Jaws Fanfiction: The Angel of the Sea - 4. Chapter 4
Chapter 4: Stories, Tales and Tails.
“A Mermaid?!” Ellen said her mouth open.
“I’m afraid so,” said Hooper, “tail fins and everything. “
Upon seeing the mermaid relaxing in the bath, her tailfins stretched out like wings near the faucet, Ellen had given a little scream of shock and Brody had leapt a few good paces back, tripping over his laces in the process. Now the trio sat around the phone once more, holding shaking cups of tea and coffee and trying to wrap their head around what they just witnessed.
“So,” Brody said at last, “did you know?”
Hooper gave him a look. “Of course I didn’t know! How the hell would I know? This goes beyond any scientific explanation.
The young spirit sat at a kitchen chair eating cereal provided by Ellen. She didn’t pay any attention to the fact it was now almost 4:00pm.
The trio stared at her as she studied the spoon she was eating with, sticking to her face, nose, banging it on the table, biting it.
“I thought-there was no such thing as-” said Ellen still staring.
“There isn’t,” Brody said firmly, “there has to be an explanation, like he said. “
“Women don’t just come running out of the water Martin,” Hooper said, pacing the floor, “certainly not those with gills for God’s sake! There has to be some kind of logic behind it. Maybe she is-an actress of some kind.”
“God dammit, Martin, I do ‘t know!” Hooper said, stamping his foot down.
The sea-maid stopped her eating and went to put her arms around Hooper. She kissed his neck.
“Er-Mr Hooper, did she just-“
“Yes. Yes she did. She hasn’t stopped ever since we met-well apart from her swimming session upstairs.”
“I don’t understand it,” said Ellen, “Mer-people aren’t real. They are stories my mother used to tell me.”
“Well, then she told you facts,” sighed Hooper.
Michael came running downstairs at that moment, carrying a toy boat.
When he saw her, he paused, and looked her up and down.
“Can-um. Can she talk yet?” he asked nervously.
To his surprise she nodded and said “and you are a fine young gentleman.”
Michael yelped, because the voice he had just heard surely did not come from a real human being.
“Now now, Michael. She is our guest. Be polite.”
Michael looked down bashfully trying not to remind himself that she wasn’t wearing anything under that white towel.
Sean down then, followed by the dogs who were jumping up, and licking his ankles playfully as he squealed in delight.
But the mer-child didn’t. The moment she saw those snarling, slobbery, fast-moving creatures, she immediately leapt onto a chair like a frog, frantically kicking and whimpering loudly.
“Alright, that’s enough! Down you two, Down!” the dogs obeyed and followed him into the kitchen where he grabbed their dog chow to distract them. “Don’t go scaring the lady.”
Ellen walked slowly towards the girl who was white and shaking in fear,
“Don’t be scared,” Ellen reassured her helping her down, “they wouldn’t hurt a fly!”
A concerned Hooper had risen to his feet. Upon seeing this, his angel in a white robe had run toward him and thrown her arms around him before he could say anything.
“Alright, Alright. Listen, we’re going to need to ask you a few questions Miss.”
The girl sat herself down on an armchair.
“Questions?” she asked.
“Yes, questions about you.”
“Oh there’s really nothing to know.”
Hooper laughed. “You are half human half fish, I think that’s something conversation worthy.”
Brody returned from the kitchen. “They have two sticks, they should be busy for a while,” he said sitting Ellen, who didn’t bother to ask if he was referring to the dogs or the boys.
“Now,” said Hooper pulling out his notebook, “let’s get started. Basics first: What is your name?”
The woman shrugged. “I don’t have one,” she said.
“You don’t have one?” said Ellen incredulously as Brody looked like his eyes were going to roll above his forehead and into his skull.
“You’ve gotta have a name Miss, surely,” coaxed Hooper. “What was your mother’s name?”
“Yeah. You know what a mother is right?”
The mermaid lay back feigning exasperation, “Of course I know. I just never knew mine.”
“Je-sus,” muttered Brody, “now what huh, I gotta alert the Amity hertage centre too?”
