my blue scale. I saw him examining it in his hands and gasped sending a small ripple to the surface. His head sharply turned toward the water and his eyes narrowed to see what had caused the ripple. Just as I was trying to figure out if I should swim to the surface and face this gorgeous man or turn tail and swim as fast as I could back to school and pray that Ginger didn’t tell Madam of our adventure I heard a muffled yell from somewhere over by the bridge. Without taking his eyes off of the river the Captain placed my blue scale inside his coat pocket and yelled a response toward the bridge. He stayed crouched staring into the water for what felt like hours then he stood smoothed his coat with his hands and steadily walked back to the path and down the stairs toward the harbor. I watched him untill his head disappeared behind the rock ledge.

As soon as I reached the safety of the school tunnels I was met with a trembling Ginger.
“I thought for sure that you had been snatched up by those awful looking men!” Said Ginger in a hushed but fearful tone.
“Did you tell Madam?!”
“Of course not! ” she exclaimed pressing her face closer to mine, “I’m not an idiot. Madam would have us spend a night with the eels if she ever found out where we were.”
The thought of the eels made my pulse jump. This was second worse punishment that Madam would give us. The first being to be banned and exiled from the school. The eels had a vicious mean-spirited nature and while they wouldn’t kill a mermaid they would certainly tortured one until it wished for death.
“Well she won’t find out. So be glad that we’re back.” I said hoping she wouldn’t notice that I hadn’t come back with my scale. This seemed to calm her a bit and she went to her alcove to rest. I then went to my alcove to ponder why we had been taught to fear humans. I tossed and turned in my sea bed all night thinking of the handsome Captain and whether I would ever see him again.
In the morning I decided that I would ask Madam why humans where as evil as thought them to be. I arrived very early to class and waited for Madam. She cam into the room with a small net full of interesting looking things. She stopped at soon as she saw me then set the net on a ledge.
“Well your here early. To what do I owe the pleasure of this early visit?”
“I wanted to ask you a few things?” I asked in a small timid voice.
“Yes about what?”
“About… um humans.”
There was a long pause then she laughed and said, “Why on earth would you want to know more about those two-legged barbarians?”
“Are they as evil as we think them to be? I mean it’s been so long since any mermaid has seen a human. Maybe things have changed in the time..”
“Changed?!” she said cutting me off before I could ask more. “You think those blood thirsty animals could change? They care only for themselves and do as they want with no regard for others. No compassion. No mercy. They are simply born without these emotions and they will never change.”
I knew then that Madam would never see the humans as more than wild beasts. “Oh.. I had no idea.” I replied.
“Well you are still young and have much to learn.” she said turning her attention to her net and started setting up for the days lessons.
I went back to my assigned seat and continued the days plans without any more talk of humans. After the lessons had finished I went back to my alcove. How could Madam be so angry toward the humans? Had she ever seen one? She would not think this way if she had seen what I had seen in that small river. I could not stop thinking of the Captain and seeing him peer into the water almost searching for me. I had to see him again. Maybe even talk to him. To see if he was truly evil like Madam had said.
I swam out of my alcove and headed for the dark channel but taking a differing route so I wouldn’t run into Ginger and have her try to stop me. I took the tunnel that leads passed the deep-sea volcanos and vents were Madam takes our scales to burn. I knew no one would be down in tunnel because almost all the mermaids are afraid of the deep rumbling sound coming from the vents. I carefully moved around the vents not burning my tail and scales. As I swam out of the hot water my tail knocked a bolder lose sending it crashing to floor below. I turned quickly to see if anyone had heard the crash and come to see what it was. Seeing that the tunnel was still empty I looked to see where the bolder had fallen from and were the bolder was. I saw a large hole and inside were bags and bags all different colored scales. Why had these scales not been burned? And why were they hidden? Having no time to inspect the bags thoroughly before sunset I replaced the bolder and swam toward the channel. I reached the murky water right before the last of the sunlight had faded. I slowly approached the surface and just let my eyes go above water. I first saw the brilliant color of the pink rose still as luminous as I had first seen it bloom then looked to see if the Captain had returned. I looked over to the bridge to see him standing over the water with his back to me. I almost shrieked with joy at the sight of him. I dove into the water to swim closer toward the bridge without creating ripples. I resurfaced just inches away from boards of the bridge. I looked up at the back of the captains boots and as he turned I ducked under the bridge before he saw me. This time leaving ripples in my haste. I swam to the other side of the bridge and resurfaced over the ledge to see the Captain hunched down peering into the water. I realised that the Captain had returned, but without spears, nets and a large tank to take me away in. Madam was wrong about humans and she was the one who had secrets of her own. Then I remembered how throughout all the long years she had taught us her appearance hadn’t changed. She had always been older than us but she hadn’t aged like older mermaids would. Somehow the bags of scales I had found and this new fact of her age were connected.
I put all my fear aside and lifted myself out of the water using the railing of the bridge. At the sound of the water dripping from me the Captain turned and we were almost eye to eye with each other. He stared in wonder at me and I looked at him with admiration. neither one of us spook as he inched his way closer to me. See that I wasn’t about to sprint back into the channel he moved even closer to me. I reached out my hand to the side of his face. His skin felt warm under my hand. When he didn’t pull away we both joined lips in a kiss that was almost electric.

And then I woke up…..

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