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{Writing time: 11 minutes}

W is for Water

Someday, he’ll be a mermaid. He knows how to be one — it’s easier than they say in the stories. He’s seen them, floating in the blue. Their hair is blonde, of course, but it looks green-tinted beneath the water. They wear dresses of green and purple, seaweed and seahorses, shiny scales on the curves of their skin. He can see their faces, when they make fish lips at him, their rubied lips, and the pretty red necklaces they wear.

He is supposed to want trucks and pants and fights and maybe someday girls. This is what his older brother says. But he doesn’t want any of those things. He wants to swim underwater, with the fishes and the coral and the sea queens. He wants to have his feet bound together to make a tail. He wants the long blonde hair and the wide eyes, the flowing dresses and, most of all, he wants one of those red necklaces they all wear.

He never tells his mother that he goes to see the mermaids, she worries he’ll fall in and drown, but he knows how to swim. And even if he didn’t the mermaids would save him and make him their own. So every morning, he kneels on the dock and looks in, to see what new boys have become mermaids over the night. Sometimes there isn’t one, but most often there is. Like today, the new mermaid. His long blonde hair not yet turned color, his wide blue eyes. The boy looks and the mermaid looks back.

Someday he’ll be a mermaid too. It is easier than they say in the stories. You don’t have to give up your legs or your voice. You just have to wait for the man with the red necklaces. Wait for him, and hope he picks you.


Read all the Quick Fiction A to Z stories here.