The Mermaids

June 11, 2008
By Nate Doninger, Louisville, KY

We are not alone in our world. There are creatures of all sorts. The Inferno Witches of the Skies, The Great Fairies of the Forests, and then there are The Mermaids of the Waters. The Mermaids are a bit different than expected. Their tails don’t end in a fin, but into three individual, sharp, body-length tails. Mermaids have the power to manipulate water to their will, but it is said that there is more power if you go above the surface. No Mermaid has ever gone above the water’s surface because there are rules to be followed.

There is no official dress code, but every city has rules. Our story takes place in the biggest Mermaid city, Atlantis! Where a Mermaid named Meliezja has a great amount of curiosity and wants to explore where no Mermaid has gone before. However, Meliezja has different things to worry about back in Atlantis. Let’s watch her curiosity become reality.

The horns began to sound everywhere. Everyone knew it was time for polling. It would decide the next king of Atlantis. My father was running and I hope he wins. This is his first time running and he is more nervous than ever. The big golden gates opened to the polling rooms. The polling rooms were dark rooms but streams of sunlight passed through the center of the room. Once you casted your vote on a piece of seaweed, you are to put it in a bubble and let it float to the top of the room, waiting to be tallied.

My sisters, Maramius and Myopa, had to go shopping before they went to the polling rooms. I swam home with my friend Jenny. She was wearing the same shirt I was. The shirt said: Vote for Kormas, he’ll save Atlantis! Kormas was my dad, and he was a really good one. My mother, Regina, worked at an information desk at the Oceanport. I always have trouble getting around the city, but Jenny knows the way.

Atlantis was such a big place, but it was easy to get around because the streets are so wide and the water is so clear. Jenny knows everything there is to know because her father is the head professor at Atlantia University. The houses and buildings are all made out of stone and the streets are naturally made from sand.

As Jenny and I were swimming down a street, I looked up at the surface. “Do you ever wonder what is up there?” I asked to Jenny.

“Not really. My father says that we would die above the surface. He says that is why we live in this big, wide trench.”

“If we are so far down from the surface, how is the sun able to light up the whole city?”

“My father says that we made a deal with the Fairies when we first found Atlantis and the Fairies casted a spell to disguise our city and let sunlight be able to brighten up Atlantis from such a far distance.”

As I arrived to my house, I said good-bye to Jenny and swam through the Seaweed door. I had the house to myself until either Maramius or Myopa got home. I grabbed some coral sticks from the refrigerator for a snack. I thought to myself what it would be like to go up on the surface. I thought that it wouldn’t hurt to take a look up there. I extended one of my tails to grab my shellphone, another tail to grabbed my camera, and my last tail to grab some money.

I swam out of my house and hopped on a yellow eel. Jenny says that a yellow eel to us is like a yellow taxi to humans. Taxi is a funny word. The eel took me to the Atlantis gates, and I paid him five sand dollars. The Atlantis gates were heavily guarded. It was completely forbidden to swim in open water. I needed to get through those gates though.

I then saw a whale coming into the city carrying cargo. As the whale was coming through the gates, I swam under the whale and successfully made it out of the city. I began to swim up and up. It was a incredible view to see Atlantis from above. I took a picture of it and continued my upward adventure. Finally, I made it to the surface. I was a little scared to go above it. However, I thought to myself that it would be a great adventure. Although, it would be kind of weird to see a Mermaid like me coming out of nowhere.

I swam along the shore and found, what Jenny says are called, a boathouse. It was empty so I swam into the covered part of the boathouse. After a few moments, I leaped from the water and onto the hard floor. My tails began to twist and shrink, my throat was collapsing, and my entire body was shaking. After a few moments of intense pain, I felt fine. I got up, and looked around. I noticed that I had two legs and no gills. My hair had changed from red to brown. I’ve learned about humans in school. I saw a near by mirror and looked in it. I was almost completely different. My eyes, face, hair, and legs had all changed. The only thing that didn’t change was my body.

I also noticed that I dropped my shellphone, camera, and money on the floor. My shellphone was dead, my camera was dead, and my sand dollars broke. I put all of my things in my pockets.

