Wish Upon a Fin by Aubrey Lackey

I was on an early morning wave watch, connecting with the place I felt the most at home, the ocean. My family has been living on the beachside for as long as I can remember. 

My grandma tells stories about the mystical creatures of the sea, “Now Nerida, as you go out into the world, remember to trust the crest engraved with a fin, and always let the adventure begin,” is what she would repeat when speaking of the sea.

There was always a connection with the way the waves swayed and the way my heart pumped. A day didn’t go by where I wasn’t by the water. One fateful day, unlike all of the rest, I saw the most beautiful man gazing into the sunset while perched on a rock miles from shore.  

I screamed out towards him, “Who are you? Are you okay?”

He whipped his head around and vanished into the sea. Before he was completely submerged in the water, I caught a glimpse of the most beautiful tail I had ever seen. I knew of the stories of these creatures, and I’ve seen “pictures”, but to see it in real life was magical. I just saw my very first mermaid. As days go by, I continue to see this merman, and eventually I fall in love. Mermaids are known for their charm and captivative vibes, and to put it simply, he got the best of me. I spent every waking moment with him, my Abrecan, my mermaid. The one secret I kept from everyone I loved, my merman, became my livelihood. Abrecan swam to me one day and offered me a necklace. The necklace was a crest with a fin engraved in it. 

This necklace jogged my memory. A beautiful piece I swore to wear around my neck would soon change my life forever. One morning as I was getting yelled at for never being home, I sat in my locked room and fiddled with the necklace, saying that comforting yet crazy phrase my grandma always used. “as you go out into the world, remember to trust the crest engraved with a fin and always let the adventure begin.” Before I knew it, the necklace did as much as read my mind. The yelling finally stopped, and there was peace in my heart. The special phrase was used for this all along, my family crest. Eventually, over the course of a couple days, I started to wonder why my family had not only stopped talking to me, but forgot I existed. I begged for them to hear me, but not a word was spoken. 

I went to the ocean to cry, where I always went when the world wasn’t feeling right. Due to the tide being so low I couldn’t hug the one man I loved. The anger grew inside me, and I let out a scream, “ Why me? WHY CAN’T I BE HAPPY?” I forgot about the crest and wished again, not realizing that as I wished for the man I loved, Abrecan, to be human and walk with me hand in hand. The crest began to glow and shake and twist around my neck as my love grew legs. Abrecan looked down in bewilderment at his new appendages. We stared into each other’s eyes as I taught him to walk all the way to my house to meet my family. We got to my door, and I was filled with excitement because finally, I had a boyfriend who didn’t have to be a secret. All my happiness and ecstatic feelings vanished as my family heard me introduce him and just continued to walk away. I stood in shock with the man I had been so excited to show off. He took my hand, and we left my pitiful house and went down to the dock to sit and talk. I cried in his arms, hoping everything would feel okay again, but as he began to reassure me, the wind started to whip around us at an alarming speed. 

Abrecan and I held on tight to one another because the wind was whipping around us and trying to tear us apart. 

Abrecan whispered in my ear, “the sea wants me back,” as if to warn me in a way the sea couldn’t hear. 

The wind started to clear, and the ocean came to view. The only problem was that we hadn’t moved, but the ocean’s shore was miles in the distance. My head filled with confusion, and I racked my brain for a reason as to why this was happening. The town went into a frenzy and everyone was screaming, “Tsunami!” The sirens sounded and the people of the town took off at full speed. Some people were driving and some people were trying to go on foot with a baby on their hip and their pets following behind them. I finally figured it out. I knew why the Tsunami was happening, and it was my fault. I was greedy with the crest I was given. I was evil with the crest I was given. I was the only one who could fix what was going wrong, and that meant doing it at the cost of everything I’ve ever known and loved. I grabbed Abrecan’s hand, looked into his beautiful crystal blue eyes and said my goodbyes, knowing seeing him again was a slim chance. Walking out into the middle of the street, eye to eye with the storm, I said my final wish right before it crashed. “ I wish for everything to be normal.” 

The wind fell, the screams stopped, the ocean settled, and I slowly opened my eyes to a line of traffic honking at me as I stood in the middle of the road. The storm was gone, and the people seemed normal as ever. I sprinted to my home to see if my family had made it out alive. To my surprise, they talked to me and asked why I was running in the house with my shoes on. It felt incredible to hear their voices again, even if they had no clue what I had just been through. After I knew they were okay, I reluctantly went down to the part of the beach where I could see his rock. Abrecan was nowhere to be found, and although it hurt my heart, it was for the best to leave the sea and land separated. The crest was gone from around my neck, and the world was calm again. I was the only one who knew of the events before, and I was okay with that. A life without magic crests and mermaids sounded safe and sound, even though the fun in my life would have to be found elsewhere. After a long day of trying to figure out how my life just flipped upside down and rightside up again within less than a week, I got ready for bed in my normal home with my normal family. As I began to drift off to sleep, accepting my new life, and keeping my old one in my memories, my grandmother waltzed into my room and whispered in my ear, “ You followed the adventure just like I said. Don’t forget the time spent with the crest, it will soon become a warning. I’ll leave you here to sleep. Goodnight my Nerida, don’t ever forget to wish upon a fin.” 

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