Chapter 51: Cut Off
Adam grumbles and squirms weakly on the sand. His eyes stir as they squint in the blaring sunlight. He groggily pushes himself up, gagging and spitting out grains of salty sand and swiping at his face.
Suddenly, he gasps as he remembers the details of last night.
'I'm going to give the Capricorn what it wants.'
"Merrick!" Adam jumped to his feet, scrambling onto the hot sand, and ran around, "Merrick?! MERRICK!" He called out, his head still fuzzy. A few minutes of dashing here and there, Adam noticed there aren't any footprints leading into the shore. As a matter of fact, this beach looks rather disserted.
His heart pounds with dread and horror as he remembered every second of his and Merrick's fight. "Oh my God..." Adam whimpered as he remembers the hurt and betrayal in Merrick's eyes, "What have I done... Oh my God..."
Adam ran along the beach, whining as the bottom of his feet burned until he needed to make the shortcut into the shady trees. He moved as fast as he could, until he reached the walls of his campsite, and whipped around. Everyone is either trying to sleep off their horrendous hangovers, cleaning up the bottles and trash, or folding up their tents.
"JAMAL!" Adam called out as he dashed over to him.
"Oh hey! Adam, where you been, man?" Jamal asked casually as he tucked the tend into its pack.
"I-I was out!"
"Hey, man, what's wrong, you aight??"
"H-Have you seen Merrick?! Please tell me you have!!"
"Yeah, man, he was here this mornin." Jamal said.
"H-He was?" Adam's eyes broke out in fluid, "What was he doing?!"
"Yeah, he came by to get some clothes and his necklace. Last I saw of him, he headed fo the ship."
"He..." Adam sobbed as huge relief and sadness churned in his stomach, "He's ok... He's oka-a-ay..." He began to cry.
"Whoa, Adam?" Jamal stood up from crouching, "You ok, man?"
"He and I had a fight," He sniffled, "I said some horrible things! H-He said he was going into the ocean... A-And..."
"Whoa, what??? Why would that be - Ohhhh..." Jamal remembers Merrick's predicament with the ocean.
"Jamal... I don't know what to do, I was a fucking... I..."
"Aight, aight man," Jamal said as he put his hands on Adam's shoulders as he started to break down, "Jus take a few minutes to take it easy, and tell me what happened."
Merrick suppressed his sobs with his cold anger as he put his hand to the small scale on his chest. With one yank, he snapped the tether from his neck, and threw the necklace at Adam's bare feet.
"Merrick?" Adam grunted as he bent over, and picked up the scale. Merrick sniffled as he turned, and began to walk, "M-Merrick!" Adam reached out for him, "Merrick, where are you going?"
Merrick turned around, and held his arms open. "To the ocean. Where else?" The look of horror that claimed Adam's face sated some degree of Merrick's pain.
"I'm going, Adam." Merrick frowned deeply as he took a few steps backward, "I'm going to give that Capricorn what it wants." The merman turned, and began to jog into the forest life
"Merrick, NO!" Adam shouted, "Don't you dare! DON'T YOU FUCKING DARE!!"
Merrick broke into a run, seething and growling as he dashed and leapt over the roots of the trees and the stalks of the plants.
"NO! COME BACK!!" He heard Adam plead behind him as well as the rustling of careless running, "MERRICK! I'm sorry! I'm so sorry! PLEASE come baaack!!!"
Merrick can sense that he's easily outrunning his man. He panted as a storm thrashed in his chest; even the smell of the ocean from nearby can't reach his anger filled brain.
Once he was sure Adam could not see him, Merrick stepped to the side of a tree, ducking down, and hiding below some broad leaves. His chest feels like rocks are dancing in his insides as he could hear Adam cry and shout, calling for him to forgive and come back.
He rumbled silently as he heard Adam fall upon another plant, and scramble back up, "MERRICK! Please stop! I'm sorry!" Merrick clenched his teeth, digging his fingers into the cold, hard dirt, "I take it all back!! Please answer me!!" Adam begged to the endless night.
Nonetheless, Merrick did not answer, only sat and waited as he heard Adam stumble and run through the terrain. Merrick clenched his eyes as he did everything in his power to keep his anger from destroying everything he can touch.