I then began to look outside. There is a long and narrow path way going towards a forest. I carefully walked along the narrow bridge to land. Then there is a path going into the forest which I began to follow. I began to stumble a few times, trying to get used to walking. As I walked out of the forest, I was in a big park. I looked around and saw the park, but beyond the park there are buildings and civilization. I feel amazing! I mean, there are people everywhere. I saw high buildings and cars and all sorts of human things. I began to relate to what I learned in school to what I saw. I began to walk and look. It was amazing that I fitted right in with these humans. I wore what humans call jeans, a red t-shirt and a black, sleeveless, leather jacket. My eyes used to be blue, but now they’re brown. I began to zone out and bumped into a person.

“I’m so sorry!” I said, trying not to already be hated by humans.

“It’s ok.” said the guy. He had short brown hair, blue eyes, and a square-like chin.

I then began to look right into his eyes. They reminded me of the ocean, but I wasn’t ready to go back. “By the way, where am I?” I asked.

“Well, you are in beautiful Charleston, South Carolina! You must not be from around here.”

“Well ,technically, I am, but I’ve never been to this part of the city.”

“You know what, I have lunch off today. Want me to guide you through Charleston?”

I smiled and replied, “I would like that.”

He took me by the hand and showed me around. I got to see the Rainbow Row which was a row of houses, each house having one solid color but it was a different color than the other houses. I got to go on a carriage ride with a horse pulling the carriage! I wished Jenny was here with me. He took me to lunch at a fancy restaurant. I didn’t even have to look at the menu and ordered sea urchin salad with coral sticks on the side and plankton dressing. The waiter stared at me and I then realized that I wasn’t in an Atlantis restaurant. The guy I was with just ordered some salads for the both of us.

“So what’s your name?” He asked, after taking a drink of his water.

“Meliezja, Meliezja Joi. What’s your’s?”

“I’m Matt, Matt Howl.”

Our salads arrived, and they tasted great! I ate every last bite. I noticed a clock near by that said it was 2:36p.m., and at that moment, my heart skipped a beat. I remembered that Myopa and Maramius said they would be home at 1:30! I told Matt that I loved every moment of our time together and said that I had to leave. He wanted my phone number, but I had none and just kept on running for the boathouse.

I made it and jumped into the water. My legs began to twist again and my throat collapsed again, and my whole body began to shake again. Once I felt better, I quickly swam for Atlantis. To my great fortune, another whale was going into the city with cargo. I swam under it and back into the city. I hopped on an eel and made it home only to find no one in the house. However, there was a note on the living room table that read: Meliezja, there’s a sale at Shrimps and Coral. We’ll be gone until 3 o’clock.
Maramius and Myopa

I gave out the biggest sigh of relief. I lied down on the couch made from sea sponges and took a little rest after my human experience.

I woke up to Maramius and Myopa swimming into the house. Shopping bags had completely covered their arms and tails. I was delighted to see them wearing the Shell necklaces that I made for them. I told them if they wore it, there would be more sales at stores.

“Hi Maramius!” I said, greeting my sister as she put down her bags. Maramius smiled at me.

“What about your oldest sister?” said Myopa, wanting my greeting as well.

“Hi to you too, Myopa. So what did you all buy?” I asked trying to peer into the bags.

“Clothes, accessories, and Mother’s Day gifts!” replied Maramius pulling out clothes from one bag.

I had completely forgotten the Mother’s Day was in two days! I had to get a present for mom.

“Myopa can I take your seahorse?” I asked, needing some form of transportation. Even though I’m only 16, and I don’t have my license yet, I don’t need to have a license to ride a seahorse. I would only need a license for swordfishes, sharks, or dolphins.

Myopa nodded and I swam out of the house, went around back, and hopped on the seahorse. I decided to go to Barrier Reef, which is a good general store. I parked the seahorse and went rushing into the store. I swam down aisle after aisle. I finally found a cute pursue with glittering fish on it. I bought it and hurried back home. I put the seahorse around back and rushed inside. Maramius and Myopa were still unloading their bags. I went to my room and found a gift bag in my closet. I put the pursue in the bag, and decorated the bag a little bit.

I went out of my room and down the hall, back into the living room.

“So Myopa, where’s your swordfish?” I asked.

“It’s at the shop because it broke it’s nose when it rammed into a building.”

Myopa was 25 and she was very wise. Maramius has been wanting a dolphin, but those are expensive. She turns 18 in a month, and she has already put a down payment on a dolphin. Myopa works at Trench Trend, a clothes store, but it’s closed for polling. Maramius is going on to be a student on Atlantia University so she can become a ichthyologist. I want to work up in the human world. I tell people that I want to become a professor at the university, but I want to go above the surface.

