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Hénétriac… (Part 2)



Back on her rock, from the distance, she could barely distinguish his silhouette. She couldn’t tell if he was tall or not, not having other men to compare him to.


She had a shiver, thinking how she would have loved telling her mother about her unexpected encounter. But given the circumstances, there would be no one to tell this story to… It would stay between them, Hénétriac and Michael.

The stranger had found a rock of his own, and sat down to talk for a while. His voice was soft and warm, and Hénétriac glided a little towards him as the time passed by. He didn’t seem to be frightened by her, although he had to be aware of the mermaids’ reputation. He just sat, at a distance, and talked to her about him and where he came from.

Hénétriac was more on the quiet side, flipping the tip of her tail in the warm water… She answered briefly when he asked questions about her, leading him to change subjects and start him on a new story… He was good at describing the lands of men, and he told her about things like “cities” and “mountains”… Concepts she had trouble figuring for herself…

He made her laugh, something that she had long forgotten the feeling of. Giggling on her rock, now just a few feet away from Michael, she felt thankful for that.

When Hénétriac realized that the sun was about to rise again, she tried to excuse herself, mumbling excuses even she would never have believed. She thought she had felt some disappointment in his tone when he agreed that it was time to go home, but she was surely mistaken. In any way, she couldn’t take the chance to let the sun rise, and reveal her grotesque figure. Not just now… She wanted to talk to him again.

Michael insisted that she sang a last time before parting. She couldn’t refuse him the favor, and chanted an old mermaid hymn, pushing her voice to please him. He couldn’t understand the tale, in an ancient siren dialect. But he seemed to enjoy the sad tone of the song as she executed herself.

He promised to come again, and reached for her hand, in the dark, to kiss it galantly, before walking away. Hénétriac sighed as his silhouette vanished in the dying night…

The souvenir of Michael followed the young mermaid while she swam home. Each moment she spent by herself, her thoughts turned to those few hours of unexpected sharing of their mutual worlds… She could still hear his laughter when she closed her eyes. She couldn’t wait to meet with him again.

Unfortunately, she knew she would have to wait until the next new moon, to profit from the darkest night… Of course, she longed to see Michael’s  face, but Hénétriac couldn’t chance to let him see her as she was.

The days went by, and the yearning was growing stronger and stronger…  Each night, she had to fight against herself, not to swim to the beach and sit on the shore’s rocks to wait for him. A few times, she surrendered to her urge and hid in the water, hoping to see him from afar. Eventually, his silhouette would walk on the beach, whistling as he made his way to the rock formation. He spent a long moment there, and she could tell he was calling for her, humming the tune she had sang in the pitch black night. But each time, she stayed hidden, hurting in the shadows, hoping he wouldn’t give up on her before the new moon.

When the evening came, she was early on her rock, awaiting him impatiently. The days had seemed like an eternity. She chanted in the darkness, stoping from time to time, hoping to hear steps in the sand, answering her calling…. She sang and sang, like a lightouse on the shore…

When he finally came out of the shadows, she sighed in relief…

– I thought you’d never come back…

She had missed him so much, there was no way she could have stayed away any longer…

–  Keep singing, please sing for me again…

And so she did, as Michael crawled near her and sat by her side. They took the conversation where they had left it, naturally… They chatted, laughed together, and soon ended sharing the same rock… After a while, Hénétriac finally let down her guard, and lay her head on Michael’s lap to listen to his stories…

And the mermaid fell asleep.

When Hénétriac woke up, the morning sun light surprised her. Michael’s fingers were still running in her black wavy hair… She jumped and tried to dive in the water, but Michael had already locked his arms around her, keeping her from “running” away.  The mermaid panicked and threw her head forward, hoping that her hair would hide her lack of beauty.

–  Please don’t look at me…

She murmured, mortified that he would be disappointed at the sight of her. But when she turned around, to look at him, she noticed something peculiar about Michael. He felt her uneasiness, and spoke softly as she let him pull her against his chest, embracing her tenderly.

–  Don’t you worry my dear, don’t you worry so much…

And when he ran his fingers carefully, brushing the tips slowly on her face, she understood what was so strange about his eyes…

Michael was blind!


Also available; Part one

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