Water dripped from my skin as leaves and mud clung to my hair and clothes. Everything I needed to start the ball rolling was placed in front of me, blessing a deer. I just needed his position, is all—but to have it I needed to take his life.
The girl got away, but I knew how to fix that. It was a simple spell for someone like me. Someone like the King of the Unwea Clan that grew larger and stronger each day. We would rise and people would learn to respect us, once and for all. We would no longer be outcasts—we would be rulers.
“Twins,” the doctor said as the sun rose higher in the sky. “One human, one mermaid.”
“One-hundred,” the King corrected. “She’s a one-hundred, the human.”
His wife managed to stay afloat as she shifted around to look at her two baby girls. They were identical. She smiled softly, the magnitude of the situation not fully dawning on her.
“My babies...” she whispered, trembling as she took both of them in her arms. “They both shall live.”
“Apart,” the doctor interjected, writing something on the small area of the animal hide in front of him. “The human will go to the island tonight, when the full moon is above, and the merchild will stay in the castle.”
The Queen shook her head violently. “I refuse to let them separate.”
“It must be done, dear,” the King said softly, taking his wife in his arms to carry her home. “We will have this short time with her before she must go. The full moon will soon be upon us.”
The woman looked at her husband, her silvery hair gleaming in the refracted sunlight as it dripped beneath the surface of the deep water. Her eyes filled with tears mermaids don’t produce, knowing the terrible journey that would lay ahead for her child on that wretched island.
“I can’t. I promised her—maybe I could change her into—”
“It cannot be carried out, your highness. These powers upon a child could harm them for eternity and potentially kill them.”
“But I have to try—”
“Would it be worth our daughter’s life?”
The Queen stared at her husband, her words coming to a halt. She had promised her unborn baby that she would never let her live the life she had growing up. The island was much more terrible back then than it was at that moment, but all the Queen wanted was to give her daughters everything she couldn’t have—a life outside of the shroud of ignorance. But alas, it was wasn’t to be. She broke down crying.
“If I have to wait that long, I’ll kill myself,” she whispered, her trembling whisper reaching over the waves and into the water as it began to stir around her. Clouds covered the sun and thunder began to rumble. The twins began to glow, one yellow and one purple, as their mother illuminated the brightest orange ever seen, tears ripping from her tear ducts and joining the drops of the ocean.
“We must go now,” the doctor called over the storm. “Stop doing this.”
The Queen glanced up to the man, her eyes deeper than any ocean. Her lips quivered like their bodies in the booming thunder. She whispered.
“It isn’t me.”
Her back arched as the ocean began to glow orange, waves reaching above the merpeople’s heads as a scream ripped from her throat. Lightning struck the water, its pulse reaching out to the bodies around, laughing with electrons that extended the sound of buzzing from their energy to the merpeople. The King forced a yellow barrier around the doctor, executor, his wife, and himself, protecting them from the charge, but the wave carrying the electricity crashed right through, sending them all below the water. The executor drew his last intake of water as the doctor reaches for the two girls, their father paralyzed from the shock. The Queen gripped the girls with her life, swimming upward to keep her human child breathing. She pulled the girls close, when she noticed something was different.
And as the veins of lightning filled the clouds above, she saw the second child, the mermaid, open her mouth and take a breath of air.
The water stilled suddenly, the orange glow dissipating as it circled around the baby, something like humming filling the air as the electricity ebbed away. Her tail twisted into legs.
They were both human.
The Queen’s breath was stolen from her chest.
“Now I will lose them both,” she sobbed, gloom weaving its way through her bones, stretching like a spider’s web across the insides of her rib cage.
The doctor burst from the water, his eyes focusing on the children.
“What is this madness?”
His words were not harsh, nor were they accusing, but questioning and filled with awe.
“The sea,” the mother said, fear chilling her voice as her eyes fall upon the changed child. “It has chosen.”
What have I told you, child? Have you not been listening? This has better be the last time I have to tell you the story of the Flood.
It came many years ago, during a time when the world had counted each passing year. We’ve long forgotten that dreaded number, the last number before the waters took us from the world we’d grown accustomed to, and started back over at zero. The night that baby had been born, a one-hundred, it was year SEA-122,354—one hundred and twenty-two thousand, three hundred and fifty-four years after the Flood.
Humans were wiped out, but they were never to be gone. The mermaid population prospered due to the entire Earth almost being completely submerged for several hundred years. However, not all mermaids have mermaid babies. Sometimes a human is thrown in the mix.
One in every one hundred thousand mermaid births end in the result of a human baby because mermaids have so many human characteristics and body parts. There’s no magic involved, as many used to think all those years ago of mermaids, just survival. On the contrary, there has been a tale crafted over the years telling of a silent magic floating about among the waves, granting wishes and giving miracles... but it’s just a fable, a made-up story...
Or so we like to believe.
There is an estimate of 3.4 births every second and 86,400 seconds in a day, resulting in 293,760 births per twenty-four hours over the entire mermaid population. That means there are about two human births each day. Not all the mermaid clans are as merciful as the one who spared the One-Hundred, the one hundred thousandth baby born to that clan. The Clans that spare these babies, they hold knowledge of places, mountain peaks that stick out over the water. It is enough to hold a city of saved humans.
That is where they are sent, every human baby. Grown adults that have learned to survive against the weather and the animals, they take care of the One-Hundreds. Of course, there is a slim chance of making it past the one-year mark for the children, and an even slimmer chance to make it to two.
I have told you two stories. Three, if technicality is the issue. But I must tell you two more, two different stories that intertwine like the wind through the trees. I hope you’ve payed close attention to detail in my past stories, and to the rules surrounding the One-Hundreds’ powers, and that you’ve realized even One’s have their limits, because understanding the boundaries of power... it will assist you in understanding the world humans reside in.