Suzanne Warr is kind enough to host this blog hop every week and has let those of us participating in NaNo share part of our works in progress instead of writing a flash fiction piece. After all, when you write during NaNo, everything is rather raw and unpolished! Visit her blog and check out the other submissions! Flash Friday
The theme for this Friday is:
Show someone physically, emotionally or intellectually trapped or puzzled.
This fits in well with my wip! Here's a snippet from my mermaid tale, loosely inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's story "The Little Mermaid." In this part, Neri, my mermaid daughter-of-a-chieftain protagonist, has just come back to the reef from guard duty after killing an octopus. Everyone is waiting for the arrival of a rival clan's delegation to discuss the terms of an arranged marriage between their chieftess' son and Neri. Kairavini is her best friend. (Her name will change since I already have a 'K' name. That's one of the many things I will fix after NaNo.)
Our biggest problem is enough access to the hunting grounds. If I marry Kekaeo, they will treat us like family, sharing resources. I pretended I did not know about the potential for moving while I spoke to Kairavini, as there are things Father confides to me which I must keep secret. If there is no alliance made, we may be in a lot of trouble, as good settling places with adequate hunting are difficult to find. As clans grow, there are fewer and fewer alliances to be made, and a small clan on their own is not always kindly received into new hunting areas.
I banish those dark thoughts as I arrive in the sandy courtyard in front of the main reef entrance, breathless from the swift journey. No one is out, except for Luda, Kairavini’s little brother. He is chasing a seahorse around and teasing Kairavini’s puffer fish, Blowfer, simultaneously. At only five years, Luda is already showing signs of becoming a pesky brother. When I get sad about being the only child in my family, I go play with Luda. He soon reminds me that I don’t need a brother or sister full-time. “Hey, Luda! Leave those poor creatures alone and tell me where everyone is! Did the delegation arrive yet?”
“WOW, NERI!” Luda comes close to me, clutching Blowfer. “That’s the biggest octo I’ve ever seen!” His lip trembles slightly. “It’s dead, right?”
“Of course it’s dead.” I move the spear and turn it around to make the legs spin out.
Luda’s eyes cannot get any bigger or they would pop out like Blowfer’s are right now. Since the boy is mesmerized, I swim closer and take the hapless puffer fish from his hands, then gently throw it in the direction of a plant bed.
“Hey! That’s not fair! I was only holding it.” Luda frowns at me and stares as if he were a barracuda. “You are a clam shell filled with sting ray poop! I am glad you are not my sister!” He flips sand at me with his light coral-colored fin. I cannot help but laugh. His hair and eyes remind me so much of Kairavini’s, except Luda has a smattering of freckles across his nose and cheeks.
“Sorry, abalone face.” I turn to go. “I guess you don’t want any of this octopus for dinner . . .”
“All right, all right!” He swims up to me and takes hold of an octopus arm, moving it around as if it were a sea snake. “I’ll tell you! Everyone is inside their rooms waiting for the delegation. Zuberi is worried about where you are, since you are supposed to be ready.”
“But the delegation isn’t here yet, right?” It would never do for a potential marriage candidate to be late. I reach up and rub my shell necklace.
“No, silly. Do you think I’d be out here if they were in there?” He jerks his head the direction of the reef entrance. “I’m the guard out here right now.” Luda puffs out his chest, again resembling the puffer fish, who is hiding in some plants far away from Luda. “I will let everyone know when the delegation comes.”
“I understand. Thank you, little friend.” I reach to ruffle his hair, but he dodges and sails off to chase another fish.