Wings and a Tail
People say twins have an unbreakable bond. Even when they aren’t together, they can feel each other's presence. Twins will always be inseparable, unbreakable. They share everything with each other. They are each other’s best friend. But what if two twins were separated and forgot each other? What would happen to their unbreakable bond?
Melody and Harmony are two twins who were cursed at the age of nine. Melody was cursed with a mermaid tail and to never see the surface. Harmony was cursed with wings and to never touch the ground or water. They were separated for nine years, completely forgetting the other existed. They knew one thing. On April 19, their birthday, in 2002, they would get thirty days as a human. There are certain tasks they must complete to forever be human. They both have tattoos from the curse, and if they complete the tasks in time, the tattoos disappear. It seems easy, but maybe not for them. Difficulties pop up here and there, making their tasks harder. Controlling new limbs, getting rid of habits. This was going to be a whole new adventure.
“Hey, Melody! Catch!” I swiveled around and found myself face-to-face with a ball. Consciously, I threw my hands up and caught it just before it rammed into my face. I threw the ball to my friend, Anna, laughing.
“You need to stop throwing the ball to me when I’m not ready!” I said, pouting. Anna swam over and stuck out her tongue.
“Come on, we need to hurry before we miss the curfew!” Anna cried, dragging me with her.
“Geez, Anna. Curfew isn’t until 9:00. We don’t need to hurry at all,” I complained, swishing my tail. Right, I forgot to tell you. I’m a mermaid! You know, the ones that are really pretty and sing all day, those kinds of mermaids. Being a mermaid is fun, you get to play with dolphins and turtles, the coral architecture is beautiful, and our people are happy. Well ,everyone except for me, that is. Why? It’s because of one little problem. I can never see the sky. I tried to go up there once, but a current blew me back into the kingdom. I have tried over and over, one time it almost got me killed! The current blew me into a wall of sea thorns and I would’ve been pricked to death if the royal guards hadn’t found me. I can only watch in wonder as my friends go up to the surface, playing and splashing in the sunlight. Anna tells me everything about the surface. She tells me about the white fluffy things that look as light as air. She tells me about the animals that somehow stay up in a giant blue land that hangs over the sea. She tells me about the golden sand of the shore, and how beyond that golden landscape, there were green bushy coral that stay up on thin brown reeds. I try and picture it in my head, longing to go up and see the surface for myself. I’m snapped out of my thoughts by Anna, who is waving her hand in front of my face.
“Hello? Melody, you in there?” she asked. I blinked and nodded. Anna cocked her head to the side.
“You thinking about the surface again?” she asked, crossing her arms. I nodded slowly. Anna giggled.
“Honestly, it’s not that exciting. It’s just everything I told you,” Anna admitted. I sighed.
“I’ll never know until I see it for myself,” I said, looking longingly at the shimmering water above me. Anna rolled her eyes and groaned.
“Come on, we need to get back into the kingdom before the royal guards come for us,” Anna pleaded, tugging at my arm. I sighed and turned back to Anna.
“Fine, come on. Let’s go,” I said, finally giving in.
“You’re late,” The royal guards said once Anna and I swam up to the entrance to the kingdom.
“We apologize,” Anna said, bowing. The guards frowned and parted for us to enter.
“If you are late again, we will have to contact your parents,” the guards said, glowering at us. I swam past them, trying not to make eye contact. Once we were in the kingdom, Anna seemed to relax a whole lot. The kingdom is beautiful with its sea glass castle and all the little coral houses. Animals swam with all the merpeople and little children played with their little pets. I swam as fast as I could to my house. I had to get there quick or else he would find me.
“Hello, Melody,” an annoyingly silky voice said. I groaned and turned around. I faced Carl, an annoyingly handsome merman. He had brunette hair that fell into his dark brown eyes and a ripped torso. He had dark brown skin and a dark blue tail that shimmered in the water. He flashed me one of his trademark smiles that showed off all of his pearly white teeth, making all the girls in the vicinity gasp and sigh. I roll my eyes.
