Lightning crashed and thunder roared over the vast ocean waters. Waves slammed
against red rock on the sandy shores of a seaside town. In the water, a beautiful
golden blonde head bobbed up and down, appearing to search for something franticly. A
large lighthouse stood towering over the town. The light from its tip shone onto the
water where the mysterious head rest. She dove under, revealing a blue green tail to
match her eyes.
The mysterious creature came up again nearer to the rocks. She climbed up
and sat on one, her hair drenched with seaweed tangled in.
She pulled out the seaweed, and disposed of it in the sand. A noise came from
behind a rock nearby. The creature wriggled onto the wet sand, and crawled behind the
A little baby, wrapped in a seaweed bundle, cried for food. The creature
smiled. She had found what she had been looking for.
The little baby looked like her (apparently) mother, with a wisp of golden
hair and big, round eyes in the hue of the ocean.
Yet the baby had no tail. She looked like any ordinary human baby.
The creature looked up and stopped smiling, looking around. She had heard a
She hushed the baby, “Keep quiet,” she said, in a voice like soft waves
licking your feet. The baby obeyed.
The old lighthouse keeper came out, holding a lantern, dimmed by the worn
glass. He looked around, looking frightened. He had heard the noise.
The creature gasped and slipped into the shallow waters quicker than you can
blink, her tail flickering as she swam.
The old man rounded the corner and came to the rock where the baby lay. The
man looked relieved, and smiled, his mouth hidden by his gray beard.
He slowly walked over to the baby, and crouched next to her. He looked at
her big, green eyes with flecks of dark blue, her soft skin, her wispy golden hair.
He loosened her seaweed wrappings to reveal a golden locket, slightly tarnished,
garnished with carvings of shells and dolphins on the edge. On the top of the locket,
there was a name. Mai.
How pretty, the man thought. He supposed this was the babe’s name. He opened
Water gushed out of it, revealing a clock, unlike any clock you or I have seen.
Five little golden hands whirred around, ticking away. A little inscription was on
the other half of the inside of the locket. Mel incantar shiu, it read. He had no
idea whatsoever that meant. He left it on the babe, scooped her up, and carried her
Little Mai grew like any ordinary child in the little sea town. She went to school
and learned to read and write and do arithmetic, she did homework and chores, made
friends, and played. Her hair grew into golden locks, her skin turned light brown and
creamy from being outside so much. She liked going exploring in the depths of the
waters of the ocean, as long as she had permission. Her room was filled with shells
and rocks she had kept from her adventures.
She had never needed swimming lessons. When she was taken to the community pool’s
free swim class, she had swum around the whole pool effortlessly. She was two.
So while all her friends wasted away at the boring swim class, she had begun her
adventures. She felt so at home underwater. She even held the record for the longest
time underwater in her town. She was well over thirty minutes when they made her come
Her locket had stopped whirring now. It slowly ticked as if it were a bomb
waiting to explode. It was numbered to twelve, like any old clock, but every year on
her birthday (which was her real birthday, the “birthday” they celebrated was the
day they found her seeing she had no record of the day she was born) the first hand
moved over a number. The second hand moved every month, the third every day (the days
were indicated by small markings in between the numbers). The fourth moved every
hour, and the fifth every minute.
It was a very complicated clock; quite essential to Mai’s kind, but useless to
the human race. Yet she cared for it with love, for it was the only thing she had
left to remind her of her mother.
Sometimes at night, Mai would get fleeting visions of her mother’s face,
sparkling and gleaming. She’d see the ocean roaring with rage also. Then she’d
wake up weeping.
One day, on her twelfth birthday (her REAL birthday), Mai woke up like usual. She
got dressed and went downstairs for breakfast.
It was a summer day, the first day of summer vacation in fact. The old man’s
wife served her porridge with honey. She never spoke, she was mute.
The old lighthouse keeper, Aldo, looked weathered and weary as he ate his
porridge and read the daily paper. Mai was silent.
