DISCLAIMER: Don't own anything associated with the show… I just like playing with the characters in it from time to time. Dance Monkeys! Dance!
SPOILERS: Through US Aired Episodes
WORD COUNT: 1073
PROMPT: Water: Mermaid
SUMMARY: An unusual vacation spot has Grissom waxing philosophical.
A/N: This is one of those stories that practically wrote itself. It was done the same day I received the prompt. Hence the reason I took two prompts. I just wasn't satisfied in the challenge after this one came so quickly. Much love to the betas, who are tireless and exceptionally generous with their time. I'm just glad they don't pull their hair out when I send them something I've written. ;)
REVIEWS: Reviews are the way I know if people are enjoying the work or not. So, if you leave one, THANKS! And if not, I hope you found at least a little something to brighten your day, and thanks for taking the time to read.
The sun bathed Grissom's face with its tender warmth. He could still feel the gentle breeze as it caressed his body, but with the ever rising sun he was truly beginning to understand the reason for his visit to this place. It wasn't the oppressive heat of the Nevada desert, or the glaring shine of a summer day in Marina Del Ray. It was subtle, and quiet, and gentle, and beautiful in a way he never imagined it could be.
The sounds and smells of the surf filled his senses and washed away all the evils of men from his mind. He was contented in their ancient rhythms as they continued to assault the vacant beach. Each crash of water onto the shores was another worry lifted from his burden and carried away as the water retreated back into the seas.
There was a peace to this place, an unexpected benefit to the unorthodox choice for a spring trip. Most people would seek out the blooming glory of the Mid-Atlantic as Mother Nature brought out the flora with her delicate touch. Or perhaps somewhere tropical, to hasten the arrival of summer and its heated breath of sizzling life. The shores of the Pacific Northwest seemed like an odd location for a trip when the waters were still cooled from the winter ice flows to the North, and the air was filled with its once icy mists.
Warmed by a thick bulky sweater, he sat on the lounge chair out in the sands, soaking in all of the amenities the northern beach had to offer him. He listened to every little sound; the gulls swooping and diving into the surf, calling to each other to create clear territorial boundaries. The surf colored everything with its deep and timeless rhythm, but off in the distance, he could hear something else join in the symphony of sound all around him. As he opened his eyes to catalog the source of the sound, he found a small harem of Northern Elephant Seals was making their way to the beach.
"In the Eastern Oceans, the Manatee and the Dugong were often mistaken as mermaids by passing sailors. It is suspected that they were blinded by months alone at sea, and the forms of these creatures breaking the through the surf resembled women of their day." He quickly lost himself in the well-known comfort of lecture. "Of course, the human mind will also apply the familiar in their lives to the unfamiliar as a way to combat their fears. So, when the manatee erupted from their bottom dwelling habits, perhaps their silhouettes, draped in seaweed and kelp gave the appearance of a human form upon the rocks. Regardless, the tales of mermaids have been steady throughout time, both in the sea and on the land."
"Many equated the land based myths on a genetic abnormality called Sirenomelia. It is a condition that, on a scale of rarity, parallels with conjoined twins." His arms draped limply over the sides of the chair, his hands dangling in the air. "The congenital disorder displays itself with the fusing of the legs and a reduction in the genitalia. It is almost always fatal, due to the kidney and bladder complications associated with it, but there has been a recent report of a two year old girl with the condition."
Leaning further back into the chair, he became even more relaxed as he slipped into the role of storyteller. "Victims of Sirenomelia, as well as various hoaxes from P.T. Barnum to the wunderkammers of Europe, perpetuated these land bound myths, well into the modern age. But the sea based stories date back before recorded time."
"Quite possibly, the stories began as far back as five thousand B.C. One of the earliest recorded stories is found in Assyrian mythology, circa one thousand B.C." He shifted in the chair as the words fell quietly from his mouth.
"Atargatis was the mother of the great Assyrian queen Semiramis. She was acclaimed to be a goddess who committed the sin of falling in love with a mortal shepherd and during the course of their courtship she killed him. Filled with shame, she jumped into a lake in the hopes of hiding herself away by taking the form of a fish, but the waters could do nothing to mask her celestial beauty." His voice was wistful and filled with all the wonder of a boy, yet tempered with the wisdom of his age.
"From that point forward, she exhibited the form of a mermaid; a human from the torso up, and carrying the tail of a fish below. However, the earliest depictions of Atargatis displayed her as a fish, but she possessed the head and legs of a human, much like the Babylonian Ea." He released a reflective sigh at the conclusion of that story. "Every major sea-faring civilization has developed their own mythologies with the constant between them all being the beautiful sea creature, taking on the features of a woman and a fish. But perhaps the most popular of these would be the story written by Hans Christian Andersen with his fairytale depiction of 'The Little Mermaid.' It has dominated all western thought of this particular myth ever since."
Drawing in a deep breath of the pungent sea air, Sara squeezed the hand she had been playing with throughout his lesson and quoted the passage purely from memory, "If his every thought and his whole heart cleaved to you so that he would let a priest join his right hand to yours and would promise to be faithful here and throughout all eternity, then his soul would dwell in your body, and you would share in the happiness of mankind. He would give you a soul and yet keep his own."
A broad smile spread over his face as his fingers found the gold band wrapped tightly around her third finger. "'Sing, siren, for thyself, and I will dote; Spread o'er the silver waves thy brownish hairs, And as a bed I'll take them, and there lie.'"
She turned to catch his gaze and with a worried brow asked, "Isn't that supposed to be 'thy golden hairs?'"
He brought her hand up to his mouth and chastely laid his lips upon the back of it before he said, "Not for me."
First Quote: Hans Christian Andersen, "The Little Mermaid."
First Quote: Hans Christian Andersen, "The Little Mermaid."
Second Quote: William Shakespeare, "The Comedy of Errors," act 3, sc. 2, l. 47-9.