“Hi, Carl,” I reply unenthusiastically. He swims over and runs his hand through my hair.
“You look beautiful today, although not as beautiful as me, of course,” he said, flexing his arms. I growl and push him away.
“You’re disgusting,” I spat, tousling my hair. I was always being followed around by boys who are begging me to be their girlfriend. They are so desperate, they make me sick. I don’t know what they’re attracted to. I look like a normal mermaid, my hair was short and dark blonde with blue and green highlights that I got for fun. My eyes were sea green that flashed with a little sky blue and I had tan, warm skin. My tail was just a plain seaweed green tail that faded into a light green at my fins. I hardly wore any jewelry, I just wore a small gold bracelet my mother gave me that had a half of a heart charm on it. I always wear it, hoping that one day I would find the person with the other half of the heart. I squirmed in Carl’s grasp, trying to pull away.
“Hey look, there’s Anna!” I say, trying to distract Carl. He shakes his head.
“Anna is not the one I want. The one I want is you,” he says, looking at me lovingly. I mouth a silent “help me” to Anna. She swims over and slaps Carl across the face. During the one second that Carl fell back, shocked, Anna pulled me back and we swam away as fast as we could. I could hear Carl calling my name far behind me, but I didn’t look back. When Carl’s voice had faded, I finally stopped swimming. I sat on the top of a coral house, trying to catch my breath.
“Ugh. Carl is so annoying,” I groan as Anna sits next to me.
“Yeah, he seems to like you though,” Anna says. I retch, sticking out my tongue.
“Why can’t he go bother some other mermaid? Why does it have to be me?” I whine, pouting. Anna laughs, giving me a slight shove.
“Because you’re beautiful,” she said, pushing a stray strand of hair behind my ear. I smirk sarcastically.
“You’re prettier than I am,” I said looking at Anna. She was prettier than I was. Anna had light red hair that went down to her shoulders and a forest green tail. She had fair skin and a kind smile that matched her jade green eyes. She wore jewelry, today it was a silver dangling necklace and silver bracelets and earrings to match. She wore a small headband of seashells on her head and accompanied that with a small spiraling conch shell ring that sat on her index finger. She definitely looked way better than I did. Anna chuckled and shook her head.
“I may look prettier than you, but you have a better personality. That’s what people can see in you. Nobody cares about how pretty you are, they care about how nice you are,” Anna said, taking my hand. I scoffed, rolling my eyes.
“I doubt that Carl cares about how nice I am,” I said, laughing. Anna joins in, giggling as well. After a few minutes of talking, Anna started to yawn.
“I should probably get going. My mom would kill me if I arrive home too late,” Anna said sleepily. I nod, yawning as well.
“See you tomorrow, Melody!” Anna calls as she swims away. I wave goodbye and swim off to my house, well if you could call it that. I don’t have any parents. I sit down on my bed, wondering what’s going to happen tomorrow. Then I realize what day tomorrow would be.
Have you ever dreamed of flying? The feeling of soaring through the clouds, having the wind blowing under your arms, it’s my least favorite feeling. Well, actually, I used to love it, until I got sick of it. I spend most of my days in the sky, soaring with the eagles and hawks, watching the airplanes fly by. I try my best to stay away from the airplanes, because if the humans see me, they’d freak. Oh right, I forgot to tell you. I have wings. Big feathery wings like falcons or eagles. My wings have golden and brown feathers with some feathers being white and black striped. They are longer than my arms and some feathers reach down to my leg. Other than my wings, I look like a pretty normal girl. I have dark blonde hair and electrifying blue eyes with little sparkles of sea green. I have warm tan skin and small, delicate lips. I spend my days flying through the skies, zooming and twirling through the air, leaving streaks of white smoke in the air. It gets tiring, but I can’t stop. If I touch the ground, my feet start burning and I get pushed back up. I can’t sit on clouds because of science, so basically I’m flying 24/7. That makes sleeping really difficult. I have to rest my wings sometime, so I need to stay in a tree. Every time I go near the trees, the burning feeling comes back, making me fly back up into the clouds. I spent weeks, months searching for a place I could rest. Finally, I found a tall tree in a forest, tall enough so that I could stay in it without getting burned. Since it was so high up in the air, there weren’t many animals staying in it. In fact, there weren’t many animals at all. Speaking of which, it’s getting late. I should probably be going back to the tree now. It’s starting to get dark, and if I get caught in the open at night, I could get run over by airplanes. Especially since it is pretty foggy tonight.
