He could always hear them long before they came into view. Not that they really let themselves get seen, but his instincts told him when there were moving shadows, little sparkles just barely beneath the surface of the water. Their singing was stunningly beautiful, it's not possible to compare them to a human voice. It was a mixture between the finest of singers and the softest of instruments. Mermaids, tons of them, out in the open sea.
Erik was a young fisherman, out in the harsh cold on the deep sea. Well - young compared to the other fishermen of his village, who all graced an age of half a century a decade ago. But unlike the others, he liked to travel alone. Not coming back for weeks, and it wasn't even for the sake of getting a bigger catch. He didn't really care that much about the fish.
If he wanted to, he could just wring a huge one out of the ocean, turn back and feed his village for days. No, it was for the solitude. He loved the silence, but at the same time the beautiful voices of the ocean. Erik didn't mind the cold and rough weather.
It was one of these days when the wind whipped his boat like a tiny nutshell, the noises roared in his ears. The rainy weather and slight fog disturbed his view, and he had to concentrate immensely to not go overboard.
That was when he heard the noises. At first the young fisherman thought it was the howling of the wind, but no, he could tell by the swift moving shadows and slight sparkle under the water. Another mermaid crossed his path. But instead of the usual lovely voice, it sounded more like a shrill, strained violin. A thought about his teacher scratching his nails over the blackboard crossed his mind.
Despite his severe situation, he couldn't keep a loud laughter in. "A mermaid that can't sing? You've got to be kidding me!"
Despite the harsh weather, his voice cut through the air. It must have heard, because the next minute, something crashed into his boat, another wave took control of it and quickly sent him flying into the freezing water.
That's it, the thought crossed his mind as he felt someone behind his back. Arms wrapping around his torso securing his arms, Erik felt the biting pain of sharp teeth ramming into his neck. He struggled for air, against the cold and the strong hold of the evil creature. But he wouldn't let himself get killed that easily. His muscles tensed up as he concentrated on his powers. Chains rustled from the deck of the boat into the water, wrapping themselves around this intruder.
See, mermen might have been mystical creatures, but Erik had powers for himself. Since he was a young boy he could control all kinds of metal. At first, it was only little scraps, move a pin a few centimeters or pick up and drop a coin. But life and it's accompanying pains taught him to control these powers, and over the years, he sharpened his instincts.
Erik heard a deep rumble and a small cry as the metal dug into the creature's skin. "Ahh, that hurts", a voice suddenly invaded his mind.
Panic and adrenaline helped him channel all his powers to control the metal chains all around him as well as the little metal hooks, rings and instruments on his body to lift him back out of the water, setting him and the creature back on deck.
Coughing and panting loudly, the blue-eyed fisher tried to gather himself. His eyes fixed on the mystic creature lying next to him, wrapped up in chains.
"I should kill you right now, creature", he hissed in a deep, raspy voice, a knife rattling over the deck, closer to him.
"Please don't. I... I won't hurt you, I promise" There it was again, the strange voice. Inside his head. He was sure, because the creature's mouth wasn't moving.
"You can understand me?" Erik asked, baffled, but still wary. That creature just tried to kill him, he wouldn't let his guard down.
"I didn't try to kill you!" The creature answered to his unspoken thought, "I was just angry because you mocked me... I wanted to scare you a bit... but my anger got the better of me", the voice sounded through his head.
Erik was beyond baffled.
"I'm sorry for biting you."
"Don't try to sweettalk yourself out of this, creature. I know you mermaids lure people into the water to drown and eat them", he spat while getting up, putting some distance between him and his catch.
He took the chance to take a closer look. It wasn't a mermaid laying on his deck, but a young merman. Well, at least he looked young. The scales of his tail sparkled beautifully in different shades of blue and purple, small fins around his hips and back giving him a mystical appearance. His upper body looked just like a human's, well trained and in good shape, he had to admit. If he had wanted, he probably really could have just drowned him.
"Thank you, I guess... and yeah, I could have killed you. But as I said, I just wanted to scare you. It's very rude to call a merman's singing awful, you know?"
The voice soothed through his mind again, this time in a low, pleasant tone. Almost like someone talking. A slight heat crept up Erik's cheeks when he noticed the Merman smiling up at him. "So, could you... maybe... please unfasten these?" The merman wiggled around to underline his uncomfortable situation.
"Why should I trust you, fish?"
"Because as you might have noticed, I can read minds. But that's not all -"
Erik could feel his right hand lift, higher, coming closer to his own neck. Panic spread through his mind, but as quickly as he lost control over his body, he gained it back.
"I can also control minds, if I desire to. I could make you jump over board if I wanted to, and you wouldn't be able to do anything against it."
Erik held his breath, body tense.
"But I don't want to. As I said, I don't want to hurt you. So please let me go."
Erik stared at the merman in disdain. As much as he hated losing and letting the creature run, he also didn't want to test his abilities. Another wave of concentration rushed through his body as he lifted the merman up, using the chains he was wrapped in and tossing him into the water unceremoniously.
Once at a safe distance, the fisherman untightened the chains and gathered them back in his hands. Just to be sure.
"Thank you", another thought brushed against his mind as the merman swam off.
"Wait," Erik couldn't stop himself from shouting out into the rain, "what's your name?"
"I'm Charles. Charles Xavier!"