“Martin ssh!” warned Ellen.
“Okay, it’s fine, it’s fine” said Hooper, “Forget about the name thing. How old are you?”
“Ha Ha. How old are you?”
Hooper removed his glasses. “Seriously? You-you’re in your seventies.”
The girl smiled, “I know I do not look it,” she said, “but I am”
They stared at her in disbelief.
“When I was merely a baby I was already in my twenties. When I grew into a young child, I was already in my thirties. When I blossomed into a healthy adolescent I was already in my fifties. Now here I am, aged young for you humans. But to us-a lifetime experience. I may live to be over 1000 years old.”
They gazed at her in awe. Then Hooper cleared his throat. “Anyway, moving on- Where were you born?”
The woman shrugged and gave the a smile of mirth.
“It’s not a real place,” sighed Brody.
“Of course it is.”
“It’s not sweetheart,” he replied, “I just checked.”
“But there is such a place! We live far far away.”
“Hang on,” Brody said. He went to the nearest bookshelf and started rummaging around until he found an atlas. “Point to wear this place is honey.”
She carefully studied the map, her long pink nails tracing every country, every island, every word, every ocean, “before finally saying, “it isn’t on here.”
Brody cursed quietly to himself and stuffed the atlas back on the shelf.
“Could you describe it to us?” suggested Ellen.
She sighed. “Oh it’s beautiful. Breathtaking. Stunning. Too strange to be believed.”
“Could you be more specific please?” Brody snapped.
“Well…” she paused for a long time, “It’s very big…and bright, and colourful…and we have lots of music.
“I’m guessing that’s as much as we’ll get,” Brody sighed.
Ellen decided to change the subject. “You said you never knew your mother. What about the rest of your family, what are they like? Do they know you’re here?
“They are nice,” she replied, “and no. They don’t.”
“Do you want to call them?”
“I doubt they could hear me from here.”
“Well, you could describe your address, maybe we can help you find it?” offered Hooper, “a bungalow or a commune or something?”
She shook her head and frowned. “I live in the ocean,” she told him, “What is a comyoon? Is it the old rocks where land people live when we migrate?”
“I guess so,” Hooper shrugged, “Wait did you just say “migrate?”
She nodded slowly. “We are always migrating. We cannot stop. If we did, we might die.”
“Die?” gasped Ellen.
“Yes. We could be swallowed by a bigger animal, or worse by the those evil clawed monsters.”
“What kind of animal was that?” said Brody.
“I do not know it’s name. It walks with large feet and huge vessels. It throws sharp objects into the water. Then they use their claws to impale innocents. We have never been caught before luckily.”
Hooper took his glasses off and cringed to himself. She knew exactly what kind of “monster” she was talking about.
“The only time I ever known of one of us being discovered was in the cape of the island with the enormous stones.”
“Which island is that?” Brody said.
“I don’t know. The water was grey and there were yellow sharks patrolling the coastline.”
“Yellow Sharks?” Hooper said in bafflement, “that’s impossible.”
“They looked like sharks,” she replied, “orange fins, black eyes, -I think someone told me they came from a place called Nerk.”
“Nerk-Nerk, OH! You mean New York!”
She nodded vigorously. “Yes! That was it! The yellow sharks and the big stones with cracks in them and a green woman who holds a sceptre. Is she your Queen?”
“Nope, those yellow sharks are called taxis,” Brody said Brody, “those stones are skyscrapers the cracks are windows and the green lady is The Statue of Liberty. She’s a symbol not a person.”
The mermaid smirked and stifled bubbly laughter, “Well, I don’t come on to the land often. There isn’t many things I know.”
“How about when you first meet a stranger?” Hooper asked somewhat sarcastically.
“We bump tails, and circle each other,” she said, “it is how we say hello.”
“We have that too,” Hooper said, “only it’s called a handshake.”
He extended his paw.
She stared in confusion. “I don’t see it shaking.”
Hooper laughed. “No, no. You shake.”
To their surprise she extended her own arm and began to shake it violently.
The three of them roared with laughter.
