This is my third story for the challenge . It is a bit shorter than the other two . So here goes prompt #13 .
FALL IN TO THE OCEAN . REVEL IN IT .
Syrenelle was enchanted with the sea . It provided a constant source of mystery and entertainment . She was drawn to its power and beauty . She was in tune with its ebb and flow . Whenever she felt that her flagging spirits needed reviving , she would go down to the edge of the shore . It held the inexplicable ability to calm and invigorate .
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From a young age , she shared a special bond with the sea .Over the years , she accumulated a wealth of knowledge about the ocean and sea creatures .
“Do you know that there are hundreds of sea creatures ?” The nine year old Syrenelle had amazed her parents with her knowledge .The walls in her room were covered with pictures and drawings of the sea . The cotton curtains displayed sea shells of various shapes , sizes and colours .
“And who told you that ?” She shrugged and continued her drawings of the ocean and its inhabitants .
“The ocean is very , very deep ,” she cocked her head to one side , a thoughtful expression crossed her innocent ten year old face .
“Yes it is . And would you by any chance have any idea how deep it really is ?” teased her father .
“Well , it is about four thousand metres deep ,” she returned in a matter-of-fact voice .
“And who told you that , young lady ?” Somehow , her mother could not imagine that information being taught at school . Not in such detail , especially not to ten-year-olds .
“My friend , she lives near the cove .” Lots of young children had imaginary friends , so her parents did not take the matter to heart .
“And does this friend happen to have a name ?”
“Her name is Luras . Did you know that she swam with the dolphins once ?”
And the eleven year old could name a variety of sea inhabitants : sunfish , starfish , prawns , turtles , sea snakes , lobsters , squid , barracuda , whales … on and on it went … the list was endless .
“Did you know that the largest dolphin is Orca , the killer whale ?” At twelve years old , her excitement was kept on a leash , her verbal reticence more noticeable . And after that , she volunteered no more information concerning the sea bed and its myriad of wonders .
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She finally reached the magical milestone that most adults dream of . She was 21 years old . But she was not your normal 21 year old . She knew she was different in some way . As if in a dream , the long-ago conversation slipped into her conscious mind .
“You have to leave us for a while ,” the Elder of the MerClan announced .
Murmurs of dissent rippled through the crowd . The MerFolk harboured a deep-seated distrust for the Human Race .
She held up her hand .”It is our way , part of an age-old tradition . When a Human performs a good deed , to our benefit , it has to be returned ,” her word was final . A few mermaids crowded around Syrenelle , who bowed her head in submission .
“You will remember very little about the Merpeople , for the duration of your stay amongst the Humans . However , towards the end of your stay , memories will return , little by little … When you reach the age of 21 , you can choose : remain with the Humans or return to the Merpeople .”
Some of the older mermaids recalled a horrific tale of a mermaid who had been captured by the Humans and put on public display . A heated discussion , concerning ancient MerFolk traditions , broke out amongst the younger mermaids and mermen . Some felt that tradition had to be followed without question . Others felt that certain traditions were questionable and open to change . There was nothing that they could do – the matriarchal Elder had spoken .
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Her favourite spot was the cove , situated in the hollow of a nearby cliff . As Syrenelle waded into the clear blue water of her Sanctuary , she stretched out her body . She closed her eyes , floated on her back and recalled the Elder’s voice .
“You will know when it is time . Fall into the ocean . Embrace it as you would a long lost friend . Welcome it . Re-acquaint yourself with its mystery and power . Revel in it …” the words rang in her ears . And it WAS time . She had 24 hours left .
She arose at the crack of dawn . The narrow , rocky path which led down to the water’s edge was a familiar daily route that she travelled . She ran swiftly along the pier and then jumped over the edge and disappeared . She joined a group of girls and they frolicked about in the water .
The sun’s rays beamed as it hovered along the horizon . It revealed their iridescent bodies . Their fragile scales molded together , shimmered and twinkled as if composed of hundreds of precious stones . Their laughter reminded him of melodious bells , an aural delight . Drops of water glistened as they rose into the air . They arched their tails in the back-flip position and then slipped under the water , five bodies in perfect symmetry . It was the most breathtaking and heart-wrenching sight to behold . They peformed their ritualistic dance to the sounds of unplayed music ; it was music that lived in their hearts and souls ; music that united them , as ancient as time itself , passed down from their ancestors , undetected by the Human ear .
He stood rooted in one position , unable to tear his eyes from the vision that played out before his very eyes . They had come to fetch her .
It could have been ten or twenty minutes later , when he finally left .With a heavy heart , he returned to the little cottage . He trudged wearily up the narrow , winding path leading to the front door . The moment had come . His little girl was a little girl no longer . She had discovered her true self . She had connected with her Merpeople . It was time to let her go .