Ivan Newlands hummed softly to himself as he made his way through the forest, his earphones roaring in his ears, his music beating loudly, blocking out any and all sounds around him. It was a rather damp October morning, the rain still drizzling lightly above him, the forest soggy, he often came here to escape from his home life. His father yelling at his mother once more, something ridiculous he was sure. Ducking under a low branch Ivan looked about the wilderness in front of him, deciding to visit the creek, he kept to his left and weaved in and out of the thick trees. He stopped walking when his songs stopped in the middle of the track. Taking his phone out of pocket, he could only sigh out when he saw that his phone had died. Puffing out his cheeks, he yanked his headphones out of his ears and shoved them into his pocket. He knew he should of charged his phone.
Walking further towards the creek, Ivan listened to the soft pitter patter of the drizzling rain on the leaves and the accompanying creek. Knowing he couldn't be too far now, Ivan picked up his pace a bit, there was something he always did whenever he visited this creek. Going from a jog to a sprint, he felt himself break into a run now, his legs pounding heavily on the wet ground he was getting closer, he could see it, a branch hanging just at the edge of the creek. Narrowing his eyes, he picked up his speed. The branch now just close enough, he jumped, grabbing a hold of the sturdy branch, he swung his body with all his might, and let go of the branch, flying briefly through the air, he landed heavily on the other side, wet leaves and dirt now clinging to his jacket, he smiled and stood up, Getting across may be fun, but going back was a pain as there was no other branch on the other side to swing off of so that meant he had to clamber through the soggy muddy creek bottom and climb up the old fashion way, but, he'd worry about that on his way back.
Going straight, he wondered if his parents finally stopped fighting, sighing out he shoved his hands into his pockets and instantly stopped walking, and started to pat his coat pockets, then his pants pockets, he groaned out, his phone wasn't with him, It must of fallen out when he swung off of that branch. Letting out an irritable growl, he immediately backtracked towards the creek.
Once there, he peered down and grumbled out when he saw his phone landed face down in the sticky mud. Sitting down by the edge of the creek, he slid down careful not to hit any rocks on the way down. Landing safely, Ivan started to wade carefully through the mud, he hated crossing the creek this time of the year, the mud was always super adsorbent like quicksand, if you weren't careful you could lose a shoe. Seeing his phone within reaching distance, he did his best to reach down to grab it but the mud was giving him quite a fight today. Yanking his leg out of slop he forced it forward and did the same with his other leg, Finally, he managed to lean down and grab his phone. It was dirty, as expected, but it still worked.
Figuring his walk was pretty much done for, he decided that it was probably time to go home. Making sure his phone was now safe in his front pocket, Ivan started to march towards the other side of the creek. About halfway there he felt himself get stuck once again. Unlike last time, it was just his left leg that didn't want to move out of mud. Kicking and struggling, he looked down at his leg in desperation and then screamed out. A hand had a hold of his ankle. Still screaming, he twisted around and the hand let go allowing Ivan to fall back into the mud. Ivan sat there, breathing heavily, he almost wanted to wish he imagined it, but he knew he didn't as the hand was still in front of him. It was a thin pale hand, the nails on the hand were unnaturally sharp and pointed but also long. The hand twitched once before slinking away into the muddy depths. Ivan then narrowed his eyes and stood up.
"Is this some sort of joke? Who does that?! GET OUT OF THE MUD NOW!" He screamed out his vocal cords almost stretching at the end of sentence. The mud did not move it didn't even look like anything was under it. After about thirty seconds of silence, Ivan marched over to the mud and started to dig away at it. Now it started to move, it was squirming violently until once Ivan dug enough at it, something came out of nowhere, slapping Ivan right in the face with all it's force, making the teen see stars. It was way to heavy to be a hand that's for sure. Once the stars faded, Ivan turned to see what exactly hit him, and he got his second shock of the day.
He was looking at, what seemed to be, a giant fish's tail. The tail moved up again, going to hit him once more, being quick, he jumped out of the way before the tail could smack him silly. Landing on the muddy ground again, he watched as the other half of the mud started to move. Two human like arms and hands came up first, and then, like a zombie coming out of it's grave, a humanoid figure rose up. Well, the torso and head of a humanoid figure that is. The hands came up and started to wipe the mud away from this thing's face. He then found himself looking into two ungodly bright blue eyes. Scrambling to back away, Ivan watched in horror as the thing started to crawl towards him, using it's long fingernails to dig into the mud and drag its lower half so it could get closer to Ivan.