“No, MY hand,” Hooper said, “Just-not as hard.”
The maiden reached out and shook it and Ellen and Brody clapped.
At that moment, Michael who had been sitting there eavesdropping emerged from feeding the dogs more food to distract them from the new guest. When he saw the strange blonde lady sitting cross-legged on the chair he froze, but relaxed realising her towel was pulled up to her arms, hiding her breasts.
“Who is the strange boy?” she asked.
“That’s Michael.” Brody said, “our eldest son”
“Honey come say Hi!” Ellen called.
Gulping nervously Michael made his way over to the beautiful blonde woman.
She put her hand out and he shook it.
“Hello Michael,” she said in a voice like the soothing waves, “it is very nice to meet you.”
“Hey,” said Michael, “so-so is what I heard through there true, are-are you-really a- mermaid?”
She thought this over, “We prefer the term Myriads. But I live in water if that is what you are asking. We share the islands and the seas around here. Our nesting ground, but we go everywhere else. Like birds yes?”
Her English was very broken up, yet she was easy enough to understand. She sounded as though she had an accent, but couldn’t decide what kind.
“Maybe you could introduce her to Sean too?” Ellen suggested.
Sean peeked his little curly-mop head out from the kitchen door.b
“Come on honey. Say hi to-“
The adults paused still undecided about what to refer to the being stretched in their armchair and messing up the cushions.
“The mermaid,” Hooper said eventually.
“She’s nice Sean-honest.” Michael said.
Sean appeared slowly from the doorway his face hidden beneath a tangle of curly locks.
He edged his way over to her, as though she were a poisonous seasnake ready to bite.
“Ooh, who’s this little one?” Menemsha cooed.
“That’s Sean,” Ellen explained, “he’s a little shy.”
Sean stared up at her, “I found a starfish at the beach,” he aid hurriedly.
“Oh, that’s nice! Starfish are beautiful, yes? I used to call my little sister that-Little Starfish. In our own language. So you will be my little starfish.”
Sean giggled, “Uncle Hooper, did you hear that? I’m a Starry!”
“You certainly are,” said Hooper, then he addressed his questionee, “Wait, did you say you had a sister?”
‘Yes, but I have not seen her in weeks.”
“How long have you been on the island?” said Brody.
“Not long,’ she replied. “Full moon time, evening tide…this is my first time walking on its shores.”
“Are you able to contact your sister in any way?” asked Hooper.
The mermaid looked solemn then, ‘No. Not from here. It is…too difficult.”
“What’s her number?” said Brody walking to the phone.
“Number, what number?”
“Her phone number,” Hooper explained, “everyone has a phone number. We could call you sister. What’s her name?”
The woman went silent, swnging her legs and staring at the floor, concentrating on somethng the rest of the family couldn’t see. She picked at her nails and fiddled with a piece of thread from that had come undone from the fabric of the armchair.
“Don’t tell me she hasn’t got a name too!” sighed Hooper.
She nodded. Brody slammed down the phone just as his fingers were in mid dial. “We’re in deep shit,” he said to himself.
Hooper pushed his glasses further up his nose and tried to defuse the tension, “So, is there anything else you’d like to tell us?”
She looked down. “Oh, um well. I would maybe like to tell rest somewhere in private?”
Hooper though taken aback said, “Uh, yeah! Yeah sure, where would you like to be.”
“In there please she said,” pointing upstairs.
“Oh you mean in the bathroom?”
“Martin is that alright?”
“Just do it, Matt. The sooner we get this over and done with the better.”
“Could I-‘ the biologist swallowed bashfully, “And don’t take this the wrong way Miss, but I need to watch you change.”
“Hooper ya barely know the girl!” cackled Brody.
“Uh your tail I mean!” gabbled Hooper a hot blush stainng his cheeks.
The mer-being appeared to be deep in thought for a moment, before finally nodding. ‘Yes. But. Just you?”
Hooper had never felt more honoured and flabbergasted in his entire lfe. ‘Uh, yep. Just me.”
