With the uncovering darkness, the twilight sky going asleep, the sun set into the bottomless sea. I walk to my house, the plastered walls that suffocate me, the servants that adore my wealth and power.
As I walk to the door, my mother comes out through the silver painted doors, “James, where did you go without even telling our servants.”
“ I am eighteen, I don’t need to tell anyone when I am going out for an evening walk..”
“You are not even married, James. The only magistrate who doesn't have a wife.”
I remember the day I was supposed to marry, the sparkling water by the beach, the stars glistening in the night sky. The scarlet candle lights and rose scents surrounding me. But I walked away leaving my bride in the darkness as marriage was sacred and the girl beside me deserved something true and real, not a fake love filled to gain power in society.
“Sir, Sir James, come here,” the servant calls out.
“What is it, Edger? James just arrived, let him rest,” mother calls out annoyed.
“But-I finally found her, the mermaid!”
“The mermaid is a creature of the sea, what is it doing here on land?” I asked in a stern voice.
“She was in the cave, she must have come after the storm. I was thinking that you can sell it and get money. She has a golden tale, madam” Edger says as mother gasped at his latter words.
“ I have enough money, I am the wealthiest man in Gorgóna. Let the mermaid go.”
“Son, I think this is the mermaid that all of Britain is trying to find, the mermaid with the golden tale, people her says that it’s real gold. If we sell her we might have enough riches to be the wealthiest person in all of Britain and King Theo might finally recognize our family’s power,” my mother says grabbing my hands as if she is begging. Our family always had money but it can never be compared to the nobles in the capital. The king, bearly even recognizes us as his state as we live in the coastal area, far away from the capital.
“Follow me, Sir, the mermaid is in the pond by the garden.” I follow Edger through the flowers and the cherry blossom trees. I see the body that laid in front of me.
The god given golden scales, the color of the summer sunset and the silver nights instituted in her tail. The crest of her chin reflecting in my eyes. The pupils of those mesmerizing hazel eyes blew up, dilating in an instant. Her saddened pupils calling out to me, save me it says. I look deep into her eyes trying to figure out why I am so fascinated, I have seen many mermaids before.
“James, why are you crying?” My mother asked worriedly.
“Mother, let her go,” I say as I feel the teardrops falling into my hands. The cold breeze slowly trying to dry the salt drops in my blue eyes.
“No, son, this mermaid is special. Don’t you realize that? Edger, pass the news of what we have captured.”
“Yes, madam,” Edger replies happily.
Edger slowly walking closer to the mermaid, a rope in his hand. “I’ll tie her up, Edger, you can leave now with mother. I am sure that all of Gorgóna is going to think highly of you since you captured this creature.”
As mother and Edger leave into the distance I walk up to the mermaid. “Hello, I am James,” I say extending my hand, but I soon realize this is not a human. I seem to be so comfortable with her; although I met her a few seconds ago. I gaze at her eyes, capturing every beauty that it speaks.
After a few minutes, I hear footsteps in the distance and Edger comes yelling, “Sir James, I found a buyer. Sir James.”
“What is it, Edger?”
“The king, the king wants to buy the mermaid,” the servant says breathlessly.
“How did the kind hear about us so soon?” I asked suspiciously.
“The king is here in Gorgóna, I recognize him immediately even though he was undercover and I remember his guard, Davila.”
“How could you be so brave to go up to the king and ask him about such trivial matters,” I ask Edger.
“Don’t you know about the king's hobby and his collection of mermaids? Well, King Theo told me to drop the mermaid in the palace, we are not far from the capital, it will only take us three hours. If we leave now we can return before sunrise,” Edger said proudly.
“May I come with you?”
“Are you sure Sir James, it will not be a pleasant ride?”
“I am sure.”
“Fine. We will leave in twenty minutes, wait here, I will gather the other servants to carry her to the boat.”
I kneel down beside the mermaid, through my eyes, I tell her, I’ll save you, I won’t let them take you.
I look down into the water, seeing my own reflection, my shape nose tainted by the sea water. The mermaid lays beside me, Edger is slowly rowing the boat. It’s been two hours since we left home, I keep trying to find a way to save her. The boat, fit for four people not at all enough space for the girl. I realize what I have to do, I listen to the sound of the water, calming myself. With a deep breath, courage takes over me, a brave sigh escapes my silk lips.
I speak slowly, almost like a whisper, “Edger, stop. Let the mermaid go. Just let me drop her into the sea and we can tell King Theo that she escaped. She doesn't belong to the land, Edger. Please, just let me help her.”
“ So this is why you came. It was quite unusual for you to join me. I am not going to let the mermaid go,” Edger said chuckling.
“You have to or..”
“Or what… we both know that you’re too kind-hearted to hurt me, James. But I will not let you come between me and my freedom.”
“So, the king promised you freedom in exchange for this mermaid. I bet that you didn't even meet him outside and that you planned it all along.”
“I know that you won’t hurt me, but I can hurt you and I will.”
His hand upholding the wooden paddle it came to my head. A strong gush of power, my mind going blank, my eyes tracing for any kind of strength to fight. I push my weight to the other side of the boat, causing it to stumble. The mermaid falling in the silver water, her tail caught in the net, I see within the water as she struggles to escape. A hand grabs my moist skin, freeing me from the tides of the water, not softly but harshly as if meant to hurt me.
I hear the crashing waves, the sound of trouble. I feel the andesite rocky floor I lay on. My eyes squint as I try to open them. My eyelashes caught by the strong winds. The seagulls flying in packs as if escaping from danger. I feel my legs tied up, I feel afraid.
“Finally, you woke up,” Edger says annoyed.
“What are you doing? What did you do to me?” I ask.
“Well, you have to awake to see me killing you. How nice will it be to finally get rid of you? Just a little push of this mountain and you won’t be ruining my plans again. Just think of this as your punishment for letting the mermaid roam free into the ocean, tripping the boat like that, knowing that I am afraid of the water and that I couldn't even go after the mermaid. You have cost me my freedom, James.”
“My punishment? You're going to kill me? What will happen if I die, it’s not like you have other plans to earn your freedom.” I realize where I am, I come here every year. The mountain where my father killed himself. “Why kill me here?”
“I'm sure you know the answer to that question already. This is where I killed your father, James.”
“You, murder. Why?!” I said screaming until my breath becomes staggered.
“Your father was not a good man, he was in my way of loving your mother. You asked me if I had another plan to gain my freedom and I do, marrying your mother. I tried to seduce your mother before when your father was alive, but he caught on to what I was doing and punished me by beating me up. ”
“You killed him because he beat you up? You despicable person, do you think that my noble mother will ever like a servant like you,” I said holding back my tears.
“Well, with you out of the picture she will. When you die, I will be by her side to comfort her side and she will fall in love with me. Well then, goodbye, James.”
He grabbed the rope that held me to the rock, he held my body on top of the sea. I see the water moving rapidly as if it's impatiently waiting for me. Waves crashing beside the pure white sedimentary rocks in front of the dark, molded igneous underneath me. “See you in hell,” Edgar says as the hands that held me atop of the mountain let go.
Saltwater filling my lungs. Ice cold temperature piercing my skin. Every inch of my body, paralyzed. Trace of light vanishes as I sink. Helplessness has taken root in my stomach. Until...I see her, the mermaid, those eyes, empty and glass-like, as if they could see right through me, seeming to hold an immense sadness. But somehow I feel like I could resonate with them.
The ending begins here.