"MEEERRRRIIIIIIICCCCKKKKK!!!" Adam's voice echoed through the trees and wind, with no one to answer him.
"Gheh ghghgh..." Merrick panted and wheezed with emotion, his anger eventually dissolving into utter sadness. His shoulders shook as tears raced down his cheeks while his legs pushed up to him. He wrapped his arms around his shins, and put his face to his knees as he sobbed in his hidden spot.
"How could he..." Merrick whimpered, "How could you... Adam..." He huffed and curled in the small patch of earth.
Merrick leers down at the campsite from the rail of the ship, fully dressed in his tight jeans, and his black and neon purple/yellow sheen hoodie. His sharp eyes can see Adam talking to Jamal, no doubt about the fiasco last night. It's been a whole night, and Merrick's heart is still electrified with anger and resentment.
"Fuck off." Merrick muttered as he turned, and walked off.
"..." Adam looks at his tent, trying to take deep breaths to keep from crying. Upon inspection, he sees that only the packing duffle for the tent is in there, along with one sleeping bag. Looks like Merrick already took the clothes up to the ship. He would've felt at least a little less guilty if he could carry all of the luggage back up.
Adam sighs as he systematically takes down the tarp, clicks the poles down and strapped it all down, and packs it away somewhat neatly in the duffle.
He picked up the tent, and then the sleeping bag, before he walked up to Jamal, who was waiting for him at the entrance of the campsite.
"You ok to talk now, man?" He asked as he and Adam walked out.
Merrick walks along the halls. He can't make up his mad mind about what he wants to do for the time being - this LGBT was supposed to be about spending a gay time with Adam, but now that seems impossible.
His fists clenched inside his pockets as he walked.
He needs something - anything - to get his mind off of Adam! Every time he thinks about him, all he can remember is him raving and ranting like an absent-minded enemy! All he can think of is Adam speaking of merfolk in vain.
His mind won't stop circulating every word Adam said. He remembers them as if it was only 5 seconds ago.
"Ennnhhh... !" Merrick took a moment to hold his chest. Strange, straining pains tinge inside him. He pushed the pain put of his head, and pushed forward.
"Oh come on, it's not THAT bad," Syrinx said as she and Kevin walked into the shopping center of the ship.
"Babe, you slept like 15 hours" Kevin replied as they walked into a coffee shop.
"So what? A lot of people sleep that long - YOU'RE no stranger to that time frame."
"Yeah, but you're feeling all dry and hot, I'm worried about you. Don't you think you're pushing it?"
"Kevin, I'm fine," Syrinx said as they get in line.
"Then why are we in line to get a coffee?"
"Because it's 10 am, genius. And besides, I fuckin love coffee."
"Language~!" Kevin tapped her mouth.
"Ah!" She smacked his arm, "Don't you slap me, Peasant!" She slaps the back of Kevin's head, laughing out loud.
Everyone has returned to the cruise, Queen Jizzele has made some of her salty, sexual banter, and Adam and Jamal walk down the rails after the foghorns finished blowing.
"A-And then..." Adam said as he and Jamal were stepping off of the ramp, and onto the ship. "He yanked off his necklace..." Adam held up the half colored scale, "And said he was going to give the Capricorn what it wanted..."
"Shit, man." Jamal said, "All the years I known you, man...Damn, I'd never thought you'd say shit like that."
"Dude, you don't even drink! How'd you get so smashed in the firs place, foo??"
"I don't know! All I had to drink was that weird Russian soda!"
"Dude, that WAS booze!"
"It ain't much, but it's just supposed to give ya a buzz. How many did ya have?"
"I-I think..." Adam hesitated, as if he had stolen too many cookies from the cookie jar, "O-Over a dozen..."
"Fuck, man!" Jamal exclaimed, "You should be in a bed sleeping it off! Hell, you should be in a hospital!"
"I don't feel a thing, Jamal."
"Dude, one of the guys had 5 of those drinks, and he was throwin up like nuts! You don't even have a hangover?"
"I'm fine, Jamal. It's Merrick I'm worried about!" Adam said.
