Mer-May wouldn’t be complete without a mermaid story, right? Since I’m still recovering from surgery, I want to share part of Undine’s Blessing with you. It’s a short story you can get for free when you sign up for my author newsletter but I’m also working on a full novel featuring Marella. After I’m done with Beelzebub’s Bargain, I will continue working on it. So take this chance to meet Marella before the novel comes out!
The salty sea air energised Marella as she looked out over the water, her hands tangled in a fishing net. She hauled the net on board with her father, fish flopping around on the deck. Her heart ached for them, knowing their fate, but helping out with the catch was the only way to be out at sea. And this was where she belonged.
“Today is a good day,” her father said, checking the squirming things one by one, throwing some back into the water and the others into the barrel.
“I still don’t like it. They’re living beings too.” Marella looked at the splashing fish stuck in the net. She grabbed one at random and lobbed it back into the sea.
“I know, my sweet,” he said as he threw back another fish. “They give their lives so we can live ours. As long as we don’t take more than we need, the sea will provide for us.”
Marella sighed and dropped onto the deck. She wiped away the sweat from her forehead, and said, “I want to do more, father. I wish we could live more in tune with nature, without hurting the lives of others. I want to swim with them, play with them, and at the end of the day, not eat them.” She dreamt of going back to the isles—the ones overgrown with greenery, flowers, fruits, and vegetables. That’s where she found out who she truly was—a spirit of the sea.
Marella didn’t mind helping her father, but she wouldn’t decide a fish’s fate. Had it been her choice, she would have thrown every single one back.
Her father navigated the boat to the next net. He pulled the buoy which held the top of the net closer with a long pole. As he lifted the net out of the water, his knife fell onto the deck. Marella picked it up and looked at the weathered wooden handle. The nails that kept the blade in place were rusty, but the blade itself was shiny enough to reflect her image.
“Be careful, it’s a sharp blade.” Her father extended his hand. “Better give it back before you hurt yourself.”
Marella gave it back after giving it one more look.
Her father smiled and returned to the fishing net. He stopped after pulling out the top. “Something’s wrong. I can’t pull it out further. Can you check the net below water?”
Marella nodded and took off her dress. Her undergarment was more than enough for a dive into the cold water. The temperature didn’t bother her, and with the sun out, it was much more pleasant than she expected.
Marella followed the net further into the sea, her hand caressing the rope to keep her bearings. The water became murkier the deeper she swam, and the colours blended together into a sea of blue.
A school of sardines twirled around her before heading out towards the north. She smiled.
The rope went on longer than she expected, and she still couldn’t find the problem. She kicked her legs harder, but she was increasingly struggling, as if the water had changed into mud. She didn’t want to go back to her father without knowing why the net was stuck, and pushed on.
She became light-headed. She would have to go back up soon. Instead of going deeper, Marella swam across the net, trying to see what was down there. A dark blur surrounded the net. It would only take a second to figure out what it was.
Come on, just a little more, she thought. She stretched out her arm, but before she could grasp it, her vision disappeared. Air escaped her mouth, and her eyes fell shut.
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