Feb 25

Something fishy going on here

"What's the first thing they teach you guys as kids?"
"Don't trust humans as far as you can throw them. They're dangerous, and as long as they know what you are, they're a threat." 
"Jesus. As a human, I'd be offended if I didn't know you're absolutely right."
"Yeah? Well," Tiresas shifted in the water, rubbing his hand over the back of his neck. "I'm not sure how true all that is. You turned out fine."
"Yeah fish brain, but as far as I know, you've not met many humans, so I'd say it's a pretty small sample size."

The sun was out in full force, shining down hard on the small sail boat just off the coast. Ringed by white sand beaches on either side and palm trees in the distance, the cove was the perfect place to spend the day swimming or snorkeling, and Shana had full intention to do every single one of those things. But Tiresas didn't come over often, scared that he would be spotted by another human, and Shana intended to make full use of his visits.

After all, it's not every day you get to hang out with a mermaid.

"So why do you guys stay so close to the shore? Wouldn't it be safer to go into deeper water?" Shana asked. She was sitting on the back of her family's sailboat, the wind blowing across her face as she sat cross legged on the deck. Tiresas was just a little bit below her, his arms propped up on the back of the boat and his tail dangling down into the turquoise water of the Caribbean. Even though she couldn't see his lower half, Shana knew there's no way she could have mistaken him for a human. The smooth fins on his ears, elbows, and back along scales scattered across his shoulders made it far too obvious that he was anything but. 

"I don't know. It's nice here, and I prefer to stay at the Reef than in the Deeps. I think all my family does. We're just not quite built for it, ya know? Too dark down there- even with my good vision, I'd be blind in that squid ink." Tiresas shuddered, rubbing his hands along his arms as if to remind himself he was out in the sunlight and the breeze. 
"Besides, it's not necessarily safer. There are all kinds of creatures down there you human don't know about."

Shana laughed at that. "That's probably true, huh? We've only seen a little bit of it." What had Dad said it was? Five Percent of the ocean explored? Seven? Some weirdly low number that doesn't seem possible, not with how long humans had been sailing and investigating the world's seas.
Tiresas smiled, before sinking down farther in the water to put his head on the boat deck.
"Definitely." He sighed. "I should probably get going soon. Dad will be looking for me, he gets worried if I'm not back in a few hours."

"Uh uh," Shana said, "you don't get to duck out just yet. It's Myth Buster time." Tiresas groaned, flicking his eyes up to meet hers with a baleful expression. 
"Again? This is the third time you've grilled me this week. One would think you'd run out of questions by now."
"No way, Jose. I've got a life time of myths to reevaluate! An entire species to learn about! And I intend to do just that!" 
Shana scootched down onto the lower deck, dangling her feet into the water. She crossed her arms, waiting for the merman next to her to perk up a bit.

"Fine," he said, lifting his head off of the deck. "First question."
"True or false: merfolk eat humans."
"False. You're thinking of Sirens. Mer have never eaten people."

Okay then. Next question.

"True or False: Merfolk lure sailors to their death."
"False. Stars above Shana, and your kind wonder why we do our best to avoid you. Ask a less morbid question."

"Okay, True or False- Mermaids have magic."
Tiresas frowned slightly, his nose crinkling. 
"That's... complicated. We don't really view magic the same way you do- somethings we wouldn't call magic, but you might. After all, what we call magic is just science we don't under stand yet. So... true? I guess? I don't know. Some have more abilities than others."
"Are you quoting Thor?" 
"Never mind."

They lapsed into silence for a few seconds before Shana couldn't resist the burn of her curiosity. 
"What about you, Ty?"
"What about me?"

Shana kicked water in his face.
"Do you have magic or not, you doofus?"

He shrugged, his pale blue scales catching the sunlight.
"Sorta. Not really. Depends on what you define as magic. I've got some bioluminescence- like everyone in my family, but I think that just counts as biology. We're reef fish. We're not super powerful."

Shana didn't like the resigned tone that he said that in. 

"Listen, I actually gotta go now." Tiresas slipped his hands off the deck, and Shana caught the movement of his tail starting to shift under the water. "I'll see you two days from now?"
Shana nodded, putting a hand out for a high five. Tiresas grabbed it in a hand shake.
"Nice to meet you?" He joked, one eyebrow raised. Shana laughed, and released his hand. 
"See you two days from now. Same time, same place?" 
"If your boat's still here." 
"We live here, doofus."
"Good, me too."
"Shut up."
"Two days from now?"
"Yes, for God's sake, now go before your Dad throws a fit!"
Tiresas smiled at that, and, flicking his long tail, dove back into the water, his hand raised in farewell.

Shana waved back from her boat. She realized that she was smiling too. After all, it was nice to have a friend.

(This is the first in a mini series that I have not yet found a name for. Suggestions would be appreciated. -Gabbie)