The Glass Mermaid



Once there was a mermaid who would wander the sea by day and explore the land by night. She wasn’t beautiful; quite ugly by any standards. Often compared to the appearance of Sin, she was cast aside by her family and friends. All because of her glass eye. It was purple and too big for her face, striking in contrast with her other squinty green eye, which could have been considered pretty, had it not been placed at an angle on her face. However, the rest of her appearance did nothing to flatter her already faulty being. Her long black hair was ratty, no matter how much she tried to comb it out. Her tail was so dark, almost inky. She was considered the black sheep of the family. Her one redeeming quality was the strange way her tail shimmered as she swam; akin to the light on a bright day hitting the ocean. But most are often too blind to notice the beauty.

The desperation to find someone who was willing to look at her; someone who wouldn’t turn away in disgust, fuelled each day and night, flittering from place to place; moving between her world and ours.

One night, after a day of drifting, lonely and cold, she shook off her tail and headed up the sandy beach. A rock housed her secret clothing and sheltered her from the wicked wind. But unfortunately for her, before she could reach her blankets of safety, she was spotted by a group of men considered even uglier than she. They had been watching from afar and had witness her detestable transformation up the shore. They crept up behind her naked body; the dark of night hiding them from her already unfocused glass eye. Hideous thoughts highlighted their eyes as the moon revealed their presence.

At last she had found someone who would look at her. As she faced the clouded night sky, with the men gazing at her from above, she made peace with the consequence of wanting a little attention. Once they were done, they picked up her tired and weak body, carrying her a short distance before dumping her in the boot of a car. They travelled long and hard; she constantly felt the hum of the engine beneath her naked flesh. It must have been days before she finally saw light, glorious and warming, before it was taken away again. A bag was thrown over her head, her hands and feet were bound together. No matter how hard she struggled, strong hands constantly kept her locked in place, the rough rope digging into her fragile skin. The ticking time bomb in her head slowly counted the seconds to insanity. How fitting she would perish with a bag over her head. Even in death she would be too deformed to look at.

But just before she reached the brink of delirium, her bounds were untied, the bag was lifted and she was dropped into a large glass box of water. Water; sweet relief for her dry and flaky skin. As her tail once again took form, almost painfully, her glass eye looked out onto hundreds of faces; some faces filled with disgust, some filled with amusement. But all the faces, no matter what the expression, were looking at her. For once in her life, no one was turning away. Flashes reflected around, bright lights blinding. Children pressed their innocent faces to the glass, eyes wide in wonder. Men and women pointed and stared. It was all she had ever thought she wanted, but she was trapped. Trapped in a box of glass just like that which highlighted her ugliness.


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