Havok Publishing

The Seventh of July

By Anne of Lothlorien

So many humans seem to love their fairy tales more than their own world. They wish themselves back to the days of knights and princesses, dragons and mermaids….

Well, this mermaid is happy to have progressed beyond that. I for one am delighted with the opportunities these modern times give. I’ve learned so much about human things, like motorboats and tacos. I even have a human friend now! There’s a chance I annoy him with my constant visits and questions, but there’s so many new things to learn about; so much mischief to get into.

I broke the water and brushed long strands of hair from my face. Most of my friends cut their hair short, to better move through the water, but I loved the way it flowed around my face. In the air, hanging in limp sections, it wasn’t nearly as elegant. But I could deal with it.

“Hey! Kyma!”

I flicked my tail and turned in a quick circle, looking for the source of the call. This early in the morning, there was only one boat with someone on it, moored at the end of an old… duck? No. An old dock. It was hard to keep up with the human words for everything.

I dove deep, gliding toward the shadowy underside of the boat. In summer the water frequently warmed to the bottom, but the sun had barely risen yet, and I enjoyed the cool flow past my face. A small human-shaped blob wavered above the surface, and I burst out right below his nose.

The young man stumbled back and tripped over a cooler. “Geez Louise!”

I laughed. “Good morning, Carl.” Hooking my arms over the side, I floated lazily as he grumbled and scooted around picking up the spilled snacks.

“What brought you out this early?” I asked as he gathered crinkly bags.

“Just setting things up for the fireworks later.”

“Oh, for that seventh of July thing, right?”

“Fourth, Kyma, fourth,” Carl laughed and shut the cooler lid. He sat down on it and scooted closer to the edge of the boat. “No more surprises like that, all right?”

“No promises.” I flipped my hair over my shoulder and angled my tail, the shinier scales reflecting light onto Carl’s shirt. Looking down at the shimmers on his chest, he sighed long-sufferingly.

“So…” I bobbed up eagerly, trying to peer around him and under the warped benches. “Where’re the fireworks?”

“I knew that’d get your interest.” He pulled a crate out and pushed it over to me. “Have a look. Just don’t pull out any fuses, and don’t get anything wet.”

I looked down at the jumble of tubes and twisted bundles. Gingerly I poked a giant cylindric package and wrinkled my nose. “What’s a fuse?”

While I explored the crate, Carl explained fireworks to me. He pulled a lighter from his pocket and showed me how, with a flick of his finger, he had fire to set off fuses.

“Later tonight, my brother and I will row out and put on a show for everyone.”

“Is it safe?”

He grinned and knocked the metal side of the boat. “It’s not flammable, and it’s just a rowboat, so there’s no motor or gas. We should be fine.” It was impossible to miss the excitement in his voice, and I smiled. I’m always amused by traditions and how important they were to them. I couldn’t deny a touch of excitement myself, wondering how the fireworks would look…

“Gonna grab my jacket from the truck, be right back.” Carl hoisted himself to the dock and jogged down the beach, leaving me with the fireworks.

And the lighter…

I could just test one for him…

Before I knew it, I’d grabbed a firework out and balanced it on the railing of the boat. The lighter took a bit to get the hang of, but eventually I had a little flame held just under the fuse.

Wait. Should I? I watched the fuse burn and bit my lip. There was still time to splash some water on it and snuff it out. It wouldn’t hurt to test just one, right?

Then the firework was gone.

A shrill scream filled my ears, and I whipped around, thinking someone saw, until I realized the noise was from the firework. It shot into the sky, whistling and shrieking like an eel, and I clapped my hands over my ears. A sharp boom, and then…

Oh, it was beautiful. The colors, the sparkles…

“Kyma!”

I turned as Carl sprinted down the dock and jumped into the boat. It rocked wildly, throwing off my grip and I slipped into the water. Carl’s wavy outline folded its arms, and I cringed.

“So…” I stayed hunched down, showing only my face. “It wasn’t a good idea to test one for you?”

Carl stared. “Not at six-thirty in the morning! Good grief, most people aren’t even awake yet!”

“Sorry.”

“Last time I leave a mermaid with my stuff,” he grumbled, scooting the crate of fireworks far out of reach. He thrust out his hand and I sheepishly returned the lighter.

“It was so pretty though. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Carl gave me a look, then sighed. “Yeah. They are pretty, aren’t they?”

***

Two days later, as soon as I surfaced next to his boat, Carl whacked me on the head with a roll of paper.

“Congrats Kyma, you made the news.” He unrolled it, revealing a newspaper with the headline “Earlier Than Expected.”

“There’s a whole story about the firework that went off at an ungodly hour and woke people up.” He joined my laugher after a moment of pretended annoyance.

My tail splashed mischievously. “I like being in the newspaper.”

“Don’t get any ideas for next year,” Carl warned, swiping at me again with the paper.

“No promises.” I winked. “I’m definitely looking forward to the next seventh of July!”

“Fourth, Kyma,” Carl groaned. “Fourth of July.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anne of Lothlorien’ made two decisions the summer she turned eight; to become a Christian and to become a writer. She’s never regretted either decision and knows she never will. Dabbling in all genres, but mostly fantasy and contemporary, Anne has many finished and unfinished short stories, novels, poems, and projects. When she’s not writing or reading, Anne enjoys journaling, watching movies, and graphic design. She loves roller coasters, cheesecake, Disney World, sparkly things, and getting mail.


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