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A Father's Story

Adon Chac

I light a candle with a taper as smoke from insence spirals high into the
candles light, forming the figure of a mermaide, but only briefly. I sit down
across a table from my mother Sirona and begin to tell her the story I had
heard from a shell today. I begin.

Out at sea on a large ship a captain stitches a small hole in one of the
sails. A scruffy cat bats a bait fish around that he just snatched from a
fisherman's bucket who was to drunk to reel in the fish that has been tugging
at his line. Clouds roll in, darkening the sky slowly. There will be a storm
soon but not a bad one from the looks of it, noone is to worried. A few drops
bounce the deck of the ship and touch the face of the incoherent drunkard,
but do not phase him. The cat runs off into the hull with the bait fish in
his mouth. The captain pulls his hat over his brow, walks into the bridge and
closes the door. He goes to the wheel and looks out at the ocean. The rain
has grown heavier and beats down on the ocean's waters forming a massive
display of ripples overlapping each other. The captain smiles as he watches
the storm's display. Rain captivates him and reminds him of he and his father
together fishing from shore on rocks. Wearing rain coats they would endure
the rain and talk of the ocean and all the wonders within. His father loved
myth and told stories of the myths of the ocean. The captain loved his
fathers storys and often thought about them even after all these years. He
often thought how nice it would be to sit with his father just one more time
to hear a story but his father has for a long time been deceased. The captain
remembered on of one storys impaticular and fell into the story within a
daydream.

The captain found himself well beneath the water's surface. Calm and
peaceful without the strains of the above world, this serene swim starts at
the bottom of the ocean. His eyes are adjusted and he can see everything
clearly. A garden of underwater plants tickles his arms and face as he swims
above the green underwater foliage. Small colorful fish swim back and forth
in swarms, gathering small microscopic particles floating upwards from the
plants beneath. The captain swims further and away from the garden. An
enormous eel passes by him as it works its way out from the rocky cave home
that he has been inhabiting. After the rocks there is a deep drop down
further into the ocean. It grows darker as he continues his way down into the
seemingly never ending pit of the ocean. Just as the light is squelched by
the dark he sees a shimmer deeper within this deep pit. He swims his way
towards this shimmer. As he gets closer he realizes that there is a city
within a crystal dome. This large city is lit from a magical aura that seems
to be the very life of the city.

As the captain swims closer to the city he is stopped by some, what seem to
be, guards of the city. They are riding upon large sea horses and have spears
with in their hands. There are three of these sea men. Each dressed in
extravagantly made shell armor. The multi colored shells seem to be formed
together into one piece of armor as if the armor was formed right onto their
bodys. Their skin that shows in what parts of their bodys that aren't covered
is a bluish hew and seems to glow from the same magic that the city and armor
does. Their hair is dark blue and short. One guard speaks to the captain, but
from the mind is where the captain hears the guards words. "You have
come to close to our city, earth walker. Why do you come here?", the
captain tries to talk but the water snuffs out his attempt. He then thinks
his words and realizes it worked, he is talking to the guard. "I only
thought of a story my father once told me and now I am here. I am confused as
to how I got here myself but I followed in the direction I was pointing and
this is where I found myself. My father told me of a story of an underwater
city where a beautiful Goddess ruled and in this story a man was brought to
the city by one of the maidens of the ocean, for he was drowning when the
mermaide found him. She breathed into him her magic and gave him the lungs of
a fish. He grew gills behind his ear and was forever more to dwell with her
in her city.". He then feels behind his ears, astonished he finds that
there are gills. Feeling faint he passes out from shock.