Ivan was quick to jump up and just run, scrambling up the side of the creek and making it on the other side in record time, he ran even faster, his heart pounding madly in his chest, adrenaline kicking in, he just kept running until he was back home. Throwing himself inside, he slammed the door behind him and just leaned against the door.
"Ivan!" His mother gasped from the kitchen table, she gawked at his filthy state. Hurrying over to him she ushered him in.
"You're freezing! Go get into the shower now!" She huffed at him, toeing his shoes off at the front mat, he made his way into the bathroom and turned of the hot water. Still shaking horribly, Ivan looked at himself in the mirror, his face was pale making his freckles seem brighter than ever. Pulling at the bottom of his eyes he just rubbed his face, what he saw couldn't be real, it just couldn't of been. Steam started to fill up the bathroom, pulling off his muddy clothes and stepping into the shower he shut his eyes and could only put his hands to his face. Once the warmth returned to his body, which he really hadn't even noticed he lost, he decided that whatever was in that creek wasn't real, it couldn't off been real. Right?
Curiosity killed the cat, that's what Ivan's father always told him when he was little to deter him from doing anything too stupid when he was a child. However over the years he learned that it was ok to be curious, like right now, he was still pretty fucking curious on what he saw earlier that day. A part of him actually wanted to go back just to be sure he saw that thing correctly, and that's just what he was doing. Still, he wasn't dumb, he brought a steak knife with him just to be safe, if that thing was going to attack him again, he was ready for it.
Ivan was already about halfway there, even though he was armed, he was pretty nervous about seeing that thing again. Those eyes, that tail, it wasn't natural. Shaking a bit, he ducked under a tree branch and held his breath, off in the distance, he could see the tree he uses to swing off of. Breathing in and out heavily, Ivan forced himself forward, he was going to confront that creature, even if it was the last thing he did. Hearing his feet crunch the damp leaves below, Ivan slowly reached into his back pocket, pulled the knife out, and cautiously walked closer towards the edge of the creek. The closer he got, the more he became aware of a sound. It sounded like something was slapping against the mud.
Sure enough, when Ivan finally got close enough to the edge to peer over it, he could see the creature looking just as horrifying as before. It was flopping around the bottom of the empty creek, slapping it's tail against the muddy bottom making the mud splatter all around. It stopped briefly and looked up at Ivan. For a moment, Ivan and the creature just stared at one another, it's bright blue eyes peering right into Ivan's green ones. Slightly stunned by this, Ivan fumbled with the knife and dropped it down below in the creek.
"No!" Ivan cried out, The creature tilted it's head and started to drag itself towards the knife. Not wanting to be without a weapon, Ivan started to clamber down the rocks, hoping he got to it before the thing did. Not caring if he got dirty again, he dropped down the rest of the way, if the ground was dry, he might of landed on his feet, but, because today was just not his day, he slid when he got to the bottom and landed on his back. By the time he managed to scramble up to his feet, the creature had his knife in it's muddy hand.
"Ok... Wait... Please don't do anything rash..." Ivan reasoned, hands up in defense. The creature once again only tilted it's head in confusion. Ivan felt his heart race about a million miles per second when he saw the creature start to drag itself towards him once again. He wanted to run again, but he felt frozen with fear. Shaking and watching as it slowly got closer and closer to him. Then when it was within stabbing distance, Ivan shut his eyes, prepared to feel the pain of a knife cutting through his ankle.
However, after about thirty seconds of nothing, he reopened his eyes and looked down at the creature. It was holding his knife flat in it's palm, holding it up for Ivan to take back. It made no noise, and didn't even seem to be a threat. It looked up at Ivan, urging him to take his knife back. Breathing heavily once again, Ivan cautiously reached forward and slowly took his knife out of it's palm. They didn't move after that, Ivan stood there ridged, the creature just stared intently at Ivan.
"W-What are you?" Ivan finally spit out, he was only met with a slight click of the tongue from the thing.
"Can you even understand me?" Ivan asked it, this time he was met with rapid clicks and a growl. Ivan was just going to take that as a yes.
"So I take it you don't have the basic's of the human language..." Ivan mumbled, actually feeling himself relax a bit. A click and a growl was he gotten in response. He kind of wished he could see this things face, it was still covered thickly in mud the only part of it not covered in mud was it's unnerving eyes. Licking his lips, Ivan decided maybe he should just leave the creature alone.
