• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 08

How Mermaids Are Born

Mohua was back at the beach, the wind whipping her eyes open. The Baby moved, the moon rose. The skin of her belly awash in a patina of runny silver, Mohua walked into the sea, but where was the sea? She tested the sand with her left foot. It was dry and warm, like freshly crumbed ruti. The land was vast and flat, slightly bent. An upturned griddle on the flames of hell. Silent as it slowly burned.

Mohua took her first step. Zhuu! The water in her womb pitched. Zhuu, zhuu, zhuu! With every step rose a surging hiss that rolled around the cosmos: hushed screams of absent waves that followed her unseen.

"Don’t give her away, don’t give her away!"

She raised her hands to cover her ears, but she had no hands. No face either. What was left of Mohua looked down at what was left of her, but there was no her anymore. She was the sea now, the earth and the wind.

And the moon, where was it now? It had carved itself into a barge that floated on the music of the universe. Calling out to the sea, mocking it, keeping just out of reach.

Sometimes the Baby spoke to her, "Don’t be afraid, Mother! I love you!"

It made Mohua sad. "And I love you too, my Moyna, I love you too!"

The waves protested her betrayal, but zhuu, zhuu, she walked on.

At last, on the eve of Sohrai, she stood under the hull of the moon. The voices in her head whispered, "Sow your baby here."