Feb 16, 2019 6:18 PM
i lose my poor soul merman here with thee
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He watches him carefully as he leads him down the halls, ready to catch him.

They reach a large, heavy door, after some walking, and he palms the wall to open it.

Behind the door is an enormous room, with one wall all in glass, full of sand and vegetation and dominated by a large, deep pool of water. Past the window is — ocean, clear and vast and beautiful, shafts of light breaking from the surface illuminating glittering schools of fish and waving forests of seaweed. A hulking shape that might be a whale moves in the distance.

Something moves behind the wall, under the surface of the pool, as Kyou taps something out on his tablet.

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It hurts to look at something so beautiful. 

He stares at the maggots eating his feet, instead. 

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Glass shifts and moves, and something spirals up from under the water, fins fluttering and tail lashing.

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It breaches the surface.

“It” mostly resembles a young, athletic man, from the waist up, with black hair streaked with pale blue and large, dark eyes. Delicate fins sprout from his shoulders and wrists, and gills flutter on his neck and sides before closing up. There’s a row of long spines running down his back.

From the waist down he’s all fish, bright blue and black, wide fins floating and twisting in the pool.

He pulls himself up onto the shore.

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Then he notices Jean, and stops to stare.

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“That one’s real, right,” he asks Kyou. 

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“Yes.”

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“...what is this,” says almost-certainly-not-a-hallucination.

His accent is thick and entirely impossible to place.

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“Jean Dulac. It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance.”

He almost manages to sound pleased. It’s just that he’s leaning against the wall and shaking violently and trying not to vomit. 

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“...I don’t know these words.”

He looks aside at Kyou.

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“...he’s happy to meet you.”

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“I think too sick to be happy.”

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“I’m not sick.”

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The skeptical face does not abate.

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“Broken, not sick.”

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“Oh.”

He nods.

“...can’t see broken.”

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Kyou looks mildly concerned about all of this.

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He walks over to  the water, sits down. Holds out a hand, so the merman can see it shake. 

“I drank poison. Do you know poison? A thing that hurts you. So now my hands don’t work, and other things are broken too.”

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“...yes. I know this.”

He reaches out and takes Jean’s shaking hand in his.

“I have poison. I do this to a fish maybe.”

Stroking the back, feeling the tremors.

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When the merman touches him, he freezes, then flinches back.

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“He doesn’t want to be touched.”

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“I see this,” he says, arching an eyebrow at Kyou.

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“Scared of what?”

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He unbuttons the top three buttons of his shirt, opens it just far enough to reveal a tapestry of scars: long knife marks, irregular shapes, small circular burns just above the nipple.

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