Chapter 9: Friends In Blue Places
Adam sighed as he walked along the pier. Not one of his favorite days; he got Canned today.
He smiled as he remembers the first time he heard that from Captain, telling him he's getting Canned. Worst part is, the old salty cogger STILL pulls that one on new guys and trainees.
Getting 'Canned' is a bit of a sick and twisted joke the Captain made up for canning duty of the job. It's a long and tedious session of packaging sardines, game fish, bait tackle, hooks, pretty much just boxing and bagging merchandise of the Fish-House.
Now he's off work, and it's sunset. He usually likes to hang out at around the pier before going home.
Adam blinked as he turned around, and looking at the rocks lined along into the sea to form a type of crescent. His eyes lead to the far-off buoy, bobbing and rocking on the water's surface. He dug into his pocket for a pair of quarters, and went to a nearby binocular telescope. He inserted the two quarters in, and peered into the eyeholes to gaze onto the buoy.
There's... A couple of seals... And... A naked couple - a man and a woman. Adam grinned as watched, the two of them kissing and cuddling as their small vessel waved back and forth. A few of the seals slipped off of the buoy and into the water.
As he watched, the two people snuggled for a few more seconds before picking up what looked like dark, wet blankets. They placed the sopping blankets on top of themselves, and seem to put them on like cloaks. Adam narrowed his eyes until the orange sunlight outlined the image of two seals instead of the people he was just seeing. The two aquatic canines nuzzled each other before slipping into the water, leaving the buoy bare empty
Adam blinked, and opened his mouth as he soon realized what those people... Did? Adam dug in his pocket for his iPhone, and logged onto the Internet. He brought up the Google app, and typed on the screen:
[people turning into seals]
The first link of the page is entitled 'Selkie - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia'. He tapped on it, and scanned through the first paragraph,
Selkies (also known as silkies or selchies) are mythological creatures found in Scottish, Irish, and Faroese folklore. Similar creatures are described in the Icelandic traditions. The word derives from earlier Scots selich, (from Old English seolh meaning seal). Selkies are said to live as seals in the sea but shed their skin to become human on land. The legend is apparently most common in Orkney and Shetland and is very similar to those of swan maidens.
He scrolled down, and continued to scan through the text. He's not totally sure, only going by the supposed myths on the site, but from what he takes it, Selkies are people who have seal skins, and are seals when they put them on. Dang it, he wishes Merrick was here to explain this, he probably knows. For all Adam knows, those two... Creatures could've been merpeople.
Merrick would be REALLY helpful in this topic right now...
... Or maybe someone else... If she's even around right now.
Adam looked around, and then walked off...
---4 Years Ago---
"Wh-What???" Adam said, his whole body almost going numb from the shock as the statement hung in the air.
"Ya heard me, boy," Captain said in his gruff, rusty voice, "Yur Canned today," He then turned and started to walk off. Adam stumbled as he quickly ran up to in front of Captain.
"W-W-Wait, what do you mean?!" He asked frantically, "You JUST hired me a week ago! You can't just drop me off the dock like that!"
"I think I can, boy. Not git goin," He said with a growl as he stepped around him. Adam just stopped in front of him.
"W-Wait, stop!" Adam persisted, "I NEED this job! Please, I've ALWAYS wanted to work here, and I need the money!"
"Tough," Captain said, "Now outta the way b'fore I REALLY throw ya off the damn dock." Adam gapped and starred up in disbelief.
"What the hell is your problem?!" Adam yelled, getting very bold at the drop of a hat. The much larger, salty man glared down at Adam as he exhaled through his nostrils. All of a sudden, Adam feels like a sea horse trying to conquer a shark.
"Ya wanna know what MY problem is?!?" Captain said, "I got a fuckin hut out next to the FishHouse, full of tiny fish, tin containers, plastic boxes, hooks that'll butcher yur fingers if ya grab'm wrong! The fish are reeking in the heat, and the sun is fallin down every second I waste talkin to a yabby lil bitch like you. Now fer fucks sake, stop bitchin at me, and get yur skinny ass into the HUT!!" He bellowed.
