Asami struggled against the handle of the winch, the harpoon line straining against the weight of the unseen fish thrashing in the freezing water below her boat. As soon as she’d sunk the dart into the side of the extremely large silver swimmer, the damned thing began swimming frantically into deeper waters. She wished, for the first time, that she’d invited someone else on this trip with her to help reel in the unruly fish.
Gritting her teeth, she put her weight into the crank, holding steady as she felt the line rock against the evasive maneuvers of her finned foe.
“Just … have… to… wait… you… out,” Asami grunted to herself. Sweat trickled down her back underneath her layers, the icy breeze chilling her. She frowned and forced herself to breathe evenly, giving her muscles the oxygen they needed to win this battle.
“I will not… be bested… by a fish,” she growled.
Green eyes watched the line strain, the pulley arm bowing slightly to prevent the line from snapping. It was damn near indestructible line; her company used it to secure historical prototypes to the ceiling of the lobby. The first Future Industries biplane hung over the heads of millions each year, suspended by a few strands of high tension line. Asami was shocked to see it actually stretching against the opposing forces of predator and prey.
Suddenly, she pitched forward, nearly cracking her ribs against the crank. Quick reflexes saved her from more than a banged knee (she silently thanked the spirits for all those years of defensive arts lessons) and she started rapidly reeling in the harpoon line. Her arms and back burned and she questioned (yet again) her decision to purchase a manual harpoon cannon.
A glimmer of silver under the surface caught Asami’s eye, a grin slowly spreading across her face as a HUGE tuna finally breached the surface. She quickly locked the crank, unpinned the arm, and swung the tuna over the deck of the boat. She re-pinned the arm, unlocked the crank, and gently lowered her prize to the deck. She laughed and gave a whoop, pumping her mitten-gloved fist into the air.
Then her ruby red lips fell open as a pair of brown hands hoisted a naked woman’s torso over the edge of the boat’s railing.
“Hey!” The naked, brown-skinned woman yelled, her blue eyes narrowed and flashing and her chocolate eyebrows drawn together. “That’s my fish!!”
The naked woman then flipped her blue-scaled tail over the railing and onto the deck, landing next to the tuna.
Asami fell back onto her butt.
“Stupid fucking humans,” the mermaid (THE MERMAID?!!!) muttered, expertly carving out the dart of Asami’s harpoon with a sharp tool she’d extracted from the belt of shells around her well-muscled waist. “Can’t fucking fish anywhere….”
Asami stared. Her brilliant brain was spinning its wheels, trying to find a logical explanation for the mythological creature cursing under her breath on Asami’s deck. Mermaids were stories made up by delusional sailors too long at sea, too superstitious to allow women on their ships and so horny they started seeing women in the waves – and drowning themselves trying to reach those fabled water spirits.
‘If they saw what I’m seeing,’ Asami thought, ‘I can understand why.’
The mermaid was absolutely breathtaking. She sat facing Asami, the tuna between them, sea water dripping off of her. Most of her chocolate hair was pulled back into a high ponytail, a smaller pigtail framing each side of her face, bangs plastered to her furrowed brow. Her skin was a tawny caramel, smooth and flawless, flowing over ample breasts with coffee areolas and extremely well-defined musculature. Asami could make out nearly every muscle group in her upper body from shoulder to hip, where her anatomy suddenly transitioned from human to fish.
Scales in various shades of sapphire, topaz and aquamarine shined under the late afternoon sun over a solid tail about the width of two legs, tapering into a narrow point before spreading out again into two symmetrical flukes. The tips of the flukes quivered as the mermaid worked.
The dart removed, the mermaid tossed Asami’s harpoon to the side with a huff. She re-secured the tool to her belt, untied some sort of twine from around her defined upper arm, and tied it to the tuna. As the muscular mermaid secured the tuna to her own back, Asami noticed a red, fleshy hole in the other side of the fish, obviously ripped out.
‘Was… was she…?’
The mermaid reached up and gracefully pulled herself and the tuna up, swinging her glimmering blue tail back over the water in one fluid motion. She turned her head over her shoulder, fixing Asami with blazing blue eyes. “Stay the fuck out of our waters, Two-Legs!”
“Wha-what?!” Asami sputtered, indignation bringing her back to her senses. She rushed to her feet, nearly slipping and falling (again) on the wet deck as the mermaid and her dinner went over the side with a large splash. Asami reached the railing just in time to see the mermaid give a mysterious hand signal that was clearly meant to be insulting, then dive below the surface with a loud “smack” of her tailfin.
“Hey! Hey!!” Asami shouted. “Come back here!!” She leaned over and slapped her hand on the side of the boat, knowing the vibrations would travel through the water farther than her voice.
Neither the mermaid or her tuna resurfaced.
“Fuck!” Asami huffed, scanning the water one last fruitless time. “Now what am I supposed to eat?”
Asami pouted her red lips as she folded her arms and scanned the deck. Water and fish blood was everywhere, as well as an odd blue-green substance. The blue-green goo was on the deck, the harpoon, the railing. A coppery smell reached Asami’s nose and she looked down. She frowned as she noticed the gooey bluish substance on her mitten-glove. She pulled her hand away to reveal dark stains on the arms and the front of her lavender parka where she’d braced herself against the railing to yell at the extremely rude mythical creature.
“What is this crap?” Asami scowled. She pursed her lips. “On second thought, I don’t want to know.”
With a heavy sigh and a rumbling stomach, Asami headed to the small supply closet by the cockpit. She’d clean the deck, then take a quick shower and change clothes before heading back to Port Arakaa for a hot meal and some sanity.