I fly back to my tree, a majestic redwood tree, and climb into the slit I made in the tree. If you were wondering, no, I did not kill the tree. I just…carved out a little place for me to stay. No, that didn’t kill the tree either. In fact, I’m kind of surprised the tree didn’t die yet. After all the things I have done to it, I’m surprised that the tree hasn’t collapsed yet. Anyways, I slipped into the crack and sighed. The carving wasn’t too large. It was a circular room that I designed myself. I took branches from the redwood and made a table. All my bowls and plates are made from the branches of the redwood. I started to make my dinner, which was some watery, leafy green stew and berries. Where did I get the leaves and berries? Some of my eagle friends went down to the forest floor and brought me back some food. Sometimes, they brought back some small animals, which I denied. I’m a vegan because, well, I’m basically a human bird, right? Most birds eat things like rodents and worms, which I find disgusting. I mean, they’re basically alive. Wait, wouldn’t that be cannibalism? Urgh. That upsets my stomach just thinking about it. Because of that, I only eat fruits and vegetables. Sometimes nuts, but never meat.
Today the eagles did bring a mouse for me, but I gave it back to them, and I watched as the eagles ripped apart the mouse piece by piece. I gagged and turned away, slowly sipping my stew.
I thought about everything that went on today. There wasn’t really much, just flying. I saw three airplanes and I raced a falcon. I won, surprisingly. I thought of other things, the newborn eaglets, how the gray clouds would tumble over the sky, alerting me that rain was soon approaching. I thought about things I would like to do, I wanted to fly around the world, touch the ground, see the ocean… Oh right, I want to see a body of water. I can never get close enough to the ocean to see it in it’s full beauty. I get my water from the rain, keeping it in a pail the eagles brought back from the ground. Sometimes I find myself watching the water ripple in the wind, mesmerized by the way the light reflects off of the water. I’ve heard that somewhere in the ocean, there are big, colorful stones and lots of different kinds of animals without wings. There are green things that float in the water and frothy white things that line the blue water when it rises. I wish I could see the ocean. I fiddle with a small gold chain around my neck. On the chain, there was a small golden heart. But the heart wasn’t full, it was just a half of a heart. I don’t remember where I got it. In fact, I don’t remember a time when I didn’t have the necklace. I wear it because I hope one day I will find who has the other half. After I finish my stew, I nibble on some berries. These are raspberries, I think. The red juices of the berries stain my fingers as I wonder if someone really had the other half of the heart.
After I have eaten the berries, I make my nightly round to the hawk’s nest. I am friends with one of the hawks there, and they just had an eyass, or a baby hawk if you like to call it that. I fly over to the hawk’s nest and flutter over the little pile of twigs and branches. I see the little hawk, barely a month old, eating some food his mother was feeding him. I can’t wait to see him grow up and fly. After I visit the hawk’s nest, I fly over towards the shore, looking at the ocean, hoping that one day I would be able to touch the water. The stars are shining so bright tonight, that it’s hard to close my eyes. I make a wish on a star, even though I know it’s childish. I wish that one day I could visit the sea. I curl up on the floor of my small room and tuck my wings underneath me so I can keep myself warm.
“Tomorrow is a special day,” I think to myself as I fall asleep.
I wake up and the first thing I see is Anna right above me, smiling.
“Happy birthday, Melody!!” she chirps, hugging me. I smile and laugh as she does a little dance around the room, her hair floating around her.
“Finally eighteen!” I say happily, climbing out of my bed. For some reason, I feel strange, like something in my gut is trying to kick me. I frown and brush it off, assuming that it’s just a cramp from the night before.
