There are moments in time when humans can slip the join. When they see things they aren’t supposed to see. Those moments are when we find those that were lost to us. Babes that had been carried away in the night. The products of love from our side and their’s.
Hard to tell, the little ones. Rare too. Not many humans swim in our waters. Some do. The ones that live along the edge of the warm waters learn. The ones near cold rivers are often in danger.
Ships crossing our oceans are fraught with danger. They are the ones where we meet those that will be dragged down into the cold depths. Glassy eyes lose their focus beyond the sunlight zone. Hard to tell when most of the wrecks happen during storms and at night. Some of us can see them more clearly than others, but more often than not, they didn’t come into the range that I frequent. Something about pressures and temperatures.
Others refused to help with cleaning up after the wrecks, saying the humans deserved it. Some feared the humans and their large nets. We had seen too many of our friends caught up in the long lines of hooks. Others twisted in the massive ropes until they lost their breath, killed on their migration.
It used to be the men above would see us. They used to call to us. They swam with us and knew of us. They trusted us to show them safe ways through the coral barricades. They used to draw our likeness on the edge of maps. They changed though.
The maps were no longer to show where we were. Where to seek refuge. Where to seek help. How to gain our attention. Soon, with the advent of their peculiar superstitions, the edges of the maps were no longer us. They were warnings. There be monsters.
And that was when we drifted from the thoughts of man. The cautions. The conversations. They lost their trust of the waves. They commanded, they battled it, willed it to bow to their form. Yet, they lost the touch of the water. The feel of it in their bones. The sensation of it bouying their hearts as the moon rose over stillness, massive and unyielding in a reflected blanket of stars.
With fear, mankind lost their ability to slip the join. Now, we keep to ourselves. We pick up the pieces, trying to steer the wrecks from damaging our nesting grounds, distribute the leftovers.
They’ve not lost their imagination. With every season and every wreck, we find they have learned how to manipulate their world more. How to transport more. How to make life easier. How to make life more difficult.
My father’s halls are covered in their odd curiosities. The effigies of us from the bows of their wrecked ships hold up algae covered curtains. Plateware and silver occupies slowly rotting massive slabs of timber furniture. Glinting jewels tumble from oyster shells. The reflection of the human mirrors brings light deeper into our alcoves, spotlighting glimmering hints to the world above. I’m not keen on the distortions. The shadows that lurk in the corners and flick across the edges of the gilt and tarnished frames. Captured spirits from the world above our waves.
We’ve moved away from our traditions to scavenge their deaths. It’s not that it makes our lives any better. It only leads to jealousy and war within our factions. We would do better to steer the wrecks from our grounds and leave the debri to the humans.
“You do go on, Taigre” Seran admonished my musings, drawing me from a study of one of the newly acquired mirrors my father had seen hung. A massive storm raged far above us. What humans had named a hurricane. These seasonal events always yielded more of the human effluence of more and better. I am amazed, with father’s amassment of currency, that he does not walk amongst mankind yet in order to fulfill all of his watery desires.
“I am sorry, Seran. Well, no. I’m not, honestly enough. I’m frustrated with him. He’s gone off once more to add to this ungainly hoard and I’ve had enough of it. It is time that I move from his burrow, I should think,” I wiped away algae growth on one of the silvered mirrors to study my reflection. Not much to see really. A long form in shadows. A pity the reflected light was not brighter.
Seran slipped through the maze of oddities to look over the mirror I cleaned. A white tip finned oceanic, he was one of my father’s personal guards and, though I considered him a friend, he was more of a minder to keep me from getting myself into trouble. That was how my father felt about him.
“That is between your father and yourself. Though, you are of an age that would make sense that you should seek your own cave or crevice. There are many in this area alone,” Seran suggested indifferently. I shifted from the mirrors to leave the nest and pull myself out onto the reef where I could watch my many other neighbors busily farming algae and protecting their own nesting grounds.
It was due time that I moved on.