okay weLL YALL KNOW I LOVE HIM SO I’M NOT SORRY
You spun around in the
water, shooting back and forth from end of the pool to beginning. The heat was
driving you crazy so the water was a cool relief. You rolled onto your back and
began to float mindlessly with a smile.
This is so relaxing, you thought then flipped over backwards.
A rush of air from the bottom of the pool shocked you into opening your eyes. A yell of shock escaped your mouth in a clot of bubbles.
A large tail slid by just inches from your face. That wasn’t any tail either. There was a great white shark in your pool.
Ridiculous! you thought, panicking, that’s c-completely impossible!
You tried to swim away but one flip of the massive tail propelled you backwards at a remarkable speed. Your head hit the siding of the pool, but you didn’t think about that as you shot up to the surface, clambering to get a hold on something.
There seemed to be no disturbance of the water from here and you heaved a sigh of relief. “I was just imagining it-” a flash of red caught your attention on the floor of the pool.
You scanned the surface once more before diving under to get a look at the thing scuttling along.
A crab? That makes no sense how could it- a hand reached from behind you and picked the crab up from the top, being careful of it’s pincers. It seemed to explode into bubbles at the touch.
You gulped, swallowing a mouthful of water as you pushed off the bottom to get back to the surface. Though not before a hand circled around an ankle and jerked you back.
This wasn’t happening, the chlorine was just messing with your vision. That must be it because what you saw was just impossible. The hand holding you under was attached to a human arm, connected to a human torso with a human head. But just below the navel the human was no longer. The body of a shark was latched onto his hips replacing his legs.
He was going to kill you. Just like the crab.
You began to feel your lungs aching for air but the…thing wasn’t conscious of that. Instead he found himself fascinated with you. Well more in your legs than you. One hand was still latched around your ankle and the other was running lightly along your calf.
“Amazing…” He murmured
Your head was pounding and you wondered if that was just the lack of oxygen. Come to think of it you had hit your head…. Come to think of it the water was tinted slightly pink, and the cloud was moving towards the creature. The gills lined along his neck twitched and his head jerked towards you.
If you could see his eyes you were sure he would be staring at you in hunger. His expression changed though, and he grabbed your wrist. He reached towards your head and you tried to fight back but you were running out of oxygen.
His fingers lightly skimmed the sore spot on your head and he cocked his head.
“Are you okay?"
You weren’t sure how he was speaking underwater. You weren’t sure of anything really, not why something like him exists or why he was in your pool. But you did see this as a chance to communicate you were in trouble.
You shook your head and held your hand over your neck. He ran the back of his hand over your throat and seemed to notice you were missing gills. He let go of you and you shot back to the surface.
You scrambled for the ledge and pulled yourself out, gasping for air and trying to scramble as far from the pool as you could.
Once you’d regained your breath you glanced back over, hoping you’d imagined it. Though with him leaning out of the water on his elbows staring at you with what might be concern you knew you hadn’t.
His purple-ish hair was clinging to his face, covering his eyes. But there was something holding his hair down. A blue gem dangled from a silver chain, adorned like a crown over his head. There were spears on his back held in place by a strap that didn’t look like it had come from the sea but was definitely weathered by it.
The scariest thing though was the scars covering him. One was a gash out of his chin. Another went across his chest over his shoulder and down his back. And the last, well lasts, were a collection of torn scars that looked terrifyingly close to a shark bite.
He saw your gaze lingering on his spears and he reached up to pull them off his back. You tensed and tried to crawl farther away but he held them out over the water and let them drop into the pool.
"You don’t need to be afraid of me. I’m not my father.”
His voice underwater had been smooth and bubbly (quite literally). But above water, it was deeper, a bit scratchy, and tentative, as though he wasn’t sure he was speaking right.
“Are you alright?"
You nodded and sat up straight, leaning a little closer. He smiled and used his forearms to pull himself farther out of the water. He made it so his entire torso was out of the water and his tail was still emerged.
You couldn’t take your eyes off of the gigantic tail that began at the very surface and still swished across the bottom of the deepest part of the pool.
"I wasn’t sure you….people were really real.” He said and moved his arm to touch your leg again. “My father told me that you were terrible. Monsters even. Several of our kind have disappeared because of you. He thinks a war is brewing. But you don’t seem so bad."
"T-that crab…did you kill it?” You weren’t sure why you asked that. You had so many questions but of course you had to ask about the crab.
He frowned a bit. “I sent it back. It must’ve got caught up in my get away and came with me.”
He nodded and slid back into the water so only his head was sticking out. “I got into it with a shark. Last time I didn’t get a clean break. Guy took a chunk of me with him."
"But how did you end up here?"
He smiled and dove under the water. A moment later the only remnants of him were a cloud of bubbles rushing to the surface. You moved back to the water to look around, your legs dangling in. He was…gone…
Not for long though, a second later something brushed against your leg and there he was. He rested his chin on your knee and wrapped his arms around your leg. From this angle you could see his back and you took a sharp breath. Along his spine there were sharp looking fins that made him even more menacing.
Though he wasn’t exactly scary clinging gently to your leg.
"So you’re, uh…” You weren’t sure what exactly he was. The tales of mermaids you’d heard never had shark tails.
“So you didn’t know about us either? Or that we were real? We’re just merfolk."
"And your father? It doesn’t seem like he likes us much.”
“No I don’t think he likes you at all. He’s killed anyone who wanders into his kingdom. Since I was born I think that’s twelve.”
He nodded, looking bitter and let go of your leg. “Can’t imagine how mad he would be knowing the prince is talking to a human."
