Chapter 2

 Seventh Bay

Chapter 2

Waking

After the human had passed out (something he hadn’t exactly expected) the merman had hauled himself up onto the shore, with only his silvery tail barely dipping into the water. Not that he needed water at all times to live, but being out of it for too long made his tail start to dry out. And that got to be uncomfortable.

He had pulled the human close to his own body, surprised to find that they fit together reasonably well. His tail was considerably longer than the human’s legs, and he was more tanned. The human was wearing clothes, like most humans did. The merman hadn’t understood that about them, after all you don’t need clothes in the sea.

The merman picked at the human’s heavy clothes, wondering how they didn’t stifle the poor guy. He pulled one arm of the shirt up, and was surprised to see blood on the human’s arm. He pushed the shirt up further, but the human stirred. The merman, suddenly shy and not wanting to scare the boy again, quickly dove back into the water. He only let his head surface this time, watching the human as he woke.


Jason woke slowly, awareness coming in stages. He could smell the sea, hear the waves. He could taste blood in his mouth. He could feel the cold rock under him. He could feel the sting of the salty air in the cuts on his arm.

His memory of the merman returned last. He quickly sat up, and instantly regretted it. His head throbbed. There came a soft splash, and that musical voice said, “Careful now.”

Jason stared at the merman. He wasn’t grinning before, just looking at Jason in an odd way, like he was studying him. It made Jason feel strange. The human broke eye contact, and got to his knees, intending to stand. But he didn’t make it that far before he got dizzy and fell forward, one of his hands slipping into the water.

The merman made a soft noise, and Jason felt something brush his hand. He looked up, startled to see the merman holding his hand, staring at him. Jason weakly pulled his hand back, and was slightly surprised that the merman didn’t resist. Jason backed away from the water a little, and asked weakly, “What . . . who . . . are you?”

The merman cocked his head sideways, as though the question puzzled him. “So you can speak. I wondered. You land people call us merfork, yes? We are the Folk. The People. Sea People. Water Folk. Yes, Water Folk.” The merman smiled. “And my name is Laven. Who are you?” He again rested his arms on the rock.

Jason hesitantly edged closer. “Um, I’m Jason. Sorry, are you really a mermaid?”

Laven snorted, a strange sound that still came out musical. He propped himself up until his entire torso was out of the water. “Do I look female to you?” He looked hot, Jason thought, but he didn’t say that. He shook his head instead. Laven looked satisfied, and sank back down so that only his shoulders rose above the waves. Jason was hesitant to ask, he felt he had to. “Um, I saw it earlier, but your tail . . . I mean-”

“You mean this?” Laven raised his large silvery tail out of the water. Jason’s eyes widened, and Laven laughed. “You humans will gawk at anything. What’s so strange? I may have a tail, but you have two useless stubs you stumble around on.” He rolled his eyes.

Some of Jason’s natural teenage sarcasm seemed to be alive and well. “At least I can stumble around. If you left the water you’d just flop around!” He gestured to Laven’s tail, obviously not designed for walking.

Laven’s eyes flashed with annoyance, but Jason thought there was a hint of amusement as well. The merman dove underwater, and for a moment Jason thought he had left. Then motion caught his eye, and he looked up just as Laven burst out of the still water. He twisted through the air like it was nothing, and sliced smoothly back into the water. A second later he burst out of the water at the shore, drenching Jason and causing him to leap back with a cry of shock.

Laven landed on the shore easily, and laid back on his elbows. He smirked at Jason, and said, “I’d like to see a human do that.” Jason was speechless. The entire form of the merman was visible now, the entire length of his tail out of the water. Jason guessed that it was at least five feet long, making the merman considerably taller than he was. There were a few other things he noticed, such as the translucence of the largest fins at the end of his tail, how they were ridged, and the edges looked sharp. His scales shone like silver. And right below his waist, there was a slight bulge right where his male anatomy would be, if he were human.

Laven raised an eyebrow as he noticed where Jason was looking. “Do humans often look at others of their own gender like you do?” Jason started, and averted his eyes. But he did answer Laven’s question. “Not . . . not many. We consider it a bad thing, to be with one of the same gender. My father would disown me if he thought I was like that.”

Laven’s brow furrowed, and a look of confusion crossed his face. “Humans are strange . . . the Folk think nothing of such things. We choose for mates those who we love. But they say our emotions are different. Stronger, I suppose.” He looked at Jason differently now, as if seeing him for the first time.

Jason nearly wilted under his gaze. He looked away, out to sea. He started as he realized how late it was. He glanced down at his soaking wet clothes and glared at Laven, who laughed. “It’s water, Jason. It’s not going to hurt you. Which reminds me; how did you get here? I didn’t smell you in the water.”

Jason gestured to the cliffs. “I climbed. Almost fell a few times.” The merman looked shocked. “Foolish humans. Why climb when you can swim?”

Jason shrugged. It was no use explaining he couldn’t swim like Laven could. “It doesn’t matter. It’s getting late though . . . I should go.” He turned towards the cliffs, but Laven stopped him by saying, “If you’d like, I can help you get back to shore from the sea. Much safer than those cliffs.” He scoffed at the rocks.

Jason hesitated, and a spark of sanity returned to the scene. “Don’t mer-people, um, like to drown humans?” That had always been something the stories had in common. But Laven snorted. “Some of my kind find that amusing, but not me. And besides, you’re not too bad.” He held out a hand for Jason to take.

Jason hesitated a moment longer, then took the merman’s hand. Laven grinned, and pulled Jason into the water. For a few panicked seconds, Jason was sure the merman had lied and was trying to drown him. But Laven pulled him back to the surface and Jason gulped down air. Laven snickered, and while Jason had to tread water vigorously, Laven seemed able to remain completely motionless, and still stay afloat.

When at last Jason had gotten used to the water, Laven pulled him along, making sure he didn’t slip under the water. They moved very fast, faster than Jason could ever have swum by himself. It was barely two minutes before they were back at the beach, ducking low in the surf. But everyone had gone.

Jason stood up, the water coming to about his middle. Laven also rose, though Jason could see he was propping himself up with his tail. Laven scanned the beach quickly, then turned to Jason with a smile. “And here we are. Safe and sound.”

Jason smiled back. “Thanks. It would have taken me a while to climb back over the cliffs.” For a long minute, they just looked at each other, then Jason blushed and looked away. Laven was the one who broke the silence. “So, will I ever see you again?”

Jason shrugged. “I don’t know . . . but I might come to the bay again soon, if you’re still there.” He glanced hopefully at the merman. Laven smiled. He looked out to sea, and nodded. “I like that bay. It has everything I need, though it’s cut off from the sea at low tide. I’ll be there, if you ever come again.”

Jason grinned and hugged the merman impulsively. After a shocked pause, Laven slowly hugged him back. Jason pulled away, blushing slightly. “Sorry . . . so, see you again soon?”

Laven nodded, and smiled softly. He quickly pecked Jason on the cheek, and dove back into the sea. All Jason saw, in his rather shocked state, was Laven’s silvery fin disappearing into the depths.

Chapter 3

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