The Fisherman and the Mermaid

The Fisherman and the Mermaid

A Story by Sarah Hardwick

The Fisherman and the Mermaid.

The Fisherman had never wished for a fantastical life; an adventure never lied waiting in his immediate future nor in his past. When he set off for the river that day the only change he could feel was the hot sun on his back.

She wasn’t new to this object, she had seen more than enough of them bobbing and taunting. Her friends would draw near, transfixed by the bait and with a sharp pierce and a tug they would be launched upwards amongst a sea of bubbles and never seen again. When it appeared again today she kept her distance as always.

He leaned back against the side of the little wooden boat, his only possessions a tartan jacket and a bottle of warm water at his side. The fishing rod sat perched with the line sunken deep below the surface whilst he waited for his bite.

The little wooden boat seemed to be the source of her friends disappearances. This was the fourth time she had seen it. She recognised it as being the same because of a large scuff mark on the bottom. She nestled on a large rock which sat cast in the shadow of the little boat and didn’t take her eyes off it.

The fish didn’t seem to be biting today, maybe he’d scared them off. The sun was hot on his face and his shirt clung to his skin, he pulled at it and then began to unbutton it.

She peered around, squinting to see further around herself but the outline of the coral and rocks began to blur into the blue just like everything else. A muted splash came from directly up ahead and she snapped her head up just in time to see a shoal of bubbles and small fish swimming frantically away.

The cool water felt good on his body so much so that he didn’t care that he’d probably scared off any chance of a catch for the day. He resurfaced and took a deep breath of air.

She could see the man from the shoulders down, his face staying above the water. She had seen many bodies like this one swim overhead, oblivious to her watching eyes, though those had always been clothed. For the first time she saw just how different this species was. She knew better than to approach the creature and instead lowered herself behind the shelter of her rock.

He suspected the river was only around twelve feet deep, he floated on his back for a while but felt uneasy about what could be below. His older brother had told him the stories of sea creatures and monsters that dwelled below the surface of this river, and a small part of him had always believed them to be true.

She observed him from her shelter. He was floating on his back and looked to be almost as tall as she was. His skin was so tanned where hers was so pale it was translucent. She despaired at her cold alien featured and longed for his warm ones.

Despite the calm water and the warmth of the sun, he righted himself and reached out for the boat. Grabbing the side it lurched towards him. Forgetting his own strength the tiny boat creaked under the force. He gracelessly pulled himself up and over and fell into the little boat.

She despaired that the creature had disappeared into the dark shadow that loomed above her. In a moment of bravery and desperation she swam up and was within reach of the object within moments. She reached out a silver finger and caressed the material. It felt like some of the drift wood planks that she found scattered on the river bed, but stronger.

He reached each side of the boat as it tipped suddenly to the right. Not knowing what had caused it he grabbed an oar and dipped it into the water and it too was pushed back toward him with such a force that he was splashed with water. Incredulous he leant over the edge peering desperately, daring whatever had caused it to present itself.

She hid herself out of sight directly underneath the boat, both hands grasping onto the wood above her head to keep her still. Then in another moment of desperation to see she moved herself away and for the first time in her life she pierced the veil of water and opened her lungs to air.

He looked and looked, staring into curious blinking eyes. The girls mouth was slightly open and her white hair was wet against her face. But he could not see past her skin, the look and texture of a jellyfish, he was amazed he couldn’t see right through her. He had so many questions for her, what was she doing in the middle of the river? There was no other boat in sight.

He reached towards her with his hand and she recoiled back unsure of his actions. He began to communicate, to talk in disjointed noises that fell deaf on her ears. She could not believe how a noise could sound so intelligent and emotional. His features were even more rich and warm up close. Her filter of cold blue had been lifted and she saw the brownest eyes she had ever seen. So unlike the eyes of the fish, there was tangible knowledge behind them. 

“Are you okay?” He kept repeating it to no response from her. But it was all he could manage. Her beauty was like a spell, and he couldn’t see past it. 

© 2016 Sarah Hardwick

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Good story and has such a mysterious tone to it! If you can, could you give me an opinion on some of my writing too? Awesome job!

Posted 5 Years Ago

I like how you keep changing from one POV to the other. It keeps it moving at a good pace. You do rely a little heavily on exposition at times and it would have been nice to have had some dialogue. Overall, this is a fun story to read.

Posted 5 Years Ago

Sarah Hardwick

5 Years Ago

Thank you! It's an ongoing piece, so there will be more dialogue in the future.
David Jae

5 Years Ago

You're welcome. I see a lot of promise here.

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3 Reviews
Added on February 12, 2016
Last Updated on February 12, 2016
Tags: Mermaid, Fisherman


Sarah Hardwick
Sarah Hardwick

Bristol, United Kingdom

Hi, my name is Sarah. I'm currently working on a story called 'The Fisherman and the Mermaid' please give it a read if you have time. Any comments are welcome. more..