This totally went off the rails as I got into it but here it is anyway.
Moonlight Brings You Back.
Eight hundred eighty-six sun cycles. That’s how long I’ve watched him come to the beach, to the bottom of the cliff where salt and sand and water have carved the rocks smooth, where one can sit with the breeze and mist of the surf in one’s hair and contemplate whatever it is those on land contemplate.
I’ve seen him often over these eight hundred eighty-six sun cycles though not every cycle. I’m attuned to him in a way I don’t understand but have chosen not to question, and know when he’s within several yards of the cliff bottom. He only comes at night when the moon is fullest, using the moon’s rays to guide his way. The path is dangerous, but unchanged and he’s learned to navigate the perils without difficulty.
I try to remember if I’ve every been on land, I know some of my people have found a way to leave the sea, but the minds of my people are not designed for that type of specific long term recall. We move more by instinct, knowing where to find the best feeding grounds and the safest places to rest, when it’s time to mate an when it’s time to migrate, but not by specific memory. Yet I remember every moment I have watched him on the rocks.
I can hold my head above water and often do so I can see him better in the air. With my eyes above water and my gills below, I can, and do, watch his every move.
Today the sea and wind is calm and I swim close assured a wave won’t smash me against the rocks. I still see him and the look on his face leads me to think today is not a good day for him. I don’t know why he comes to this place, even if we could speak I doubt I’d understand the reasons. I’ve come to understand those on land consider us merpeople, basically land walkers with a tail. But we are more like the sea creatures we live with and complex thought and emotion that the land dwellers have in abundance is not in us. So we avoid them and let them think of us as they will.
I’ve never held any interest in a land dweller for any length of time. A land dweller may wonder where the fascination for this man comes from but I simply accept that it is just like I accept most everything else.
Today he slips his bare feet into the water and I swim under them wishing there was more light so I could see them better. So focused on his feet I fail to notice them coming closer until they bang my head and a body hits me from above pushing me into the rocks. Dizzy, I instinctively sink lower in the water and realize I am not alone. He is next to me, unmoving. Scared I grab him and pull him to the surface and away from the rocks. I know he needs air to live so I take him to a place where rocks sit just under the water where I shake and pat him until he coughs up water but doesn’t wake up.
I’ve never been so close to him before and I pull off his clothing and throw it into the sea offended by its feel. I run my fingers down his legs and feet fascinated by their size and shape. It seems odd to me that one would prefer to walk over swimming but I push that aside and continue exploring. His genitals protrude instead of staying safely protected under scales and I feel no envy for that part of him though I feel a stirring, a spark of that I recognize as a mating instinct. I am too young and too weak to be accepted by a mate so this feeling is out of place and I swim circles around the rocks trying to find the cause because it’s inconceivable to me that the mating instinct would be triggered by a male. But there is no one here but him so I swim back and try to ignore the urge unable to spend more thought on it. His fingers have no webbing or claws, his teeth have no points, and his neck lacks gills but overall our top halves match and I like that we have some things in common.
I stay with him as the sun cycle renews, not leaving to catch a meal. It strikes me that he should be dangerously cold in the water yet I see no evidence of any distress. Nonetheless, I swim him back to the shore, to a beach I know land dwellers frequent. They will find him and he’ll be safe. I rub his nose with mine like I see grunt fish do and lay him on the beach. Something inside me says it’s wrong to leave him but instinct pushes me away from the beach and I head it.
Later as I float enjoying my freshly caught meal I feel the tug that means he’s close to the shore. I leave my remnants for the scavengers and hurry to the cliff where I find him sitting, the moonlight shining off his nude skin, soaking his feet in the water as he had the night before. Curious I swim closer finding it strange that he’s back this soon.
“Are you here?”
The strange sound reaches me and I move closer to him heading it’s call. As I approach he slips into the water. I reach out to keep him from sinking and he grabs my shoulders using them to keep his head above water. I stare into his eyes immobilized by the feel of him against me. I don’t know what to do. He pulls me close, whispering sounds into my hair that I don’t understand but I feel he knows me and is pleased to find me here. The why of such a thing is beyond my thinking so I simply hold him ignoring the mating urge that continues to sneak up on me whenever I am near him.
He pushes us away from the rocks and I take him out to the open sea where he encourages me to swim with him under the moonlight. We stay out all night and as the sun cycle renews, I feel vibrations in the water that tell me my people are coming.
I know more about land dwellers then most of my people having watched him for so long. But most of my people avoid land dwellers and the four of my people that arrive do not comprehend that he needs air. When they see the two of us playing, they assume they can play too and pull him underwater. Games like this are common among my people and I have no way to explain that they are killing him.
I finally use claws and teeth to scare the others away but when I reach him I see it’s too late. He has no movement, not even after I try to shake water out of him on the surface. I take him in my arms and sink back down, swimming to a small half cave I find on the other side of rocks. We are far below the surface here and I sit holding him in my arms unwilling to release him. Land dwellers might call this grief but emotion like this is foreign to me. I just know I can’t let him go. Not yet.
Time passes and I continue to hold him ignoring all my instincts. I don’t know why, but I continue to hold him though occasionally I run my teeth and tongue over his smoothness of neck, so different from mine.
Today something strange happens. The skin on his neck begins to swell and shift, like a fish moving underneath. Puzzled, I push at the bulges and my claw catches one slicing it open. I peel back the skin and freeze when I see a gill not bone. Hurriedly I slice at each bulge, cutting long and deep into both sides of his neck. The gills open and flex and a moment later he opens his eyes and smiles. Then it hits me, a memory, lost deep in an inky dark area of my mind, of a friend, a partner, who left the sea many years ago. I don’t remember why he left nor does it matter because he’s mine and he’s come back to me.
The sun cycles and his claws and teeth slowly grow back. His skin thickens and his legs eventually fuse together and grow scales and a tail. My people welcome him back and we are never apart. He is the other half I didn’t realize I was missing.
We often go back to the cliff at night, where he made his forage back to the sea. We play in the surf and throw rocks at the shore. He has no desire to go back to the world where the land dwellers walk. He had his choice and assures me that swimming in the moonlight beats walking any day.