Then it hit me, I want to go back up. The next day was Saturday and all my family members were at work or school. When your in Grade school and High school, you get the weekends off, which is nice, but my High school class just graduated! I skipped fifth grade. I went to get Jenny. I told her everything that happened above the surface. She was very skeptical at first, but she finally gave in and said she would come with me. We took an eel to the gates, and waited for a whale to come in. I would swim over the trench, but the jellyfish would stop me.

Finally, a whale came and we swam under it, out of the city, and to the surface. I located the boathouse, and on the count of three, Jenny and I leapt out of the water and onto the hard wooden floor. I felt my throat closing in, and my legs going numb, and face changing. I got up on my legs and helped Jenny up.

Her face had changed like mine. Her black hair was blonde, and her green eyes were dark blue. She didn’t believe it at first, but she started to like the idea of it. Jenny peaked out of the boathouse. I grabbed her arm and we began to walk across the bridge and up the forest path. As we got to the park, I saw a sidewalk next to the sandy shoreline. I dragged Jenny over to it and we began to walk and talk. I began explaining everything to her, like how people have cars instead of fish, and they have all kinds of different material. However, Jenny already knew that and began to inform me on some things.

While walking, I spotted Matt crossing a street. I went rushing over to him and hollering his name. He turned to see me and came walking over to me. Jenny caught up to us and I introduced her.

“Um, Matt, this is my best friend, Jenny.” I said, a little nervous Jenny wouldn’t be friendly to him. Matt shook Jenny’s hand and said that he was free since he had the weekends off. I couldn’t help giggling. Jenny had to help me settle down when I had a sudden outburst of excitement. He took Jenny and me to a bakery. I didn’t know what it was, but it smelled amazing! He got us some chocolate which was the best thing I’ve ever tasted! Jenny agreed with me, but she was a little shy about all of this.

After another day of fun-filled excitement, Jenny and I had to leave. We told Matt we would be back tomorrow.

As Jenny and I swam back to Atlantis, we talked about how much we have been missing out on the real world. Jenny and I waited for a whale to come, and when it did, we quickly swam under it and back into the city. However, a gatekeeper saw us and told us what we were doing under a whale. We told him it was just a game, but he didn’t believe us and took us to the king. The gatekeeper called both Jenny’s family and my family.

The king said that if we liked staying out of the city, then why stop us. He told us that we are forbidden to come back into Atlantis, or any other Mermaid city. We are to be stripped of our Mermaid appearances and we are to live up on land. Both of our families begged for a different punishment, but it didn’t work. We were escorted back to the boathouse by sharks and officers.

I took one last look at Atlantis, and I shed a tear. As we leapt onto the boathouse, we turned into humans. The officers used a rod, given to the Mermaids by the Fairies, and took away our Mermaid traits. We could no longer turn into mermaids, or return home, or anything.

Jenny’s father, however, gave us each a golden ring with a blue orb in the middle. He said that if we throw something of price value into a form a water, the blue orb will light up, and we can manipulate water for a short amount of time. My father said that if he became king, he would allow us back into Atlantis no matter the cost.

Jenny and I walked out of the boathouse and into Charleston. We had no money, food, shelter, and I told Jenny how sorry I was for bringing her into this.

As we walked down the sidewalk, Matt greeted us. We told him a story of how we’ve lost everything. He said that he felt sorry for us and gave us some money to stay in a hotel for a night. He directed us to the hotel and helped us get a room. We settled down and Matt left. Jenny and I didn’t know what to do. We lost all of our friends and family, our home, most of our powers, and our lives.

The next morning, I went down to the lobby for some breakfast. A lady sitting next to me put down her newspaper and saw how I looked.

“Are you alright?” she asked.

“No. I’ve lost everything there is to have and I just don’t know what to do.” I replied, putting my face in my hands.

“ Well, sitting around isn’t going to do anything for you. What you need to do is go out in that world and start over.”

“ I would, but I know nothing about getting a job or living on my own. I’m only 16!”

“ I see your problem. If I were you, what I would do is find someone who does have a job and does know how to live on their own, and open yourself to their advice. If you need my help just call me.”

She handed me a card with her name, Audrey Sore, and her phone number. It said she was a therpaist. I then thought about what she said and asked her if she knew how I could reach someone. She took me to a phonebook and I told her I needed to find Matt Howl. She found him for me and I got his home number.

I quickly went back up to the hotel room to tell Jenny. I called Matt’s number and he answered.

“ Matt! Oh my God! I need your help and advice to help me live a life. Can you meet Jenny and me at the park?”

I hung up the phone after he said, “Yes,” and Jenny and I rushed to the park. We found him sitting on a bench and we told him that we needed to make a living here. He asked what were skilled at. We told him that we were skilled with anything involving water and fish.

He took us to the fish store called Fish Palace. Jenny felt so at home that she made the funniest fish faces at the fishs in the tanks. Matt asked the person in charge if she would hire us. She hired us with out, what Matt called, an interview. After the lady hired us, Matt left and gave us his cell phone number. The lady incharge said her name was Julie and she looked like she was only 30 or so. Then she gave us some kind of apron. Julie calls it a uniform. They were a marron color. She gave us a run through of rules, like how much each fish cost, and how to get them out of tanks.

We got right to work by feeding all of the fish. Jenny and I felt like we were in the right place.

A family came in and wanted two crimson marble fish. I got the two fish out of the tank with great ease and took them over to Julie and she worked some kind of money machine that had a metal drawer that popped open when you pressed a certain button. As the family was leaving, Jenny came over to them and told them different ways to take care of the fish.

“ Ooo! Crimson marble fish! Good choice. Just some hints. Use one tablespoon of food for each fish, so in your case, two tablespoons of food. They love their water at a 63 degrees temperature. They love places to hide so put a lot of plants in your pond.”

Jenny practically drove the family out but she still wasn’t done with her hints. After that we really didn’t get anymore people that day.

Julie said that there was a room in the back that was unused and that we could move in back there if we wanted too. Jenny and I were thrilled! She led us down a hall next to, what humans call, the clerk desk, and a door was at the end of the hall. The room was nice and big. Julie said, that for some reason, she’s never had to use this room. She said that the room has its own phone line, two outlets to plug things in, and a bathroom through the door on the right, back out in the hall.

She gave, both Jenny and me, a key to the room and said that if we are going to live here, there would be a couple of rules. We have to lock-up and keep a watch over the store. She also said that as long as we made good business, we wouldn’t have to pay something called rent. There was a payphone behind the clerk desk which was convenient to us until we got a phone in our room.

I used some spare change from the money Matt gave us and called his cell phone saying that we found a good job and place to live. I then called Audrey to thank her for her help and comfort. She said that it was her pleasure and said that things are looking up for Jenny and me.

I wished there was someway that we could get our stuff back from Atlantis to put here in our new room. I then thought that Mermaid furniture probably would look exotic. I did miss being in Atlantis and I knew Jenny felt the same way, but we’ve done something no Mermaid has before!

Julie brought in something called futons and they make-shifted into two beds. It was really cool to make-shift it between a chair and a bed. Julie said that we could sleep on these until we had enough money to buy furniture and decorate our room. Julie asked if we had school in the morning but we told her that we had just graduated Friday, and that I skipped a grade. She left that night and it was cool to spend the night with the fish. There was no smell, but the smell of water. Things seem like they are going to get better.

Time went on and before I knew it, it was already a month later. One day in the store, we noticed that the father from the first family we had a month ago came in and asked for Jenny and me. He told us that thanks to our hints on the crimson marble fish, they lived healthy for a month now! Usually fish at their house die in the first week, but the fish they bought have no sign of dying. He said that he worked as a CEO for an advertisment company and would like to put our store on billboards and newspapers! Julie, who was eavesdropping nearby, fainted with excitement.

We didn’t really know what he was talking about but we just smiled and agreed to the proposal. However, the name of the store wasn’t appealing. Jenny and I looked at each other and agreed on a name without saying a word. I turned the the man and said, “Call us The Mermaids.” He wrote it down and left with many thanks.

Business began to grow like never before! We even had to get more employees and expand the store to even fit the people! Julie gave Jenny and me a huge raise on our paychecks and we took the money and bought furniture and decorations for our room. We even repainted our new store name out front for Julie. After about another month or two, we were living well.

Julie hadn’t seen our new room yet, so we took her back their one day, after hours, and showed her what it was like. We had two single beds on oppisite walls, soft carpet, blue couch, tv, mini fridge, phones, posters all over the walls, two dressers, a small, added-on closet through a door next to each bed, and even a new door and lock to our room. We gave Julie a spare key to the room and she left with a big smile on her face.

Once Julie left, I remembered the ring Jenny’s father gave us. I wondered if it really worked. I grabbed a one dollar gold coin from, which I learned is called, the cash register. I flipped it into a tank and it dissolved. However, my ring’s blue orb began to shine. I began to make bubbles pop out of the water. Jenny got a gold coin out too, and began to manipulate the water. It was the only thing left that connected us to the Mermaids.

