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How to Fall Apart

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If you can look at this story and relate to it, I sympathize with you. If you can't relate to it, I envy you. And what's worst of all, you most likely won't care either way.


At any rate, I digress.


My mom met my dad when they were fourteen, in 1987. You'll expect me to say something along the lines of, "And they fell in love at first sight". But no. That's unrealistic. They fell in love within six years. They got married soon after. From their union, I came along.


Yep, if you're wondering, that photo's me. Cute, right?


My mom's name was Puakai, and my dad's was Kawikani. They loved me a lot, and they loved each other a lot.


The issue with their love: my dad was a merman. Now, this wasn't so radical in Hawai'i, or the rest of Polynesia, or in the Caribbean, or even off the coast of Japan. However, in the rest of the mermaid world, my dad was not allowed to live. More on that later.


So, long story short, my dad was "sentenced" to live out the rest of his days on the big island. He could not swim farther than a few miles offshore. Still, my parents endured the restrictions set upon them by the world and gave me a happy childhood.


Due to my dad being born human, I was born with a strange ability. I was able to grow legs and change back into a mermaid at will. I could swim in water and pass off as a land-person. This made my life much easier than it was for regular mermaids trying to pass off as human.


As you can imagine, my life was pretty good. I lived in a cute house by the sea near my best friend, my parents were loving, and I lived my life in secret. You see, I had to keep this quiet because if the mermaid world, mainly the southern Australian and Gulf pods, caught wind of my ability and who my father was, they would lose. their. minds.


Life was good. And then my 12th birthday rolled around, and my mother went missing, and my father slowly lost his soul.


For the next four years, while my father quietly forgot everything around him, I found a new purpose. Where had my mother gone? There had been no body, no sign of struggle.


I was going to figure that out. 


And what were my powers? Everyone was scared of what I could do. Well, that meant there had to have been someone before me with the same powers. 


I would figure that out, too. 



And when she departs, 

the dew-headed flowers sigh

in sweet remembrance.


july 29, 2017


Chapter Text



Part 1

May 11th, 2008



I stole Dad's boat. Weeks before the LI, I had it packed with the necessities. Plenty of food, shelter, clothing, money, and my new best friend: a bottle of sleeping pills.

The LI... God, I couldn't stop myself from remembering it. It filled my every waking thought. The only time I was free from that punishment was in my sleep, which was another kind of torture altogether.

I'm so sorry to tell you this...

You know you can always...

You can have the...

Sadly, you don't have many options...

With a quick slap on my wrist, I was back down to reality. I'd been on the water for just an hour at this point. In a little, I'd throw down a small harness Mom had made when I was 11. It was a sort of Kevlar-like fabric, but waterproof and thinner. She called it Leather Seaweed. She had wanted to patent it.

She deserved to patent it.

She never got to.

I shook my head. That was five years ago. I can worry about it later. For now, I need to get to California. If I take a wrong turn so early I could pull a Columbus and end up in Mexico and accidentally become an undocumented immigrant. Kanaloa knows I'd somehow manage such feats of idiocy.

My thin excuse would only buy me another half-hour at most. I have to get going. If Lana isn't able to convince the authorities to stop, she might be able to slow them down. I left Dad's cross. She has to.

I don't know what I'll do if she doesn't. How will I get past Hawai'ian and Californian patrol boats without her?

God, I miss her.

With a sigh, I finger Mom's moon ring. It's different than most moon rings. It's made of actual moonstone and is huge. Dad gave it to Mom for their tenth anniversary. Due to its larger size, Mom theorized it could hold more moonlight. It barely fits me. If it fell, I feel like I would lose my mind. I already left behind Dad's cross and rosary - I can't lose this. I can't.

There's a long honk in the distance. My head shoots up. I've wasted too much time. Through the fog, a bright light shines around me. They found me. The sirens pierce my ears.

In one swift movement, I sprint to the front of the boat. I throw down the harness, pull off my shorts, and jump in the water. I concentrate for a moment, and then I feel the pain of my legs fusing together. The underwear makes for a torturous feeling in my hips and non-existent groin. At least my bra and shirt are still intact - I'm not a French mermaid. Dark turquoise, razor-sharp scales grow over the skin and stop at my hips. A large fin painfully erupts from what used to be my feet. Thin skin grows in between my fingers and small fins grow on my outer forearms. There are aching gills on the sides of my abdomen. There is a blockage of sorts in my throat, which means the water is being prevented from going in that way. My eyes feel light, and I know they're completely blacked out.

The process is done in a second. It used to take minutes. Full-blooded mermaids are lucky. They don't have to eat as much, don't have to drink water as much, and don't have to deal with the pain of their skeleton changing form and fusing and of their lungs going dormant and growing gills because they are born with a tail. The rights are pretty favorable, too.

I hold my left arm out, my hand a fist. I focus and feel the energy in the ring pool. I push it out. A bubble forms around the boat. I mentally pull the bubble down. A propeller whizzes by my ear. With a grunt, I put myself above the bubble and push it down, struggling to not get pulled in. If I go in, it's game over.

And I have only one life.

I wave my hand over my face, effectively cloaking myself and the giant boat while maintaining the bubble. It is a draining task, and if I wasn't underwater, I would've been drenched in sweat.

Alas, such is my life - difficult.

I hear another propeller. I jump, and the careless action leaves a three-inch gash in my shoulder. It bled the water red, giving away my position. It bled like her blue blood when she cut her hand, like her blue blood when that car came, red like his blood when he... when he... Oh, God, I think I'm gonna be sick.

The ship backs up. I freeze, staring at the propeller inches away from my face. Gulping back a sob, I shake myself free from my panicked state and push the bubble farther. Down and down I go until I'm at least 100 meters in the water. 

I must've stayed there, frozen in fear, for eons. 

God, I should've spent more time with him.

With a shake of my head, I pushed the thought down. My throat ached with phantom pain, and I longed to breathe the cool night air. I stayed there for a few minutes more until the boats left and I couldn't see the lights anymore. With a sigh, I slowly pull the boat back up to the surface and stop cloaking. I pop the bubble and pull myself back on the boat, throwing the harness to the ground. I shifted myself back into a human and pulled my shorts back on. My hair hung in my face.

I spent five minutes sitting on the bottom of his boat, thanking God I was alive, and then I started to plan as I wrapped my shoulder in bandages. I knew California was approximately 2400 miles from Hawai'i, give or take. If I traveled at around 50mph without rest, I could make it in about two days. Then if I switched off every hour and still made fifty before each switch, I'd cover about 600 miles each day. So that would be roughly four days of travel before making it to California.

As soon as I got to California, I'd figure out where I was and find the nearest homeless shelter to spend the night at. Then promptly go to the nearest library and start my research. The homeless shelters probably wouldn't take me since I'm only 16, so I'd probably have to lie about my age and say I was 18. I could probably pass for an 18-year-old homeless person. I looked tired and dirty. It's been a week since my last shower and around 4 years since my last fully-resting sleep. 

I decided I'd try to push through a solid 50mph until I got tired, rest for an hour, and repeat. I had to get to California.

I had a woman to find.