Jagged cliffs protected a secret within a sandy alcove beside the sea. She was a fish-tailed maiden of the watery depths. He was a handsome man of the land. But this shore held tolerance for both land and sea. So here was where the duo could share their love in privacy.
Several pairs of eyes watched this romance unfold. From a grassy terrain above the cliffs, a gorgon and her snakely locks of hair watched the pair below. The gorgon's eyes were full of longing for the young man. Although she felt no hate towards the mermaiden, she couldn't hide her pangs of jealousy.
The gorgon wished that she were the one to receive the man's embrace and his gentle kisses. How she longed to run her fingers through his teddybear-brown hair and gaze into those matching eyes. She would have loved to tickle his masculine squared jaw before kissing those luscious lips. A cherry-red cape was securely clasped about his wide shoulders, making it difficult to see much of his body. She assumed that he was a swordsman because he judiciously swung the bladed weapon around while regaling the mermaid with stories of his adventures.
She'd discovered the pair when her eyes turned towards the jagged cliffs and that long drop as an end to her own lonely days. Instead, the gorgon took to watching the couple having their secret intimate moments.
As the sun rose to its highest point of the day, the man confessed that he had to leave. He implored the mermaid to meet him here again tomorrow. She gave her own promise to return and be waiting for him on this same rock. With one final kiss, the lovers parted ways.
While her snakes remained focused on the mermaid, the gorgon watched the young man leave. His boot steps quickly sloshed across the wet sand.
Suddenly, an idea formed in the gorgon's mind. Without a word, she stood up and slithered away.
Mid-morning shadows were shrinking away from the sun as the man returned to the alcove on the following day. His pace was brisk yet careful as he carried a special gift for his beloved lady of the sea. He was pleased to find her waiting for him just as she'd promised. A timid she-fish hiding her human half beneath a cascade of summery-golden locks of hair. Even her long finny tail shimmered with a sapphire-blue radiance that would shame the gems in a king's treasury.
He smiled as he walked up to her. "My, your hair is vibrant today."
"Teehee," she cooed, still hiding beneath her hair. Her tailfin flickered a little. For a second, the man thought he heard a soft rattling sound. With the tides gently flowing in and out, he assumed it was just something in the water.
In a breathless tone, the man said, "I'm sorry to have kept you waiting."
"Oh, I never feel kept when I have you to look forward to."
Such a poetic response swelled the man's heart as his smile broadened. He held his gift out to her. "I've brought your favorite, Water Lilies. I… even found a large shell to put them into."
Only that lovely mass of hair moved as the sea maiden accepted the offered gift. She remained coyly hidden from his gaze.
"Such a thoughtfully lovely gift from an equally so gentleman," she mused.
She let the gift fall into the sand beside the rock. "Such kindness deserves a reward."
"Wait," the man replied, "A-Aren't you going to eat them?"
"Eat them? Why would I - I - I mean, you're so kind to me. You should receive a proper thank you before I indulge in a snack. Now, close your eyes, my handsome male."
Sensing what was coming; the man closed his eyes and licked his lips.
As he expected, her sweet lips touched his own and the passion that followed. Somehow, this kiss was different. It was much sweeter, more fulfilling and struck a chord of ecstasy which his heart had not experienced previously. Suddenly, he wanted this creature more than ever before! He never wanted to release her clammy skin or the scaly bumps…on…her…arms?
The man suddenly felt a rough shove backwards as he opened his eyes. He was stunned to stare into the repulsive face of a gorgon! Yet, confusion clouded his expression as to why she was acting as if she'd tasted something rotten. Anger quickly overtook all other thoughts.
"You!" he growled as he reached for his sword.
The gorgon backed away still trying to get the awful taste out of her mouth. "Ugh! Stay away from me. You…. You're the worst kisser that I've ever met!"
Again, the man was stunned. "I'm wha-?"
The gorgon pulled the golden wig from her own snake filled scalp. "I thought handsome men were supposed to be good kissers. You're, you're just awful! That mermaid must be truly desperate or truly dimwitted. Yuck!"
"You tell me where she is immediately!" the man snarled as he clutched his sword's hilt. "Or I'll-."
"She's just fine," the gorgon replied casually as she wriggled out of the fishtail. Her snake tail swished this way and that as if glad to be rid of the costume.
"Then, where IS she?"
The gorgon fluffed the snakes upon her head to make sure they hadn't tangled. Amidst the hissing hair, the gorgon answered, "Just up the beach a little ways. You're welcome to her. Blech! Excuse me but this gorgon's got to go gargle."
The man was very tempted to cut this beastly creature's head off as she slithered past him. But concern for his lady love outweighed any sense of vengeance. He quickly ran down the beach in pursuit of his beloved.
"Would you please just shut up!" a Cyclops pleaded as he held his hands over his ears.
Through the bars of a cage, the mermaid pouted up at the unsightly monster. "But what else am I supposed to do in here?"
"You could sit quietly like a good prisoner."
Water spilled from the barrel in which the mermaid sat as she flicked her tailfins. The mermaid moaned, "But that's so boring! My heart yearns for the freedom of the sea. I must sing to bring my brave love to my rescue."
As the mermaid launched into song once more, the Cyclops whimpered as he clutched his ears again.
"Unhand that fair mermaiden, you vile monster!"
The Cyclops and the mermaid turned towards the voice. Standing gallantly upon a large rock was the young man. His sword was raised to menace the Cyclops.
But the creature was unmoved. Instead of being angry, he immediately turned, unlocked the cage door and held it open. "You want this wailing sea banshee? You can have her! My ears are worth far more than the gold that gorgon was going to pay me."
The man hesitated. His pose clearly indicated an expectation of a fight. For just a second, disappointment showed on his face. How was he supposed to be a daring hero when the opponents simply surrendered?
"Darling!" the mermaid cried as she held her arms out towards him.
The man rushed forward and plucked his lover from the water barrel. He shuddered at the drenching his clothing received from the water spilling out. Again he looked towards the Cyclops. It made a motion for him to leave. So he did just that. With his mermaid happily in his arms, he dashed away towards the alcove and the water that she would need for her survival.
Once the duo was out of sight, the Cyclops shut the cage door. He closed his single eye as he laid his forehead against the bars, quietly enjoying the sound of silence.
"Looks like you had a rough time too," said a familiar voice causing the poor Cyclops to jump.
He looked towards the gorgon. "Sorry but I-."
She held up her hand. "It's ok. I saw, and unfortunately heard, the entire exchange. I guess both of us have suffered."
The Cyclops turned his back towards the bars and slid down them. As his cloth-clad bottom landed on the ground, the gorgon slithered over and joined him.
She sighed, "I thought handsome men were supposed to be good kissers. Not that I've had many. But that guy was the worst I've ever had."
The Cyclops nodded. "I thought mermaids were good singers. That one's more of a squalling gull than a sweet siren. Worst singing I've ever heard! For a Cyclops, that's really saying something."
So together they sat and watched the sun slowly climb over the clouds.
"So, um, how much do I owe you?"
"Eh, forget it. This one's on me."
Back in their alcove hideaway, the lovers rejoiced in their victory. The man ran his fingers along the mermaid's smooth skin as she stroked his face. Slowly their lips leaned towards each other for passion's brief caress.
A thought flashed through the young man's mind.
"Am I really a bad kisser?"
Goniff: An alternate spelling of ganef. According to , this is an old Hebrew slang word for a thief or rascal. .