"Well, this was all fun, really, but, I think maybe I should just go..." He said and turned to climb back up the creek side, he didn't even make it three seconds when something wet and cold struck him in the back. Crying out he reached to touch his back and was met with, what else? Mud. Turning to the creature Ivan narrowed his eyes.
"Did you just throw mud at me?" Ivan demanded, he got two clicks, a growl, and then a shrug. The creature was playing with him. Almost saying,
'I don't know, did I?'
Ivan snorted and then pointed at the creature,
"Look I could easily call the C.I.A or F.B.I on you and you'd get experimented on, you don't want to-" Ivan was cut off when the creature suddenly used it's tail to sling a big pile of mud in Ivan's face. Falling back into the mud, Ivan wiped the filth off of his face and just narrowed his eyes.
"Ok..." Was all Ivan said before grabbing a big handful of mud and chucking it at the creature. He was met with, what he thinks, was a laugh from the creature; It was throaty and rapid. Though, Ivan didn't have much time to think on the laugh when the creature started to retaliate, using it's powerful tail to throw mud back at Ivan with such a force that it knocked Ivan back, again.
Soon Ivan and the creature were in an all out mud throwing war. Both of them practically rolling around in like pigs, Ivan knew his mother was going to have an absolute fit when she see's him, but, he just didn't care, this was the most fun he had in years. It wasn't until they were both out of the breath and wheezing did they stop their game. Ivan couldn't help but laugh as he wiped his brow.
"Jeez, I haven't had that much fun since I was, like, eight." He told the creature, who clicked in response. Looking up at the creature, Ivan frowned, it had it's arms folded in and seemed to be shivering. It didn't take long for Ivan to realize it was not only, getting dark out, but the temperature was dropping too. Frowning at this, Ivan shredded off his own jacket and placed it around the creature's shoulders, there was only so much help a muddy wet jacket could do for someone who was also muddy and wet.
"I wish I could help you... I don't even know what you are..." Ivan said as he rubbed the back of his head. The creature suddenly rolled his tongue at Ivan, like it was rolling it's r's.
"C-Can I just... Wipe the mud off of your face?" Ivan asked getting a bit closer to the creature, it didn't move or flinch when Ivan touched it's face with his thumb, However, It did watch Ivan very carefully. Being extra cautious, Ivan slowly slid his thumb across the creature's face, removing a good chunk of muck off of it's face. Ivan honestly didn't know what surprised him more, the lack of scales on this thing's face, or the obvious soft pale human skin that this creature had. Touching the skin, Ivan was at a loss. The tail suggested a fish like creature, but the torso and obvious skin suggested something in between. Instantly Ivan shut his eyes as the most obvious idea came into his mind.
"A mermaid..." Was all he could say before standing, however, before he could ponder too much on it, he was hit on the back of the legs by the mermaid's tail, it almost made his knees buckle. Turning back to the creature, Ivan narrowed his eyes.
"What?" Ivan demanded, the creature clicked it's tongue a bit irritated and then slapped the mud with it's tail. Ivan could tell that it was clearly trying to tell him something, but just couldn't tell what. "You are a mermaid, at least to us-" Before he could finish he was met with another slap to the legs by a powerful tail. Glaring at the mermaid, Ivan watched as it slapped it's tail to the ground again, and then, it pointed to its tail while continuously slapping it against the muddy ground. At first Ivan didn't understand just what the creature was trying to tell him, then, finally after a few seconds he caught on.
"A mer... man? You're a male?" Ivan asked getting down to his knees, the merman clicked a bit more excited. Ivan nodded along with it and then asked, "If you are a merman... What are you doing out of the sea? Why are you here?" He questioned, Ivan knew he wasn't exactly going to get answers, but, before the merman could even click it's tongue a worried female voice sounded from the distance.
"Ivan!... Ivan Newlands where are you!"
"Crap!" Ivan yelled when he recognized his mother's voice, standing up he pointed at the merman.
"Look, I'll be back tomorrow, Just...stay here. I'll be back, I promise." Ivan told him before running up the side of the creek running towards his mother, oh man was he going to be in for the scolding of his life. Not only was he out passed dark but he was muddy, again, his mother was not going to be pleased with him. Sure enough, the moment he caught up to her, she wasn't pleased and practically dragged him by the ear all the way home, yelling at him the whole way. Once home she sent him up to the shower, again, and promptly told him he wasn't to leave the house the rest of the night, which he agreed. When he was cleaned up, again, he sat down in front of his laptop and typed in the only thing on his mind.
