For millions of years human kind has lived beside the sea.
And for millions of years the sea has lived beside human kind.
Life began and rotates endlessly around water. The human body was made up of more than 75% water, lived nine months in water and required it to live. Life of all sorts thrived alongside and in the water; some chose to walk…and others chose to spend their eternities beneath the waves.
Hidden worlds of coral reefs and sea caves; forests of kelp that spread endlessly, and frozen glittering ice were just some of the hidden treasures that the sea kept to herself. But it certainly wasn’t the most fantastical of all.
Pods of creatures, half fish, half human, beautiful and alluring, lived and thrived beneath the sea. Scales the color of jewels, eyes wide and entrancing, and voices as fluid as sweet milk had tempted sailors and lived on the pages of children’s story books for hundreds of years.
Some thought they brought luck or granted wishes, others thought they tempted men to their deaths just to steal their treasures or eat their flesh. Only some of the rumors were true, but if you were lucky enough to meet one, they would never tell.
On a rather unimportant day, in the rather uneventful evening, waves crashed like a heartbeat against white sands, tossing shells the color of night into the surf. Though most people had retired to their seaside homes for the evening, or to the nearby sailor’s pubs, laughter echoed high and bright among the cove and tall, high sailed ships.
Though no children could be seen racing along the beach, the laughter continued, splashes that did not sound like the normal gurgle of water brushing against the sides of boats echoing even louder. Under a hole filled dock covered in barnacles and draping in damp ropes, a head with hair as yellow as the sun broke the surface and the giggling persisted. Not a moment later, another head surfaced, curled hair the color of honey spilling over pale shoulders, and a long finger pressing against blushed lips.
“Please, Peter, you have to be more quiet,” the second person whispered, violet eyes the color of rich twilight urged, and the child nodded, still giggling softly.
“Did you see the one with the wooden leg, Mattie? How do you suppose it got that way?” the boy asked, following behind the elder, as they glided quietly in the cool water. A bag was taken out of the water from being around his shoulders as Matthew squinted and concentrated on the wooden pillars of the dock.
“Yes, Peter, I did. You must be quiet, okay?”
The little blonde rolled his blue eyes but remained quiet, gently lowering his face into the water until just under his nose, blowing bubbles to occupy himself as Matthew began to free oysters off of the docks side using a sharpened piece of bone.
All was well and quiet, Matthew softly whispering to the child and instructing him on how to do this himself someday; seeing as it was the entire point of the little outing. Matthew’s fingers stilled dread filling his chest as he heard a thumping noise, click…click…click..that sounded like a person walking. And coming onto the dock.
Sliding the bone knife into the bag of oysters, Matthew wrapped his arms around the boy, pressing his fingers to his shocked mouth as he whispered into his ear to be still. Above them, a figure moved along the dock and Matthew held his breath, waiting.