“I have so much planned for you today!” Anna squealed as she dragged me through the kingdom. “We’re going to go see your favorite sculptures and spend the day in the park, then we can go outside the kingdom and swim with the dolphins before we need to come back,” she said excitedly. I laughed and swam up to her.
“Oh yeah, I forgot!” Anna said, handing me a small package. “Here's your birthday present!” I thanked her and tore open the little package. Inside, there was a little charm bracelet that Anna made herself. I admired all the charms. One was a small dolphin that Anna had crafted herself, a small green jewel acting like it's eye. Another charm was a small silver heart. I smiled, remembering where we got that charm from. When we were little, we were playing near the reef and we found the small silver heart. I let Anna keep it, but I never expected her to give it back. I smiled and looked at the other charms. There was one of a mermaid, one of a starfish, one of an M, for my name, of course, and one of a thing I didn't recognize.
“What's this one?” I asked, pointing to the small charm. Anna looked at me sheepishly.
“I see those high above me when I go to the surface. I thought you might like to see one,” she said, biting her lip. I smiled and thanked her.
“I love it. Thanks, Anna,” I said, hugging her. Once I pulled away, I saw two royal guards swimming over to me.
“Oh great,” I groaned as they approached us, their faces stern.
“Miss Eichler, please follow us,” they said, pulling me away from Anna. She shrugged hopelessly and watched as I got dragged away by the guards. The royal guards took me to the castle, and I couldn't object. I swam in and was met with the king of the sea, Poseidon. I didn't expect to see him. Usually, his son, Triton, rules over us. Even then, we barely ever see Triton, either. I immediately bowed before him.
“Lord Poseidon. It is an honor to meet your acquaintance,” I say, still bowing. Poseidon smiled and nodded curtly.
“Melody, do you know why I brought you here?” Poseidon asked me. I shook my head.
“No, sir,” I said. Poseidon sighed.
“Melody, you are a very special girl, you know that. But there is someone out there just like you,” he said, his eyes sparking. I look at him quizzically.
“What?!” I ask, confused. Poseidon averts his gaze.
“Melody, you have a twin sister,” he said.
“WHAT?! No, Lord Poseidon. You must be mistaken,” I said, shaking my head. “I don't have any siblings.” Poseidon shakes his head.
“No, you have a twin sister. I should know. I'm the one who cursed you and your sister,” I stumbled back in shock.
“You cursed me?!” I cried, before clapping my hand to my mouth. “I apologize, Lord Poseidon. I shouldn't have yelled,” Poseidon shook his head.
“You have all the right to yell,” he said, rubbing his temple. “It's been eighteen years and you just found out that you have a sister.” I just looked shocked, my mouth hanging open. Poseidon let out a breath.
“I believe I owe you an explanation,” he said, inclining his head. I nodded, still in a daze. Poseidon started telling his tale, a tale that I couldn't believe was actually my life.
“This wasn't your fault,” he said, wringing his hands nervously. “It was your mother who put this curse upon you and your sister. When you and your sister were just babies, your mother angered me and my brother, Zeus. She begged us to have mercy and let her go. My brother and I aren't ones to let people off easily, so instead of cursing her, we cursed you and your sister. You, I cursed to be a mermaid. You would never be able to see the sky. Your sister, on the other hand, was cursed with wings. She would never be able to touch the ground, or get near it for that matter. Your mother was devastated, so we made a deal with her. On your 18th birthdays, you and your sister will have 30 days as a human. You will need to complete some tasks with your sister, or you will turn back into a mermaid and be cursed forever,” Poseidon said, his green eyes glittering. I looked at my tail, swishing it around in the water.
“So, I'll lose my tail, but I can go up to the surface?” I asked, a million thoughts rushing through my head. Poseidon nodded, smiling. I think for a minute and frown.
“What about my mom? Can I see her on the surface?” I asked hopefully. Poseidon bit his lip uncomfortably.