Adam felt like is legs will break into dust if he even moved an inch, but that fat old yeller looks like he's about slam down on him like a beached whale. "... Y-Y-Yessir..." He managed to meep out. He then stepped around the Captain, and made his way to the main doorway. The open doors seem to be getting farther and farther away as he walked, as if trying to delay him long enough to invoke the wrath of the Captain.
"Hey, boy!" Came the call of the sea-crusted man.
"Y-Yessir- CAPtain???" Adam quipped at a higher pitch than he would have wanted anyone to hear, turning about - more like jumping - to face his boss.
"Ya talk ta me like that again," He said in a threatening tone, "And I'll string ya up like a bloody marlin." Adam nodded, shaking head-to-foot.
"Yes Captain..." With that, he strode out of the FishHouse before the damn doors can go any farther.
The Captain then walked across the FishHouse, and went into his office, and slammed then heavy, wooden door with the round glass dome of a window. If one would really press their ear onto the door, they could faintly hear Captain laughing his ass off.
Adam panted as he walked towards the small hut Captain indicated. God, that was terrifying, the way Captain yelled at him... He made him think that he was fired, for God's sake, and the way he talked to him... Dammit, how is he still on the job NOW??? He's almost too scared to even be here! Regardless, he trembled as he stepped onto the sand-vested wooden planks along the ground.
As he reached for the doorknob, he heard a rustling. He looked curiously as the rustling persisted. "Huh?" He looked aside, and walked over to the rocky crag next to the hut that lead to the beach.
He climbed down the sand-dusty rocks, stepped onto the sand itself. He blinked as he heard a light crunch noise. "Hm?" He looked down, and saw a large pile of thin, transparent, dried out sheet. "That the?" He squatted down and picked up the some of weird crusty object. It broke off lightly from itself, "... It looks like a snake shed its skin..." He took a step back, and examined the riddled membrane, "But what kind of snake is THIS?" He wondered, "This is a beach, not a rainforest... What would a snake THIS big be doing in a place like this?"
He looked around the sand for any tracks, and found a shallow trail from the pile. He stood up and followed the trail. He walked along the trail, and followed it to under the tall docks.
Adam spotted a large mound of kelp, and an elongated, white tail. "There it is!" Adam whispered to himself. He crept closer to the serpentine appendage, and crouched down to touch the scaled tail. Before he could touch it, the tail slithered into the pile of seaweed. Adam quickly started scooping up the bunches of kelp, throwing it aside, and seeing the snake's body slither away from him.
"Whoa!" He jumped as it whipped at his hand, and squirmed into the rocks! "Ow..." He watched as the reptile disappeared. He took one step forward when-
"For God's sake, STOP BREAKING THE HOSES!!!" Came the roar of the Captain.
"Shit!" Adam then ran off from the spot.
Adam shook as he slipped the shrimp into their oily cans. That was very strange. What kind of snake WAS that?? It was so quick, and not to mention HUGE! He's seen pythons, but that snake's body was so thick, but it was so fast! He barely had enough time to get a good look.
*Knock knock knock*
"Ah!!" Adam jumped as he jumbled around "Y-Yea-What? Who is it???" The door opened by one of the other fishboys, Herald.
"Hey, man. You ok, newbie?"
"Y-Yes, why do you ask?"
"I hear you got Canned today, and I wanted to see if you're good."
"Yeah, but I talked my ass off to the Captain, and freaking yelled at me..." Herald laughed at that.
"Yep, sounds about right!"
"W-What? What do you mean?"
"Whenever Captain hires someone new whose turn it is to pack our merchandise, he does this sick joke where he leads on that you're getting fired, when really, you're just being sent in here to can all THIS stuff," He said as he indicated all the items in the hut.
"... Whhhhaaaaaaaaat?" Adam said.
"Yeah, it's a dick-move on his part, but he loves seeing what kind of reactions from the ordeal."
"... Oh my God..." Adam groaned, "That old sadistic bastard..."
"Don't tell him I told you, he likes to keep the fishboys on their toes, and I might get in trouble for letting you in on it."
