It was three decades ago when a curse was laid on the Haruki family, a name that had meant sun as well as life, was now tarnished. No mermaiden in the family would see her eighteenth birthday, they were destined to make the same mistakes as their ancestors, to fall in love with a human.
Ten Years Ago
I pushed my body hard. Trying my best to make it into the deep end before low tide. A freak strong current had swept me away towards the beach rather then away. Water lapped at my face and my breathing began to get even more labored. Another large wave hit me pushing my body onto the shore. I flinched at the thought a human would discover me, but I was in the cover of night. I looked up in exhaustion at the sparkling stars, shimmering at me. I knew the curse had come true, I would not see my eighteenth birthday, but I would never be dumb enough to love a human. A sea breeze blew in my face reminding me I couldn't breathe, yet I was content. I was amazed of how the stars seemed so much closer on land then the sea where I would always watch them. My family had forbidden me to get close to the water's surface, but the stars were always too beautiful to be ignored. Now I was paying the price.
I clutched my necklace, a simple chain of woven sea weed and a small bright orange pearl. It was hard to imagine this was the symbol of our curse, something so innocent and beautiful. The curse of the orange pearl had effected my great-grandma, grandma, mother, and now I was next. A light lullaby filled my head the only song a knew and with my last breathe I would sing it.
"I'm coming mommy." I toke a deep breathe, sharp and painful in my side and sung the soft tune.
"Even though I'm destined to become sea-foam, - I love you. After dissolving into the ocean and sky, I will watch over you." I hummed softly.
"Under the ocean I wanted to be closer to the starry sky, Under the ocean I longed for the day when I could." The familiar words echoed in my head, my mom had sung it to me when I was so very young, every word slipped from my mouth sweetly and merged with the waves of the ocean as the clouds danced above with the moon. Then behind me I heard feet crushing into the sand. I turned to see curious eyes.
"You sing really pwetty!" His face was round with kind eyes.
"Woah! You're a mermwaid?" I nodded quietly, so this was a human. I coughed and sputtered, as the stars seem to gloss over.
"Wait, you don't look to good, do you need water?" I thought for only a second as many thoughts flashed through my mind.
"Yeah." I decided to spend the rest of my life proving my family I would not do as my ancestors did. I would continue my life. He ran into the water then splashed my face. I gasped,
"I need more water, I need to get back there." He nodded,
"I'm gowing to save you mermwaid!" He scooped me up and fumbled with me,
"Are you sure you can hold on?" My eyes turned to his as they glittered with determination in a light brown hue. He held me tight against him, til' to my relief I help the water lapping at his ankles and he placed me down softly, my tail felt relief when water rushed over it, my scales glittered as brightly as the stars.
"Rui!" He turned around,
"My mom is calling me, bye miss mermwaid!" I grabbed his wrist,
"For saving my life I have to give something of equal value." He turned to me his eyes looking brightly at me. I had nothing on me but my necklace, and I took it off slowly,
"This is my family's it is the only reminder I have of my mother, please take good care of it." I placed it in his hands while my own shook.
I still knew had to give more, but that was my only possession. I tugged on his arm and he lowered down to me.
The clouds covered the moon and I leaned forward a kissed him, the second most important thing to me. That was something my mommy had told me to treasure. I leaned back and let the water wash over me and I swam out towards the horizon only looking back once. Waving bye his eyes glistened as brightly as the very stars I always looked forward to seeing.
My arms pushed through the water as it tugged on my hair gracefully. A smile crept on my face as I realized I was free, I had made it to my seventeenth birthday and now I was free to do what I want. I would not stay with my relatives who cry for I am cursed, but I am only truly cursed if I let it stop me.
I found my way to the surface where the water was calm and slow. I excitedly swam towards the shore my tail urging me further. I relaxed momentarily, knowing this was my last time to swim in the ocean so freely. I laid on my back as the water rocked me gentility and the water forced me to the shore. I glimpsed at my tail, knowing it would be hard to get use to being without one.
It was the same silver as many in my family but was tinged with orange as our family pearl was. I crawled onto the shore where the sea and land meet, two worlds so different. My fins ached and throbbed. I looked down to see they were no longer fins, but human legs.
I got myself off of the sand and stood tall despite wobbling. I shivered furiously, it was so much colder on land. My long hair clung to me like a curtain, my hair shined a ghostly silver in the midst of the large pearl in the sky. I looked up in the sky to see a tall structure beaming light, I believed it was called a lighthouse, for the humans who were lost at sea. Almost like how the moon is for mer people who are lost on land. I trudged up the sea cliff the wind battering at me. I did not see how humans moved on such long slender limbs. I reached the light house and saw a small cottage next to it. I came to the entrance and tapped on it, remembering everything everyone has told me about humans. I was surprised to see an old woman answer the door. She was shrunken with age and very short, but with kind wrinkles in her face.
"Oh poor darling! My child what has happened to you? Come in!" the old woman tugged on my wrist and pulled me into her warm home. She gave me a robe thus I quickly covered myself.
"What is your name?" I nodded respectfully,
"My name is Ayame Haruki." I said shyly.
"Ah, your parents picked a perfect name, your eyes are the color of the iris's that grow on cliffs along the shore. I've never seen such an eye color before such a dark blue. Almost purple." She poured me some tea and I sat on my knees straight and tall.
"So Ayame what happened to you my dear child?" She questioned me. I sipped my tea and placed it back down.
"I left my family behind in order to find myself, I do not have anything I gave everything of value of me a long time ago." She nodded back too me,
"No need to be so proper, also I will not pry anymore."
"Yes Miss, thank you." I sipped my tea and placed it down softly and turned my eyes up to the old woman.
"Thank you for your hospitality." I rose, still wobbly on my legs.
"Ayame, I am looking for someone to help me with the up keep of this lighthouse, I do not have much money, but I will give you free board." I sat down again, thinking over the offer.
"Yes miss, I would love too, but I do not even know your name." My golden hair came around my shoulder long and wavy, long enough to brush my legs when I sat on my knees.
"My name is Ms. Okawa." she smiled warmly,
"Thank you so much." She waved her hand at me,
"No thank you, you would not believe how much you are helping me." We sat together and served each other tea and chatted until' the pot was empty. "I will show you tomorrow everything you will do." I nodded and got up.
"I will find you some clothes, I still have some my grandchildren left behind. I'm sure they will fit you. Come now. I will now show you your sleeping quarters." I thanked her and followed. It was a simple small room complete with a plain mat and heavy blue curtains.
"It may be very small, but if you move those curtains there is a beautiful ocean view." I bowed again and she scolded me.
"No need to be so respectful Ayame, as long as you work hard I will be fine with you." Ms. Okawa left me alone to get accustomed to my room. I opened to curtains and there outside was the calm ocean. The waves rippling goodbyes at me. I turned off the lights and laid my head down watching the ocean. The house was so peaceful. My eyes fluttered close then I found myself asleep.