Chapter 19: Truths
One Saturday morning, Merrick is moaning as he had straddling Adam's lap. He rocked his hips as he felt Adam's large manhood push into him. He huffed and panted as he ground his bubble butt against that hairy patch of dark pubs on Adam's lap. Adam bit his lip as he shoved his pelvis up into Merrick's perfect bottom. Merrick moaned out as he leaned back as Adam rubbed and masturbated the blonde's average dick, rubbing it with the precum oozing out of the glans.
"Ffffffuck!" Adam moaned as he pistoned his hips up and down into Merrick's ass.
"Ooohhh! Ohh! Hoohhh!" The merman huffed and moaned as he as he let his head back, "Aaaaawwwwhhh!!" Adam licked his lips as he felt Merrick's rod splurt out his hot, potent juices from his tender balls. Adam's wet hands squelched around Merrick's genitals, squishing the fresh cum around his throbbing cock, while the rest of his spunk puddle around his orbs, and on Adam's pelvis.
Adam put his cum-covered hands onto Merrick's thighs, and really started ramming his dick up into his lover's ass. He pressed his head on his pillow before he huffed harshly, moaning as he felt himself blow deep into his merman. "Oh God..." Adam groaned, "Ahhhh..." He sighed as Merrick pulled his rear off of Adam and laid down on top of him, while the human wiped his hands on his bed.
"Mmmmm~" Adam smiled as Merrick cuddled with him, "Nothing better than morning sex~" Merrick giggled as he kissed Adam's cheek.
"Hmmmm... Hey Adam?"
"Are there any human stories about merpeople?"
"Yeah, of course. Lots of them. The most notable of them is an old tale called the Little Mermaid. It was originally a love letter from a man who was infatuated with ANOTHER man."
"Ooh~" Merrick said, "Sounds romantic."
"Mhm. There was a cartoon movie about it. Wanna see it?"
Merrick looked up, and tilted his head curiously, "Cartoon... Movie? What does that even mean?" Adam chuckled before they rolled off of the bed.
"C'mon, I'll show you." Adam got dressed, wearing a tank-top, and some loose shorts, while Merrick pulled on some nice pink satin boxers - he has gotten accustomed to sporting those loose, breezy, smooth cloth things.
Adam led Merrick into the living room, and switched on the PS3. He picked up the Disney cartridge, and opened it up to pluck up the disk, "This is called a DVD. It contains a movie. A Movie " Adam said as he showed Merrick the shiny side of the disk, "Is a type of story that is displayed for entertainment purposes. You see, instead of someone just TELLING a story, people illustrate, or act it out to PRESENT the story. And you see it," He patted on the large flat-screen TV, "On THIS thing. Humans have made MILLIONS of these," He said as he inserted the disk into the PS3 to play it.
"Ooh, I can't wait to see this~!" Merrick said as he hopped onto the couch. Adam smiled as he went over to the couch, and plopped down right next to his blonde as he started the movie.
Merrick snuggled up to Adam as the movie. The merman gasped as he saw the ship coming to view. Adam chuckled, "Relax, babe, they're not pirates."
"How do you know that though??"
"Not EVERY human that has a ship like that is a pirate. Jeez, I'd thought you were going to have a heartattack when you saw Yuri's dad's speedboat. "
"Are you SURE she's not a pirate???" Merrick asked. Adam laughed as he huggled his merman.
"No, Merrick, I told you, she's not." He smirked as the movie played on.
"... What's with that fish? It looks so... Silly." Merrick asked as he tilted his head. Adam chuckled.
"This movie is a cartoon. It's animated and exaggerated for... The sake of amusement."
"Huh... Ooh! Here come the merpeople! Oh and their Pisciens!" Merrick said eagerly. As they watched, his giggled as the small seahorse spoke, and then looked in awe as King Triton came in with those dolphins, "Oh, the Piscien Triton!" Merrick said, "Oooooh! That is one, VERY nice trident!" He said as he watched the golden weapon glow, "How or where did he make it??"
"Hahaha, I don't know, babe."
"... PFFFF Hahaha!" Merrick laughed out loud as Sebastian came in, "What the f- is THAT supposed to be a crab???" Adam laughed with his lover as it played on. The movie played on, before it came to Ariel, "... Ok, what is up with these merpeople?" Merrick asked.
