The Mer-girl

I know you won’t believe me, but I need to tell you what happened to me that day, back when I was twelve, before I leave for good.

How I had been thrown clean through the windscreen to land at the edge of a little stream, whilst my Mum and Dad, both safely fastened into their seats, had been killed, I will never know? What I do know is, that as I lay there and the blood from my cut head ran into the crystal clear water of the mountain stream a voice told me not to die. It wasn’t a voice in my head, nor was it a voice from someone near by, it was just a voice. 

I didn’t die that day although for a time I wished I had. The next six months of my life spent living at the edge of the North Sea with my grandparents, was a very unhappy one. My time convalescing was incredibly lonely. Everyday, I would hobble along the shoreline on my crutches and cry. My nana and granddad showered me with more love than a child could ever wish for, but the only thing I wanted was gone. My mum and dad would never be coming back and I wanted to be with them so much, wherever they were. 

One day, when I had managed to discard my crutches and realised that the stick I had to use would always be with me, I decided to take my own life. I would like to say it had been a hard decision, but it wasn’t. I’d simply had enough. My sorrow mirrored the depths of the sea that I gazed at every day, and I couldn’t take it anymore. 

I had kissed nana on the cheek and said thank you for such a lovely breakfast, it was only cereal, but I didn’t know how else to say goodbye. I had collected my walking stick that granddad had carved my name into so that nobody mistook it for their own and left my seaside home for the last time.

I hopped my way along the seashore for the last time and watched a sea mist roll slowly in. Good I had thought, I would slip away under the cover of God’s breath. I couldn’t have hoped for a better ending. I had chosen a particularly rugged set of rocks to jump from. I knew it might hurt for a moment, but it was worth it to spend the rest of eternity with my parents.

The climb up the wind-polished granite had been a difficult one, but I eventually stood overlooking the raging, froth-topped sea and smiled. It was a smile of satisfaction rather than pleasure. I knew I had made the right decision because it was the only decision I could make. I wedged my walking stick in-between two rocks so that granddad would get it back after all his hard work chiselling my name into it and jumped. It was as easy as that. No thought required.

The sea was so cold it chilled me to the core instantly. Salt water slipped into my open mouth and my tears merged with the undercurrent. It didn’t hurt, I relaxed into infinity. 

But my death was a short lived one, as I felt strong arms wrap around me and gently lift me upwards, coughing and spluttering to the surface. I was laid on my back across a rock and watched as the most beautiful woman in the world stroked my brow.

“I could not let he who gave me life perish below the ocean. Not yet.” 

I said nothing. I imagined I was dreaming even though I knew I was not.

“I was just a fish until your blood that seeped into the mountain stream gave me the life of something more. I could not let my father die.” She smiled at me and I smiled back.

Her voice was like the rolling of the tide, it lulled and caressed me. Seaweed covered her human body like a dress of emerald green, whilst her fish tale slapped occasionally at the roaring waves. She rested over me protecting my body from the sea spray until I felt able to move. 

She said nothing else, just smiled again, kissed me on the cheek, and ducked back below the surface of the thrashing sea. 

I had returned every year to the point where my old walking stick still marks the place where I first met her. I had sat for hours and waited patiently for the seed of my blood to show herself once again: she had not done so. 

But now, as I slip from the rock in old age, I know it is her hands that guide me into the waters. I know that I will never see my mum and dad. The depths of the ocean will be my burial home.  I swallow my last breath and trust to the care of my only daughter. She smiles to me with the look of a water-bound angel and I am happy at last.

“Now it is time to die,” she whispers. And it is.

5 thoughts on “The Mer-girl

  1. Your prose takes the reader on such an amazing journey — from this to your novel. I don’t feel like a reader, I feel I am woven in the fabric of your words.

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