pleasant unpleasant encounters

Submitted into Contest #164 in response to: Write a story where a local takes a newcomer under their wing.... view prompt


Fantasy Friendship Fiction

As he looked up to the thatched ceiling of his prison, Jeremiah pressed a knuckle between his lips and contemplated the life he had lived thus far. He’d been sixteen when he had joined the rebels in their protest against the monarchy. He’d been without family or friends and he was tired of being alone. So, he’d followed Kai into their ranks. Now, it was two years later and everyone was gone. 

“And here I am, waiting to be skewered to death,” Jeremiah ominously pondered. “I better be rich in my next life.” Pouting, he tucked an arm beneath his head as he turned to lay on his side, facing the wall. 

It turned out that it wasn’t knights in shining armor that would end up being their ruin. It was mermaids. Stupidly pretty mermaids. One look at their gorgeous faces and dozens of men and a few women had walked themselves to their own demise before any of them could step foot into the capital. The mermaids had sung for hours, until nothing but their singing could be heard, screams and cries drowned forever in the waves of the ocean. 

“I reckon I feel like having fish.” He’d eat fish for the rest of his life if he could. Sure, it would be a short life but that wasn’t the point. 

“Do you like fish that much?” 

“Not really, but I would make the effort, you know.” It was only recently that he’d started eating the slimy filth. He hadn’t ever laid eyes on so much water before until their group had come to the coast. They had only been there for supplies. 

Those that hadn’t been affected like Jeremiah had struck as many of their companions unconscious as they could but their numbers had been small and they couldn’t reach many. Jeremiah had waited weeks after all the others had left for bodies to float back topside but they still hadn’t by the time the blue coats had turned up. 

“Should I run?” Jeremiah asked. He didn’t have anywhere to go. Also, what did it say about him that the fear of pain upon recapture scared him more than the fear of death? 

“Some things are worse than dying.” 

“That’s right. They would chase me down and how frightful that would be! Bunch of men with swords thundering after me. They would surely catch me.”

Jeremiah sat up. “PAM! PAM! PAM!” He fell to the ground in an imitation of a pummeled body defeated. 

As he looked upon his visitor, Jeremiah smiled a soft, gentle smile. “You would save me, wouldn’t you?” 

A beat, then, “I would.” 

A moth to a flame, Jeremiah rose to his feet and walked to the edge of his cell. When he’d arrived to the capital in shackles instead of with friends, he’d been discouraged. When he’d been told of plans to sacrifice him to the beast who lived inside the palace, he’d been heartbroken. Then, he had met her. 

“Hello.” Her voice albeit feminine had been one that had reverberated against the walls when they had first met. She was tall, taller than him for sure. Long, deep violet hair ran down across her back, almost touching the ground but not. Her skin itself was reminiscent of the violent hue but it was her pure golden eyes that distinguished her as other. 

“Have you come to eat me?” Jeremiah had asked, his fingers curling around the bars as he looked upon her. “Sorry,” he said as he looked into her eyes. “I reckon I don’t have much experience being eaten.” 

“Don’t fret, prisoner. Experience is not required,” she had responded. 

He’d frowned mutinously. She had grinned. 

“You may call me Isa.” 

If Jeremiah and the rest of the resistance had succeeded in invading the palace, Isa would have been the last line of defense they would have faced before facing the royal family. They would have never gotten past her, he had thought when she had told him of what she could do. Later, he would think that all of them would have burned alive when she showed him. 

“What about me? Will you leave me behind when you run away?” Isa pulled his hands into hers as he approached. 

She had a funny habit of playing with his hands whenever she had the chance. They wouldn’t hold hands, no. Isa would just squeeze, pinch, stretch, and torment until he let out a squeak that met her standard of approval. 

“Should I steal you away then?” 

She hummed.

“I’ll break through these bars with my tremendous strength, toss you over my shoulder, and we’ll disappear into the night together.” He scrunched his nose at her when she rolled her eyes. 

She tugged at his hands. “Come, I’ve received permission to let you out for a morning.” Silently, she released her grip on him to pull out a silver key. She lifted his freedom up in between them before she pushed it into the lock and turned. With a clink, the gate opened. As the door stood open for the first time since they’d stuffed him in here sixteen weeks ago, Jeremiah hesitated. 

For a while after the massacre, Jeremiah had tried his best to stay alive. He’d hidden from the pompous idiots on his tail. He’d stolen as needed to stay alive. He’d tried his best to keep moving. 

Yet, when the blue coats had finally caught up to him, marching down the wooden planks to where he was sitting on the edge of the pier, Jeremiah had just sat there. Frozen, silent, and alone, he’d just sat there. Those men had stood over him screaming at him to respond for the actions of the rebellion but Jeremiah hadn’t said a word. 

“I am going to ask the King to release you,” Isa said to him. 

“You hadn’t done anything wrong,” she continued. 

“I know he’ll agree to it. I know it,” she whispered. 

Eventually, as Jeremiah trailed after Isa to plead for mercy from the ruler the resistance had meant overthrow, Jeremiah could finally find it in himself to breathe. This was to be his last chance to save himself. He would make it count. 

It turned out the King was not anything like the resistance had described him. He was not a near-death, pot-bellied, repulsive man. He was of only about fifty years with a stately disposition and an attractive face. 

“Your Grace, I stand on behalf of this man as he asks for forgiveness on account of his acquaintance with those who would oppose you.” Here, Isa was the King’s Guard. Her voice reverberated like it had the day Jeremiah had met her. 

“Step forth,” someone said. 

Jeremiah did. 

“You may speak.”

“I was only a child when I joined the rebellion. I had no family. I had no home. I had nothing.” Jeremiah swallowed. “I joined to survive, Your Highness, but I did nothing of consequence in my time as one of them.” 

He felt more than saw Isa’s encouragement. With that, he continued. 

“Now, I stand here before you to ask that you spare my life and give me another chance to demonstrate my loyalty to the realm.” 

From the periphery of his vision, Jeremiah saw approval radiating from Isa. He wished he could shoot her a smile right now but he held back for the King’s response. 

“Yes, well, those are unfortunate circumstances for a young man. I cannot imagine the difficulties you must have endured.” Jeremiah held back a grin.  

This was it. He could leave. Try again. Live. 

“However, no one is exempt from the law. Not even I. Take him away.” 

The entire thing hadn’t even been ten minutes. If Jeremiah was in a joking mood, he would’ve said, “Oi! What a busy King!” He would’ve laughed himself sick at his stupid joke. 

Except Jeremiah had always been more of a dramatic fellow so he did something different. Abruptly standing from his kneeling position, Jeremiah screamed, “NOW!” 

A dragon roared. 

Jeremiah hoped it was for him. 

September 21, 2022 23:02

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Ross Dyter
07:32 Sep 29, 2022

Hi Mireya, I liked the plot and the overall story. Critique circle: The opening was good and brought me in, but then there were a lot of new and unexplained things that happened quickly and therefore were a little confusing, I initially thought the mermaids were singing when they attacked the monarchy and were working with the knights, but that wasn't the case. Were the knights the bluecoats? Also "knights in shining armor" is a bit of a cliche. I didn't really understand Isa, was she a person with violet hair and different eyes, her chara...


Mia N
21:52 Sep 29, 2022

Ahhh! It was bit cliche! I was being a bit sarcastic with that because they, the bluecoats, were his enemy but I guess that didn't get rid of the effect. Also, Isa was my dragon! That's why she's purple but your theories gave me a good laugh! (He didn't notice - that would have been funny!) Thank you so much, Ross, for letting me know what wasn't quite clear!


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Unknown User
14:41 Sep 26, 2022

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