Thank You from the Mermaid

Posted: November 23, 2013 by writingsprint in Fantasy
Tags: , , , , , ,

lakePatrick cast his line into the water. He heard fish splashing nearby, but not near his line. He sighed. He’d been in the water since six a.m., and they weren’t biting. Maybe they didn’t like his bait, or his technique. Patrick could see the hillside toward town turning pink. The sun would be up soon, and the mist would burn off from the water. On the far side of the lake he heard a loon sound its fluty call.

His line yanked. Patrick started to get excited, then a mermaid popped up holding his bait. “Please don’t fish in the lake anymore,” she said. Before Patrick could gawk in shock, grab his camera, or say good morning, she took a shell out of her hair and used it to cut his lure.

“Hey! You didn’t need to do that! That lure cost me ten dollars!”

She swam over, still holding it. She was about five feet from his boat. Her skin was green like the water, and her eyes were the shiny, silver-gray color of the local char. “It’s a good one. I’ve been shooing fish away from it for the past two hours.” She gestured toward him with it. “You can have it back if you don’t fish in the lake anymore.”

“I… well, first, are you really a mermaid?”

“Are you really asking that question?”

“Okay, forget I asked. Why?”

“You’re a better fisherman than most. You’re fishing out the big, healthy ones. If you keep it up you’ll fish out the lake.”

He put down his fishing rod and scratched his head. Patrick couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “The lake is two miles long, and I, me, am not allowed to fish in it.”

“You’re up earlier, quieter, and use better bait than anyone else in the lake. Who eats fish every night?”

“I like fish.”

“Who’s won the biggest catch contest four years running?”

Abashed, Patrick said, “Me.” Meekly, he asked, “Were they friends of yours?”

The mermaid let the point go. Gesturing with the lure, she said, “There are hatcheries where you can fish. Bigger lakes. Just give this one a break for a while. Or barbecue like your friends.”

Patrick watched her waving his lure. It had been a good, lucky one. He wanted to have it back, but she’d probably drop it in the deepest part of the lake if he didn’t agree. At least she was being polite about it. “If I say yes, can I have my lure back?”

“Yes. I’ll be watching, though.”

He reached out his hand.

“That’s a lovely sunrise.”

Patrick looked over his shoulder. The top quarter of the sun peeked over the hill. The light glowed through a low scarf of cloud, turning it pink. Yes, it really was beautiful.

He heard a clunk as his lure landing in the boat next to him. Then a splash. Patrick looked back. Ripples spread out from where the mermaid had been. If it wasn’t for his lure magically winding up in the boat next to him, he would have thought he was dreaming. A shell with the words “thank you” scratched into it sat next to the lure.

Patrick heard his neighbors firing up the motor on their outboard back at the house. They were lucky to catch minnows. “Well, I guess I’m done for a while,” he said. He took apart the rod, put it away, and started rowing back to his house.

  1. […] Thank You from the Mermaid […]


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