A Vacation Gone South

Part 1: A Vacation
My boyfriend and I had decided to go on a little vacation. Summer was nearing and we both put in a request for vacation dates. We currently live in a cute little apartment in Astoria. He works for the MTA five days a week from 2 to 10pm and I work in an office from 10 to 6. Because of our schedules we don’t always have time to see each other. He seems to be more tired and out of it lately. I wonder if something happened. Hopefully this vacation will bring us closer because I sense we are drifting. We decided to go to Hawaii. I have always wanted to visit Hawaii because it is the only state that is an island. Neither of us has been there and the atmosphere there seems to be more relaxed than it is here in New York.
Part 2: A Tumble
We finally landed in Hawaii. The temperature was high and we could see the blue ocean sparkling. After dropping off our bags at the hotel we decided to have dinner and call it a night. With the itinerary I printed out, tomorrow will be a long day. The next day we rented a small boat and paddled out to the ocean. The sun was high in the sky and the waters were clear. It was great. Suddenly the boat started to rock and flipped over! I treaded in the water and looked over to find my significant other missing. Panic and dread filled me. Where did he go? Is he alright? What happened? I put my goggles on and looked underwater. I saw him moving deeper and deeper into the ocean. I swam after him.
Part 3: A Glimpse
I dived down to the depths of the ocean and saw him drifting towards a cluster of caves. After a minute underwater I had to resurface to breathe. I sucked in extra air and dove down again. I caught up to him and noticed that his eyes were closed and he was not fighting for air like he should be. He looked peaceful like he was in a deep sleep. I didn’t know what to do. Suddenly creatures were among us. They looked human from the waist up but they also had tails instead of legs. By the time I noticed, they had surrounded us. Due to shock I lost the air in my lungs. With my last bit of strength I took my partner’s hand.
Part 4: A Transformation
I must confess I do not know how much time had passed. I was lying face up on a table of some sort. My body had just awakened from a restorative sleep. I could hear high-pitched squeaks and squeals, which my ears adjusted to quickly. I kept my eyes closed just to observe the environment with my ears. I heard two voices discussing what to do with the newcomers. I tried to stretch out my toes and realized I was unable to. I didn’t have toes. I didn’t have feet. In fact I didn’t even have legs! Instead I had a tail. I had somehow transformed into a mermaid! I opened my eyes and looked around. I had been placed on a table made from sponges. The walls that surrounded me looked like the tentacles of a sea anemone. I felt safe but also lost at the same time. Where did they take him? I quickly got used to moving around with a tail. It was like doing the dolphin kick in swimming class but all the time. As I was practicing two figures, presumably doctors, entered into my so-called room. They explained that my partner and I were almost couldn’t be saved but we were lucky. They talked about some complicated scientific medical procedure that allowed them to turn us into mer-people. It sounded like black magic to me. They directed me to my partner’s room at my request. There he was lying on the sponges. His face was as serene as the last time I saw him. It seems that he hasn’t woken up yet. I took his hand in mine and to my surprise he woke up.
Part 5: A Decision
Now an important decision had to be made. Should we attempt to travel back to our original homeland or explore this new underwater Atlantis-like place? I still didn’t understand how both of us could “breathe” underwater. Maybe the doctors said something about that in their long explanation. My boyfriend said that he wouldn’t mind staying and studying the area since we are still on vacation even though this was not the kind of trip he expected. I agreed that exploring the region would be interesting but what if we want to go back to land? What about our jobs and families? There were so many things that were just up in the air. I finally decided to stay. Now we need to learn about this species before anything else.
Part 6: A Lesson
One of the doctors volunteered to tell us about the mer-people of Melloasis, which is what they called their society. We learned about the elders who lead the villages and the equality of all citizens. Similar to communism they live as a community without using money and everyone does their role to keep the place going. There are hunters, doctors, caretakers, and their jobs can switch at any time. The flexibility of job positions seemed interesting. If each mer-person was able to choose a job that he or she wanted how would they make sure that all jobs were filled? Each mer-person takes as much food as needed and everyone is generally happy. Since the young are raised communally they do not have the same type of attachment as humans do. I was taken aback by the idea of having numerous partners even though I understand that it is a way to keep their population at a stable number. My partner and I just didn’t concur with the notion but we had no complaints since the mating season was already over. Melloasis is very green place. Everything the mer-people use can be recycled and they try not to disturb the nature and other creatures among them. The doctor explained that it is their society’s responsibility to maintain harmony with nature by not doing anything beyond preservation. This seemed like a great place to be and almost like a utopia.
