Chapter 1

 Seventh Bay

Chapter 1

Seventh Bay

There is a great beauty in the open sea. An amazing power in the deep, a rolling thunder in the waves. The ocean is mighty yet mysterious, yet it is by the seashore that our story takes place. In a little bay, the seventh discovered on that coast, there hid a great secret. For all humans talk of finding the bottom of the ocean and the wonders it would hold, they put little stock in what might live in the shallow inlets so close to their own homes.

If they had, perhaps they would have seen sooner, the creature that had taken up residence there. Seen a tanned human-like hand hunting for food among the smaller creatures, caught a glimpse of the mighty fish-like tail that beat the water as the creature vanished into the deeper waters near the cliffs.


Jason walked dejectedly up the drive. School hadn’t gone well, and he wasn’t looking forward to telling his father that. He wished his mother were still . . . around. She would have encouraged him to do better, not punished him for doing worse. His father meanwhile, wouldn’t listen to reason this time.

Ever since his mother had drowned two months ago, Jason’s grades had been slipping. He had gone from B’s and C’s to D’s and F’s. He had never been a straight A student, but his father wasn’t happy with the grades he was bringing home. He pulled his back-pack further up his shoulders, and turned the last corner.

He felt hope. His father’s truck wasn’t in the driveway, which meant he was either working late or he had gone to run errands. Jason quickly unlocked the door and went up to his room, storing his back-pack and kicking off his shoes. He went back downstairs, glancing at the clock on the wall in the hallway as he passed. Almost 5. Practice for Track had dragged on longer than usual. He got out a pan and started finding something to make for dinner.

Ever since his mother had passed, Jason had been doing the cooking. His father had always been a lousy cook, and after a few nights of him trying, Jason had taken over. They were both grateful for that.

Jason was just stirring rice into the frying chicken when he heard the truck pull into the driveway. He heard the door open and close, and heavy footsteps on the front deck. His father came into the kitchen, a bundle of things under his arm. Jason’s dad was a fairly imposing man, with the same honey blonde hair as Jason, and bright blue eyes that seemed able to stare right into your soul. Jason was always quietly happy he’d inherited his mother’s gray eyes.

Jason’s father looked into the pan and nodded approvingly. “Smells good, Jase. I’ll get the groceries out of the truck, then we’ll eat, okay?” He didn’t wait for an answer, I fact he rarely did. He just set down his bundle and walked back out the door. Jason sighed, stirring at the mixture in the pan. He tasted it, making sure the rice was soft enough, then turned off the heat and set the pan on the back burner. He got down bowls, and pulled a few forks from a nearby drawer.

His father walked in, laden with paper bags. Jason moved to help, and they got them put away quickly. Then they sat down to eat, Jason knowing that his luck had run out. And sure enough, after a few minutes of silence, his father asked, “So, Jase, how was school?”

Jason tensed, and briefly considered lying, but he knew he’d never get away with it. So he settled on the truth. “I failed an algebra test today. But practice was good.” He knew he hadn’t managed to downplay his failed test at all when his father frowned at him.

“Jason, you know how important your grades are. This is the fourth failed test this month! If your grades don’t pick up, you’ll be kicked off the team, and I know you don’t want that. Until you start improving, you’re grounded. No friends, no going out after seven. I want you home studying, you hear me?”

Jason had to bite back a stream of complaints. He was grounded, because algebra was difficult? He shoved to his feet, ignoring whatever his father was about to say, and hurried up to his room, slamming the door behind him.

He went straight to the nightstand, pulling open the top drawer and moving the false bottom. There were a few things in there that his father, the conservative man that he was, had no idea existed. A box of condoms, a few dirty magazines, and a little bottle of tequila that he’d gotten from a friend. And something else if he could just find it . . . . Jason hissed as he felt a sharp pain in his finger. Ignoring it, he pulled out the razor blade.

He knew it was stupid. He knew that it wouldn’t end well. He knew that having scars on his arm wasn’t attractive. He knew he’d have to wear sweatshirts all the time to hide them. He’d have to quit track to hide them. But that all went away as he pressed the cold blade to his skin and blood dripped down his fingers.


A few hours later, after he was sure his father had gone to bed, Jason jumped out his window. The fall wasn’t bad, and he’d done it hundreds of times. He stumbled when he landed, still a little dizzy. He shoved his hands into the pockets of his hoody, and started down the worn path to the beach.

The beach was mostly empty at that time. A few delinquent teenagers, and a couple that were passionately entwined. Jason turned the other way, heading towards the six bays. He knew that there were actually seven, but the path just led to six of them. The seventh was further along the coast, and it was difficult to get to. He’d been there once, with his mother. They had gotten in, swimming around the point. The cove itself was quite beautiful, with it’s several tidal pools and huge rocks. Underwater was even more beautiful, the cliffs marked with caves and the ocean floor dotted with coral and vibrant water plants.

Jason decided that he wanted to see it again, if even just once. It would make him sad, but it might bring him some peace. He started down the path, humming to himself as he passed the other bays. They weren’t large, in fact the seventh was the biggest. They were isolated at low tide, when the water level dropped and sandbars blocked their access to the sea.

He saw a few more teenagers making out at a few of the bays. They were a popular hang out spot in the small town. No one ever asked if you wanted to go to the arcade, or to the YMCA. The town didn’t even have a good club. It had the bays.

At last, he reached the end of the path. The sixth bay opened to his left, and cliffs rose in front of him. He knew that the seventh bay lay nestled within them. He pushed off the path, into the underbrush. He almost immediately reached the cliff. Seeing where some had managed to climb it, he reached up, found a handhold, and started to climb. He made good time, his muscles were in shape.

When he reached the top, he paused to catch his breath. The sea looked gorgeous in the twilight. He looked down into the seventh bay, and slowly started to climb down. The rocks were more sloped on this side, so it was easier. It wasn’t long before he was sitting on a rock near the water’s edge.

He started to doze, the sound of the water and the soft breeze lulling him into a semi-trance. So he almost didn’t notice when something leaped out of the water in the middle of the bay. At the splash, he jolted back to full awareness, staring at the water. He slowly got to his feet, and crept towards the water’s edge. He looked down at his reflection for a minute, looking down at his smiling face.

Then Jason realized that he wasn’t smiling. He opened his mouth in shock as he realized the face in the water wasn’t his own. The face grinned up at him, and started laughing, bubbles rising to the surface. Jason backed up quickly, and the person in the water surfaced.

He was handsome, Jason had to admit. Water streamed off his glistening black hair, his eyes black, with no white around his irises. His skin was tanned, but he looked Caucasian. He rose further from the water, his shoulders appearing above the surface, and he rested his arms on the rock. With a jolt, Jason saw that his arms had ridges on them, like fins.

He spoke, and his voice was mellow, but musical. “You humans are rather funny, aren’t you?” He was still grinning, and there came a slight splash behind him. Jason saw the flash of a silvery tail.

It was too much for him. He was already dizzy from blood loss and the climb. It was late and he had been tired. He couldn’t take it all at once. Jason felt everything going dark, and slumped backwards, reality fleeing.

After all, who really believes in merfolk, anyways?

Chapter 2

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