As the Brody’s waited patiently downstairs, (Sean and Michael had to be dragged away because they were desperate to see this mermaid transform.) Hooper ran some cold water in the bathtub for her and tipped ice in from a bucket.
“There,” said Hooper “That should do for now.”
“Thank you,” the sea-maid said, “I feel as if I am swimming the Atlantic again.”
Hooper watched as the water soaked her legs, hips, chest, neck-she ducked her head under including her hair and as Hooper pulled himself away from that distracting face of hers, her legs had fused together, making an amber tail.
“Gosh,” said Hooper, “it’s that quick?”
“Yes,” she replied, “It is a natural reaction. We merfolk change as soon as our heads are doused in water.”
“That’s amazing,” said Hooper, “sitting himself next to the bath, “Is it a genetic thing, or a biological thing or a camouflage or mating ritual?”
” Stop you’re overwhelming me,” she said, “I do not know those words.”
“Well you seemed to speak good English when we had our little chat earlier on.”
She sighed. “I don’t-really. English is not my first language.”
“Then what is your first?”
“I have many. I speak many languages,”
“Oh yeah, how many?”
She listed on her fingers, “Old English, Latin, Greek French, that’s my favourite, Spanish, Italian, Gaelic, Welsh, Hindi, Mandarn, Tamil, Japanese, Thai, Malay, and my native one which is all those languages rolled in one mixture of sounds. Like waves yes. We mostly take our words and phrases from places that have coasts.”
“So…California?” Hooper, joked.
“I haven’t tried there. We are an Eastern tribe and you speak of the merfolk who live in the West. Great battles fought between our tribes long before you humans have been fighting.”
“Good thing too,” Hooper remarked, “if you were discovered with your tail at a beach in that place they’d turn you into a celebrity.”
“Yeah, you know. Make you famous, put your picture in a magazine.”
“Oh, will that hurt?”
Hooper laughed manically, “Would that hurt!” Ha! He had never been with anyone else so charming and naive about the world, yet showing that they have an interest in learning new things. Not only was she beautiful, but she was eager to explore and live.
“What does your language sound like then?” he asked.
She shook her head. “I cannot speak it here. Only underwater can it be heard. It is impossible to speak on land.”
Hooper found himself drawn to her more and more.
“What about your culture? Traditions?”
“Aah, traditions. Well, we believe that the ocean is our mother and the sky is our God. We treat all living sea creatures with respect even when killing for food. We will sometimes swim with companions of the sea.
I have bonded over the years with bears in the Newfoundland, and seals on the tips of the Arctic. I have danced with dolphins, porpoises, orcas, humpbacked whales. Even sharks don’t mind my presence.”
Hooper was completely intrigued. She knew so much of the ocean, and it’s spiritual nature. All the creatures she tamed, all the places she visited. She was like a character from a great classic.
“Did-did you say s-sharks?” Hooper asked her.
She nodded, “Yes, I love them! Beautiful animals. I bonded with a great white once. I called him Mogadu. He was harmless. Sharks are misunderstood you see. They are not predators-they are survivalists.”
Hooper had never wanted so badly to kiss someone. Yet he stopped himself. “I love sharks too,” he said.
“Yeah. I study them, get up close to them, tag them observe them in their natural habitat. I’m a biologist, it’s what I do.”
“How fascinating,” she said turning onto her stomach and letting her tail rise out of the water. God she was beautiful…
“Mogadu would have loved to see you. He was wonderful. Until…
She splashed the water in anger. “Them! Those bastard monsters came and destroyed his family! They defiled their fins and threw their corpses back into the sea!”
“Oh my God, I’m-I’m really sorry”
“Why do you apologise? They were bastard men, you aren’t. There is nothing you can do now.”
Hooper suddenly aquired a dreadful thought. “Where do you think he is now?”
“He is-I don’t know-” she rolled over onto her stomach again and looked him in the eye smiling her gorgeous smile.
“So, it appears we haven’t been properly introduced. Tell me your name.”
Hooper laughed. “I did, about 5 hours ago when you were still sulking.”
She giggled and it sounded like the tide. “Tell me again.”