"I'm jus..." Jamal shook his head, "Is that what chu really think, man?"
"It... Ran across my mind once or twice..."
"What?" Jamal winced.
"Look, I love Merrick - more than anything. But... Sometimes... I feel like our relationship is too perfect... Altogether, we've only had like 2 fights."
"And... Just... Agh," Adam shook his head, "I don't know..."
"Well, all's I got to say is that is some messed up shit, man." Adam didn't respond, "Man, look at me," Jamal stopped Adam, and turned him around, "You know I don't bother wit romannic stuff since LA, right?" Adam nodded, "Til I started goin out wit Nicky. Now, that was mostly cause he's the hottest lil numbers I ever fucked."
"Yeah. You fuck'em more than anyone else."
"Yeah, you know why that is?" Adam didn't answer, "Since mah Cherry Girl, I never thought I'd like someone the same way again. Then I keep goin for some Mexican trick, and suddenly, things're different."
"Gah, different how?" Adam said, "You still fuck everything with a Driver's License."
"Look, that ain't the point!" Jamal said, "Look, you and Merrick. You always set a good example about love an all that, you know?"
"So what, I was like your shining inspiration of romance?"
"Yeah..." Jamal nodded, "You was. Now ya got nothing."
Adam shook his head, "That's where you're wrong."
"Really? Cause it look like it over to me, man. After the shit you said."
"No, Jamal, you don't understand."
"Bout wut?" Jamal stopped Adam, "Wut, you gonna make'em stay? You gonna try and patch things up?"
"Eventually, yes!" Adam exclaimed. He sighed as he brought Jamal to the railing, "Jamal... We're... To put it in a harsh way, me and Merrick are stuck with each other..."
Jamal raised a brow, "How?"
"You know when Merrick said that our love was an accident from the very beginning? That's because... We incidentally saw each other during a Lunar Eclipse almost 8 years ago... And that's when we fell in love with each other before we even knew it..."
"I... I don't get it..."
"A Lunar Eclipse is when merfolk find love."
"I thought that's just when they git horny as fuck."
"No, that's only when they're in human form. But when they're in the ocean..."
"Kay... So what's you're point?"
"Sometimes, Jamal... As much as I really, really love him..." Adam shook a little, and huffed, "I wonder if I really love him, or if it's just something else MAKING me love him..." He rubbed his face, "I mean... It just happened between him and I when we were both teenagers... And I never got the chance to find out for myself if he really is the one... As if an important aspect of my own life was decided for me..."
Jamal looks at Adam as he looks out at the sea, "B-But for Merrick," Adam continued, "That's exactly how it's supposed to go. Everything decided and perfect..." He waved his hand out, "I-I mean, we can't even cheat on each other because of it, we can't ever really break up, or... A-And, I know, I'm making it sound like a bad thing, but..." Adam put his chin on his arms, "Sometimes, I have these doubts and feelings, and I don't have anyone to really listen to it, or who would really understand..."
"..." Jamal sighed as leaned on the railing again, "Aight. I see where you gettin at." He looks over at Adam's eyes - they have a tinge of pink and moistened, "But personally, I think you overthinkin it. You love him, he loves you. Simple's that."
"But that's not all, Jamal..." Adam shook his head, "Me and Merrick... When a merman or mermaid find a mate, it's for life..." He said, "It's like, no one is allowed to fall in love with us - it literally can't happen."
"I-If I were to die... Merrick would have no one... A-And vice versa, if I were to ever lose him..." Adam sniffled as the lump in his throat tinged inside him, "That's the sanctity of love for merfolk... But if one partner disappears, that's it..."
"Merrick says it's the solemn gift of the Sea Mother... But I feel it's also a sentence..." Adam lower lip trembled, "A-And... And then I said all of those awful things to him..." Adam shook his head and buried his face in his arms.
"Hey, man, it's aight..." Jamal said softly, "It's gonna be aight, bro..."
Merrick's eyes clench as his rage burns inside him. He slumps to a wall, and clutches his head.
"NNNHHhhhhssstop it... Stop it!" He mutters harshly, seething like a rabid animal as he tries desperately to quell the anger within him.
