The Little Sea Maid

by Annika Barranti Klein

Deep in the sea, Maris, youngest daughter of Amphitrite, dreamed of the surface.

Sometimes, when little rays of sun made their way down through the water, Maris imagined what it would be like in the shallows, where she would be able to feel the warmth of the light, to see with her eyes and not just her whiskers.

Maris’s sisters did not want to go to the surface. Up there, they said, the sun would burn you and the wind scrape against your skin. Up there, they said, there was no cold, thick sea to hold you and protect you. Up there, they said, people had no tails and no blubber and shaved off their whiskers.

Maris did not believe her sisters. How could all of those things be true? So she swam up to the surface to see for herself.

Maris’s pale skin became hot and itchy, her blubber heavy; the bright sun hurt her eyes and her gills hurt in the thin air. She was shocked to see people walking on spiny legs. She wondered at their pale hair and dry skin. They had no blubber or whiskers to protect them and wrapped themselves in weeds instead. Maris did not like it on the surface.

Maris kissed her beautiful sea and dove deep, deep down, where she stayed and was happy for all of her days until one day she joyfully became sea foam again.

 
(originally in Enchanted Conversation, February 2018)


Illustration by Gabriel Klein

© Copyright 2018 Annika Barranti Klein

© Copyright 2021 Gabriel Klein

Annika Barranti Klein lives and writes in Los Angeles with her partner and their two sons in a tiny apartment full of books. She is a collector of blank notebooks, pens, and animal bones. Her fiction has been or is forthcoming in Craft Literary, Milk Candy Review, and Asimov’s Science Fiction, among others.

Gabriel Klein is a young writer who lives in Los Angeles. He is one of Annika’s two sons and would describe himself as a ‘gamer worm’. He loves music and digital art. He writes fan fiction, original stories, and comics in his spare time.


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