"Cool, thanks, newbie..." Herald was about to leave, but then he turned around, "Oh hey, I almost forgot why I came in here-"
"Wait, you said you wanted to check up on me!"
"Oh yeah... Well, that too. Anyway, have you seen my girlfriend?" He then held his gloved hand flat and held up to his shoulders, "About yea high, tan skin, pink hair and finger nails?"
"Nope. Why do you ask?"
"Well, she only comes around on the pier. If you see her... Tell her I'm sorry, and that I miss her."
"Doesn't sound like she's your girlfriend." Adam said.
"Yeah we had a fight because she wouldn't come to my parent's party. I feel horrible, but I can't find her."
"Why don't you call her?"
"I have. A lot, but she never answers. Not even texts. And she never told me where she lived, so I have no idea where she could be."
"Ah, I'm sorry. If I see her, I'll let her know. What's her name?"
"Gotcha." Adam said as Harold left, and he turned back around to seal the tin can of shrimp.
---7 hours later---
"Ugh," Adam groaned as he washed his hands in the sink of the lockerroom. He hissed as the small cuts on his fingertips and his palms stung in the water, "God, I hope this doesn't become a regular thing... I gotta handle those hooks better," After he cleaned up his dirty hands and patched up the cuts, he put away his uniform and exited the FishHouse.
Adam walked along the pier, leaving his motorbike behind in the FishHouse; he usually likes to hang around the pier for an hour or so after work. He passed by the Beauties Of The Sea shop - a local pearl shop that features jewels with pearls, and cuts the oysters for a pearl. He remembers he used to LOVE buying an oyster for its pearl when he was a kid. "Hm... I wonder if that Merrick would know the size and colors of pearls..." He pondered. He then looked at the tank with the oysters, and then spotted a young woman plucking up one of the oysters.
She has tan skin, wearing a scant tanktop, mini-skirt, and a string of unmatching pearls. He noticed her fingernails are electric pink, and she has long, light, frothy pink hair. She also has a curly, ornate tattoo branded on her left shoulder. To be honest, she kinda looks like Nicki Minaj without all the excessive make-up and freak-show facial expressions. Hang on, isn't this Herald's girlfriend?
"Uh, hey, excuse me?" The woman looked up from the oysters, "Are you Belinda? I spoke to-" She then whirled around and ran off, "W-Wait!" Adam called out, "Where are you going??" He ran after her. The strange girl dodged the people passing by, some starring at Adam chasing her, "Stop, I need to talk to you!" He chased her down the dock, where she was stopped in front of a couple of FishHouse tank carts. He caught up to her, panting as she looked at him with bewilderment.
"Hang on, I need to talk to you-"
"I no know you, man-boy!" She replied, her voice thick, and with an African accent, "I do not speak you."
"Look, I just need to talk to you about Herald-"
"No! No speak! Me, Herald, no more, we no meet again."
"Ok ok, but he asked me to tell you that he's sorry for what he said, and he misses you-" He then looked at her hand, with the oyster, which looks like it's been dipped in white paint, "Hey, did you just steal that oyster from that shop?"
"No more speak!" As soon as one of the tanks moved, she turned around, and ran off.
"WAIT!" Adam then ran after her. Belinda jumped and dodged more people, her pink hair mixing in with the crowd. "Dammit, where'd she go???" He said, completely losing her.
Adam scowled as he looked around, "Dammit, I chased her to the other side of the pier..."
He then walked himself through the crowd, and made his way back to his familiar area of the pier. He came near the FishHouse, to see Captain yelling and shouting over at the hut.
"Uh-oh..." He said as a purge of fear in his gut as he walked towards him. The one-eyed man turned around and glared at Adam.
"YOU!" Adam flinched as Captain stomped toward him, "Did you finish canning today?!?!"
"Y-Yes Captain!" He replied.
"Did YOU lock the fuckin door?!"
"Y-Yes! I-I-It was the key with the fish bottle-opener keychain, right??"
"So you didn't see ANYTHING at all then?!"
"N-No! After I finished, I took off! Wh-What happened?!"