"What do you mean, babe?" Adam asked back.
"Well, LOOK at them!" He said as Ariel and Flounder explored the sunken ship, "They hardly even LOOK like merfolk! They just look like someone stuck a human and a fish together!" Adam laughed at that, "I mean, these ones don't even have gills! How are they even breathing?! HOW I ask you??" Adam giggled as he cuddled up to him, "And the hair! WHAT kind of merperson has hair IN the water?? Hair slows us down, we ONLY have hair when we're dry."
"I dunno, sweetie, we humans have silly ideas for somethings." The movie played on, and came to the part with Scuttle the Sea Gull.
"Does EVERY animal in a human, 'movie' talk like this? It's so... Unrealistic."
"That it is, Merrick. In Cartoons, logic is thrown out the window."
"Apparently so," He said. Soon, the movie came to the part with Ursula the Sea Witch, and she came out of her shell in the lair, "Whoa!!" Merrick said as his eyes went wide, "That is one, FAT Holsien!"
"Pfff, hahaha!" Adam crackled at Merrick's observations.
"Seriously, LOOK. AT. HER! What kind of mermaid gets THAT round?!" Merrick said, laughing as he held out his hands at the TV.
It came to the part where Ariel is beginning to sing, "Oooooh! She's got a cool Sea Spot! Look at all that stuff!" Merrick said. He paused as Sebastian stumbled upon them, and talked as if King Triton would get mad at her, "Huh? Wait, her father would get angry at her for having all that human stuff?"
"Yeah. Like you said, contact with the human world is strictly forbidden. Why, aren't merpeople prohibited from looking for human items?"
"On the contrary," Merrick said, "This mermaid's behavior isn't all that strange to merpeople... Maybe a little excessive, but it's completely natural for merfolk to find human items fascinating. If we can carry it, we're allowed to keep it," Merrick smiled as he looked up at Adam, "You should see us when we DO find a sunken human ship. We explore it to see what sort of things we can find~! My Mother once found a beautiful... I think it's called a mirror, but smaller."
The movie played on, it played onto the part where Ariel saves Eric from drowning, and started singing to him on the shore. Merrick smiled and nuzzled Adam's cheek, "This reminds me of when we first met..." Merrick said. Adam smiled as he held Merrick close, and kissed his lips.
"As I recall, some Siren got me to sleepwalk over a cliff. Next thing I knew, I wake up in a hot spring cave with a cute naked blonde guy." Merrick giggled as Adam nuzzled him again.
As the movie played out, Merrick watched, and realized that Ariel seemed to be infatuated with Eric. "Wait, is she... In love with that human?"
"Yeah, she is. Like love at first sight."
"But wait, that's morning, the sun is out, she wasn't..." Adam blinked and looked at Merrick.
"Hm? What's that got to do with it?"
"... Never mind." Merrick said, before he watched on. The movie eventually came to the part where King Triton came into Ariel's grotto. He gasped as he started destroying the human objects, quivering at the lightening and force - He assumed King Triton's trident was enchanted by his Noita to summon lightning. They CAN do that, but not often.
Merrick snickered as Ursula came into the scene in her lair, looking so fat and humorous. He blinked, and scoffed when she said she could turn Ariel into a human, "Wait, hold on, no she can't."
"Huh? What do you mean, babe? You turn human all the time."
"That's one thing. That's only temporary for as long as he stay out of the water. But this Holsien Noita is saying she can make it permanent."
"Aaaannd... That can't EVER happen?"
"No, not at all. A merperson CAN'T turn human. And vice versa, a human cannot turn into a merperson. It's physically, magically, and technically impossible. Otherwise, our relationship wouldn't be so..." He sighed, "Never mind..."
"... Oh, come on! REALLY?!" Merrick said as Ariel started to stand on her legs, "Now all of a sudden she knows how to USE those legs??" Adam laughed at that.
"C'mon, babe, be fair. You just learned how to walk a couple of weeks ago, just out of nowhere."
"True... But... I guess I kinda... Figured it out after watching you do so many times." He said with a shrug.
The movie went on. Merrick smiled as Ariel met Eric, and toured with him around the kingdom, and groaned in aggravation when they were under the willow tree, about to kiss each other when the boat toppled over.
He found it strange how Ursula needed to use her magic to turn human shape, when she could probably just as easily wait to dry off.