Part 7: A Misfortune
We decided to go explore the childcare center to see how the caretakers work. The childcare center was tucked away in one of the corners of the cave. Inside the caretakers watch over the newborns as they lie on beds of seaweed. When the young ones wake they are fed plankton and other small fish. They interact with each other and play with shiny objects or trinkets. The caretakers take note of which object or objects a particular mer-baby plays with and how he or she interacts with the other children. This is taken into account with the caretakers have their meeting with the village elder about which role each mer-child should fulfill when he or she turns of age. My partner decided that we should see how the hunters catch fish. We made our way outside the cave and watched the hunters from afar. They were both mermen and mermaids. Some used a net composed of seaweed and others used driftwood as hunting spears to collect their fish. The strength of these hunters was impressive seeing as they were able to carry all the fish they collected and drag them back inside the cave. While we were observing the hunters, I suddenly heard a grunt from my partner. I looked down and his tail had been pierced by a sharp piece of driftwood. His scales started to turn a shade of red. I pulled the driftwood out and threw it away. I spotted a dangerous looking fish in the distance. It started swimming this way and I realized it was a shark. All the hunters started to head back into the cave. With all my strength I pulled my partner into the cave. A stream of red liquid followed us. The hunter who accidentally threw the spear in our direction apologized and asked what we were doing in the line of fire. Before we could answer the two doctors from before appeared and pulled us away saying they had to clean out the wound.
Part 8: A Problem
The doctors brought us back to the place where both of us had woken up. While one of them dressed the wound the other asked me what happened out there. I communicated that we went out to observe the hunters in their roles and one of them accidentally speared my partner. A report would have to be made to the elder. I asked about their policy on outsiders. The doctor told me they never had any outsiders. They were five self-sufficient villages that were just trying to survive in harmony with nature. I asked about the scientific process they used on us. The answer was that it was an experiment to save our lives. Since we were not born in Melloasis we are not instinctively inclined to appreciate nature. The elders may believe that we are a danger to the mer-people. I asked what happened to a mer-person who did not appreciate nature. He or she is exiled. The other doctor and finished dressing the wound. I told my partner that we might be exiled from this society. He replied that if that were the case then we would need to turn back into humans and return to our homeland. We asked the doctors if they could reverse the process. They told us they would look into it but there were no guarantees. Suddenly an older mer-person arrived and the doctors introduced the elder of their village.
Part 9: A Command
The elder looked at us and told us the hunter made a report about us. I told the elder that we were observing the hunters and my partner was hurt in the process. The elder studied us and asked if we were from another village. I replied that we were actually humans who have been turned into mer-people by the two doctors. The elder was taken aback and glared at the two doctors. The elder explained that the right thing to do would be to change us back to humans to keep the balance with nature. Either that or exile because we do not have the strong appreciation for nature that the other mer-people have and we led a shark near the cave opening. Either way the elder wanted us to leave.
Part 10: A Fabrication?
I guess it would make sense that they would want us to leave. We are outsiders and they have their whole balance of nature thing. We talked it over with the doctors and they decided to try to reverse the process but they were not completely sure that it would work. The experiment began on both of us simultaneously. And I was out. I awoke to my partner calling my name. I opened my eyes and saw the sun’s bright rays. I felt sand under me and stretched out my toes. My boyfriend breathed a sigh of relief and hugged me tightly. I thought you would never wake up. I asked him what happened. He said that we went out to sea on a boat and I wasn’t paying attention and fell into the water. He brought me back to the beach and tried to revive me. For a while I was unresponsive. I coughed out some water but didn’t do anything else. He was very worried. I asked him about the underwater society. He looked at me like I was crazy. I think you need some rest.