Mermaid

by Nivedita Sekar

PANEL 1: A horizontal panel that takes up the width of the page. The art is black and white, pen and pencil. A young girl with dark hair in two braids, wearing a thin-strapped tank-top, is seen from behind. She is standing up to her shoulders in water. Two lilly pads float in front of her. Above her is TEXT "Mermaid - Nivedita Sekar"
CAPTION: "It's the tail end of summer when you move." PANEL 1: Half the length of the page. The young girl from the cover, again seen from behind, is standing in front of a statue. She is wearing a t-shirt, shorts, and flip-flops. The girl holds a box of books. The statue is in the middle of a small pond, surrounded by a low stone wall. The statue is of a mermaid. The mermaid sits with her tail around a rock, the rest of her body stretched towards the sky as she appears to wash her hair. CAPTION: "It's a new apartment complex with an old, tucked away fountain - a statue in the middle. A mermaid too angular to be beautiful." PANEL 2: The lower left fourth of the page. A close-up on the mermaid's naked torso, the top half of her face in shadow. The mermaid is white in contrast to the black background. Water is running over the mermaid's right shoulder, her hair flows over her left. PANEL 3: The lower right fourth of the page. A close-up of the young girl's face. She is looking intently, holding her box of books closely. To the left of her on the page CAPTION: "You spend a lot of evenings by the fountain."
PANEL 1: A horizontal panel that takes up the width of the page and half the length of the page.. The young girl is sitting at the edge of the fountain, her hand in the water. She is seen from below, through the murkiness of the water. Her face is blurry but her hand, reaching through the surface, is clear. Reeds from the bottom of the fountain lean up towards her hand. On the inside edge of the fountain's lip: CAPTION: "One night" PANEL TWO: A single image under Panel 1. CAPTION: "When you're not looking" The young girl's palm is being gently touched by a hand reaching through the water. The hand has long fingers.
PANEL 1: Half the length of the page. The mermaid, no longer a statue, has partially emerged from the water. While her torso is above the water, the shading suggests a long body still submerged. Around her there are lilly pads. The mermaid's eyes are drawn with deep shadows around them, as though her brows cast a shadow over them. Her nose is thin and narrow. DIALOGUE: "Child..." CAPTION: "The mermaid says, surfacing" PANEL 2: Half the length of the page, under Panel 1. Seen from overhead, the mermaid rests in the pond, still half submerged. Her long hair blends in with the sillhouette of her tail under the water. She has extended her palm. The young girl, sitting on the edge of the fountain, has placed her hand in the mermaid's open hand. The young girl's leg extends slightly out of the panel into the white space below. CAPTION, IN DIALOGUE: "Don't be sad."
CAPTION: "Every morning you check to see if she's still there." PANEL 1: A square that is 1/3 of the top half of the page on the left side. A full-body image of the mermaid sitting on her rock, facing towards the right. Water is pouring through her hands. PANEL 2: A square that is 1/3 of the top half of the page, in the center. A full-body image of the mermaid. She is still sitting on her rock, but is now facing away from the viewer. Water pours down her back. PANEL 3: A square that is 1/3 of the top half of the page, on the right side. A full-body image of the mermaid. She is still sitting on the rock, this time facing left. Her tail is more visible in this panel, and it clearly wraps the circumference of the rock she sits on. CAPTION: "she is" PANEL 4: A verticle rectacle 1/2 the of the bottom of the page, on the left side. The mermaid is peeking out of the water, exposing the top of her head and her eyes. Her hair, where it meets the water, takes on the patterns of the ripples around her. There are lillypads floating in front of her, and reeds in the water near her head. She is looking at the viewer. The sockets of her eyes are shaded darkly, casting part of her face in shadow. CAPTION: "The mermaid has an odd face." PANEL 5: A verticle rectangle 1/2 of the bottom of the page, on the right side. An identical shot of the lillypads and reeds from Panel 4, minus the mermaid. Where the mermaid's head was is now a dark shadow in the water. CAPTION: "(not quite human)"
PANEL 1: An image 1/2 the length of the page. Seen from above, the young girl sits on the edge of the fountain pond, facing the water, leaning towards it slightly. She is wearing a romper and her hair is in two braids. In the water, the mermaid is swimming. She swims face down, and the viewer can see the length of her body. Her top half is light, unshaded. Her tail is shaded fully black, and curves behind her, ending in two distinct fins. CAPTION: "The mermaid swims in the little fountain like a snake in the grass. Not at all like a fish." CAPTION: "And by some magic or circumstance no one else ever stumbles on the fountain when she's awake." PANEL 2: A single image, 1/2 the length of the page, the bottom half. A close up on a section of the grass, leading to the wall of the fountain. Leading up to the wall of the fountain, a pair of shorts lays empty, and a phone lays face up. Two stepping stones by the discarded items make an outline in the grass. Over the wallof the fountain, a dark shirt is draped.
