• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 08

Fragment from a Mermaid’s Diary

They haul me from coral mansions, leave me to dry in the sun on the ship’s deck. My face freezes in an expression of terror and pain, all eyes and bared teeth. Skin wrinkles, hair falls out. Once opulent breasts, the talk of the Seven Seas, become shrivelled dugs. Long days on the ship, desiccating, chasing the setting sun.

How the flabby two-legs gawp, prod, revile me. The same beings once enthralled by my song and sensual body. The ship stops at places with strange sights and smells and even stranger creatures with four legs and fur. The smell of fish frying fills me with longing.

After an age, we arrive at a narrow tract of brown water, grey buildings and sky. A babble of voices and noise rises up like smoke into the sour air. I drop my comb and mirror into the water – my golden hair is just a memory and I don’t want to see the monster I’ve become.

I am taken to a dry place, impaled on a plinth, the air around me solidified into a domed prison. Hundreds of two-legs file past me each day, their faces rapt with revulsion and mocking. The little ones point and laugh. Some call me ‘Monkey-Fish’, but I am neither. The brown liquid they drink here is like their brown water. All day long there is the tinkling of bright coins.

Sometimes I dream of falling into the brown water, swimming downriver until I enter a cold sea, towards the rising sun until I'm home...