Then she spoke, in a voice very like her mother’s. “Aldo, please, oh
please, can I go to the deeper waters today? You said I could, I can swim, and you
know, you’ve seen me, oh please!” . Aldo looked up. He nodded.
Mai smiled. Finally she could go farther into the ocean, where more adventure
awaited! She knew how to identify things, she’d been reading about marine life
since she could read, her bookshelf held only books about the ocean.
She finished her breakfast and ran outside. The fresh, salty air smelled great.
She could see little boats bobbing up and down in the distance, fishermen and
families on vacation. Many people came to Seton, her town, on their vacation.
She peeled off her t-shirt and shorts to reveal her swimsuit. It was sea green,
to match her eyes. Then she stepped into the water, cool against her feet, sand
between her toes. She waded until it was deep enough to swim. Then she dove under,
eyes closed, and opened them again.
Unlike most people, salty water, or water at all, did not bother Mai’s eyes.
She could see just as clearly underwater as when she was on land.
Little silver fish darted past her, and patches of seaweed littered the ocean
floor. It was so beautiful, the clear blue water, on the reef. It wasn’t a very
large reef; it stretched as long as the town.
The fish did not seem afraid of her for some reason, they frolicked close to
her. Maybe it was because she used no scuba gear. She didn’t know.
She played amongst them for quite awhile before she resurfaced. The sun was
high in the sky. Time for lunch.
Mai swam home, and when she emerged, she felt quite itchy. She looked at her feet.
For some reason, little webs were between her toes, and her feet were turning a
After she ate, she went upstairs in the bath room. She looked at her feet once
more. Still green.
She took a sponge, wet it, and scrubbed. Her feet did not look any less green.
She assumed it was just because she was in the water too long.
She flipped her locket open. She liked looking at it, it was very pretty, and
it intrigued her. The first hand was on twelve , the second hand on twelve, the third
on the twelve, the fourth on twelve, and the fifth suddenly struck twelve.
She felt a pang in her stomach, like something was trying to emerge, but
couldn’t. She decided to go outside for some fresh air.
As she sat on the porch, she contemplated her current problem. Why was her skin
turning green on her legs?
Then she heard a splash near a rock. Now this rock, this very rock, was the rock
Aldo found her on when she was a baby.
Slowly, she got up and rounded the rock. There, sitting in the sand, was a
mermaid. This mermaid was, indeed, her mother.
Mai blinked. She wasn’t sure if this was real. But her mother was still there.
“Mai!” her mother cried.
“Who are you?” stuttered Mai as she took a few steps back.
The mermaid looked disappointed.
“It is me, your mother, Mai.” She said.
“I….I don’t understand…..” Mai said.
“Shh...” said her mother. “Sit down, and I will explain.”
So Mai sat down and listened. Her mother told her that her name was Masumi, and
that Mai was the princess of the mermaid people. She told her of how she came to be
in the human lands.
“And,” she said, “That locket you are wearing is really a clock. It is a
clock that is given to a merchild when it is born. You see, it times your growing up.
When you are ready to grow up, or get a tail, the clock stops.”
Mai fingered her locket absently, still staring into her mother’s eyes.
“Now you are coming home. I have found you.” Masumi said. “Come. Once you touch
the ocean water now that your clock has stopped, you will get your tail.”
“No.” Mai looked up from her locket. Masumi looked puzzled. “I mean, I have to
say goodbye to Aldo. He took care of me.” Masumi nodded in agreement.
So Mai got up and took Aldo outside. He almost fell over when he saw Masumi. And
they explained everything to him, so finally, his grey eyes filled with sorrow, he
Then Mai took off her locket, and handed it to Aldo.
“I don’t need it anymore.” She said.
He took the locket and held it as if it were a precious treasure.
So Mai took off her shoes and stepped into the water. Her legs slowly dissolved into
a tail, exactly like her mother’s.
Aldo looked up from the locket. “I have one question. What does the inscription
Masumi looked up.
“The Merbaby.” She said.
The following people said "Hello!" because they enjoyed reading the diary: