Thursday, April 18, 2013

THE MAGIC MERMAID #Two (Sail) by Summer Day

    That night, and every night for a week, Storm dreamed of the boy in the sailing boat, the boy she’d rescued from the ocean. It took all of those days for Storm to decide to do something pro-active about her longing. She had to meet him again. Jack. Jack Hunter. It was a lovely name; a name that played on her lips and offered an ocean of possibilities.
   The next morning, Storm decided to find him.
   For years, Cynthia had lived in a sea cave not far from Storm’s ocean home. Cynthia had been cast out. Some said she lured a human to her cave once and he was never seen again. This was against the law. She was no longer a mermaid but Cynthia practiced a powerful magic that no mermaid or human could ever conjure. All said, if you wanted something impossible, Cynthia was the only one to provide it.
   The next morning, the noise of the busy underwater world woke Storm. She was covered in pink lilies on her water bed, listening to the ocean rumble. Storm pulled on her lily shawl after a stretch and swam to Cynthia’s hide out in the rock caves near the cliff.
   Some said, Cynthia was at least a hundred years old, but she did not look a day over twenty.
    “Come in Storm, I have been expecting you. I had a hunch you would be coming today.”
   Cynthia told fortunes using magic shells. Storm’s mermaid friends once told her that Cynthia’s readings helped them decide who to date and who not to date. They were careful never to ask her for anything wicked or mean as those requests could turn against them. Cynthia herself placed no limits on the magic her mermaid clients requested.
    “Ah, the lovely Storm,” Cynthia intoned in her deep and spooky voice. “What is it you want from me today?”
    Storm hesitated. She knew her sisters would be horrified if they knew what she was about to do – and all for the love of a boy she’d never even spoken to. She knew it was crazy but she wanted it so bad… all her life she’d wanted to…
   “… Walk on land, to become human. Is it possible to do this? Some say it is.” The sea sorcerer hesitated, and then spoke.
   “Of course, child.  All things or at least, many things are possible with my help. The only thing I ask in return is…”
    In that moment, the woman’s eyes gleamed. Using her witchy fingers, she picked a particularly beguiling gem off Storm’s tail. The skin of the mermaid’s tail had grown around the gems for sixteen years and it pinched as the gems lifted. Storm’s shells shone brightly fluorescent under Cynthia’s gaze.
   “I ask only for all of your beautiful gems and shells in return.”
   “But my gems were given to me by my grandmother and her grandmother before her…”
   “Ah, well, off you go dear. You must not want what you say you want very badly at all. Perhaps it is for the best. The cost in being human is enormous – more than you could ever imagine.”
    Storm began to swim away. Then, hesitating, she measured the weight of her Jewels against the weight of her love for Jack. She needed to see him, had to see him again. She longed to walk side by side with him. Storm could never do that as a mermaid. She would always be gifted, sure. She knew her ability to swim fast and save people was unsurpassed, but those abilities didn’t make her human.
    “Wait, please.”
     Cynthia knew it, she had her then.
    “Before I do this, make you human, you have to know it comes at a great cost. We never know how bad it is going to be but, at first, when you try to walk you are barely going to be able to stand. To walk even an inch will cause you enormous, burn like pain at best. This should wear off after a few days…”
    “A few days?”
   “Or never.”
   “It’s your choice. And remember, the only way back to your family under the sea once you’ve made your decision… Oh, there isn’t a way. So, what’s it to be, lovey? I haven’t got all day.”
   Storm hesitated, sea urchins played with her golden curls while she decided what to do. Meanwhile, Cynthia had started to pick at Storm’s perfect, shimmering jewels, as if they were scabs on skin.
   “I’ll take the chance.”
   “Thought you might say that. They all do. Teenage girls and their notion of love! Don’t you ever wonder if the boys would give it all up for you?”
   Storm hadn’t, she had only wondered what her sisters would say but there was nothing to be done. She’d leave them a note; it was the only way to leave without tears.    
    “You’ll need this, and this.” In waterproof marker (of course) the woman handed Jewel a map, instructions and the name of a couple and a school. This is the name of the family you’ll stay with. This is the name of the school you’ll attend: Sloan Select. They’re okay with girls like you.”
    “You mean ex-mermaids?”
    “Not exactly. Listen girlfriend, you need to wise up. This transformation is not easy. It takes some pretty powerful magic to make you over. This school, Sloan Select High, it’s for outcasts and weirdos - the extremely gifted and the very talented; a place kids go once the mainstream has rejected them.”  The woman chuckled as she placed her hands into Storm’s and chanted some words. Already, Storm realized, she would wake human but be labeled a reject. Still, she had no choice. These were the limitations placed on her transformation and there was nothing else to do; Storm wanted to be with Jack again.  

   “Bon chance,” Cynthia said. Storm looked surprised.
   “I’ve had years to study here. I speak at least six languages.”  
    The sea sorcerer waved Storm away and told her to swim to the surface. Once there, Storm would fall asleep on the beach from exhaustion and when she woke the next morning, she would be human and helpless, until she could learn to swim using her legs and become strong again.