"Someone ran-sacked the Hut, that's what happened!!" Captain pulled him towards the hut, where Adam saw the hut's door opened, and the doorknob is in pieces, "Someone wrecked the fuckin door, and swiped a bunch of the shrimp and can-fish!"
"Whaaaat?? I spent all day canning those!!"
"It's that goddamn Hook Hangers!! Those bastards have been fuckin with me for years!" He exclaimed, "Fishboy," He said, jabbing a finger at Adam's chest, "If you ever see any of those Hook bastards near this place, you fucking tell me immediately, ya hear me?!"
"Y-Y-Yes, Captain!" Adam responded, feeling thankful for when Captain took off. He sighed as he entered into the hut, looking at the wreckage. A few containers of the bait tackle are scattered and ripped into. Almost all of the cans of shrimp and fish are gone. At least Captain isn't making him can any more stuff. Adam sighed as he squatted down, and picked up a shiny yellow lure with two hooks on it, "Dammit..." He muttered. All those hours, gone. "... Huh?" He then spotted something "Wait a sec..." He then picked up a plastic, bright pink speck, "... Hey, this looks like a fingernail... This is a falsie..." He said.
Adam got up, and looked around, seeing two more pink nails lying around, "Oh my God... It was that girl! ... Um... Ah, uhhh, Berlinda!" He then looked at the ruined doorknob, "How the hell did she do THIS?" He then exited the place, and looked carefully along the wooden planks. There some wet blotches that smell of the oil from the cans. He followed the sloppy trail, to the rocks that he climbed down earlier.
When Adam came too the same spot, he found only small fragments of the snakeskin from before. Ignoring the fact that it's pretty much gone, he followed the footprints he found. He starred as these footprints, looking closely until they led to the rising and falling water.
"... That's it? She just went into the water? C'mon, there's gotta be more to this..." Adam said as he walked along the sand, searching for any clues to this ordeal.
"Dammit... Why would she steal a bunch of cans of fish? Is this because I chased her down the pier? Man, she's got problems if that's true... Hm?" Adam's eyes then caught something new. It looks like a smooth trail, a shallow ditch along the sand along with many traces of thin lines dug into the sand. Guessing from the dark dampness of the trail, he can tell it's fresh. "Hey, this might be that snake from before!"
Adam then quickly followed the threshed trail, and soon peered to a long, white and peach-colored tail. It has a ruby red diamond pattern along the spiny back, with a small flag of fin on the middle. "Oh my God, I found it!" When Adam approached the serpent, he saw it lead to a terrible tangle of fishnets. "Oh no..." He said in sympathetic astonishment, "Poor thing..."
He approached the tangled mass, and tugged at it. Adam looked to the side to see the large tail move, "Oh, it's still alive!" He then took out his pocketknife, and started to cut away at the strings, "Hang on, big guy, I got ya..." Adam kept severing bond after bond, removing shreds of tattered net as he went.
"Ok, I almost-" Suddenly, the snake jumbled at him. "WHOA-"
"HAAAAHCCCHHHHHSSSS!" The creature lashed at him. Adam jumbled back, toppling down and backing up.
"HOLY SHIT!!" His heart pounded as that snake... THING just swiped at him. He can see large, grey eyes glaring at him, jagged fangs hissing at him, webbed claws pulling at the remaining net. It snarled and hissed as it writhed and squirmed as it struggled at the nets. "Oh my God... What IS this?!" The creature eventually yanked the nets apart, and screeched fiercely as it lunged at Adam. "Oh FUCK!"
Once the reptile was upon him, Adam immediately seized its wrists as its razor sharp hands attempted to swipe him. "HELP!! HELP! SOMEBOD-" He called out. One of the creature's hands yanked from the man's grip, and stomped onto his mouth, "MMMMFFF! RRRMMMM!" As Adam struggled to throw the beast off, he could feel something thick tuck under him, and grab around his waist. Upon observation while fighting, Adam looked as the snake's long tail began to wrap itself around him. Fuck, it's constricting him!
"You die day, human!" It hissed in a lethal, raspy voice. Adam's eyes opened wide; as savage a tone that thing spoke, it sounds familiar! His eyes darted to the left, and spotted a black, swirled tattoo on it shoulder.
