I’ve been trying to find time to rewrite an old story from my school days. It’s a twist on an old fish tale, a not quite retelling of The Little Mermaid. My premise is this: what if, instead of a charming prince, it’s Wednesday Addams who finds Ariel washed up on the beach?
I just needed new names. This is where I’m at so far …
Mercy Joy-Sorrows is a contradiction precisely two thirds of the time.
Mercy is heading to university this year, but she’s got to get through a summer by the sea first. Her boring parents—Delphinium Sorrows AKA Kelp Dad and Cillian Joy AKA Orchid Dad—have bought a wrecked gothic castle on a rock overhanging a beach. Why? Because there’s an underwater viewing room from which her marine biologist dad can study a kelp forest, and a rooftop greenhouse in which her orchidist dad can cultivate his “darlings.” At least Mercy has her eternally youthful Doberman for company, but even the aptly named Dorian Gray is showing signs of too many years of decadent living.
When her beloved dog sniffs out an otherworldly creature washed up on the beach, Mercy is bewitched by the blue skin and distorted human features. She doesn’t expect it to wake up just as she’s making her first incision.
Berlewen wakes on a stretching rack with a hideous face looming over her. She opens her mouth to scream, but nothing comes out because Berlewen swapped her voice for … something.
The human girl is cruel and ugly beyond measure—her two eyes are on the front of her face, and her food hole is pinched like that of a dehydrated Pompeii Worm—but it doesn’t stop the bonding process her ancestors warned her about. Nothing can stop that.
Berlewen can pass off her new legs and hair growth as evolutionary adaptations, but when the girl grows a gill, Berlewen admits defeat and explains her exalted family’s legacy. She thought nobody could be more disappointed or horrified by their bonding than she is. She’s wrong.
Mercy is a howling ball of mutating hormonal rage, and Berlewen is insulted and aggrieved by her bondmate’s indifference towards her, and her rude dismissal of her heritage. So insulted and so aggrieved, she sets about making herself desirable to the cruel girl who calls herself Mercy.
The sea witch in this story is a little different to Ursula, but I’m saving her reveal for later. It’s sketchily outlined for now, but I’ll be working on scene fleshing over the next couple of weeks.