A maiden of the ocean touches the captains lips with a small sea fruit that
she cut with a sharpened shell. The thick nectar slides into his lips and he
tastes this. He awakes, barely focusing his eyes. He sees the mermaide above
him, she is glowing and he thinks right at first, "Angel!" but then
remembers where he is and begins to look ill again when he remembers why he
passed out. The mermaide speaks to his mind and what he hears is the most
beautiful song he has ever heard, she spoke these words in her song, "A
man once fell from a ship above. During a storm he was asleep and apparently
drunk. As he woke he knew he was breathing water into his lungs and would die
soon enough. He screamed but nothing to his scream was heard from above. I
was close and heard this scream. My heart never hurt as it did this day. I
went to the man who was close to death now. I breathed the life into him that
gave him his life where we dwell. Gills he grew and a new set of lounges. He
began to glow with the blessing of our Goddess. He was safe in our world and
is here forever more. But you have come here now. Why is this? I
implore!". The captain looked to her for a moment, pondering her beauty
of her face and her voice. He responds to her questioning verse, "I was
but daydreaming of a time when I was with my father. He told me of your story
you tell me and now I am here. I am only here in my daydream and nothing
more. Yes I am confused but as the storm tapers I know I will wake from my
imagination and all will be well.". She then touches his cheek with her
slender fingers, he feels her touch and it sends a reassuring reality of
tingling through his body. She speaks, "Poor dear, you don't know what
has happened to you. The Goddess has brought you here. I can feel this but I
do not know why she has done this. The guards didn't know this and were going
to feed you to a fish. You don't know the reason and that makes it harder for
me to keep you safe. We must find out quickly this reason and your
fate.". He looks away from the mermaide and looks up, peering beyond the
city's crystal housing. He thinks of the moment when he was within the bridge
of the ship. He then gets a moment of calmness and all goes black. A voice
speaks to him softly, "I am the Goddess that the mermaide spoke of. I
return you now to the world above. May you remember this story within your
own heart, and know that your father was once also a part.".

At the wheel in the bridge, the captain stares out at the ocean as the storm
dies off. The storm grew stronger than had been anticipated. One of the ships
flags is dangling from the point of the ship. He thinks of his daydream and
feels frightened when he reaches his hand to his ear. He feels behind and
sighs in relief when he finds no gills. The daydream was so real to him and
even his eyes seem to be taking a while to readjust to the current lighting.
He stretches and yawns, for the daydream seems to have taken his strength
from him. He walks towards the closed door of the bridge. His lips are dry
and he licks them to wet them. He tastes a sweetness he has tasted before
upon them, but this was in his daydream he just now dreamt. He wonders for a
moment as he grows still, he thinks of the mermaide's fruit and shrugs it
off. He continues to the door, opens it and walks out onto deck. The deck is
a mess. The storm got strong and has tossed things around on the deck with
ease. He looks at the sails that had only been loosened but they seem to
still be intact. Everything seems to be fine, no real damage. He thinks to
himself if the storm had gotten any worse his daydream could have cost allot
more damage than what had happened.

The cat comes out from under a tarp covering a life boat. The cat runs over
to the bait bucket where some bait fish have fallen onto the deck from the
fisherman's bucket overflowing with rainwater. The captain notices that the
fisherman must have gotten up to go into the hull of the ship at some point
during the storm. He walks over to the fisherman's pole to check it. He picks
the pole up and there is not a fish on it as there was before the storm. He
looks over to see where the line is before attempting to reel it in and sees
over the side of the ship a shirt dangling from a loose nail of the railing.
This shirt was the shirt of the drunk fisherman whom was once here. The
Captain then realizes that the fisherman had been taken by the storm. He
remembers the mermaide's story and thinks for a while of the fisherman that
she had given life to. Deep within his mind he hears her voice, "The
Goddess brought you to me even before the fisherman fell. But the story
remained a story to tell. I found the fisherman from his scream the same. The
story begins and ends the same. The fisherman's the same as he was when you
as a child, your father told. The fisherman fell as he reached for his
tugging fisherman's pole. He drowned and screamed and I kissed life for him
to live. With me he is safe now with the gills of a fish. Blessings to you
and your father's name, your family's story will forever be the same."
With this the Captain looks to the dying clouds in the sky and simply thinks
to himself with an understanding of his father he never knew before,
"Father!".

I look to the shell that Sirona now holds in her hand. Sirona sets the shell
back onto the table between us. She looks to Me and smiles. I feel a grin
come on and say, "That shell was found beneath some rocks where an
elderly fisherman tugged at a line that was snagged on some rocks. He wore a
captain's hat upon his brow and looked to me with a smile as I picked the
shell from the water.". He had a young man there with him that was
helping him with his line. They looked happy together and had facial features
that appeared the same to one another.". Sirona nods, her eyes look
tired and sleepy. She says this to me before heading of for bed. "Adon,
I enjoyed that story but I must be off for bed now. I have much work to do in
my garden in the morning. You get some sleep soon too. You hear?".
Sirona stands up, walks to me, kissed me on my brow and heads off to bed. I
follow shortly after putting the shell away with the rest of my story shells
on my mantle in my room.

Avalon Publication July 2000

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