'What's happening to me...' He thinks to himself, 'Why am I so angry...' He feels as though urchins and lionfish are stinging every ounce of his sanity. Kaiken's temper is overpowering his delicate mental state, and without Adam to-
"RRHHHHGGGnnnnnhhhhhhh!" Merrick's fingers dug into his golden hair as he remembers Adam's drunken words. They're all he can conjure in his memories, and how they cut into his heart at the time. The impact of those words strikes him again and again and again.
Merrick forces himself away from the wall, and forced his way through, huffing and bumping into everyone near him in the crowd.
"God, I can't wait to get back to Hawaii," Syrinx said, "And back to work."
"What, and back to all those hyped-out tweakers every morning?" Kevin smirked as he took a dab of whipped cream and caramel from his drink.
"Ghh, yeah," Syrinx sneers, "It's AAALLLLL for them." She smacks him again, "You watered-down ass."
"Babe, everytime you come home, I get a caffeine rush just by smelling you."
"And yet, you still can't be as GOOD," She cups his crotch, "As you should be~"
"H-Hey!" Kevin said, "What about last month, you said you were seein stars when I we got done! And last week, and even-"
"You were banging my head into the bedpost, idiot!" Syrinx teased, "I'm lucky I'm not a vegetable by now!"
"Oh, my, God!" Kevin fights every urge not to go ape shit as Syrinx laughs.
A mid-aged man wraps up a beautiful bouquet of red roses, blue irises, yellow lilies, and various other flowers in a lovely plastic sheet with shining thin fabric. Adam takes a deep breath as the florist ties a glimmering ribbon around the shock of stems.
With shaking hands, Adam took out his wallet, and $15 to pay for the bouquet.
"I hope these'll make that special guy happy~" The florist said.
"T-They're uh..." Adam trembles from head to foot, "They're actually supposed to help me patch things up."
"Aw, I see." He looks up with a knowing, sympathetic smile, "Trouble In Paradise?"
"More like Calamity In Utopia..." Adam moaned. "I..." He coughs a little as rubbed his face, "I-I fucked up big time..."
"I see..." The florist said with a nod. He turns to the side, and plucks up a trio of small glittering scallop shells.
"N-No, that's not-"
"Now now," The man said as he tied the elegant shells to the ribbon, "On the house," He added, "Just make sure," He accepted the money from Adam, "He knows you're sorry." Adam nodded and took the bouquet, and went away.
"Ghhhhhrrrrrrkkkk" Merrick growls as Adam's shouts and taunts bounced in the walls of his mind.
'FUCK THE RED MOON SHIT! FUCK THE PODS!'
"Nnnnnhhhh!!!" Merrick whines harshly as fury electrocuted his blood. He pants and hissed as he peered his eyes open. He walks among the crowd in the Shopping Center, when the left side of his sight catches Daniel and Jacob.
Every cell of his body froze in time as just the faces of the guard, and the scientist.
The hapless guard.
The tactless scientist.
Every single memory of the Agency of Oceanic Research comes surging through the hell inside his head just from seeing those two faces.
A keen ringing pierces in both of his ears as everything shattered in his soul.
In a blinding flash of an instant, Merrick's body flies around in a 180-degree swing, his arm clashes with a firm chest, and a screech of pain ensues.
Voiceless screams and gasps happened all over his surroundings as he slammed his foot in a random circle, until it made impact with what felt like a leg.
Merrick blows out a cold hiss as he felt a hand try to push him, until he whips around, and injects his hand into someone, and plants them firmly against a post.
"Stop!" A strained voice echoes in his head. Merrick pants lethally as a line of vision started to snap back into order. The passersby look at the scene, dumbfounded and scared.
His blue eyes faded out the red as he sees his own hand pinning Jacob by the neck against a cylinder post in the middle of the shopping center. The short man panted as both of his hands are on Merrick's arm. Merrick didn't need to look to know Daniel is on the floor, hearing him trying to compose himself after having the wind knocked out of him, but is still loudly gasping for breath.
"P-Please... Just take it easy..." Jacob rasped as Merrick growled like a deadly predator. Merrick's grip isn't choking him, but it's putting a strain on his voice "I-I understand, you're angry-" Merrick's other fist sank into Jacob's forearm. "Gaahhh!"
