I think of my imagination as a 3D blank canvas. To begin with, it's like I'm floating in a black void, not hot, not cold, without up, or down. The magic only begins when I add words, to paint the blackness with color.
I see a crack of pink, way way off in the distance. I float towards it, which is no problem, after all, in my imagination, anything's possible. As I get closer, the pink in the blackness strengthens, it's the first glimmer of a sunrise, painting the edges of previously invisible clouds with color. The light strengthens, changing from pink, through gold, to glorious sunshine. With a flick of my arms I fly among the clouds. As the light hits, what lies below me, a sapphire blue ocean appears, flanked in the distance by brooding hills and sandy beaches. Rolling waves march across the surface. Now and again, a wave stubs it watery toe and tumbles over itself, exploding into a million flecks of foam. From this height, the foaming tombstones of dying waves, are but speckles, dotted across the deep blue of the ocean.
On the horizon, a sail appears, then divides into two, then six. A galleon with three masts runs before the wind, slicing through the waves, with a knife sharp bow. The rigging seems as delicate and complex as a spiders web from this great distance, but as the ship closes upon me, I can see the twisted strands of strong rope straining under the weight of the growing breeze. The clouds around me swirl and darken, while the wind moving under my outstretched arms, quickens its pace. The ships sail cracks like a gun, as its gripped by the squall. The hull bites into the growing swell, and heals far over.
A storm grows. I watch the crew reef in the sail and baton down the hatches. At the ships helm, a handsome man with wild black hair and tanned skin, battles to keep the vessel on course, as wind and wave, crash upon them. The seas are huge now, washing over the rails of the ship, taking men from their feet, trying to drag them into the depths. I see the moment the hull strikes a submerged reef, I hear the sound of timber snap, as the boat is torn asunder. Sailors are tossed into the maelstrom of monster waves, beaten against rock and wreckage until, one by one, they vanish beneath the surface. Only the young captain remains, struggling to stay above the water. The current sucks him under, time and again. His dark hair streaming water, his eyes full of fear, each time he breaks the surface to take a gulp of spray filled air. A mountain of water appears above him, exploding with the wrath of a cannon, driving the man so very deep. I fold my arms to my sides and dive beneath the waves, following the captains body, as it drifts ever downwards, his lifeless eyes searching for the surface, for help, never to come.
In the depths, something moves, a flash of white. Again, a shadow appears, only to dart away, before I can get a good look. It circles the man, just out of my vision. I dive deeper, keeping pace with the sinking sailor. The shadow solidifies and becomes amazing. An incredible woman swims into view, her hair streams in the water, long and flowing. She has the tail of a fish, where her legs should be, which is the color of gold. I watch her circle the sailor, taking his handsome face in her hands, caressing his dark skin with dainty fingers. The sailor settles upon the reef, another life claimed by the sea. With a mighty flick of her golden tail, the woman vanishes into the gloom.
I decide to wait with him, it doesn't seem right to leave him alone like this. He looks so peaceful, as if he were sleeping with his eyes open. I move in and take a closer look, the man is beautiful, incredibly so. The water surges around me as the woman returns with powerful sweeps of her tail. She is oblivious to my presence, as she cradles the young sailor, concern pinching the skin above her eyes. She looks into the distance, then to the sailor, then away once more. I feel the water pulse, a deep soundless rumble, ripples, through me, and the water around me. A wall of bubbles advances on us. It parts, and six giant Manta Ray appear, drawing behind them, a crystal chariot.
The girl lifts the sailor as best she can, struggling under his weight. She lays him in the bed of the chariot, before taking hold of the reins to whip the tethered Rays into flight. Even in my imaginary state, I struggle to keep up, as the girl drives her team forward at a lightening pace. The ocean floor rises towards the light, soon the Manta break the surface, driving for the beach, drawing their precious cargo behind them. As the storm rages, the mermaid hauls the mans body into the shallows. Drawing herself up the beach, struggling in the air, as we struggle under the water. She leans close to kiss the dead sailor. Light glows around them, blinding me for the briefest moment. When their lips part, color returns to the man's lips, his chest starting to rise and fall, injecting life back into his body.
The girl slips back into the surf, the pounding waves wash tears from her face. I noticed her tail no longer glows golden, but it's the silver gray, of an aging salmon. She'd sacrificed so much of herself to save the man, perhaps out of goodness, perhaps out of love. Whatever the reason, she entered the water lessened for her kiss.
Words, just words, but what places they take us.