PANEL 1: A full-page image. The young girl sits at the edge of the fountain, her back against the small wall, face turned up towards the sky. She is wearing shorts and a tank-top tucked in to them, and a pair of slip-on-shoes. Her palms are pressed into the grass, and around her hands and legs grass clumps obscure part of her dark skin. Behind the young girl, the mermaid is stretched out, appears to be looking at the girl intently. The mermaid is half out of the water, one arm, bent at the elbow, rests on the edge of the wall. Her other arm is partially obscured by the girl's head, but the mermaid's hand is close to the girl's braid, almost touching. The lower half of the mermaid's face is partially obscured by her bent arm as she rests against it. The full length of her body is visible, and her torso gradually becomes darker and darker as it connects with her tail, which curves out to the top of the page and ends with the two distinct fins. In the fountain pond, there are lillypads and reeds, and some pond foliage is stuck in the mermaid's light hair. CAPTION: "Every evening the mermaid comes alive when you visit. It's good. (Having a secret.)"
PANEL 1: A horizontal rectangle that takes up the top half of the page. It's evening, the background of the panel shaded dark grey, a few trees visible in contrast. The mermaid, in profile, is sitting up in the fountain pond, her whole torso out of the water, resting her back against the wall. A hint of her tail is visible at the left edge of the panel. The young girl, in her light shirt and dark shorts, sits close to her on the wall, legs bent over the edge, torso angled towards the mermaid. The girl is looking down towards the mermaid with a serious expression, part of her torso obscured by the mermaid. CAPTION: "There's a curse she whispers to you one night" PANEL 2: A vertical rectangle that takes up the left half of the bottom of the page. A close up on the heads of the young girl and the mermaid. The mermaid is looking at the girl, only the back of her head visible. The young girl is leaning in, expression urgent. Around them, the panel is shaded so darkly they are almost the only things visible -- the outline of the foliage around them can be seen faintly. The girl is speaking. DIALOGUE: "I can break it! "PANEL 3: A vertical rectangle that takes up the right half of the bottom of the page. From the bottom of the rectangle up the viewer can see the stepping stones leading to the fountain pond and the grass that the stones are set into. The young girl's slip-off shoes are discarded by the stones. The young girl and the mermaid are seen in profile, and the mermaid is nearly a silhouette. The girl's body half faces the viewer, her knees bent over the edge of the wall, her torso half-angled towards the mermaid. The mermaid is using her right arm to lift herself out of the water. Her right arm is on the fountain wall. Her hair falls over her right shoulder, providing the contrast to the rest of her torso. Her left arm reaches out and is obscured by the body of the girl --- they may be holding hands behind the girl's back. CAPTION: " ' A little kiss' she tells you"
PANEL 1: A horizontal rectangle that takes up 1/4th of the top of the page. The young girl, seen from behind, is looking at the fountain pond. Her head and the top of her shoulders are in full brightness. The rock on which the mermaid used to sit is now empty. Around the edges of the fountain pond, the foliage is so tall it stretches to the top of the page. CAPTION: The next day when you look --- she's gone from the fountain. PANEL 2: directly below Panel 1: a horizontal rectangle in which the rest of the young girl can be seen. While her head and shoulders are in the bright light of Panel 1, the rest of her is now seen in shadow in Panel 2. Around her, silhouettes of human busts can be seen, as though just behind her, observing with her. CAPTION: " 'Vandals' your neighbors mutter. But here is another secret." PANEL 3: A vertical rectangle that takes up the left side of the lower half of the page. The young girl, seen from the waist up. She is wearing her light t-shirt, her hair is in two braids. She is looking over her shoulder, away from the viewer. PANEL 4: A vertical rectangle that takes up the right side of the lower half of the page. The young girl again, almost exactly as she was in Panel 3, but this time seen from a 3/4 perspective. She is looking to the left, as though just beyond the edge of the panel, her eyes cast downward. Her expression is focused and slightly sad. CAPTION: "You wanted to kiss her long before she asked you to break the curse."

© Copyright Nivedita Sekar


Nivedita Sekar is someone who writes and draws, and does a lot of things inside the intersection of both (comics! animation! short stories!) She grew up in the south, making friends by magic and learning to drive in thunderstorms. Now she lives in New York, where she spends her winters trying not to slip on the sidewalks.


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