Mermaids are everywhere. Here's an atypical mermaid fantasy.
The prompt is:
Free as a Bird
I have watched her for days. High in my castle above the rocky shore, I love to sit reading a spell book by the open window and smell the scents of the sea creatures washed into the rock pools during high tide as they dry and rot in the afternoon sun. To most, their dying exhalations are sickening odors that remind them of their own impending death and putrefaction. To me, though, the sour-sweet smell means freedom—freedom from this tower that is my prison.
The wizard, who bound me to this pile of stones without food or water, thought himself benevolent by allowing me to “escape” through this window. Imagine my surprise the first time, desperate with hunger and despair, that I lept for a quick death on the rocks below and felt my body morph from my human form into that of a pure white dove. Instinctively spreading my wings, I arrested my descent and soared high above the sea.
I knew, as easily as flying, how to eat my fill of worms and crawling creatures that, as I human, still repulse me. The freedom of flight is exhilarating, but also limiting. Each time, I soon grow weary of a bird’s life and return to my prison as a human with the comfort of a fire and my books.
The mermaid I watch is the first non-avian creature I have seen. Having practiced speaking using croaks and caws, I launch myself into space, hoping for conversation. Circling above her, I catch the mermaid’s eye, and she gives me a smile. Encouraged, I prepare to land by her side, when an impossibly long tongue leaps from her mouth and enwraps me.
As she slowly draws me toward her gaping mouth, I realize I have achieved freedom, at last.