He became invested in the story as Ursula disguised as Vanessa, his attention wrapped around the following events, and eventual reverted back to her original form on the human boat.
Merrick became steadily more nervous as the conflict happened after King Triton was turned into a polyp. He held tightly onto Adam as Ursula turned into a giant. Adam could actually feel his merman shake as the sea witch tower out of the ocean, and used the trident's power to control the sea. Adam held him close as Merrick quivered as the scene took place. Even as Eric pierced into Ursula and destroyed her, Merrick shook with the dark imagery.
He smiled as Ariel shimmered from King Triton's power, turning into a human, and then seeing the wedding on the ship. He smiled and chuckled as the merpeople waved to the humans. He even felt a tinge of jealousy as King Triton hugged Ariel before casting the rainbow.
"... I wish it were that easy..." Merrick said sadly, "But it's not possible for a Triton to be glad that his own Adra would chose to live with humans..." He said. Adam looked at him, and cuddled him close.
"So, what'd you think?" He asked.
"It's a good story, Adam. I can definitely see the Razirah telling this as a romantic story before rest. But on the majority, it just seems... Silly. Do humans REALLY think of merpeople like that? They didn't even LOOK like real merfolk. They looked too HUMAN, even if they had tails of fish."
"More or less, yeah. Then again, humans have wild imaginations," He then smiled, "As a matter of fact, we humans may be on the brink of discovering merpeople." Merrick scoffed at him.
"Nuh-Uh! Us merfolk take special care to AVOID human detection."
"Oh yeah, smart guy? Well it just so happens that we discovered evidence of merpeople just this year. So far, it's stirred up a lot of controversy."
"Hehehe, I doubt that," Merrick said with a smirk.
"Here, I'll prove it." Adam said as he got up, and turned off the PS3, and switched over to the VCR. He picked up a recorded videotape labeled, 'MERMAIDS: The Body Found'. He put it into the VCR, and started it up.
"Is that another movie-story?" Merrick asked curiously.
"Nope," Adam replied, "This is called a documentary. It's a movie that is supposedly based on scientific fact. I'll let YOU be the judge~" He said as he then walked back to the couch, and hopped on beside Merrick.
The tape started with the scientist showing a portion of the Bloop. Merrick gasped as he heard that sound, however, it was short, and cut to the part to the mass whale beaching. He covered his mouth as he saw the helpless whales washed up on the shores. He whimpered as the camera showed the bleeding whales on the beach as the NOAA team went to investigate the scene. The very image made Merrick sick to his stomach.
"Navy? ... Sonar weapon testing? What are they talking about?" Merrick asked, bewildered.
"The Navy is another branch of the American Government. I told you about the government, right? People who really run our country, corrupt and do whatever they want. And the Sonar testing is... Well, humans are always at war with each other, and they're testing a weapon that uses sound to blast away their enemies."
"But... Why?? Don't they see they're harming the ocean?!" Merrick said, offended, "Look at all those whales! How can those humans just condone this?!"
"Because they don't care. The government just does whatever the fuck it wants to, and we can't do a thing about it." Adam said bitterly. Merrick looked put-down as he watched on.
It got to the part where they sounded the whale calls. Merrick whimpered as he shifted in his seat, hearing the fear from the whales. Then, the sonar weapon sounded, and Merrick flinched, "That noise..."
"You... You recognized it," Adam asked.
"Yes..." He panted and dug his face into Adam's chest as the blast and the whales and dolphins cried out in it.
"M-Merrick? Merrick, are you alright??"
"That noise!!" He said, terrified, "It sent chaos and death to us merfolk!" Merrick said aloud as he cringed "So many of us died from that sound!" He then looked up, his eyes looking tearful, "And... You're saying this human... Government, this Navy was responsible for it?!" Adam sighed and nodded.
"Yeah..." He stroked Merrick's soft blonde hair as he shook, "Look, if you wanna stop watching, I'll turn it off."
"No..." Merrick sniffled and turned back around, "No... I need... I need to know the truth. I need to know what else you humans have been doing..." He said. Adam sighed, and let it continue.
Merrick gasped as he heard the Bloop signature. He covered his mouth and shook to his core. He felt a cold chill purge inside of him as he heard the calls and the sounds of agony.
"Do you... Do you know what they're saying, Merrick?" Adam asked, a little frightened to talk to his merman now.