"MMMRRR! BRRRIIIINNNAAA!" He grabbed the creature's white, scaly arm, and yank it way from his mouth, gasping for air, "Ahh! GahhH!" He can feel his waist get squeezed tightly, "BELINDA! You're Belinda!!" The creature suddenly stopped, its forked tongue flicking at him. "Heh-Herald told me to tell you he misses you! He's sorry for what he said to you about his parents' party!" He can feel his hips begin to hurt and his feet tingle, "HE WANTS YOU BACK, DAMMIT!!"
Just as suddenly, the snake's body uncoiled itself from his body, he cringed and grunted as he stumbled away, glancing at the creature again. Its whole body is white, with peach and pink patterns along the scales. Wearing the string of inconsistent pearls around her neck, and instead of hair, there are thin, long strands of sharp and tight fins from the back of her head to her back. Her upper body is humanoid, while her lower body is long and snake-like.
Before Adam could say or do anything, the snake creature grabbed his knife, and pounced on him again. She pressed the tip of it to his back, and hissed her sharp teeth at him, "You speak NO ONE of me, man-boy!" She hissed, "Or death waits you!" With that, she climbed and slithered rapidly into the beach water, her large, thick tail disappearing into the sea.
"H-Hey! That's my knife!!" He called out, but there came no other response. He panted and sat there, starring at the rolling tide, "... Wha... What WAS she?? It's just like that Merrick kid..." Human when dry, something else when wet, "... Is she a mermaid??"
--- 4 Years Later ---
Adam turned his head back and forth, looking for Belinda. He doesn't see her often at all, but when he does, it's always at the pier. When he DOES see her, she's usually the one to refer to for any questions concerning merfolk that happen to pop into his head.
According to Merrick, there are three different types of merpeople in the ocean:
Piscien merpeople, which resembles species of fish. Amnien merpeople, which are related to sea mammals. And Holsien, which take after reptiles and cephalopods.
Those Selkies, if that's what those where, could possibly be Amnien merfolk. Though they're definitely not like any mermaids Adam's ever seen, at least other than what he's already known from anywhere. He has to admit that it makes him wonder if there are any other Selkies out there. Like, are there other humanoids in a shark's skin, or someone swimming around in an orca's hide?
He kept walking around, and finally spotted the tan female. Her bright pink hair still as long as her arm, wearing a one-piece blouse-skirt that seems pretty drafty. She's talking to a boatman on the dock as their ship hoisted up a net full of fish.
"Belinda!" Adam called out, as he began to run up to her. She turned around and smiled as he came up to her.
"Adahm!" She called back as she waved her arm up back and forth.
"Ah shit!" The boatman yelped as the net full of fish suddenly clanked off the crane, and fell into the water! "Ah fuckit, Darrel!!" He shouted at the teenage boy, who looked suddenly scared.
Adam gasped and then sprinted as he saw a large splash of water jump from the impact, and land right on Belinda's shoulders, back, and some on her hair. She gasped as the water that touched her transmuted her skin into the white and pink scales. "Hang on, I got ya!" Adam said as he almost tore off his jacket, and threw it around Belinda, covering the portions of her body that got wet and exposed her true form. Her bony fingers held at the jacket, hoping that no one saw the scales.
"Goddammit, Darrel, how many fucking times do I have to tell you to put THAT into place?! Now we lost the whole fucking catch!!" The man yelled as the fish under the water swam in a frenzy from the now mangled net. Meanwhile, Adam took Belinda to a bench, and sat next to her.
"Thanks you, Adahm," Belinda said, "Der water nearly uncovered me!" She said as she clutched the jacket around her.
"Yeah, no problem," Adam said, "What were you can that guy chatting about? If you don't mind my asking."
"I ask heem of deh way heem boat move on deh water," She explained, "I ask heem about how deh way dees 'motor' work to push heem boat."
"Ah, I see." Belinda spotted the damp, darkened band-aid around Adam's thumb.
"Oh, you are hurt?"
"Hm? Oh yeah, just got myself bad on a hook, no big deal."
"No problems, I feex!" She said, "You have water?"
