A mermaid's kiss


There was a young boy born in a port town called McCloud Harbor. The boy's name was Darius Thompson. Now unlike the other young boys in McCloud Harbor, Darius was very small. The neighborhood kids always made fun of his height because they enjoyed watching Darius get frustrated. But even though Darius was small in size, he made up for it with his overwhelming physical strength. Darius was the strongest kid in McCloud Harbor because his father would always give him the toughest and most physically demanding chores around town. In town, Darius was always seen trying to carry things that looked too heavy for him take home. The townspeople would always try to help him but little Darius would kindly refuse and slowly carry on with his task. Eventually, the townspeople would accept the determination of young Darius and would support his efforts to finish what he started. Darius always did the toughest chores with no resistance because he wanted to be like the strongest man in town, which was his father. The boy's father, Julius Thompson, was a longshoreman, he would work the docks during the night and sleep during the day. Every morning before he went to work, Mr. Thompson would go outside and train rigorously with his weights. From young Darius's room, he could hear the loud clanging of heavy-weights being picked up and dropped. The sounds of his father's harsh training would continue until it was time for his father to go to work.

Sometimes when Darius is doing his chores in town, his father's coworkers would stop by and tell him great stories of his father's great strength. There was once a story of his father carrying shipping containers on his back. Darius knew the stories that were being told to him were nothing but tall tales. But no matter how ridiculous the story sounded Darius enjoyed listening. The stories made Darius laugh and for some reason, it made the tough chores a bit easier. But everything changed when his father collapsed. The news of Julius Thompson, collapsing at work, shocked his fellow coworkers. Julius Thompson wasn't just the pinnacle of great health and a model employee, he was the backbone of the McCloud Harbor United Work Force. The MHUWF protected the rights of their workers and ensured that proper safety procedures would be enforced during the job. Julius Thompson was their leader, without him the MHUWF would lose its strongest voice against the employers of McCloud Harbor.

When news of his father's collapse reached Darius, he ran to the hospital to see his father. When Darius arrived at the hospital, he ran to the woman at the front desk and asked: "where was Julius Thompson?". The elderly woman avoided his gaze, looked down at the computer, and told Darius that he was in room 345. When Darius reached the room, he saw his father lying in bed and the doctor standing by his side. The doctor was a tall white woman with brown curly hair, she was wearing a white lab coat, a black skirt, and black leather heels. When the doctor saw Darius walk in, she quickly took Darius to the other side of the room and told him that his father's condition was dire and it won't be long till he passes on. The doctor explained that Julius Thompson suffered from a stroke and was unconscious for ten minutes before receiving help. The doctor stressed that it's a miracle that his father is still alive, so he should be prepared to say his final goodbyes.

Darius Thompson was ten years old when his mother left his father and him. Darius never understood why his mother left and he never got a chance to say goodbye. But now at the age of fourteen, he has to say goodbye to the man that raised him. Darius took a deep breath and slowly exhaled, he walked to the side of his father's bed and took one last look at his father. When Darius looked at his father, he saw his father hooked up to machines and desperately trying to breathe. So Darius whispers to his father's ear "dad, can you hear me?", his father slowly turns his head towards Darius and musters his strength to say "I can hear you ". For most of his life, Darius had always seen his father at his strongest, Mr. Thompson worked long hours at the docks, work out every day, and raise a son by himself for four years. In the eyes of Darius, there was no one stronger than his father.

Darius was not ready to see his father at his weakest, the words left young Darius, he had no idea what to say to his father. But his father took Darius by the hand, squeezed tightly and whispered: "whenever you're ready". Darius started to cry but he found the strength to ask his father one last question. "Hey Dad, how do I become strong like you?". His father looked at him and said: "eat well, learn from your mistakes, conquer your shortcomings, and find something to protect and only then will you become strong like me". After his father said those words, violent coughs suddenly came upon him, the doctor pushed Darius to the side and called for immediate help. The Nurses came rushing and surrounded Darius's father, the doctor ordered the nurse to escort Darius outside. As Darius was escorted outside of room 345, the door to his father's room closed shut and there was nothing but silence. The nurse escorted Darius to a bench in the hallway and she told Darius to wait there until she came back. As the nurse left Darius alone in the hallway, a man in a black suit sits beside Darius. The man had light brown skin, short black hair, a pair of sunglasses in his left suit pocket, and wore brown suede shoes. The man did not look at Darius but he pulled a handkerchief out of his left pants pocket and handed it to Darius. The man said to Darius, "wipe your tears and blow your nose", Darius did exactly as the man said. The man then said, "I'm sorry to hear about your father, he was a very good man". The man gives Darius his card, the card says "Lance Kingsly", CEO of McCloud Harbor shipping company". The man then tells Darius, "to come to see him if his father doesn't pull through ". The man then gets up from the bench and walks away. -end of the prologue