The Mermaid of Zennor

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5.

The next day, two choirboys dropped by around four, all high in energy and mischief. Eli, with his favorite boxy, old fashioned camera, shot everything in sight until Matthew reached the door. Charlie, who just had a birthday, now carried a black acoustic bass. The stench of ale dripped off them both.

“That’s beautiful,” Matthew admired.

“Reckon you wanna practice,” Eli said. “Give him an excuse to keep playing that thing.”

“Course. Let me grab it and a coat.”

“Bring Jaimie!”

Morveren was sunk low in the bath, still in awe at how her skin wrinkled. She almost dozed off to the fragrance of ivory when a note slid under the door. Dog nails clicked past the bathroom. The door closed. She leapt out to dry off hastily. In messy scribbles, he wrote,

Off to friend’s house. If you need anything or want to join us -

He gave directions to Charlie’s place, which she didn’t fully comprehend.

Both guitarists accented in perfect time, stooped on the stairs of Charlie’s place. Matthew led the vocals with an occasional chirp from Charlie. Jaimie contentedly rested her chin on her paws and gazed longingly at their mugs of hot chocolate. Eli sat on a rickety chair and whipped out a mouth harp as needed. When he started honking, Charlie grinned, his tooth gap peeking out. They rocked comfortably, nodding with slacking eyelids.

It took most people by surprise that a bunch of choirboys strung together their own odd folk tales. They birthed poetry, mixing fiction and modern issues in past tense, then set it to song. Matthew’s voice preached not of archangels, but Joan of Arc, the working class, homeless being swept off streets, and Merlin’s lover.

Eli halted to steal a drink, steam clouding his lenses.

“Charlie, talk to me.”

As he walked up the bass, chugging along, Eli echoed his bluesy riffs.

Charlie’s dad, Mr. Whittaker, entered fresh from the mine. After a quick bath, he listened for a while. He tipped them, clapping. “Do you take requests?”

“I’ll take another cup of cocoa,” Eli quipped.

“Cheers,” Matthew said, holding his cup out, too.

Mr. Whittaker gathered them up. He shook his head.“I just got home from work. You should be making me cocoa and a scone, Charlie.” Charlie stood to help refill. “Where is your mother?”

Matthew hummed. “Next time, we’ll do this at my place. I need my piano for the new one.”

Morveren painted Zennor Head that day, but thankfully, she witnessed a rehearsal the next.

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