I was already at the Pirate King at age sixteen. I ruled the seas. I guess I thought that all that I wanted was all the gold, gems, and riches of the world.
But I learned there were some things in this world that were more important than the wide blue ocean.
There were some things more of a treasure than and the gold and gems in treasure chests.
There was something more important that bump, ba, bumped in my body.
It happened one day. It was the first time I met him that I truly felt alive.
The ship wasn’t headed in any direction. We left it afloat. I lounged in a lifeboat that was tethered to my ship.
I had fallen asleep when I suddenly felt water on my face. I sat up and saw a fin lower in to the water.
It’s some dolphin, I’m sure, I thought.
When suddenly a boy turned to me. He smiled widely. Had had wet tangles of Light brown hair around his face. He was beyond beautiful.
“What are you doing in the water?” I asked. We were in the middle of nowhere, and I didn’t recognize him from my crew.
“Swimming,” he said. “What else?” His voice was so goddamn cheerul.
“Well, come–” I started to say. I was going to invite him on board.
But he leaned back, his hands behind his bed, and he floated on top of the water, and a tail fin rose from the water. I followed the fin all the way up to his waist.
“There’s no way…” I muttered.
“What that mermaids exist?” He said and laughed. “Of course I do.”
He grabbed onto my boat, and tipped it over. I cried out as I fell into the sea. “What the hell?”
“Get your sea legs, captain,” he said and winked.
“I’m no Pirate Captain, merman–” I said in between heavy breathes as I doggy paddled to wade the water.
“Well, Captain, I’m not just a merman, my name is Aranis,” he said.
“I told you! I’m not a Captain! I am Diarmud the Pirate King!”
“Pirate King, huh?” He asked. “Impressive”
“Quite so, Aranis.” I managed to climb back into my boat, and I sat in it.
“Well, if we’re being technical…my name is Prince Aranis. I live in the Underwater Realm of Atlantis where I will someday rule as King.”
“So, I rule the seas up here,” I said and gestured around. “And you will rule the waters down below?”
“Correct,” he said with a grin. “Well, I’ll be off!” And just as quickly as he came, he ducked down into the waters.
“Wait!” I cried out. My heart was beating in a manner I’d never known. It felt like my greatest treasure of all was sinking into the seas.
“What?” He said as he came back to the surface.
I felt relief flood my body as I saw his gentle face, his soft blonde hair, and his chiseled physique. I was starting to fell the effects of what I once thought was a myth, a fiction. But I was thinking that this was love at first sight.
“I’ll be back,” he said with a wink, and then he swam down below.
“Drop anchor!” I shouted. “The ship stays here!”
“Aye, aye captain!” My crew replied.
And at the same time the next day, Aranis returned.
“Hello,” he said, holding the sides of my boat.
“Aranis,” I said. “If I may be so forward: I missed you…”
“Even if that is so,” he said. “Nothing can ever come of this, my King.”
“As King of these Seas, what I want can happen, Aranis.”
He smiled softly, and lifted himself up, and he leaned into my face, kissing me softly. I kissed him back and we never stopped.
It was like this for days.
But soon my crew grew tired of staying in the same place, and we were running low on supplies.
“Come with me,” I told Aranis.
“But it cannot be?”
“I have found a way, my pet,” I said, and I held out my hand to him, “Do you trust me, my treasure?”
He gulped down hard as if he could swallow down his anxieties. He took my hand and said, “Yes.”
I live on the seas. My crew and I get supplies, and then go back on the water. I send my crew out on fool’s errands, on trips with treasure marks that only sometimes lead to gold.
I didn’t care.
I walked into my quarters, where the only treasure I needed was there.
Aranis swam behind glass. He held his hand out, pressing it to the glass, and I pressed my hand against his. He mouthed, “Help me. Free me.”
If he weren’t in water, tears would stream down his face. He was full of the deepest sorrows.
But he was my greatest treasure, and as Pirate King? I would never let him free.
Featured image source: (The Pirate’s Treasure)