Once upon a time, three men were stuck in the middle of the ocean. The boat was drifting off to god-knows-where, and the men were miserable since the day the water currents pushed the boat far from land.
They spoke about how much they missed their families and friends, yet it had been two hopeless fortnights on the water, and there was no sign of rescue boats or aircrafts of any sorts; nothing.
Their breath reeked with seafood, as they had been living off of fish for the past weeks. They used their black net and fished until the sun set. The net today, however, seemed to be quite heavier than usual. The men did not question the oddity, for plenty of food would keep them full for the next few nights.
Together, they hauled the net up. What stood before them, however, sent one of the men, Ken, stumbling off of his feet. There in the net was a man with a tail of a mermaid, and antlers that were of a deer.
“What in God’s name is that thing?” He muttered as if it were the devil.
“What in the world…I thought these things were only in children’s books. I didn’t know they actually existed.” Liam added. It was not until they finally stood silent, when the merman spoke, to their absolute shock.
The merman uttered words in a completely incomprehensible language, visibly panicked. There was a moment of silence until Gary, spoke up.
“Let’s…” He paused, in a moment of consideration, “Let’s let him go. We don’t know what it’s capable of.” And just as Gary was about to take a step, his brother Liam, stepped in.
“Wait a second.” Liam interrupted. “What if he can help us? To get back? To get back to our families?”
Gary stared back. “Don’t be stupid. We just captured him, we can’t-”
“Oh, so you don’t want to go back to mom? Because you care so much about another creature’s well-being? Don’t be so naive! This is our chance to get back home! Can’t you see-”
“Abducting him is just wrong! He probably has a family to get back to too. So stop being so selfish and-”
“Boys. Quit it.” Ken interrupted with authority.
Liam sighed. “Whatever!”
Ken tried to hold back his tears and fear of being stranded on the high seas and what was transpiring on the boat. The reality of confronting a merman and their absolute power over it, made his head throb. “Can you take us back?” He asked the merman.
The merman tilted its head, confused-like a toddler being offered power it didn’t quite understand. “Back?” The merman mimicked Ken’s tone. The three man crew was completely startled at his human-like response.
“Oregon.” Ken directed. “Back to Oregon.” He repeated with desperation. They stared intently at the merman for his response.
The merman didn’t respond. Instead, there was a flash of light, and the boat suddenly moved at a steady pace. Gary muttered a curse, holding on to the edge of the boat for balance. Around them, the sky shifted from broad, warm daylight to cold, dim moonlight in the span of five seconds. The merman lay still on the boat, not making a single movement. They did not know where the boat was heading to, but they were hoping it was back home.
After what was the weirdest 10 minutes of splashing, wind and spinning, they saw a city approaching them. Ken recognized the outline of the city- it was Oregon. The boys glanced at each other, then at the merman- but the merman was gone. There was not a trace of him left, just the large, black net in his place.
Upon reaching the shore, they stepped out of the boat, and walked towards the lights. They left the boat and the net for the sea as a forgotten offering to an experience they could never explain to others and their own desire for home.
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