"It's a mixture or terror and pain. They're trying to call out for one another, they're... They keep trying to stick together, but it looks like they can't keep track with anything. They're screaming for their lives, they're so afraid..."
Merrick watched, feeling disgusted and upset from more footage of the mass whale beaching. It terrified him to see and know that whales were on the beach, dead or dying.
Merrick's eyes widened as he saw the pictures of spears. He has seen many spears, in and out of his pod. He watched intently as footage of humans and sea mammals rolled on, explaining the principles of evolution with humans' adaptability to the water.
"Ah!" Merrick jumbled as it shown the primate creatures of prehistoric times, "What are THOSE??"
"Those are the humans' primal ancestors; that's where humans originated millions of years ago. That's where we evolved from." Merrick tilted his head, blinking strangely at the monkey-like humans. He moaned as the movie got back to the beached whales, and the NOAA team had moved their research to the African Coast. He held tight onto Merrick as more of the Bloop noise played out. Adam rubbed his back softly.
And then the remains from the Great White Shark came into view. Merrick covered his mouth as he gagged a little, seeing the blood and remains from the stomach of the shark. He jerked his head away as Paul Roberts yanked the stingray barb out of the underbelly of the blood-soaked shark.
He cringed as the remains from the shark's stomach was on a metal table, about to be thoroughly examined. He shuddered and groaned as he saw the bones, bloody cartilage, with the scientists carefully handling the flesh.
Merrick gasped at the part of the computer rendering of the partially evolved merfolk, swimming with the dolphins. His eyes went wide as the next sequence was of a merman with a spear, diving into the abyss to hunt for squid.
"Th-Those are..." He yelped as the merman stabbed into the yellow squid in the blackness, "Those are Primates!"
"Primates?" Adam asked, "You know what they are?"
"Yes, we call them Primates," Merrick said, "Because in comparison, they are, in a word, primitive and reclusive. They are a species of Amnien merfolk that have been in the ocean for eons longer than any other merfolk. They're very mysterious, and they don't trade or communicate with other merpeople, or follow the laws established by the days of old," He explained, "As far as we can tell, they don't have Tritons or Noitas."
"Wow..." He said.
"You can tell because they're not wearing kelp or shells. They carry only the necessity." He said before watching more of the movie, "But they DO make those kinds of tools," Merrick said as they examined the bone-handle with the stingray barb, "We make those kinds of things all the time..."
Merrick watched more, and gasped at the part where the Megalodon attacked the large Humpback Whale before the merman scout. He huddled close to Adam as the pod looked fearfully at the scout as he cut its own chest to lure the Megalodon, before it was eaten. That image recanted his dark experience with the Phantasma.
He tilted his head and covered his mouth as he saw the supposed skull of the mermaid. It disturbs him to think and know that's what's more or less inside his own head. He has almost never seen anything so morbid in his life. This whole video makes him sick.
"What about THIS, Merrick?"
"H-Huh?" The movie is showing the pod of merfolk and dolphins spiraling around a school of fish, catching them with rocks tied to nets, "Do you merpeople hunt like that?"
"Y-Yeah, actually... We do, when we see a pod of fish like that..." He is a little reluctant to talk. His insides are churning with fear and uncertainty at this documentary. As the movie rolled on to the various arts and ceramics depicting merpeople, he began to feel a growing terror at the suspicion that the humans know more about merpeople than they're supposed to. Avoiding humans at all is tricky enough, but this looks as though humans practically know everything about them already!
He gasped as he saw the hasty footage of a mermaid caught in a fishnet, before it dropped. Merrick felt a chill in his soul as he saw the cave paintings of humans and merpeople and whales. Adam could feel his merman shiver from watching this.
The Adra felt a little reassured at the part where the government officials confiscated the body remains, but at the same time, knowing how much control those types of humans have also scared him deeply. For a brief moment, he cringed as he imagined himself butchered and examined in those containers.
And then, the moment of truth, as it was. The video showed the part of the two boys on the beach, where the whales were stranded on the beach. One of the boys had picked up a stick, and poked at a pile of kelp and sand. Seconds later, Merrick jumped as the mermaid screamed out, and grabbed at one of the boys.
"NO!" Merrick shouted, "Go back! Go back and help her!" He shouted. Adam scrambled as Merrick stood up and approached the TV.
