Author: Troubled Flux PM
Tala's a sixteen year old Breezing girl who travels with her Breezer Gramp.Takes place in distant future.On the road,their wagon comes upon a merling boy.It's the middle of a continent,so why's he so far from the ocean he lives under?R&R!Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Fantasy - Chapters: 7 - Words: 7,058 - Reviews: 20 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 12-15-06 - Published: 06-28-06 - id: 2201816
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"Okay. Explain it to me one more time. Then I won' ask again."
Niel cracked open one eye to glare at me.
"You said that four 'last times' ago."
"I know," I said simply, trying hard to imagine my gaze was boring into his skull. I'd read books 'bout how characters oft came 'cross least one person whose gaze seemed to be borin' into their skulls, and how easy they cracked 'cause of it. I doubted he was actually gettin' it that way, but I was feelin' it was worth a shot.
Niel reached over an' grabbed a nearby straw hat (I'm not havin' the slightest notion 'a where it came from) and planted on his head, pullin' it down over his face.
I was suspectin' that was his way of tellin' me to drop it.
And, as you may 'ave already been suspectin', it wasn't near enough.
"Come on," I insisted, pulling the hat off his face. "Jus' tell me one more time. Besides, you tole' me not to let you fall asleep anyway."
"Fine, fine, fine," he grumbled, sitting up and leaning back against the wagon cage's wall. See, on top of our wagon bed we had this big ole' cage-thing, made of wood bars lashed together wi' mostly ropes, but some vines from a time we passed through swamp, and some braided horsehair from when...when we didn' have anything else and it wasn't needing it anymore anyways...so we had this cage thing, see, with four walls an' a floor but no roof, and that was where we kept all our "spoils", see, that we picked up when'e'r we happened ta' pass through some ruins. And right then there wasn't anythin' in it, so we was sittin' down there (Gramp was up front drivin' the boruns a'course, or sleepin', more likely) to get at least some cover from the blazin' sun that was glarin' down on us like somebody who'd a gotten poked in the eye an' was blamin' us for it.
And Niel was explainin' somethin' to me 'bout his kind that I hadn' ever known before.
"Last time," he was tellin' me, "the very last."
I shrugged in response and leaned against the wall next to him, careful not to get too close. Mers prefer their personal space, see.
"Okay. This is the last time." He gave me one more hard glare, as if to be sure I was gettin' it 'fore he was goin' on. "While I'm on land, while any mer is on land, we can't sleep. We can't sleep because when you sleep, you start breathing deep and slow, right?"
"Which we can't do because we're not naturally air-breathers, like humans. So, if we start breathing too much air all at once, we basically choke to death. In our sleep."
I cocked an eyebrow, trying to make sure I was hearin' right.
"Sooo...it's harder for you to breathe on land than in the sea?"
"Uh-huh." From his tone, I was guessin' he wanted me to leave it at that, but when I asked a question, I wanted a full answer.
"But...I thought on land, you breathed normal like a human."
He sighed heavily, which I could see was an effort for him an' not likely intentional, as I saw he was holding back a cough. He was gettin' pretty good at it too, smothering his coughing 'fore it ever got anywhere. Though why he was suddenly getting good at it in the past two days or so when he'd had all that time up until meeting up with us to get good at it I didn' know. Suspected it had somethin' t' do with that bazzed "manly pride" or some kif-pit of the like.
"We breathe like humans. We take in air through our noses and mouths like you, and it goes straight our lungs like it does yours. But it's not that easy for us. Humans' throats and sinuses and all that are all prepared to make your air nice and moist before it reaches your lungs. But--"
"But mers don't have that 'cause you live underwater where air's already nice and moist?"
"Yeah. So we don't have those systems built in, so your air is too dry for us to breathe. So we can't breathe comfortably. So we--"
"So you can't sleep 'cause your air's too dry and that's why you choke," I finished triumphantly.
Niel glared at me again. He did that a lot.
"Yeah. And since you obviously know enough to interrupt me every third word, leave me alone now."
He reached over, snatched the hat back, then leaned back and put it back on his face. I was watchin' all this with some face of amusement.
"Soooo," I said loudly, notin' with a little bit more amusement how he stiffened. I swear, I could almost hear the very thoughts goin' through 'is head at that moment: What does she want now"What's it like under the big blue sea, eh?"
I heard him mutter something darkly before he answered, his voice muffled slightly by the hat,
"It's not blue. It's more green. And it's better than up here."
I snorted, ignoring the last part.
"Well, it must be blue sometimes. You can't call it the 'Big Blue' without that havin' come from somewhere. And people wouldn't call it the 'Big Green'."
"Well, it's usually more green than blue. I'd know. Now shut up and leave me alone."
Rolling my eyes, I grabbed me own straw hat (now that one I knew where it was comin' from) and planted over me own face as I too leaned back against the cage wall. Letting myself fall into a lazy doze, I wunnered what the Big Blue really looked like. Maybe I'd get t' see it one day...
Maybe they should call it the "Great Green"...