New Mermaid Story from Mermaiden Crystal
A hand slipped over my mouth in the dark and I froze. Scream! Thrash! Do something!
“Crys? It’s me, Sid.”
Relief washed over my body and I let my spine relax. I tapped Obsidian’s hand with one finger and he laughed as he removed it. “Oops, sorry. Hey call off your killer penguin, won’t you?”
We both looked down to see Pepper pecking and gnawing at Sid’s fingers that were hanging at his side. He lifted his hand and shook until Pepper let go and floated into my lap. I laughed, scooping up my fluffy little friend and he nuzzled me, thinking I was showing my gratitude to him for saving me from a dreadful end.
“Come on. Brush your hair and get pretty. We’re going out!” Sid’s blue eyes sparkled with excitement and anticipation as he pulled me out of my nest of cushions and furs.
“Oh Obsidian, I don’t think we should do that! Father will be so angry! And just think of how scared Mother will be. We can’t do this..” I kept talking while Obsidian ignored me and ran a brush through my hair and stuck a flower in it. I protested while he helped me into a fur cloak and shoved me out the door, although he left Pepper inside and I could hear his unhappy cries from outside.Up until the very moment that we left the palace, I whispered my objections.
“Hey! Hey Crys,” Sid grabbed me by the shoulders and looked in my eyes with that boyish half smile. “Look around you! We’re already outside. That wasn’t so hard was it?” He stared at me until I finally shrugged timidly. “Calm down and have fun, Crys! You have to live a little!”
My brother gave me an encouraging smile and grabbed my hand, pulling me away from my warm bed and into whatever cold trouble awaited us.
Although it normally takes half the day to travel from our home in the palace to the outskirts of our kingdom, Obsidian cut the time down to only half an hour with his heat-induced speed. I clung to his back until he tapped on my arm, sure that I would choke him if I held on any tighter.
We sped over the white kingdom, with homes carved out of ice and thousands of glow stones lighting the paths. I hadn’t spent a lot of time out of the palace grounds so I was amazed to see it all so close up! Where in the Seven Seas is he taking us? I wondered while we passed over so many towns I lost count.
At last I felt us slowing down and soon we were just sailing over raw, jagged pieces of ice. I flipped off of Obsidian’s back now that I knew I could keep up with him. I dove a little and ran my fingers across the ice beneath me, smoothing it and sending little shocks into the frigid terrain that resurfaced as twirling and spiraling designs. Obsidian looked down and laughed his carefree chuckle. With a flick of his tail he traced my patterns with heat and singed the ice until it steamed and glowed bright red before fading to a black. We laughed together, taking me back to our childhood when this had been life. Sid and Crys, going on adventures, getting into trouble, freezing and burning. I was filled with bittersweet memories.
I nearly didn’t notice the music until I saw the shadows dancing behind a mountain, backlit by an amazing show of light. I turned to look uncertainly at Obsidian and I watched the shadows play on the edges of his nose, cheekbones, and chin. He seemed to be at the pinnacle of his excitement and that made me nervous!
We reached the top of the ice heap and as we began our descent, I felt as though someone had picked me up and dropped me into an entirely different world.
The valley we had now entered was bowl-shaped and lined with rows and rows of bioluminescent creatures of varying colors. There were also glow stones strung on lines of rope hung across the space so that they appeared weightless and floating in the low light. There were musicians too, beating on and blowing in and strumming at strange instruments that I’d never seen before. The music they made was the most upbeat and exciting that I had ever heard! It made me want to dance along with the throngs of young merfolk already bobbing and swaying beneath me. They were everywhere and something told me they didn’t all come from our kingdom. There were some with cute freckles and pale skin like Brynn and others with the lovely dark skin and huge curls like Destiny.
Obsidian pulled me faster down into the frenzy and we dropped right into the middle of things. “Isn’t this amazing?” Obsidian yelled above the music and singing and roar of the crowd. His eyes looked like they were full of fire and he had the widest grin on his face that I’d ever seen. He clapped his hands to the beat and bobbed his head along. I laughed at his silly dancing but then he grabbed my arms and made me dance along with him. We ended up in a fit of giggles.
Gradually the music slowed and mellowed. Obsidian winked at me, “Sorry little sis, I gotta go find a partner who I can charm with my unbelievable good looks and sense of humor.” I scoffed and shook my head at him, moving to go get a drink and to avoid the awkwardness of dancing alone when everyone else had a partner. I was used to this part, as this was usually how it was at home when we had social events.
