I really wanted to do a meaningful post today but I’ve got a jam-packed Friday ahead of me, so it’s just not going to happen.
Instead, here’s some proof I’ve actually been writing recently: an excerpt from my as of yet unnamed novel involving three (four?) of my favorite things (mermaids and Broadway and sign language [andboysnamedHarrison]). Enjoy!
My aunt lived deep. Going to see her was – to use a human phrase – a bit of a hike. Not that I was human then.
She lived deep, in one of those sea caverns miles below the surface, tucked between what might have been the beginnings of an underwater volcano and what was definitely an underwater fault-line. To this day I will never understand how she was able to escape her home on a day-to-day basis – the opening between the two natural disasters that formed her caverns was so narrow that even I, the littlest of them all, always lost a few scales when I forced myself through.
Despite the distance and the precarious arrangement of her lodging, I went to her often. In retrospect, I regard this as a mistake, but there are others in my life who would disagree; they come later in this story, though, so I shan’t name names at present. On better, reflective days in my current life, I think of my aunt fondly… A blessing in disguise, as they say. On other days, well, I’m told that if one has unkind things to say, one should keep them to oneself.
There have been many days when I have been forced to silence by a lack of polite things to say. I am rather accustomed to silence.
See here! Without meaning to, I reveal far too much. This story starts with my aunt, a fact which I can’t deny, despite the many occasions on which I have wanted nothing more than to strike her name from my memory and never speak of her again. She was a major player in this grand game that is my life; perhaps more than just a player at times, but I digress…
It was summer, but you couldn’t tell, not down there. The light didn’t stream down far enough, and at that depth, the water was freezing. I shivered. Though with the craggy rock formations forming strange shapes out into the dark and the unfamiliar creatures I only ever saw in the corner of my eye, I wasn’t entirely sure the chills running down my spine could be entirely accredited to the temperature. My breath didn’t come easily until I finally wedged myself through the crack in the seabed and was greeted by the warm glow of Aunt Keren’s pet anglerfish.
“There you are.” Aunt Keren’s voice slid through the cavern, steady and slightly flat. “I was beginning to wonder…” In the dim light I saw her vague outline shifting about the cavern.
“Good morning,” I said. “Have you got the lights, or shall I go and…?”
“Don’t trouble yourself.” She waved a hand lazily at a dilapidated chaise (salvage from a shipwreck, no doubt) in the center of the room. “Sit.”
Aunt Keren cupped her hands close to her mouth and clicked her tongue. An orange flash sparked across her fingertips and dropped into her palm. It flickered faintly like a weak child’s heartbeat. She blew on it steadily, coaxing it to life. The light radiating from her palms grew in bursts, expanding and contracting until it took on a life of its own, floating out of her hands and up toward the roof of the cavern. The orb cast a cheerful light over the cave, warding off the gloom of the outside ocean. This task now finished, Aunt Keren fixed me with her eyes and skipped the formalities. “Your father came to see me yesterday.”
I faked a smile. “Is that so? How lovely.” I slid off the rock and glided over to a giant mirror propped against the wall. “Say, why don’t we…”
“Maeve.” She was frowning and her arms were folded over her generous chest. Her almost-graying hair floated about her face, tickling her chins as she sighed and looked down at me. “You can’t run from this. He wants you to keep away from all these human things.”
I huffed, annoyedly. “We have this discussion every single time I come to see you. One would think you agreed with him.” I glanced furtively at the looking glass and fondled the edge of it.
“Perhaps I do,” Aunt Keren said, resignedly. She contorted her sour red lips into a scowl. “Your duties lie here, Maeve, not up there. You have responsibilities.”
“Please! You don’t understand what it’s like at home… This is my only escape.” I settled myself on a stalagmite and looked at her pleadingly.
She sighed and rolled her eyes. “I don’t know why I indulge your fantasies. I only get punished for it, and you only delude yourself further. There are some things you can’t escape, love, and some things you shouldn’t.”
I clasped my hands. “One delusion. Just one. Father’s been an absolute beast – he always is, you know him. I know I shouldn’t run away from it. I know that, but…”
Aunt Keren opened her arms and broke into a forgiving smile. “Come here.” I allowed her to hug me. Enveloped in her crushing grip, I received an awkward pat on the head. (Aunt was rather rusty when it came to affection.) “Dreams are not a bad thing. I only worry that one day you will have to make a choice between your dreams and your realities, and you won’t be able to make it.” She released me and furrowed her eyebrows. “Not one word of this to your father.”
I have more if you so desire; hopefully I’ll write up my memoir-ific post on turning sixteen on Sunday, but we’ll see. (You know me. :P) If you’d like more excerpts, let me know – maybe it’ll motivate me to write a little more.