I think it’s pretty obvious by now that I like mythical creatures. Faeries, unicorns, selkies… You name it, and I probably like it or haven’t heard of it but want to, if it involves cryptozoology. So, today I decided to go with a classic story set-up: a mermaid trapped on a pirate ship. (I think that’s classic. Kind of. I saw a lot of roleplays that were set up that way, and they seemed to go together, so I kind of assumed it was a thing?) But, as always, I’ve given it my own little twist. Hopefully, you enjoy it. If I get some good feedback from it, I may continue the story in the future!
I sat beneath her, staring up into her glaring eyes. They were a pretty shade of blue that I have never seen on a human before. Occasionally, my eyes began to wander…upward a bit, but I tried to keep them fairly equal with her face. Although she had had a fish tail when they caught her last night, the dried air had turned it into two legs overnight. She was now suspended from the ceiling, completely nude, by her ankles, with her arms crossed defiantly over her chest. Her light brown hair nearly reached the floor, tickling my nose whenever there was a slight draft.
“Don’t hold back, boy. Just say it.” she said to me, “You’ve got a nude mythical woman hanging from the ceiling above you. Say whatever you want about me. I can’t get to you to respond.”
“Yer real pretty.” I replied. I figured saying nothing would only annoy her more.
“Is that all?” she asked, rolling her eyes. “You won’t say anything about my breast? My hip? My body? You’re a teenage boy. There must be something more you want to say.”
“Nah. Don’ wanna say none a’ that.” I said, shaking my head at her. “Ain’t r’spec’ful.”
“A respectful pirate? Don’t make me laugh.” she sighed. She then flexed her stomach and folded herself in half, grabbing the chain around her ankles and pulling herself up into a ball. It didn’t look comfortable in the least, but it answered how she managed to survive the night suspended upside down. I now began to wonder how long she could manage to stay awake while keeping up with that, though.
Then something else dawned on me. “If you c’n do that, why don’t ya get down?”
“I’m locked in a huge shackle designed for mermaid capture and containment.” She sighed, as if speaking to a child half my age. “I would need a key to escape.”
“Or a lock pick.”
“Yes…or a-“ she paused for a second. “Wait. Do you have a lock pick?”
“Never leave m’ room w’out it.” I replied, producing a twisted piece of metal from my pocket and beginning to work on my own chains. “Was just waitin’ to see if you were gon’ be okay.”
“If you help me escape this ship, I will do you a favor as well.” she begged as I heard the satisfying click of my brace opening. “You have no idea what they’ll do to me if I don’t get out.”
“Nah. Know real well, I think.” I grabbed another of the mermaid shackles hanging nearby. (Why was there more than one in the first place, anyway? I never did figure that out.) I pulled myself up by my arms until I could stick one of them through the shackle, then I swung over the mermaid and got to work. “No problem, lady. Wouldn’t never leave someone pretty as you on this here ship alone.”
There was a click, and then she, too was free, her feet falling downward and her hands gripping the chain tightly, righting herself before she let herself drop. Once free, she promptly took a roll of fabric and wrapped it around herself before turning back to me. “Where next, boy?”
I thought for a second before answering. “If’n we go up t’the mess hall, I think th’r’s a winda you c’n jump through.” I paused, then added, ”If’n that’s a’right. No one’s gonna be eatin’ fer an hour ‘r longer, so we prob’ly won’t be seen goin’ though there.”
“Sounds good.” You lead the way, kid.”
We ran out of the brig and began to climb the stairs. I navigated the ship with ease, going over the layout carefully in my head. I made sure to avoid any places in which we would be likely to meet with other people, and kept my ears open for any sign of crew members where they shouldn’t be. It was going to be hard enough trying to explain why I was out of the brig with a nearly naked woman following me, much less add in the fact she was the captured mermaid.
“You sure know your way around this ship pretty well.” she panted as we ran.
“I’d reckon so. It’s me dad’s.” I told her, then heard her halt behind me. I stop, as well, and turned to see if she was alright.
“This is your father’s ship?” she asked, shocked. “Why are you leading me away? Why were you locked down there in the first place? Why am I even following you? You’re probably going to lead me right into a trap!”
“It’s fer pu’shment.” I said, trying to calm her down. Her yelling was going to get us caught. “Me dad think I’m a bother to the crew, so ‘e locks me up sometimes, though I us’ly get out. Me dad don’t like me ver’ much, either.”
“I can’t believe I trusted you!” she continued to yell. “You’re obviously a pirate! Why else would a kid as young as you be on this kind of ship? I can’t believe I was so stupid! I can’t believe you are stupid enough to give that away so easily!
I heard footsteps above us, moving toward the stairs. Knowing they probably heard her carrying on, I grabbed her arm and covered her mouth firmly, then dragged her that way the rest of the way to the mess hall. “Weren’t a trap.” I told her. “Weren’t tryin’a trick ya, either. Jus’ tryin’ ta help.” Then, I released her and waved my arm at the window, showing her she was free.
She stood there in shock for a moment, realizing that a pirate had just saved her from his own crew. I may have been a child, but that was still kind of shocking. “Thank you.” she stammered out, dropping the fabric on the floor and walking towards the window. She sat on the ledge, and looked back at me. “Okay, kid. What kind of favor do you want?” she sighed, remembering her promise. “You saved me, so now I have to pay up.”
“Don’t gotta give me nothin’. Just go.” I told her. She smiled, and wordlessly tilted her body back to fall to the water. As she reached the point of no return, and only had to leave it to gravity, however, I added, “I’ll catch up.”
“What?” I heard her calling from the water below. I moved to the window to watch her, to make sure she didn’t swim away. She had a pretty, blue-green tail that matched her eyes well. I began to remove my clothing, throwing it all over the mess hall. I wouldn’t need it anymore. “You’re not coming down here! You’ll die, kid. Only merpeople can survive floating in the ocean!”
“Ah know.” I called down, before removing my last bit of clothing. I jumped out the window headfirst, cannonballing into the cool sea. When I came back up, I had a tail, too, though my was more of an orangey-brown color. “Me mum was a merlady, too.”
“She looked at me for a moment, then smiled. “Okay, you little sea monkey. Whatever you say. So, does this mean you want to cash in on your favor after all?”
“Yup.” I said, giving her the widest smile I ever remembered forming. “Take me home. Ta me mum’s home. I ain’t got no reason to be here no more.”