He shook the angry look from his face and smiled. "Doesn’t matter, he has two other sons he can make king!”
“So, may I ask your name? Or should I just call you Your Highness?”
“I’m no prince to you, call me Kazuya. And you are?”
“That’s pretty.” He smiled but then flinched in pain, seeming to tense.
“Kazuya, what’s wrong?” You slipped into the water, mindful to stay away from the spikes on his back as you grabbed his shoulder.
“What is this water?” He groaned.
“It’s chlorine. Is that not…?”
He shook his head. “I have to go, I shouldn’t breathe this for too long."
And in that moment you were no longer in the pool. His arms circled your waist before you could notice the cold wet dark surroundings and propelled you towards the surface. You hadn’t even needed to hold your breath because you weren’t underwater more than a few seconds when you broke the water and he helped you out. It was still dark but the air was warm in the small cave.
You couldn’t see much besides the shimmering of the water, not even Kazuya. Did he just leave me?
No, something was moving under the water. He was spinning around and around even when he broke the surface and arced gracefully into the air.
Once he’d gotten the chlorine washed off he slid himself onto the cave floor beside you. "What do you think?”
You looked around. The only light was coming from the cave entrance underwater, illuminating it from beneath. “It’s amazing!”
“So, _______.” You felt strangely happy with the way he said your name. “What’s it like? Where you come from?”
“On land?” He nodded. You didn’t know what to say, you’d never described land to someone before “hmm well it’s pretty nice, there’s the sun and the sky-"
"No I mean where you live, your home."
You were a bit taken aback but began to describe your home and family. Once you were done you asked the same "What’s your kingdom like?”
“Well it’s quite a maze, it was carved by the currents into a much larger cave than this. The rooms are all large, and are lit by wild jelly fish. They love it there. My room has an outlook on the grounds, there are always fish hiding in the coral reefs and there’s always light because of the squid.” He went on and you couldn’t help but marvel at how amazing it sounded.
“Oh I wish I could see i-” you stopped and bit your tongue. Idiot! No way I could go. I heard what his dad did…
He grabbed your hands leaning into close to your face. “Do you really want to?”
You nodded. “It sounds so amazing but-”
“I can do it! I’ll become king, no one would lay a hand on you if I brought you with me!”
You felt your face heat up. He was willing to become king just so you could see his home. If that wasn’t romantic you didn’t know what was.
“So Kazuya, does everyone have tails like yours? In movies with mermaids they always have fish like tails.”
He shook his head. “There are many types, almost everyone is different, my brothers’ are both whale-like. Some even have two tails. That’s even more rare than me though.”
“Are you one of a kind?"
"In our kingdom I am.” He grabbed your hand and set it on his fin. You trailed your fingers along and skimmed the shark bite. “Oh that’s a fun story!” He grinned.
After nearly an hour of talking you felt your stomach rumble. “I’ll catch you something.” He reached towards his back but instead of the spear he was expecting to grab his fingers hit nothing but air.
“You left them in my pool. It’s okay I’m not going to eat anything raw… I hate to say this but I think I have to go.”
He frowned and glared at his hands.
“I don’t want to say goodbye.” He grumbled, slapping the water with his tail.
“We’re not saying good bye! Just see you later alligator.” You thought a sea pun might be funny in this situation but you just felt stupid. However he grinned and pulled you back into the water. You tried to keep your eyes open while he took you home but the pressure was too much.
“I’ll come back tonight. I can’t stay long in that water but when the sun sets I’ll be back.” He said while grabbing his spears.
You nodded with a smile and he disappeared.
True to his word, the moment the sun had disappeared his head bobbed to the
surface. This time without the spears. Only a shell hung around his neck.
He was smiling brightly but it dimmed a bit. “That’s not your swim suit.” He motioned to your pajamas and you shook your head.
“I can’t get in, it’s too cold.” You tried to dip your toe in but yanked it back up. The temperature had gone down a lot since earlier.
So you sat cross legged by the edge of the pool. He pulled himself out to sit by you, his shoulder against yours. He shook his head to dry his hair and you sighed. You still ended up cold and wet.
“My older brother smelled the chlorine on me, but he was the only one who noticed. I just said I had a run in with one of the squids in the garden. He didn’t believe me but I don’t think he’ll tell father. It’s a bit risky to keep coming here.”
You felt your heart drop when he said that but the conversation didn’t go as you expected. “So take this.” He folded something into your hand.
You looked at the shell in your palm, then back to him. “Put it around your neck.” You pulled the silver chain over your head. He blew into his and no sound came directly from his but the noise sounded from the shell dangling near your heart. “They’re twin shells, I’ll hear it whenever you signal. I’ve been working on a code. One time means I want to see you, two is an emergency, three is don’t come, in case someone is over or something.”
You smiled down at the shell and looked towards him. “Thank you Kazuya.” You leaned over and kissed his cheek. He ducked his head and a furious blush spread over his cheek.
Very quietly he continued, “if I need to see you I’ll blow once, don’t return the signal until you’re in the pool, chlorine is too recognizable as a human smell, so I can’t be in this water for long at all. Once again, twice is an emergency. But yeah.” He flicked his tail. “That’s the plan. I’m gonna go, I have to get back before the smell sticks. I’ll see you soon.”
He slid into the water and you thought he’d gone but he resurfaced. He reached up and placed his hand on the back of your neck, pulling you down so he could kiss you. On the lips.
He dove back down and you pulled your legs up to your chest grinning ear to ear.