You blinked your groggy eyes open, but shut them again almost immediately. A piercing white light seared past your eyelids and succeeded in giving you a throbbing headache. Where was this...?
Moving your arms was difficult and when you tried to tug them apart, something held them together. Rope? You beat your tail gently and you felt the water you were submerged in wave slightly.
Turning around you tried to swim to the surface of the ocean but after a moment you bashed your face into something. You’d grown accustomed to the burning light by now and slowly opened your eyes.
The image that spread in front of you was something you’d never forget. Humans. Humans, tons of them! They were everywhere, throngs of them crowding around the sphere you were stuck in. Panic took over you and you looked around frantically.
A sort of humming noise was coming from them and they were all opening and closing their mouths like beached fish. You beat your scaled tail against the hard glass again, biting your lip when it didn’t as much as budge.
Your fists pummelled the barrier and you cried out for help, your voice sounding clear to you but your pleas didn’t reach the other side. Watching in despair you started crying. Or well, the closest mermaid equivalent to crying.
Suddenly the murmur of the humans died down and a man stood up. You inspected him with sorrowful eyes as he came before you. His green eyes shone like the seaweed that grew on the ocean bed and his hair was as golden as the sunlight that trickled down past the waves and threw rainbows across the sand.
He looked at you intently, placing his hand over the spot you held yours. He spoke and due to the crowd dying down and the short distance to you, you could make out his muffled words.
“I’ll get you out of there.” Was that good? Your father had taught you a couple of human words and ‘getting out’ rang a bell in your head. Then he turned, his palm still pressed against the glass. When he was done with whatever he was saying or doing, he faced you again.
One of his arms in the air, he did a strange sort of wave thing. A second or two later, you felt your prison being lifted up and you were taken away from the man.
A man came in front of you and threw something over the top of the spherical water-tank. Darkness engulfed you.
All you knew was that you were being transported because of the jostling of the water around you. You waited for something to happen. Nothing did so you started exploring the various nooks and crannies of the tank. At the top there seemed to be some sort of latch, well something you could move anyway.
But it didn’t give so you settled on drifting on your back to pass the time. What seemed like an eternity of waiting later, you jolted to the side. Evidently you had arrived at your destination.
You were lifted up again, only to be set down a bit further. The thing covering you was pulled off and you winced, holding your hands up to shield your eyes from the light again. Where were you now?!
But wait! The warmth that came with the light was so familiar, it must be-! “The sun!” You shouted in Mermish , shooting towards it but being thwarted by the glass again. The blond man from before stood next to you.
After surveying the situation, he leaned over your glass, his stomach pressed against it as he tried to undo the hatch at the top of your prison.
He had to stand on his toes to get to it and after some fruitless fumbling he got it. He grinned in triumph and pushed the hatch open to hand limply to the side. You jumped, feeling your webbed fingers grab onto the circular exit.
Pushing yourself up and out, gaining a burst of power from a flick of your tail, you sat on the edge. Though you were sliding down it dangerously and you weren’t used to the light oxygen humans needed.
You rasped something out, feeling yourself grow faint. When you toppled to the side you felt something heavy and warm collide with you, lifting you from your untimely demise. Suddenly you felt cool water encase you and your eyes shot open.
The sea! You were back! You gleefully swam quickly, wanting to put as much distance between the humans and yourself.
The man watched as you sped away, sighing to himself. “There goes my money.” He muttered, wiping his hands from the spray of ocean you’d whipped up. He turned one last time to see you jump out of the water happily.
“Well, that does make it worth it.” Sitting himself back down again, he watched as you experienced your freedom. It truly was a stunning sight, the way your hair glittered with water droplets whenever you resurfaced to do some acrobatics.
When you did a particular complicated twist in the air, you noticed the man with the golden hair there again.
You bit your lip as you created bubbles. I should at least thank him... Swimming towards him, you stretched out your arms, having freed them from their binds when you’d gotten hold of a rock.
You stayed underwater until you saw his bare feet dangling from a low rock. Quietly breaking the surface you heard him gasp when he saw you. Holding your breath, you reached out to touch his hands, inspecting the gaps between his fingers interestedly.
You blushed when you realised your inquisitiveness had gotten the better of you and you tugged him into the water with you. Pulling him under gently you smiled toothily at him and did what you never thought you would do to a human. As you hugged the man, you leant to his ear.
“Th-thank-yu.” You whispered, using pretty much the only human words you knew. Your father had drilled it into you when you were a kid. Always thank a human if he helps you! Many of them will try to hurt you or sell you, so when you meet one that helps you, you have to thank him!
I did it dad, you thought to yourself as you lifted him back to the surface. Smiling, he hugged you back and even kissed your cheek. “You’re welcome.”
Even though you didn’t understand him, there was a certain warmth in his tone which made your heart flutter.
Nodding once, you sank back down and swam away. You granted him one last look of you as you did a spectacular jump and then you disappeared into the dark sea.
The blond man grinned, even though he was sopping wet. “Farewell!” He cried, waving as the ripples following you grew smaller and evened out.