Fishing was okay as a hobby. If you had a sturdy boat, lots of time, and several millennia’s worth of patience you could find yourself a good time and (gods willing) a decent dinner. However, for the village of Sheepshead (oddly enough a type of fish) it was a living. The richest family in town practically owned the harbor, and if you wanted to make any kind of money this was the place to work.
Salim knew this. It didn’t make fishing any more exciting, but it did prevent him from telling his boss exactly where to shove the bait in the bucket on rough days. On this particular morning though he was in a surprisingly good mood. He had come in early having already been out walking and decided to get a head start on preparing his boat. There was going to be a storm tomorrow so he’d wanted to be able to leave early and prepare.
“Shit,” he whispered when he got to the boat house. The door was somewhat opened and there were clear impressions in the sand leading up to it. He moved in a little bit slower and tried to peak through the adjacent window. It was unfortunately too dark to see, which ordinarily was the point, but it did nothing to help with intrusions. Taking in a deep breath he stood up tall and pulled the door open to peer inside. All the boats seemed to still be in place, but one of the nets was missing from the wall.
“Maybe they’re already gone,” he reasoned, still whispering just in case. Making his way all the way into the building he reached for one of the lanterns on the old work mans table and grabbed a match from one of the crates that was placed precariously close to the edge. As he lit the lantern he heard the sound of someone moving and then a small thud followed by a small cry.
Turning around light in hand he saw in the corner under one of the longer thinner boats a woman wrapped up in netting nursing her hand. There was a lot to process here, but what stood out to Salim was the woman’s intense purple eyes and long dark curly black (almost purple as well) hair. She looked up at him and oddly enough didn’t seem scared. In fact she seemed outright annoyed as if he was intruding in on her!
“Mine,” she said her voice sounding somewhat hoarse.
“I’m sorry what?” Salim frowned remaining in his spot in the center of the room.
“This room is mine,” the woman said. “I found it, and it is mine.”
“Right,” Salim said nodding. “Of course that makes perfect sense. I should be the one to leave.” The woman nodded satisfied. This of course both annoyed and amused Salim in equal measure. “You don’t seem to understand sarcasm do you?” The woman raised an eyebrow as if to say ‘are you still here?’ Salim shook his head. “Apparently not. Look you aren’t supposed to be here. Sleeping in the nets doesn’t mean you own the place.”
“Is that so,” the woman said seeming to recalculate in her mind. “This is not the norm?”
“No, no it’s not,” Salim said beginning to feel a bit sorry for the stranger.
“Where should I go then?”she asked. Salim was about respond when the sound of footsteps was heard outside. Looking out the window (which gave a clear view from the inside) he could see at least two of the other guys walking over along with Cecil, his boss.
“I suppose that depends on where you came from,” Salim said. “My co-workers will not be happy to see you here, so convince me you’re not a con artist or a thief and I can try to talk them down.” The woman blinked several times registering all that Salim said.
“I’m from,” she hesitated. “I’m from out there.” She pointed in the general direction of the sea. “I got lost and I came in here to get some rest. I don’t want to go home.”
*To be continued next week, where we’ll get to the mermaid part of MerMay.