With that, the rest of his night was pretty much filled with nothing but research, still, as he searched up the creatures, he still had one lingering question on his mind,
With the cold coming in and the odds of rain minimal, will that merman making it through the winter?
He really couldn't believe he was doing this. Ivan grunted heavily as he drug a wide fifty gallon storage bin towards the creek, inside the bucket were two five gallon jugs of water. He was about halfway there, sweat drenching his face and neck and he continued to drag it. Oh how he wished he could drive so he didn't have to do this. At least it was a good work out. Pausing briefly, he leaned against the bucket, this creature was damn lucky. Ivan could only assume this animal would survive with fresh water seeing how he was found in the creek. After getting his breather, he continued on. It took him about thirty minutes to get the rest of the way to the creek. Still, he was faced with another problem, getting everything down. The easiest thing was the bucket. Taking the two water jugs out, he kicked the bucket down the muddy depth's below. Sure enough, the moment the bucket landed, the mud started to move as the creature emerged.
"Hang on, I'm coming down!" Ivan called to the merman. With one jug in his arms, he carefully maneuvered himself down, once fully down, he sat the jug down and grabbed the bucket, it had landed upside down, so he fixed it. The creature clicked at him curiously.
"Not done yet." Ivan panted as he tried to regain his breath. "I have another one up there, gimmie a moment." He told the merman as he started to climb back up. Getting back up was a lot harder than he realized as most of his strength and energy was already sapped. Panting like a dog, he finally got to the top, only to collapse.
"God, I need to get into shape..." He breathed heavily before getting back up and grabbing the other jug. Grunting, he started his journey back down, his arms straining to hold on to the heavy jug. Unfortunately, about halfway there, his arms gave out and the jug fell to the ground. It didn't break, but it did splash mud everywhere like a bomb, getting some of the mud in the merman's eyes.
"Sorry!" Ivan apologized, sliding down the rest of the way with ease. The merman only responded with an irritable click of the tongue and a growl. "I said sorry." Ivan grumbled and picked the jug back up, he set it next to it's twin and wiped his muddy hands on his jeans.
"Ok, now, you're going to have to trust me here." Ivan told the creature, getting it's attention once again. Ivan got close to the merman, then, with no warning, he picked the creature up like he would a person. The merman, not expecting this, started clicking it's tongue wildly and flipping it's tail, almost hitting Ivan in the face a couple times. It was hard to hold a half fish hybrid when it was wiggling as wildly as a normal fish would. Not able to hold it, Ivan let the merman drop into the bin ungracefully. He was met with rapid angry clicks from the merman, then a face full of mud. Sighing, he wiped the mud away from his face and just grumbled.
"Stupid fish..." Ivan growled, grabbing one of the jugs he picked it up, his arms growing sore, taking the cap off, he started to poor the water in the bucket.
"I'm going on guessing here but, this is fresh water, I'm assuming you can handle it." Ivan told the fish as he poured the water inside the bucket. Once it was light enough, he started to pour the water over the merman's face to finally see just what it looked like. Ivan had to admit, this was something he was not expecting.
The merman had an almost boyish face to it, round with slightly pudgy cheeks, messy black hair, and gills that slit down the side of his neck. The merman clicked at Ivan once more, only it sounded satisfied? Relieved? Ivan couldn't tell. Dumping the final bit of water on the merman, Ivan tossed the jug with the other one and sighed.
"You know, when I get asked 'what are you gonna do this weekend?' I never would of thought the answer would be 'taking care of a mythical creature.'" Ivan chuckled softly then looked into the muddy water, he realized that for the first time, he could also see the merman's tail a bit more clearly as well. It honestly wasn't too much to gawk at, it was a light blue, matching the creature's eyes, but something that did catch Ivan's eye was the end of the tail. Without thinking, Ivan reached into the water and lifted up the end of tail to his eyes.
Naturally, the merman started to flop his tail about, trying to free his tail from Ivan's grip. It worked as Ivan let go.
"Your tail looks like it was torn, the fin is ripped horribly...What happened to you?" Ivan asked concerned, knowing he wasn't going to get an answer. Gently he reached up and touched the merman's face. "Is that why you're here?" The merman suddenly slapped his hand away and let out a bitter hiss at Ivan, showing pointed teeth.
"Carnivore, huh, I take it you eat fish?"