However, to our dismay, Julie walked back into the store, saying she forgot her cellphone. She caught Jenny and me make water fly across the room. She couldn’t believe her eyes. Jenny and I put the water back, and sat Julie down to tell her our real story.

After we told her the story she tried to get everything straight.

“So let me get this straight. You two are Mermaids, from the great city Atlantis. Banished for sneaking into the forbidden open water and into the human world. Even though, you lost your Mermaid appearances, you still have the ability to manipulate water by adding to the water’s great treasure by putting something of value in the water that you wish to manipulate.”

Jenny and I nodded and she said, “ Well that is impressive!”

Jenny and I looked concerned.

“What your not going to call the police or throw us back into the ocean?” I asked, confused.

“Oh no! Why would I do that? I’m a believer, not a skeptic. It’s a shame you can’t go back into your home town.”

After a long talk, Julie left and Jenny and I went to sleep. The next day, I went to go get some groceries, when suddenly a girl, who looked a litle bit older than me, came up to me and hollered, “Meliezja!”

She hugged me tight and I was totally freaking out. “Who are you?” I hollered as she let go of me.

“Meliezja, I’m your sister, Maramius!”

My face lit up with joy and I couldn’t believe it.

“How did you find me or know what I looked like?” I asked in such a rush that I don’t think she understood me, but she replied.

“The ring Jenny’s Father gave you is also a tracker. Which led me to you!”

“Why are you here? Your going to get banished like Jenny and me were!”

Maramius shook her head and said, “Dad is king! He won the election! He’s tried everything in his power to try to return you but it couldn’t be done. So instead, he got the Saradines to pass a law that if a Mermaid has a reason to leave the city, approved by the king, they can go up on land without having to get in trouble! Although, I can only stay up here for three hours, then I have to go back and wait 24 hours before I can come back up. That was the catch to the law. If you don’t return, you never will.”

I lost Maramius after she said Dad was king! I dragged her into the grocery store with me and talked about how I’ve been and wait I’ve done and I asked how the family was. Maramius said that Mom loved her Mother’s Day gift from me. As we arrived back at the store, Maramius hugged Jenny and greeted Julie. After an hour of discussion, Maramius had to leave, but before she left, she gave us a folded up piece of paper from Dad.

Maramius left and I unfolded the paper and read it out loud:

Dear Meliezja and Jenny,

I hope you two are doing ok. I’ve tried everything I can to return you all ,but it just can’t be done. However, I did get a law passed by the saradines.

“Saradines?” Julie asked, interrupting the letter.

“Saradines to us, is Congress to you.” Jenny explained.

I continued reading out loud:

There is something else I must tell you. Now that you are bound to land, you two must be careful. Some creatures thrive on Mermaid magic, and will sooner or later find out that two Mermaids are on land. So watch your back and if you ever need us, activate your rings and then rub them. Maramius will be checking up on you two every now and then. Also, We have an Inferno Witch on our side. Her name is Faireanna Metallama. She will be your guardian angel. Keep each other safe.
King of Atlantis

Jenny looked a little scared about creatures wanting to hunt us down and steal our magic. I put arm around her and said, “Jenny there is nothing to worry about. We are in the right place with the right people. We’ll be just fine.”

However, on an uncharted island, somewhere in the Atlantic ocean, Three Inferno Witch sisters live in underground tunnels. Tiera, the youngest of the three sisters, came rushing over to her older sister, Faluna, and her eldest sister, Jenta.

“Sisters, the orb is glowing!” They were in a bedroom, but right outside was a big room with nothing in it but a green glowing orb in the middle. The three sisters came rushing into the room and next to the orb, waiting.

“I hope it turns red! That means we get to hunt down the next Mermaid or better yet, Mermaids!” said Faluna in excitement.

“Now, now sisters. In my entire life I’ve only been able to hunt down one Mermaid. There are hundreds of Inferno Wtiches, but only one family will get to their chance.”

Suddenly, the orb quickly changed from green to red! A green arrow appeared in the center of the orb and it pointed to a map. The orb zoomed in to where the arrow was pointing. It was pointing at Charleston, South Carolina.

Tiera and Faluna screamed with excitement.

Jenta, however, stayed calm, but she had a smile on her face.

She settled down her two siblings and said, “Sisters, we have our heading!”

The End

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