I began weaving my way through the throngs of merfolk. Just as I was leaving the circle of dancers, someone caught onto my hand and spun me around into a ready pair of arms. I bristled. “Woah! Excuse me! Let me go you–“
I looked up at my captor and saw a lovely pair of dark brown eyes smiling back at me. The merman’s eyebrows shot up and his grin revealed brilliant white teeth. My eyes traveled up to his hair, dirty blonde and long, but not too long. I breathed out slowly, hoping that I wasn’t blushing as deeply as I felt I was. His deepening smirk told me otherwise.
“Excuse me,” I squeaked, furious at the high pitch of my voice. “I’d like to go get a drink if you don’t mind.”
“I do though, that’s the problem.” The stranger started to rock back and forth, forcing me to sway alongside him. “It’s not every day I meet such a beautiful mermaid as yourself and I want to treasure this moment.”
I stared at him like he’d suddenly sprouted tentacles on his head. Is this supposed to impress me? “What do you mean?” I asked suspiciously.
He smiled again. “I mean you’re the most beautiful thing I’ve seen all night and I’d like to dance with you!”
“Oh, right.” I hadn’t expected him to be so direct. I cleared my throat. “Well I guess we already are dancing so it wouldn’t hurt to finish the song.”
“That’s exactly what I was thinking. It’s like we’re the same person!” This made me giggle a little so I settled in to enjoy a dance. This is what I wanted, I suppose.
We exchanged names, his being Jax. A long pause ensued, in which I looked down anxiously and he stared at me confidently. Finally, I couldn’t take the silence. “So, why me?”
“Why me? Why did you ask me to dance instead of all these other beautiful mermaids?” I looked around. The stress and anxiety of being pulled out of my bed so late at night and the threat of getting caught by my parents was catching up with me. I felt a streak of irritation surfacing and suddenly I wanted to make this merman as uncomfortable as I was! “I mean, if beauty is all you care about, this place is swimming with beautiful mermaids! Why me?”
A look of surprise shot through Jax’s face but passed as quickly as it had come. The look of determination that settled in next made me rethink my words. “Well, darling if you really must know, I saw you and a young man that looked very much like you, who I’m going to assume and pray is your brother, dancing together. I saw you laughing and the way that your eyes sparkled and your hair brushed your face and all I could think of was that I wanted to be the one who made you laugh like that.”
Your jaw is hanging open, I thought. Say something, now.
“You were watching me?” My voice only squeaked a little this time.
“Not in a creepy way!” he added quickly.
I nodded, still stunned. Another long pause.
“So,” Jax prodded, “what could I say to hear that laugh again?”
I stared at him, hard. Could he actually be for real? Then I smiled timidly. “You could describe what my brother looked like when he was dancing.”
We danced and laughed and talked for hours. Jax lived in Waverlee’s kingdom, as I had pretty much guessed from his golden skin and sun bleached hair. He said he was in training to become a guard in the palace, as this would provide the most support for his family of five siblings and his parents. I felt awful when I realized how poor his family was. Whenever he asked me questions about my own life I redirected them quickly, saying basically that I had one brother, two sisters, and a pet penguin. Every once in a while I would spot Obsidian, always with a different girl on his arm. Oh Sid, I thought with a small smile.
I was in the middle of telling Jax about the time Pepper almost got me into trouble with a pack of walruses when Obsidian came sailing over to me. “Hey Crys, we gotta go! I lost track of time and Mother and Father should be up really soon!”
Panicked, I turned to Jax and grabbed his hand. “Thank you for this night. You have no idea how much this means to me.” In a wild second of adrenaline and courage, I leaned up and kissed him on the cheek. Obsidian’s mouth dropped open and he sputtered a little. I giggled and then with a smile, I grabbed Sid’s hand and pulled him away. As we sailed over the rim of ice, I looked back. Jax was grinning and watching me. He winked just as I dropped out of sight.
Obsidian and I soared into my window in only a quarter of the time it took us to get to the dance. Pepper jumped up from where he had fallen asleep at the door and was instantly in my arms and hair and everywhere else. I was still beaming as I wrestled him into his little bed and tried to tuck him in.
“What was that, Crystal?! You just met him, how could you even think about doing that!” Obsidian’s voice was angry, an emotion I had never heard directed toward me by my twin brother. But not even that could make me regret my actions.
“Oh Sid, you’re overreacting! It was just a little kiss, nothing to get worked up about.”
“But, but…” he stammered. “You’re my little sister! You shouldn’t be kissing guys! Guys are mean and cruel and…and…”
“You’re a guy, aren’t you? And what about all those mermaids you danced with tonight? Aren’t they someone’s sisters and daughters, too?” I laughed at his use of the term “little sister”(as twins, I’m technically only a few minutes younger) and shoving him toward the door, said “Go to bed, Sid. We’ll talk more about this in the morning.”
“Please let this be just a bad dream,” he groaned as he left. I giggled again and then slipped into my bed of cushions and fur, still picturing Jax’s face as I drifted off.