Give me flesh made for sinking in ocean dreams and the nearness of you and only you. Give me mermaid skin and ivory grins that only you can bring forth. Show me a periwinkle home and your melody closer than anything else. Give me the sea and you and all our worries on the shelf. -Mermaid Skin, J. R. Rogue, Le Chant des Sirènes
A bright moon shone across a spit of beach nestled between dark monoliths of stone. A lone figure sat serenely on the sand at the water’s edge with legs tucked under the pale skin of bare thighs washed in the light. Dark pupils the size of nickels reflected the heavenly orb. A narrow nose flared as she pursed her lips together. Only the countenance of her face gave a hint to the yearning that dominated her life. She sat on the beach waiting for so many cycles of the moon that she no longer remembered the time.
* * *
I looked up from the instruments and turned to give Derek a report of our location. He was sitting in a deck chair looking out over the stern at the rising moon. The clear skies and bright reflection of light bathed us in an eery glow. We were like lost souls traveling in Charon’s boat across the River Styx on our way to Elysium.
Returning back to the instruments, I noted the speck on the radar. Another ship was tagging along with us a safe distance back. Their course over the last few days was the same any island hopping tour would take. It darted in this direction and then that. It always returned to follow our general course. It was the people that gave me the Chris Craft and paid for all the supplies.
Derek didn’t know this cruise had another mission besides finding Meera. When the time came, I’d deal with it. But for now, we lived a life of wandering pirates in search of a mythical treasure. Yo, ho, ho, and a bottle of rum and dead men tell no tales. That was our mantra, and it had more truth than fairytale in it.
“Derek, what are you thinking about over there?”
“Why so quiet my friend? Usually, you are an irrepressible chatterbox. Now I’m getting the silent treatment.”
Derek laughed as he broke his somber meditation. He looked at me as I placed my chair next to his. “I was just thinking about Meera. I wonder if I’m lucky enough to find her if she accepts me back.”
“Why wouldn’t she, Derek?”
“I’m not the man I was then. She’s like a half-wild creature. She wouldn’t want a mate that is past his prime.”
“She’s older too, Derek. She may feel the same as you and be grateful you came back to her,” I said, trying to ease his concerns. We were taking a lot of risk with the most likely outcome a crushing disappointment. There were so many things stacked against us, it was hard to imagine we actually would find Meera and be able to reconnect with her in a way that would give Derek back his dignity and the love of his life.
I never bothered to talk about the odds against us. Derek also conveniently stayed away from the subject. Then there was the deal I struck with my employer in return for their help. They expected their payback, and I would have to deliver. Derek broke the silence between us taking my attention off of what that payback was going to be.
“Hyp, if you could only imagine what it was like to hold her in my arms. She was so trusting after I nursed her back from the shark attack. I tell you, I don’t know what I would have done if she died. Her skin was so smooth, my finger could slide from the nape of her neck to the back of her heel on a single tear. There were a lot of tears during that time. And making love, Oh, let me tell you she had no pretense about it. That’s what stole my heart, Hyp. She loved me without judgment or reservation. There were no conditions just the desire for each other. It was pure love, one I could never find among my own kind.”
Derek’s confession ripped through me as his head lowered and he grew silent in his thoughts about those private moments with his mermaid. I placed my hand on his shoulder and reassured him. “We’ll find her, Derek. We’ll keep looking. Just don’t give up.”
“What do I do when we meet again,” he asked.
“You have a lot of explaining to do, my friend. I’d start with, Hi honey, I’m home, and have some flowers and chocolate ready.”
We both laughed as the mood shifted and we decided to call it a night.
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