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The Fish and the Mermaid

The Fish and the Mermaid
by Samuel Sanders

Fish and Mermaid


Its great dumb gaze trawls the gloaming depths, the language of the merhead bubbling effluent from its gaping mouth. The mistake, lodged in its mouth, has grown like coral through the contours of its body. The greed of gluttony, a single, futile delicacy repaid with an lifetime of execrable monotony.

They have adapted, of course, for the sea welcomes those who adjust to change. But they never forgot. The unwary mermaid, dallying in the anemone beds where the piscine giants churn the waters. Indeed, absorbed with the antics of clownfish within the sweet-smelling poison blooms, she doesn't see a glittering eye rise like a baleful sea moon, doesn't feel the sucking current until it is too late, swimming, swimming, no, thrashing, horror leaking dry tears from almond eyes. It swallows, her golden hair sweeping forward like the tentacles of the anemone to wreath the beast's mouth.

Its stomach has eaten away her fins, and as she ages she has pressed its laboring gills closed. Trapped in this hateful symbiosis, they will die together when the day comes. The elaborate cuisine of the merpeople and the sweeping movements of their nautilus ballroom are but a dream for the mermaid who is mindlessly propelled through the depths, resigned to opening and closing her mouth for random bits of sustenance. She has but one consolation.

She sings to herself, to all that would hear.

* * *


Sam Sanders hails from Olathe, Kansas where he tries to write while maintaining a living by mindless drudgery. His writing, often tinged with a strong science-fiction and surrealist tang, tries to incorporate something from every genre. You can visit his blog.

What do you think is the attraction of the fantasy genre?

The rules one doesn't have to follow. In literature, you are committed to authenticate every aspect of the story, to make it as realistically believable as possible. In fantasy, you define the rules within your worlds. The reader automatically surrenders the mechanism that nitpicks at details when approached with such a story and is more willing to suspend judgment.

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