"Um... No, but there's a drinking fountain right here," Adam said.
"Ok, you, water you hand." She instructed.
"Um, alright..." Adam said as he got up to the fountain, and ran the water on his hand, until it was dripping, and he sat back down, "Ok, what now?"
Belinda then took his wet hand, and rubbed her fingers along his palm. Adam watched as she started whispering and mumbling. He then looked onto his hand, and starred as the water on his hand reformed and slide from his hand, to under his band-aid, where it darkened with the moisture. He hissed as the deep cut beneath stung and tingled. He undid the band-aid and to see the gash on his thumb close itself shut, and sealed over itself.
"Ha, wow," Adam said with a smile, looking at his thumb, "Didn't know you can do that."
"Yes. Dat is what you calling for me, yes?" She asked curiously.
"Uh, oh no, I wanted to ask you something."
"Yes? What is you wanting to ask?"
"Well, see," He motioned to the ocean, "I was looking out onto the buoy, and I saw this couple - a guy and a girl - and they were sitting on the buoy with a couple of seals nearby, and then they kinda... Covered themselves up with a blanket or something, and I think they turned into seals themselves-"
"Ah! Yous speak of deh Selkies!"
"Oh, so that IS what they're called. Are they merfolk too?"
"Yes dey are! Dey are most curious and strange Amnien merfolk! Dey choose to be one, or deh oder of seal, human."
"So, what, they're not like any other merfolk? Do they hunt or trade with others?" Belinda shook her head.
"No no no, dey do not. Dey chose to live among oder seals, or among deh humans. Dey do not interest for deh customs and traditions of oder merfolk. Dey are descendants of indecisive peoples of deh water, so dey do not have one form.
"Ah, I see. Now, are there OTHER types of these Selkies? Like, do others look like sharks, orcas, or any other sea creature?"
"Eef dere are, we do not know. We know only of seal Selkies. As far as anyones knows, dere is only one kind of Selkie in deh ocean."
"Ok. I also read that if a Selkie loses their seal skin, they can't go back into the ocean. Is that true?"
"Yes, tis very true! Dey need seal skin to be in deh ocean, or dey be trapped by deh lands."
"And I've ALSO read that if a human were to steal a Selkie's skin, they'd be forced to live as that human's lover, is THAT true?" Belinda laughed at that remark.
"You is funny, Adams! Hehehe!" Adam chuckled, but couldn't help but feel a little mocked, "A Selkie is trapped land widdout dere skin, but I neber heard of one being forced to love deh humans!"
"I see..." He said before he got up, and accepted his jacket back; the spots where the water landed on Belinda had dried up and reverted to skin, "Oh yeah, and here," Adam then dug into the pocket of his coat, pulling out a pair of FishHouse tins, "I swiped you some sardines." Belinda beamed, clapped her hands and eagerly snatched up the tins.
"Oh you is nice for deh treats, Adam!" She said with excitement.
"No problem... Oh, heads up, Herald's coming."
"Oh!" She quickly slipped the tins into her small, yellow glittery purse, and jumped up to greet the man, "Ello Herald!"
"Hey, sweetheart, been looking for you." He wrapped his arm around her, and kissed her lips, "Ready for our date?"
"Yes, was waitin for you, Herald!" She said, beaming.
"Ok, lets go, babe. See ya, Adam." He said as he and Belinda walked off.
"Later," As he watched them leave. He chuckled as he shook his head, "They make a good couple. Wonder when she's gonna tell him that she's a mermaid..."
Adam sighed as he sat at the edge of a small cliff, over the ocean; it's a nice diving part for when someone feels like swimming around the shore here at his place. He sat there, starring at the moon. It's been about 4 months since Merrick's pod took off. About 2 more to go, give or take.
The news says there's gonna be a Lunar Eclipse tonight. He remembers Merrick saying something about the red moon influencing merfolk. He said it makes merpeople sexually active. He chuckled and groaned as he wished that merman was here, horny, naked, rubbing himself up against him.
Adam chuckled as he felt himself tent his pants, "Damn, I miss him..." He muttered. The man stood himself up, and dusted off his pants before turning around and walking into his house.