Awakening by Kitty Thomas

Book: Awakening by Kitty Thomas Read Free Book Online
Authors: Kitty Thomas
Tags: Erótica
You may know or think you know of Atlantis, but you are probably less familiar with another island people think of as equally mythic: Meropis. Both of these places exist in a world that stands next to yours but never can overlap or cross. Basically, you can’t get there from here, or here from there. But I can tell you about it, and you can believe me. Or not.
    Meropis is just beyond Oceanus, or what most here call the world-ocean. On this island are three key places, two of which I would suggest visiting if it were possible for you to get here. The third of which I would suggest never coming near. These places are Eusebes, Machimos, and Anostos.
    Anostos has no day or night and is covered in a red, cloudy haze. I’d seen it many times from the water when I swam too close to the shore. The place fascinated me in its strangeness. It is on Anostos that I met my Master, Kyros. Only it didn’t start out that way, since he’s human, and I was a mermaid.
    When I was young, my mother warned me, not just of Anostos, but of land. She said: “Nerina, never go too close to the shore or a man might take you and seduce you. If that happens, you can never come back to the sea.”
    My mother was on the dramatic side. She believed in myths and legends more than I ever did. The legend went that if a man could arouse a mermaid’s desire deeply enough, she’d turn human and forevermore be at the mercy of his lust. It sounded like a scare story my father would have cooked up to keep us all in line. And it worked. On most of us.
    Mermaids don’t have sex. We’d heard about it. Some of us got close enough to see a few humans do it once. Or a few monkeys. And if you ask me, there just is no difference. We were glad we didn’t have to do something so undignified to reproduce.
    Merfolk are very private. Although we don’t wear clothing, our lack of sexual reproduction makes nothing seem sexual to us. Females lay their eggs in private, then a male comes along and fertilizes them. It’s a very neat, clean partnership.
    So the idea that a human male could ever awaken a physical lust in a mermaid was too silly to entertain. Which might be why, in my curiosity over Anostos, I swam too close to the shore one day and got caught in a net.
    A fisherman eyed me curiously, then started yelling to others to come take a look. They ogled my chest, and I quickly moved my hands to cover the parts that looked too much like the parts of their kind’s females. Mermaids produce milk for the babies. That’s all breasts are for. No one else would ever think to touch them. That was another one of those dirty human things.
    “What does the master want done with it? Mermaid fin is a delicacy. He’s got that party tonight.”
    My heart hammered in my chest. I’d forgotten their kind were known to eat my kind. Well, not everything, just the part that was different. The part that didn’t look like them. This knowledge brought little comfort, since they couldn’t have part of me for dinner without killing all of me. And I very much didn’t want to die.
    One of them came closer and ran a hand over my fin in the way one touches an object they’ve just purchased or a piece of fruit they’re trying to decide if they want to buy. “Looks like there’s enough here to feed the whole party.”
    I cringed and tried to pull away from him, but it was harder to maneuver myself on the shore. I was utterly helpless, and for a brief moment I desperately wished I had legs so I could run. All at once the fishermen fell silent. When I looked up, I saw why. Coming down from the hill, out of the red haze, was a large and intimidating male, the man they’d been talking about. The man who held my life in his hands.
    “What have we here?” He looked down on me, his black eyes fathomless like the sea monsters my kind feared.
    One of the fishermen did a lot of genuflecting and said, “Master Kyros, we caught a mermaid. Would you like us to slaughter and prepare it for the

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