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General

This sea coral journal belongs to: Cyrilla

Species: Nephyr


Blue Dragon Dynasty, Year 201

I’ve never been to the world above. The sweet, frothy bubbles of the ocean surface are as close as I’ve gotten. But something beautiful and deep and siren-like always seems to be pulling my mind there.

I have dreams of brilliantly cerise-golden sunrises filled with tranquil, drifting swaths of clouds and mist. I have nightmares of fierce brown creatures snapping their bloodied teeth and hungry maws at me. All images conjured by my hours spent in the Great Undersea Library.

The pictures in the books are prettily illustrated, though some graphic in detail. My every waking thought is plagued by them. A curiosity that terrifies me and urges to be satiated runs rampant through my every fiber.

Sirens live atop and under the sea after five years of age. Mermaids are free to explore after their coming-of-age—fifteen. But nephyr? We are banned from ever visiting the world above. The world apart from the sea.

King Luxidamos promised us it was for our own safety. That humans would kill us on sight for our precious burnished navy scales and ivory horns. Believable, considering that the humans torture the grey creatures, elephants, for their ivory tusks.

But doubt lingers within me still.


Blue Dragon Dynasty, Year 202

The mermaids came back this time with the oddest of things. Golden goblets with oddly curving handles, daggers with ruby hilts, pieces of mismatched, colorful fabric. They are hoarding them like sea pearls. My best friend, Ariel, hissed at me when I tried to touch her fork. Hissed at me, the pretentious bitch.

The sirens, with their perfect coral lips and gleaming alabaster skin arrived soon after the mermaids, this time with three beautiful princes.

A fight promptly ensued between some mermaid and siren factions—the mermaids, as noble as they were, wanted the princes’ belongings (which did involve their clothes) before the sirens breathed the life of their youth into their magical conch shell necklaces, which would allow them to sing sailors to their doom. The sirens wanted to harness the life before it faded away, but the mermaids were arguing, saying they wouldn’t touch the shriveled bodies of the princes when the sirens were done with their gruesome life-sucking.

As I’m writing, I wonder why these princes are so precious. Are the sirens and mermaids dissatisfied with the sea enough to start a war? Even now, hours after the fight, I can see blood floating in spirals, in morbid patterns on the waves.

Is it bad that I want to visit land even more now?


The New Age, Year 1

I don’t know how to feel on this day. King Luxidamos was toppled off his throne by all siren and mermaid factions. He wasn’t listening to their conflicts, only throwing extravagant revels in his way of apology. And I suppose having a water faerie king does add inherent bias to the pressing decisions being made in the kingdom.

Now, a ruling circle comprised of naiads, water faeries, mermaids, sirens, and sea dragons pass the laws in the Great Undersea. What troubles me is that nephyr have no say in this council. Ariel told me they fear us, and fear is our greatest enemy. She isn’t wrong.

We are dark, hideous creatures. Our tails look like a mermaid’s but lack the vibrant rainbow colors, only sporting shades of midnight. When we smile, our pointed canines gleam like blades. Our facial features are sharp, thin, and can cut others when touched. And our horns invoke the devil—a mermaid with a stolen above world Bible told me that once.

I try and pretend that I’m pretty. Sometimes.

Today, I brushed my hair back into a plait. It stayed like a pretty, serene thing until a wretched siren caught sight of the colorful leather tie I’d used. The bitch ripped it from my hair and threw the leather shreds in my face, sneering as my hair exploded into a matted mess of tangles again.

I swam away. I was glad that tears couldn’t be seen underwater.


The New Age, Year 2

The nephyr are staging an uprising. I’m going to be part of it. I’m tired of being pushed down. Having my voice quelled. Having no say in the laws that govern my life. We have no power, and the “high-and-mighty” council is realizing that. Today’s rebellion will only assure them that we won’t back down.

I’m ready.

Scared, but ready.

Power thrums through my veins.


The New Age, Year 3

After fighting for our case for over a year, we’ve made progress. Nephyr are finally allowed to go to the surface of the ocean. To even visit land! And see land walkers, interact with them…perhaps even mate with them.

Ariel told me she’s fallen in love with a human prince. She said I could visit a sea witch to shed my tail for legs.

I’m unsure of whether this “sea witch” is trustworthy enough. I’ll see how Ariel fares first.

Either way, my dream is becoming a reality. I’ve scheduled my voyage to the surface for next year.

