"Believe me Grims, when I find her I'll know, BAM! it'll hit me, like lightning!" I stood on the edge of the boat, all my men staring at me, some of them wondering if I was insane. The right girl, for a prince? It was rare, I had to marry a princess, not just any girl I meet.
There was thunder, forbidding lightning struck the water, a far off distance, but close enough to warn us of the danger ahead.
A shout from the crows nest, I only heard a few words "Hurricane a coming!" and then everything was lost to sheets of rain that drowned my ears and left them deaf to everything except the crashing of the waves and screams of terror. I knew what was to be done, secure everything, tie it all down, lower the sails so we were not the winds play toy. I fought the wind over to the nearest rope, I had to help my men. Waves washed some of us over bored, I could hear nothing anymore except the constant drum of deafening thunder beating on my brain. The wind threw us around like we were nothing more then leaves on an autumn's day. I saw the captain fight to stay by the wheel in on flash of lightning. In the next he was gone.
I struggled against the winds, the boat needed to be steered, but the wheel has turned so much before I managed to get there, would I even be able to get us back on coarse? No, I wouldn't. With our only source of light, I saw the rocks ahead in every deafening strike. I couldn't do it, the ocean was to angry, too strong.
And then there was fire. Every where a burning flame, eating away the wood that separated us from the depths of the sea. Lightning must have struck, but I didn't see it, I was transfixed by those looming cliffs. We had to abandon ship.
"Look out!" I pointed to the cliffs. There was a sudden stop, the splintering sound of wood ripping up, and the screeched of men. Some of us managed to actually jump willingly of our sinking vessel, most of us were forcefully thrown of. But we had our life boats, I was in the one with our captain. I looked at the other boats, skimming each head for a familiar mop of white hair. He wasn't there. I searched the waves, fearing the worst. What if he was already pulled under? What if he was killed on the ship. What if I saw him but he was too far out in sea to save him? I started panting, I couldn't find him in the waves, my hair was in my eyes, water was in my hair, lightning was every where, and Grimsby was probably drowned.
But there was splashing; frantic, trying to stay above water splashing. White hair was bobbing above the water, that hair was connected to head that was struggling for breath.
"Grims, H-hang on!" I pulled him to the edge of my boat where he clung to the side for dear life. I was so relieved, I thought he had drowned, I thought everything was alright now-
Barking. That is what I heard. The panicked barks of a dog without his master, trapped somewhere that was undesirable.
"Max!" I forgot about him, I assumed he got off, I assumed someone would have helped him! I dove into the icy ocean, Grimsby called after me in a weak voice, but I didn't care anymore. These people didn't understand, when you were rich and powerful like me, you couldn't trust anyone. You didn't know who was your true friend or who was just with you for money and position. The only friend I've ever had was Max, because a dog didn't judge you if you were poor or rich, he'd be your friend and ask for nothing in return except a little love. I wasn't going to let my best friend burn on that accursed ship.
I couldn't find him anywhere, but the barking still echoed through my head. Climbing that ladder didn't tire me out like it normally would, too much was going on, I couldn't afford to be tired.
I saw the sheep dog finally, up on the deck. There was a wall of fire that has eaten the stairs, he wouldn't willing walk through the fire.
"Jump Max! Jump, you can do it Max!" he looked at me like I was insane, but jumped into my arms non the less. It was weird, but sometimes I think Max could understand me, like he knew exactly what I was saying.
I ran with him in my arms all the way to the edge of the ship. Then the wood finally gave. My foot fell through, I could feel splinters in my skin and blood dripping down. Max flew out of my arms, his momentum carrying him over and into the water. Good, at least he was safe.
I tugged on my leg. No good. I grabbed my knee and pulled, but all that was accomplished was to get my leg even more splintered.
"ERIC!" I heard Grimsby shout out over everything. Over at the life boat he had Max, but that wasn't his concern, he was looking at me, then at the fire, and then at the cargo hold. The gunpowder. I heard an explosion, everything went black.
I saw it all, the lightning strike the sails, a fire burn larger then any Scuttle has ever told me about. I always use to think fires were good, they were land things that kept humans warm. I would never forget this fire, this large fire that flew out in ever direction and ate the ships wood like it was the most delicious thing ever. And then I saw him unconscious, temporarily stuck on a little cracked piece of wood, then slip off and sink. He didn't even float a little! I knew that humans could not breath underwater, that was like, Scuttle's first lesson, and right now he was sinking. I knew Daddy would not approve, but since when has he been right about humans? So I swam down as fast as my tail could carry me, the one time I was grateful for flippers instead of legs.
I reached him, but he was pretty far down, these beings sunk faster then I thought they would. Not only that, but they were heavy, I had trouble turning him around. But once I got him going up instead of to the bottom, it was much easier, he seemed to help me a bit, even if he was dead.
I broke the surface and hit the stormy air. I never cared what I was breathing, there was always a little shock as I adjusted from wet to dry, but over the years of surfacing and re-surfacing it hardly affected me anymore. Now my sisters, they would have to take their time surfacing, otherwise the shock would be brutal. Poor, inexperience sisters. But that wasn't the concern right now, right now it was about this man, this gorgeous human. And he didn't look alive. But I wasn't going to give up, I made sure his head was above the waves all the way to the sandy beach.
The clouds still loomed over head, but they were breaking up, at least the rain stopped. I dragged his water logged body onto the sand. I was breathing hard once I pulled him completely out of the water. I couldn't contemplate it, but there seemed to be this magic about humans that made them so much heavier on land then in water. Maybe that's how they stick to the ground without the sea to hold them.
There was a bright light, I couldn't see anything. Was I dead? I should stay away from the light, that's what they tell you to do, right? There was a voice in the air, it sounded like an angel, welcoming me to heaven. And then a face, not just any face, the most beautiful face I have ever seen, with a kind smile and curious blue eyes, blocking out the white blinding light. Red hair billowed around her like fire, and I knew I had to be dead, no woman could be this beautiful, this perfect, and live on this world. But what was it she was singing? I couldn't hear very well, like the sea I drowned in claimed my ears in the process. No, that wasn't it, words were getting clearer as sea water leaked from both holes in the sides of my head, it felt like a stream slowly crawling down into the sand, and with the water flowing out came the sound.
"Just you and me, then I could be part of your world," she had the most amazing voice. I realized something else as well, her hand was on my cheek. I realized another thing, my hand was on top of hers. I didn't remember reaching for her hand, but I didn't really care, it was soft, friendly, it felt like it has never done a days work before, but it was wrinkly in certain spots, as if they were soaked in water 24/7.
There was a bark in the background. Oh Max, can't you see I'm busy? I would make sure to not give him any treats tonight. Wait, Max? But he's not dead, I saw Grimsby get him on the life boats. So I was alive. And this girl, this angel, well not really an angel, but this human goddess, she was alive too. And she was pulling back her hand. Without thinking I grabbed her wrist.
He had me in a grip that was too strong, even being weak as he was. I tugged and pulled, I tried to pry his fingers open, I bit his knuckles, and still he was hanging on with an iron grip!
"Let go of me, let me go!" I was starting to feel panicky, I guess some of Daddy's lessons sunk in after all; never let a human see you. Imagine that.
"Eric!" it was the old man I saw, the one who made that statue that was just a mockery next to the real thing.
The furry creature ran up and licked Eric, I felt queasy, not because how disgusting that was, but the old man, I could see him, and he could see me.
"E-Eric, what is that, that thing?" He stared at me as if he never seen a mermaid before. I reminded myself he most probably hasn't, I was the only one that would ever dare swim to the surface, let alone save a human.
"Grimsby, she saved me," Eric hasn't seen the rest of my body yet, there was still a chance to escape. So what if one old man saw me? Everyone would think him senile if he talked. I looked over at Sebastian and Flounder. Well, Flounder couldn't really do anything, I mean he was a fish, but Sebastian. He got my message.
Eric looked at my face, but he was still lying down in the sand, he couldn't tell what was in place of legs.
"Miss, what is your name?" Oh his voice was so amazing, so beautiful, so kind and those eyes, so deep, like the ocean surface on a cloudy day. I very much wanted to tell him my name, I was actually going to, but at that moment he let out a scream that made me feel pain. Sebastian had a claw on his free hand, and knowing Sebastian, he would not be letting go anytime soon.
Eric's grip loosened on me, it was saddening, I wanted to grab him and never let go, but Daddy would kill me, and possibly Eric as well.
"I'm so sorry, I will be a part of your world, I promise," I waved to the old man. I dove into the shallows
"Oh, no, no, I can't stand it! It's too easy! The child is in love with a human, and not just any human, a prince! Ho ho ho ho, and Daddy will love that. King Triton's head-strong love-sick girl would make a charming addition to my garden," I laughed. My unfortunate souls cowered in my shadow; good, it was always better to be feared then loved, even by your prisoners.
Finally the universe was getting it right! I was getting what I deserved and nothing less. Practically a free ticket back into the palace, along with a complementary crown and trident! Of course we can not forget sweet King Triton thrown into the equation, but as long as I got my bargaining tool, I didn't really see a problem…
She told me she would be a part of my world. What did that mean? Was she not already? Didn't she just have the greatest impact on my life? And yet in one flash of pain she was gone, disappeared, with nothing of use left behind, no slipper, no body to kiss to life, just a haunting melody. A gorgeous melody. That was the only lead I had, and Grimsby's theory. I knew Grimsby's theory very well, as did the whole kingdom. I did not agree with the quarantine the doctors placed on him, but of late Grimsby has been very stressed, some alone time would do him good.
Ah, that voice was back in my head again. Sometimes I did try to forget it, but I had to admit never very hard. It was just a love at first sight thing. It made me determined, I was going to find this angel, and I was going to marry her.
Sebastian was spying on me, I knew it. Everyone knew it. It' s not like he would willingly follow me around telling me this was a bad idea. Well he would, but he wouldn't be so anxious about it unless Daddy was asking about it. I've known this crab since I was little, I trusted him with my life. Unfortunately right now my life depended on him not talking to my father, and more unfortunate my father scared the bubbles out of poor Sebastian. He promised me he wouldn't tell, but how long would that last? I had to see him again before word let out. I had to let him see me.
"I gotta see him again! Tonight! Scuttle knows where he lives!" I started telling my needs to Sebastian, not my best idea ever.
Sebastian grabbed my tail. Thank Poseidon flippers didn't have much nerves, otherwise I would have been screaming like Eric. "Ariel would you get your head out of the clouds and back in the water where it belongs,"
Uh, Sebastian, just as understanding as Daddy, "I'll swim up to the castle, then Flounder will splash around to get his attention-"
"Down here is your home!" Sebastian stopped me in my tracks, "Ariel, listen to me, the human world is a mess. Life under the sea is better then anything they got up there," Sebastian started singing about how the ocean is better and blah blah blah. My plans may have been interrupted with my speech, but they still churned in my brain. Flounder would get his attention, then I would wave him down. I was so excited, I had to leave, I had to find Flounder. Sebastian was singing something about fishes swimming. A dolphin rolled by, everyone was distracted, so I left. Tonight I would reveal my secret to Eric.
Every servant was complaining about a fish splashing outside. I seemed to be the only one who didn't hear it. That struck me as odd. Why didn't I hear this fish? Well, Max needed a walk, I would go down to the beach and look for it. And maybe play some music. Although, the only song I can manage to play on that old flute is the melody of that girl. Sort of her theme song now.
Max was more excited to see me out and about then go for the actual walk. I guess I've kind of been ignoring him more then usual, with this whole hunt for that girl, but he stood by my side, the most loyal friend I've ever had.
The ocean was serene. Ever since the crash there was something about it that pulled me back, maybe it was the fact I survived those blue waters. I planned to marry on the ocean, with the phantom girl of the ocean, if only I could find her-
There it was. A splash, a small yellow fish in the water. And then there was a girl's head sticking out from under the water. Not just any girl's head, the girl's head, I was sure of it, I would recognize those red locks of hair anywhere.
"You! Hey w-wait!" I started wading out in the water, she just disappeared, sunk back under like she was a mermaid. Grimsby's theory…the whole situation was just getting stranger and stranger.
I had a plan, but I couldn't follow through. Daddy would be furious with me already, and what if he rejected me? What if he didn't like his girls half fish? What if he killed me? I knew this was a lot of what ifs, but still, what if? I swam behind a rock and touched down on the damp sand below me. Forever, it would be that damp sand, this water, my hair would never be dry and blow in the wind like Eric's, I would never feel the white sand of beaches in between my toes, and I would never be able to run up to Eric after a long parting, I would never be able to give him a hug, a kiss. What was the point of seeing him again?