“I'm sorry, Melody. Right after you and your sister were cursed, your mother angered my brother, Hades. He wasn't as lenient as me or Zeus. He killed her directly with no mercy,” he said, hanging his head. I nodded slowly, playing with my charm bracelet.
“Okay. So, now what?” I asked him, looking up. He waves his hand around.
“I need to make you a human now. When you get to the surface, look for your sister. Explain everything to her, I know Zeus won’t be as kind to her. Tell her everything, and make sure to not leave out anything,” he said as my vision swam.
“Wait! How will I know who is my sister?” I cried. Poseidon looked at me with his wise eyes.
“You will know. If you really want to be sure, your bracelet may help you,” Poseidon said as he faded away and my vision went black.
When I woke up again, the first thing I saw was a big blue landscape with little white things dotting along it. I groan and sit up, feeling the little grains of sand underneath my….. tail? I gasp. My tail is gone, replaced with a pair of thin, pale, driftwood-like objects under my body. I don't know whether I want to scream or cry. I pick screaming, making all the animals in the vicinity take off. I feel around, making sure my bracelets were still on. Poseidon at least had the decency to put some clothes on me. I wore a orange and blue dress with an anchor on it. My dark blue leggings matched the little anchor on my dress, and I wore some olive green hiking boots. Wait, how do I know all these terms? Mermaids never wore leggings. I just brushed it off and assumed Poseidon stuck a few new words in my head so I wouldn't embarrass myself in front of my sister. Suddenly, I felt like I could name everything around me. The blue landscape above me was a sky, the white puffs hanging in it were clouds. The green corals were trees, and the things that replaced my tail were legs. I blinked. What was I here for again? Oh right. I need to find my sister. I try to get up, brushing myself off. Then I realize one important thing. I don't know how to walk. Every time I try and stand up, I immediately fall back down. I crawl towards a rock, and get up, inch by inch. When I finally master standing up, I am faced with a new challenge. Walking. I sigh and take a few steps before I feel the familiar sand in my hair. I sigh and shake my head. This could take some getting used to.
After what has seemed like forever, I have finally mastered the skill of walking. Who knew coordinating two of your limbs would be so hard? Now I just need to find my sister. I groan. The ocean was huge, I could never explore the whole thing. Who knew how big this new world was? It could take forever for me to find my sister. I get up and start searching, thinking about where my sister could be. I don’t even know her name. How am I supposed to find someone I don’t know the name of? She had wings, so she must be somewhere high up. I scan around, looking for something higher. The trees. Of course. Those will get me up into the sky. I walk over to the closest tree and start climbing. Of, course, with my skills of controlling four limbs, it took a while. After I got two feet of the ground, I gave up. I decided to head towards the town, where people can help me find her.
The next day, the first thing I did was fall. I got up, went outside to get breakfast, started to fly, and then I fell. Best way to start your birthday. I squeezed my eyes shut, not knowing what would happen if I fell to the ground. I fell in a pile of leaves, and I didn’t burn. That’s weird. First my wings wouldn’t work, then I didn’t burn when I touched the ground. I look back to see where my wings used to be, to see my back, free from any feathers. Was this a birthday miracle? I decided to go to town to ask for help.
Walking was rusty to me. I probably looked stupid as i walked to town. Maybe in town there will be people to help me. I walked to Discovery Park, the closest place I could walk to. I saw a sign.
“Discovery Park is a 534 acres park on the shores of Puget Sound in the Magnolia neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. It is the city's largest public park and contains 11.81 miles of walking trails.” I read aloud. This is going to take a while.
I walked for who knows how long, until I found a girl. She was about my height, had green eyes, and blonde hair with streaks of blue and green. She looked like me. I walk over to her, hoping she might know something that could help me. I tapped her shoulder.
“ Hi, I’m Harmony. And you are?” I asked.
She stared at me, like she’s never seen a person before.
“ Melody…” She replied. She kept staring at my necklace, while fiddling with something on her wrist.
What a coincidence, our names match… and so do most of our other features. I look down at what she was fiddling with, and I notice that it was a charm bracelet. I look at the charm, and gasp. It was the other half of my heart.