"GO BACK, humans!" He shouted as Adam pulled him back, "Adam, they're just leaving her behind! She needs their help!"
"Merrick, stop it! Calm down!" Adam said as Merrick struggled against him, "Merrick, listen to me!" Merrick grunted and looked into his eyes, "This happened almost a year ago. They can't hear you." Merrick looked in horror at Adam, and then at the TV, "The government got to that mermaid a long time ago." Merrick slowly shook his head, breathless at the documentary.
Throughout the day, Merrick was quite bewildered. He didn't talk much, he even avoided Yuri and Jamal when they came home. All through the day, up to where he climbed into bed with Adam.
The human kissed Merrick goodnight, and cuddled up to him in bed. Merrick felt a mixture affection and intimidation from his human. He can feel Adam slowly fall asleep, with his warm arm around him. He knows he's not going to be able to sleep, not with all these disturbing thoughts and ideas floating about in his mind.
"Mmmm..." Adam snuggled in his sleep, and rolled over. He blinked awake, and sat upright. Merrick is gone. "Merrick?" He got up and looked around. He passed Jamal's room, where he was snoring, and spooning buck-naked with a woman with blue and purple streaks in her hair. He rolled his eyes as he closed his door, and looked around the house. Yuri was gone, off to class, but Merrick was nowhere to be seen.
He went back into his room, and also noticed Merrick's trident is missing. He knelt down, and pulled the box under it, discovering Merrick's sea gear was gone too.
"Where..." He muttered, "Where did he go...?"
Adam searched the beach before going into the forest. His next place to check is Aquata Cove. He stepped onto and around the twigs and leaves, and finally heard the waterfall. He emerged from the woods, and smiled as he saw Merrick, standing there, facing the water, wearing this tooth crossbelts, his scallop shell shoulder pads, the kelp-band around his head, and holding his trident.
"Merrick! There you are! I wondered where you ran off to," He said. Merrick didn't respond. "Merrick?" Adam came up to the naked merman, "What's the matter, babe?"
"... Adam..." He finally said, "This is goodbye." Adam's smile faded.
"W-Wha? Wait, Merrick, it's only been three and a half weeks! You can't be leaving already-"
"No, Adam," Merrick said, "I mean, this is goodbye, for you and me."
Adam felt his stomach sink as he heard these words, "No... No, no no, TELL me you're joking! Please, please tell me you're kidding, Merrick! Yo-You-You don't mean you're breaking up with me!"
"If that's what you humans call it," Merrick said, his voice hollow and strained, "Yes. We have to stop this... You and I cannot be together anymore..."
"Wha-Why, why, why not, Merrick??" Adam said as he stepped up to behind the blonde, "Merrick, please don't do this... Please, don't..."
"You are a human. I am a merman. We belong in two different worlds. How can we hope to stay together like this? I am always in the sea, and you are always here. It's not fair for either of us to force you to wait on my arrival."
"I-I told you, Merrick, I don't care how long I have to wait," Adam said, his eyes starting to water up, "I love you, please don't do this!"
"Adam... I know I said I trusted you to protect me... But what you showed me - that movie-thing with the Primate merpeople... Whatever this government is - the power humans bow so easily to - I take it they can do whatever they want... I can't allow them to capture me..."
"Th-Then we'll just keep coming here then! We don't have to go to my house, or the pier! Please, I just want to be with you, Merrick!" Adam pleaded.
"And then there's your JOB thing... Every day, you leave me behind, and I just sit around, waiting on endless time for your return, bored and alone. You just go away and leave me to wonder when you'll ever come back, like I am just a toy to you..."
"Merrick, I TOLD you, I can't change that! I need to keep my job! You can't-"
"That is not the main reason, however," Merrick continued, without even looking at Adam, "You know full well I am the Adra Triton - someday soon, I will have to succeed my pod, in my Father's place. Even you must have realized that by now. I cannot mate with a human and lead my pod at the same time. I must find a mermaid to be my Noita. And you..." Merrick paused for a moment, "And you must find another man to love..."
"But... No, no no!" Adam said as he walked up to him, "I love YOU! I don't want anyone else! JUST you!" He walked around to face him, but those blue eyes kept staring down, towards the water, "A-A-And Merrick, you're gay! You've always told me you're not interested in mermaids! How can you just lie and fake love a mermaid?!"
"I have to try," Merrick said as he turned his head away from him, "I don't have a choice."
"YES, you do!" Adam said, "You can live here, on the land! With me! Please, can't you just leave your pod?? That's what Belinda did-"
"Do NOT compare me to that Latolcus!" Merrick spat out, "This is not the same thing at all. Adam, I cannot abandon my pod," He said blankly, "My pod is my life. I have to do this, as an Adra Triton..." He closed his eyes, "Just know I will always cherish the memories we've had together... But we can never be..."
"You CAN'T be serious," Adam said, feeling a tear run from his eye, "Merrick, please, I love you, PLEASE don't do this to me..." He turned the merman's face to look at him, "You mean more to me than anything in the whole world, you ARE my life-"
"MERRICK!" Adam said, "Look me in the eyes, and tell me you DON'T love me!"
"Adam, stop this now..."
"5 years, Merrick, for God's sake! FIVE YEARS we've been together! Doesn't that count for ANYTHING?!"
"Stop it, Adam... This is the way it has to be..."
"No it doesn't dammit!" Adam said as Merrick pushed him aside. "Merrick, please don't break up with me!"
"I HAVE to, Human..." Merrick said as he stepped into the water.
"Wh-WHAT?!" Adam hastily stepped into the water, putting his hands onto Merrick's shoulder shells, "What did you just call me?!" He said, shocked as his heart sank horribly, "Merrick..." Adam huffed and sniffled, "Merrick, no... Please no," He said as he began to weep.
"Merrick!" Adam yelled, "Please..." His lower lip quivered as he shook his head, "Don't go... Don't leave me..."
"Stand aside," Merrick said, and looked Adam directly in the eyes, his own sapphires looking cold and unfeeling.
"You're a mistake I never should have made."
The words cut into Adam like a knife, "How... How can you say that?!" Adam exclaimed.
"Goodbye, Human..." He said as he moved into the water, his body transforming as he dove down, and rose up again, in his true form. "This is the end between us. We are finished."
"Merrick, please, don-" Before Adam could chase him, Merrick turned around, and sent a harsh splash-wave at Adam, hissing a loud, vicious growl at the human. Adam gasped loudly as he felt a jolt of cold force spark inside his body, forcing him to topple backward, and fall onto a rock. He panted as he looked at the Adra, his eyes glittering with a white fluid while glaring at him with an anger Adam has only seen once before. The merman then dove into the water, his shimmering blue tail riding along the surface, before his white fin slapped the water.
"... Fine..." Adam breathed deeply as tears filled his eyes, and he got up, "FINE! Go away! Just- Fuck you AND your pod!!" He picked up a large rock, and threw it into the water, "Swim FAR away from me as you can, you fucking overgrown tunafish!" He hefted another rock, and sent it flying into the grotto, "Go on and fuck a mermaid! Have a hundred fucking Adras and forget ALL about me!" He kept flinging rocks into the pool until he started crying too much to throw anymore.
"But I will NEVER forget you!! YOU HEAR ME, MERRICK?! I will NEVER..." Adam dropped his knees, and sobbed, "Forget you..." He curled up, and cried on the rock, cringing as he felt his heart fell into pieces inside of him.
Merrick curled up after he left the tunnel and sealed the entrance with the clamshell, weeping profusely as he clutched his arm, and then part of the reef, wanting nothing more than to die after what he just did. His eyes are clouded around a shimmering mist of his own tears as he wept uncontrollably.
"What have I done... What have I done... I am so... I am so sorry... Adam... I am sorry... Please forgive me... I cannot forgive myself... Please never forget me... I can never..." He muttered as he shuddered with emotion, feeling like a horrible creature after destroying his and Adam's hearts. Those cruel, heartless words still echoed in his head, the look of utter devastation on Adam's face, haunting his mind, every time he closed his eyes.
'You're a mistake I never should have made...'
Merrick cringed each time he heard his own voice say that horrible statement. He can see his human's very heart shatter in his eyes.
"After... After all this time... I still... I still do not know..." It took every once of will power to pull himself out from the hidden spot of the reef, but stopping at the brink of the edge, "I still do not know what I should do..."
"... Shining Sea Mother... Please... Help me..." He whimpered as he dug his face in his webbed hands, and cried into them.