“Uh-okay. It’s Matt. Matthew Hooper.”
“Matt. Hoooopa. Is nice.”
“It would be helpful if you would tell me yours.”
“I do not have one!” she laughed, “none of us do.”
“Okay, we’re going need to sort out this name game, because I swear, I’m gonna go nuts if I have to call you like a dog every time I address you.”
She mulled this over. “Matt, why not you give me a name?”
“Me?” he squeaked.
“Yes. An American name.”
Hooper thought for a while. “A name. Yes.” he stated drawing a blank.
What name would suit her? What name could match such a rare gem? Maybe something similar to her native name? He thought. He could use his mother’s name-no no Mildred would not suit her at all.
Finally. He got it.
He turned to her. Her blue eyes were as calm as the surface of a lake and watering like Amity’s summer rain.
“Martha,” he said.
“MARTHA,” Hooper corrected her, “This island is called Martha. Martha’s Vineyard. It’s pretty, full of nature, beaches clean water…”
“Oh thank you Matt! Thank you, thank you thank you, thank you! I love it, it is perfectly beautiful!”
“Like you,” thought Hooper.
Oh shit! He’d said it out loud. He had said it out loud! Great, going Matt you ass!
“No one has ever said such sayings of me before,” Martha replied, “you think I am beautiful?”
“Well, yes quite honestly I do. Even though we met just today, and I’m sure once we try and find some help for you there’ll be a thousand fellas from Boston to Rhode Island lining up to get a good look at ya.”
“Why is that?” she asked, her tail lifting in all its glory as she turned over in the water. For the first time that day, Hooper struggled to look at her.
“Well, guys like that sort of thing?”
“What sort of things?” Martha asked, and Hooper certainly had to admire her lack of understanding. However, although he found her extreme innocence rather cute, he reminded himself that such thngs for a woman-especially one that looked as though she had stepped out of Neptune’s underwater kingdom.
“Well, you know, land folk like pretty girls. Especially the men. Some of them are… invasive and…rude.”
“You are not like that. Your friend is not. Those little men are not.”
“Well, some aren’t but, you have’t been on Amity long enough to have seen what I’ve seen.”
“What have you seen? Bad men?” Martha shook her head, “I am not stupid. I know who is bad and who is not. I tell you Matt: you and your friend are not bad.”
“Right, um. Thanks. But just, while you’re here, I need you to be careful okay? That’s all.”
“And why are you saying this to me?”
Hooper stood there, a knot forming in his stomach.
“Well, I-I just…” No more beating around the bush. “I just wondered why you…why you, kissed me at the beach.”
“Yes, several times actually.”
Where? What was this Wheel of Fortune?”
“On the lips, cheek, head, neck, wrists, arms- you aren’t shy you know.”
She blushed, red as the coral of the Caribbean. “Well, sometimes, I may forget the language of whatever land I land on. So, how else was I to communicate with you without my words?”
“A simple writing in the sand would have been better.”
She laughed again, “you would not have understood me.”
Hooper crouched down beside her again.
“Martha it is then.”
Then she pulled him into a deep kiss, and they stayed like that for minutes.
“Coffee dear?” Ellen asked Brody, who was still watching the phone, this time reading the newspaper as well. There was a column in there about Ben Gardener’s boat death, and a full front page story from a publishing company in Boston of the shark attack last week on Amity Beach, showing photographs of terrified swimmers, scared on-lookers, a distraught Mrs Kitner and the haunting yellow raft the boy had been swimming on just seconds before his death. There were teeth marks on that thing far too big to be that of a Tiger Shark.
Finally, the phone rang.
“Uh, yes hello, Operator this is Chief Brody of the Amity Police Department? Yes, connect me to a Mr Quint, please.
Well, YAy! Quint has joined the story! Let’s find out what he makes of Martha! Please review! I like hearing feedback. I hoped you enjoyed the chapter I tried my best to keep them all in character. 🙂 and create an interesting back story for my OC. Also did I do okay trying to make it seem like it was set in the 70s? Or did I slip up?