"You don't understand ANYTHING!!!" Merrick yelled.
"Stop... Please!" Jacob pleaded, "We'll make it up to-"
"SHUT UP!!!" Merrick shook as his emotions boiled over.
"C-Calm down, Merrick, please, *Ghhhghh!*" Daniel coughed as he pushed himself up, "W-We're sorry, ok? J-Just let him go-"
"RHhh!" Merrick released Jacob, but then stormed up to the taller man, "YOU! Let it happen!" Merrick said, "BOTH OF YOU! You let it all happen!!" Merrick pushed Daniel forcibly, "How can you expect me to forget EVERYTHING?! You think you can ease my pain by APOLOGIZING?!"
"I know, I know!" Daniel replied, "We fucked up big time, I get that, you don't deserve what happened! If you'll give us a chance-"
"NO!" Merrick shoved Daniel, knocking him back, "After EVERYTHING that you both allowed! I will NEVER-" He raised his hand to strike.
"LEAVE THEM ALONE!!!"
Merrick froze as he heard a loud, female voice. He slowly turned himself around, and saw her. His eyes widened as he sees the young woman with dark red hair, a slimming outfit, and an elegant heart tattoo on her right arm.
Merrick's heart pounds with a sudden purge of guilt and shock. He takes a slow step away from Daniel and Jacob, and reaches out for her.
"STOP!" Syrinx yells, "Don't come any closer!!" Merrick froze on the spot. The rage that was racing in his heart is now replaced by a sense of rejection.
"But..." He said, "I-I" Merrick took another step.
"I said get back!" Syrinx commanded, "I mean it!"
"P-Please!" Merrick begged, "I need to talk to you!"
"She said to fuck off, you little punk!" Kevin said stomped up. Syrinx gasped as those blue eyes locked onto her boyfriend, his knuckles sharpened, ready to attack.
"Kevin, no!" She grabbed his wrist, and yanked him back. Merrick's focus lessened as he looked back at Syrinx, "Stay away from him."
"Please..." Merrick said again, "I just need to talk! I won't-"
"Look!" Syrinx said, "I don't know who you are... WHATever you are!" Merrick gasped a little at the statement, "Just stay away! I don't want anything to do with you!" With that, Syrinx pulled Kevin away, rushing them away from the circle of people.
Merrick reaches his hand out, feeling as if the most important person misjudged him at the wrong place and wrong time. The one chance he had of finding more about the Capricorn, or how to better cope with life on land... Gone...
"Freeze!" Came an official voice, though Merrick did not move at all. One of the security guards of the cruise came running up to them, "We've got word that a fight has ensued here." Merrick does not even turn to acknowledge the officer, "Sir, if you would-"
"I-It was me!" Daniel spoke up as he came up to the officer, "Me and my boyfriend were in an argument with him," He reported, "He kept trying to walk away, but I wouldn't let him...
"We exchanged words, and I shoved him. He was only trying to defend himself because... He's still recovering from a traumatic experience." Daniel said with half-truth, convincing most of the passersby that heard him.
"So it was the two of you," The officer indicated Daniel and Jacob, "You provoked this young man, knowing full well that he has emotional problems?"
"Yes. I wasn't thinking..." Daniel lied, "I didn't know how hurt he was..."
The merman turned, and looked, seeing Adam there, holding a wondrous bouquet of flowers.
Anger and hurt began to seep into Merrick's mind again, before he turned, and started to walk away. "No! Merrick, wait!" Adam chased after him.
Syrinx walked right into the game hall, her heart going wild in her chest. "O-Oh my God..." She uttered.
"It's ok, honey," Kevin said as he put his coffee down, and embraced her tightly.
"H-He was going crazy... He- It was just like that one time-" Syrinx shook like a leave as she instantly recalled when that member of her pod started to strike out at the other members of the pod.
"It's gonna be alright," His arms hold her tight.
"And I told you to stay away from him, you idiot!" She said as she hits him a little, feeling a panic attack start to rise "Don't ever try and-"
"I won't, baby, I won't! I swear..." Kevin held her close, "I won't let him hurt you..."
