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  • Writer's pictureAlan Allinger

When Mers Walk


Mom and I were walking along the edge of the island when we came across some unusual tracks. I regarded the channels cut into the sand, now submerging beneath the rising tide.

    “Mers,” my mother said with quiet respect. “They have to come ashore once a year and walk on legs for at least a day, in order to be able to live in both worlds.” It was easy to see where their immensely heavy tails rested while they were waiting to transform into two-footed creatures.

    “What happens if they don’t?” I asked. I know a lot of folklore, but not much is known of the Mers outside of the smaller, traditional coastal communities. In those places a family might actually have blood-ties to a Mer-clan. In other places, it’s not so likely.

  We began walking again.

    “They lose one world or the other,” she said, thinking. I thought about what it would cost me to give up only the one I could live in, and nodded.

    “I can’t help but notice,” I said, “that there are no footprints there. Nothing indicates they walked away from this spot and returned to land.” Mother laughed.

    “At this point,” she said, “I don’t suppose we can really blame them.”

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