When I’m of eighteen years.

Till then, the preparation begins.


The New Age, Year 4

I broke the surface of the sea today. I kept this sea-leaf journal tucked under my elbow, ready to document the wondrous things I’d be seeing. The land was prettier than I’d imagined.

Clouds, like bubbling sea foam, filled the sky with splotches of clean white. Oh, and the sky was simply magnificent. The sunrise was all shades of pink and amber and hope, and I wanted to reach out, grab a bite, and eat it. The waves looked different on the surface than they did below. They are blue, churning, roiling creatures that can’t be tamed.

I swam for hours. Ariel had given me directions. My tail pumped with glory and saltwater and promise unfulfilled. I stopped at a lone rock for a while and sunned my tail. Descriptions in the Great Undersea Library were not adequate. Sunshine is like a balm filled with warm memories. Indescribable. I’d never felt anything like it.

I made it to the shore of some civilization—the Greeks, Ariel called them—and waited.

A sailor saw me. He shouted.

I felt this odd nervousness tingling at the tip of my tail, but I waited.

When he came back with others, they had sharp, metal things in their hands. It took me a moment to realize what they were carrying. 

But.

It was too late.

They threw spears at my tail.

I’d never been wounded there before.

It felt like my skin was splitting open at the most sensitive parts. Like I slowly being skinned in an ocean heatwave.

I barely escaped with my life, and the mermaid medic who tended to my wounds warned that there would be permanent scars. Etched on my bodies like reminders of the land walkers.

The people here aren’t worth visiting. They place value on only looks. Nothing else. They don’t want to hear my voice—which Ariel says is prettier than any ocean creature’s, including her own. They don’t want to hear the captivating stories I had ready for them. I had tales of the sea, tales of unimaginable treasure and life and magic, and they gave up that one, wretched chance to listen when they saw me.

Good.

Fucking.

Riddance.

Land walkers. 

April 09, 2020 04:59

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10 comments

Nusa Zam
07:41 Apr 09, 2020

Hey, I’m part of a critiquing circle and oh my goodness, this was amazing! I loved the references to ‘The Little Mermaid’, and the swearing really gave it that touch of humour. Your prose is absolutely delightful to read ESPECIALLY the description of the sky and sunshine! The only things I picked up on were a few small bits where it could have been easier to read. For example: When you said : “the mermaids, as noble as were” might be better as: “the mermaids as noble as they were” And the other bit was when you said: “the w...

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Neha Dubhashi
18:09 Apr 09, 2020

Thanks for catching the first mistake! And your second suggestion is perfect. I had no idea how I'd word that, and your edit works in so well! Nephyr years are slightly shorter than human years, and I thought I'd be a bit ambiguous about that (mostly because I wasn't sure how to work it in, haha). Nephyr have longer life spans than humans. Cyrilla was writing one journal entry per year (kinda hard to imagine for a journal addict like myself). I'm so glad you liked reading this! Lots of love. :)

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Neha Dubhashi
05:04 Apr 09, 2020

Did you enjoy the easter eggs? ;) Disney is a favorite of mine. There was a little bit of present to past tense switching, and I included that because writing in a journal is a different mode of storytelling entirely. I wanted to do it justice, so I wrote with the style I use in my own journal (which is more of an incoherent mess than the journal in this story).

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Khadija S.
01:22 May 06, 2020

Very much so! All your stories are beautiful! I love the more serious undertones as well. The messages about fear manifesting as cruelty, the way humans judge based on looks being awful, and about advocation for a voice are all wonderful. Your stories are all gorgeous!

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Neha Dubhashi
21:06 May 06, 2020

Boom boom boom--you got all of my subthemes!! I appreciate you taking the time to go through my stories--it means so much to me <3

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Khadija S.
23:16 May 06, 2020

It's my pleasure!

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Sherwin D'souza
21:00 Apr 25, 2020

Do you know why like four of my stories have not been approved? Its been more than a week.

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Neha Dubhashi
07:54 Apr 26, 2020

That could be because the judges haven't gotten around to them yet. Were they all submitted for the same week?

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Sherwin D'souza
18:26 Apr 26, 2020

Okay that's what I thought. I think so. I just now wondering why this comment is saying that you commented on a book title that I doubt is mine.

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Neha Dubhashi
05:40 Apr 27, 2020

This book title, Cyrilla of the Nephyr, is mine.

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