Two clicks in response, Ivan was just gonna take that as a yes. With a heavy sigh, Ivan sat down next to the tub, no caring if his clothes got dirty or not.
"There aren't any fish around this time of the year...You must be starving..."
Two clicks again. Still not sure if that was a yes or no, he looked over at the creature.
"Ok, we need basic understanding here. I can't tell if two clicks means yes or no with you. So... I'll do this." Getting to his knees, Ivan made sure he was in front of the merman and held up three fingers. "I'm holding up two fingers. Yes? No?" Ivan asked, the merman gave him a puzzled look, clearly confused. "....You can't count can you?" Ivan asked, another puzzled look before getting just a simple click.
"Ok! OK! That's something." He excitedly exclaimed. "Errr... I have green eyes! Yes?" Ivan happily asked pointing to his eyes. There was a silence before he got two clicks.
Ivan smiled brightly at the merman, "Ok, so two does mean yes, and one means no. I'll try and keep my questions yes and no based from now on." Ivan leaned against the base of the giant tub and frowned when he suddenly realized that he didn't bring enough water as it looked like the merman was just laying in a small puddle. Instantly Ivan let out a bitter groan and rested his head against the edge of the storage bin.
"Of course ten gallons would fill up fifty gallons..." Ivan breathed out. "I don't even know what I was thinking... Ok, well-" Ivan was about to stand when he heard the sound of a branch snapping not that far off. Gasping out, Ivan turned to the merman, it was clear that the creature heard it as well by his head perked up fully.
"Easy..." Ivan breathed out and practically held his breath to listen in, after a couple of heartbeats he heard it more snapping branching and scurring about from just beyond the creek all that noise was accompanied by talking.
"Crap!" Ivan cried and quickly grabbed the storage bin. Not wanting his friend to be caught by these up coming people he tried his best to drag the bin farther down the creek, the added weigh of the creature and ten gallons of water made it difficult almost impossible, breathing heavily Ivan grunted as he tried tugged desperately at the bin it hardly moved an inch, the thick goopy mud wasn't helping anything. Ivan felt his ankles get sucked into the thick mud stopping to get his ankle out Ivan lost his balance and fell face first in the mud and just groaned out.
Hearing the voices get scarce and leave completely, not even looking towards the creek, Ivan moved his head up and just sighed.
"That was too close..."
The merman clicked twice and flipped his tail in the bin, slapping the mangled bit against the plastic bin. Ivan slowly pulled himself out of the mud, slowly Ivan wiped the mud off of his face and threw the rest on the ground with a few good thrusts of his arms.
"Ok, so this obviously isn't going to work. you're out in the open and I don't have enough water for you. I don't think I can afford thirty gallons of water... I need to get you somewhere safe. Away from the public, only god knows what will happen if the wrong people find you..." Ivan breathed out as he leaned against the bin. Ivan then looked over at the creature, his mouth clearly formed in a worried frown. Gently Ivan tilted his head back and sighed.
"...I want to help you, really...I do." Ivan sighed out again and just looked over at the creature. The merman titled his head at Ivan clearly curious. Ivan just chuckled gently and moved a little closer to the merman.
"Maybe if I was stronger I could drag you to my place... That's a feat in itself, I'd have to carry the tub with you in it up top there." Ivan pointed up and kept the frown on his face as he just shook his head. "I'd also need to drag you about a quarter mile home and do it all while both my parents are at work. Yeah..." Letting out a bitter raspberry, Ivan turned over to the merman again only to see it now fast asleep, it's bright blue eyes closed as it's chest seemed to rise and fall slowly.
"Yeah, I have that effect on people...." Ivan breathed out and ran his fingers through his hair. Looking at the bin handle, Ivan slowly put his fingers through the hole of the handle it was made of some sort of rope. Suddenly he jumped up as an idea suddenly popped into his head.
"That's it... That's it! I'll be back!" He yelled at the sleeping merman as he quickly grabbed both five gallon bottles and rushed back to the surface. The merman gave him an angry growl but did nothing more as Ivan hurried away. Taking his phone out of his pocket as he ran back to his home. Dialing his friend's number, he put the phone on speaker, it rang twice before someone answered,
"Hey, Girly... I'm calling in a big favor..."
anonymous on 14 April, 2019
This was awesome! There were a few grammar mistakes, but other than that it was incredible!
Kathie on 17 March, 2019
Wow, nice story
Grace on 4 November, 2018