"Merrick, wait for me, will you?!" Adam called out as Merrick strode from him, refusing to look back. "STOP!"
Adam grabbed his wrist, and his merman ceased his step.
"Alright... Look..." Adam took a deep breath, "Merrick, I'm sorry I-" The merman whipped around, and took a quick swipe at Adam, "AH!" Adam backed up with a stagger, his lover looking at him with those pissed-off sapphires. He noticed a silk lace between Merrick's fingers, and looked to see one of the three glitter shells on the bouquet is missing.
"You don't even know what I'm mad at... Do you?" Merrick asked as his fist shook.
"Just leave me alone, Adam!" Merrick spat out, "I can't love you right now..." Adam gasped silently at Merrick's statement, "I can't even look at you..." Merrick turned and began to walk away. Adam gulped as he stepped forward, and put a hand on Merrick's shoulder.
"Please..." Adam said lowly. Merrick didn't say anything. Adam looked down as he heard a crack, and felt his stomach sink as Merrick's fist shakes, and seeing a dribble of blood seep and drip from the lace string from the shell he swiped.
"Adam..." Merrick growled, "Don't allow me to strike you again..."
With reluctance, Adam lifts his hand from Merrick's shoulder, shaking with sadness as Merrick strode away again. He whimpers as he sees Merrick's hand let go, and drop the broken glitter shell shards onto the floor, half covered in wet crimson.
---Several Hours Later---
Jamal walks down on the deck, wearing a skimpy g-string that barely contains his large, juicy junk, and a goofy smile on his face, while he holds his jersey shorts over his shoulder like a towel.
He turns the corner, and spots Adam over at the railing. The poor man slumps on the railing with his chin on the rail, as he holds a rose in his hands, with a whole bouquet placed right next to his feet. Adam plucks a petal from the flower, and drops it down for the foam trail of the ship to catch, before going to pull another red petal off.
"Ah naw..." Jamal sighs as he puts down his shorts, and pulls them up between his legs before he approached Adam. "Hey man..." Adam didn't answer, but just kept plucking the petals from the rose, and letting them fall gracefully into the ocean, until the flower was just a stem and a yellow mound, which he also let drop into the sea.
"Is he... Still mad?" Jamal asked. Adam nodded slowly, "Is ok, man..." Jamal said in a weak attempt to sound encouraging, "Every thing's gonna work out okay..."
Adam slowly shook his head, refusing to take his half-lidded eyes off the dusk. Jamal frown as he stood by his friend. He bent over, and pulled out a lily from the bouquet, and held it for him. Without breaking eye contact with the horizon, Adam took the lily, and held it over the railing, just like with the rose. His fingers pressed on one of the petals, and plucked it off before letting it drift and glide over the water.
What felt like seconds, Merrick finds himself on the roof of one of the sections of the cruise ship. He's not sure how he managed to get up here, but he keeps there, isolated from anyone else on the ship. He lays there with his eyes half lidded, hollow and shaded with remorse.
He feels somewhat guilty for deceiving Adam, telling him he's going to throw himself to the Capricorn. Of course he's not going to willingly give himself to the end, but for everything that Adam said...
"He doesn't appreciate me..." Merrick muttered, "Humans... They can't appreciate what they have..." He groans as he unfurled himself, "And he is no different..."
Merrick sits up, and puts his fist to his chest, "O Wise and Shining Sea Mother Atargatis..." He prayed, "Hear my soul and the resonance of my heart...
The merman sighed as he looked up to the bright moon, "I ask for peace... And Guidance..." Even the cold winds blowing on and around him cannot sooth the hurt he feels inside.
"How has it come to this..." He asked, "How have I... An Adra Triton of the Piscien merfolk... Have lost everything..." Merrick sniffles as he prays, "How have I disturbed the waves of fate in a single red moon... To have been cast out... To now bear a painful truth from my own mate..." He shakes and holds back his cries.
"How has my life... Come to this..." He looks up with gleaming eyes, "What have I done wrong... To feel this storm inside me for so long..."
Merrick curls forward a little, sobbing softly as he tries to let his emotions flow from inside him, along with the winds of the ocean air.