"Ariel, what are you doing?" Flounder found me, I didn't really realize I was hiding until he came.
"Just go away," I pulled my tail up to my chest and cried into those hard green scales.
"No!" I looked up, shocked. Flounder was always a guppy, he never spoke to me like that! "Ariel I won't let you hide from him. Do you love him?" Flounder stared at me, but I just stared back, I couldn't answer, "yes you love him, he is all you ever talk about! Do you want to know what the surprise I had for you was? I found that statue of him at the bottom of the ocean, hired a humpback whale named Mariana to carry it for me. I had to pay her sixteen shells. Sixteen! I only have four shells left in my savings! But you know what? I don't care, it would make you happy, so I did it for you. And now I'm going to do this for you. I swear Ariel, if you don't get out there and show yourself to him, I will jump and splash so much he will swim right out here, and you can bet I won't be letting you leave!"
Again all I could do is stare. This was guppy Flounder, the fish that was afraid of sharks and sunken ships, the little yellow fish that couldn't understand my obsession with the human world, but he never tried to get me out of it, he always followed easily. And here he was, standing up for himself. I had to admit, I was somewhat impressed.
I took Flounder's words to heart, he was right, as he normally is, it was time to show myself.
I was still calling out to her, even if she was underwater. I lost her once, I wasn't planning on loosing her a second time. There wasn't much, the water was back to a churning state of waves breaking on the rocks. I still stood there though, I could not believe my luck, the most amazing girl in the world, gone again. Nothing left but that song in my head and a flash of red hair. I guess I should stop standing in the water.
There was a flash of color under the water, a color that made the water look like it was on fire. Can water be set on fire? No, no it can't, that brilliant color of hair could only belong to one person, one woman, one goddess. And there she was, her hair and head out of the water, but not her shoulders…curious. But that didn't really matter now. I knew she was around, I knew she was real! I had to talk to her, but how could I? She sat there so beautifully, so gracefully, her fiery hair billowing out and flowing with the waves, her quizzical blue eyes staring at me with so much wonder, so much love. Was that a green skirt she was wearing, draping around her feet under the water? It made her look radiant.
"H-hello miss," I stammered. I felt like a fool, would she even bother to respond?
"Hi," she said, her voice just as beautiful as I remembered, like everything good in life combined into one.
"You said that already," she looked at me like she was trying to figure me out, like I was a puzzle. It was cute.
"Oh, yea, silly me. Do you have a name miss…?" This was not going well, I should whisk her off her feet and take her to the marriage boat, I should kiss her right now, what was I doing?
Ugh, what was I thinking? He was so…so incredibly amazing. Why would he go for a girl like me? I wasn't even a girl, I was a…a….mermaid. Did he figure it out yet? I'm trying to hide under the sea, but how well is that working? Yet here he was, soaked with water, stuttering, asking for my name. I should tell him, I should bring up a conversation.
"Ariel, my name is Ariel," I looked into his eyes, willing him to remember. Does he? Eric was pretty out of it when I saved him, but yet he was out here, chasing me, he must remember.
"Ariel, that's kinda pretty. Okay, Ariel," he looked at me with storm blue eyes that made me melt. Was this what it always felt like to be in love? "My name is-"
"Eric, I know," that sounded stalkerish, I should have just kept my trap shut. He was looking at me weirdly, I said something wrong, I know it.
"Umm, why don't we get you out of the water? You must be freezing,"
"No! No, no, um…I'm sorry, but I can't," I dropped deeper into the water, my neck now submerged.
"Why not? Aren't you cold and wet?" He started wading out closer to me, I started backing up, trying not to show my tail.
"No, no, not at all. I am completely dry, water seems to have no effect on me, hehehe," I kept swimming back until…"Ow!" A rock jabbed me in the spine, I was trapped.
"Ooo, that looked painful, you should really watch where your going," Eric kept advancing, "Here, let me help you, I mean you did save my life, I can at least take you up to the palace," he reached out under the water to sweep me off my feet. If only he could, if only.
"Please, don't," I could feel my eyes tearing up.
"Don't be ridiculous! You should really get dry-" he touched my tail.