Writer In Motion: Week 3, Draft 1

The seahorse wouldn’t leave Alora alone. It kept pecking at her neck and it was starting to hurt. “What do you want?” she shouted.

Unfurling its tail, the seahorse dropped a small shell into Alora’s lap and skittered away. The shell was painted deep blue with yellow stripes which meant only one thing. Swimming up suddenly, she knocked the shell from her lap and it slowly drifted through the water to the surface below.

Shaking off the sleep, she reached for her trident and bounded down the path she was supposed to be patrolling. She’d fallen asleep on duty again and was certain to get chewed out again by her superiors. Her pulse was pointing now and she could feel her gills flushing water against her skin. What did she miss? She must have missed something to get a blue shell.

Approaching the end of her route Alora saw it. There, off in the distance, she could just make out the ripples and shadow far on the surface of the water. A human boat.

Reaching to her hip she grabbed her horn, brought it to her mouth, and blew. A deep blast echoed through the water causing nearby sealife to slink away and hide. The noise dissipated quickly and nothing appeared to happen but she knew better.

Bracing herself, Alora raised a hand above her head at the ready letting the horn fall to her hip. Suddenly her hand was engulfed with a tentacle and she was yanked upward. She raised her trident hand and another tentacle wrapped around it and pulling her upward.

Held in place at the head of the giant octopus she gently rested her hand against the animal’s skin, interfacing with it and taking control. Their minds connected as she danced her fingers over its skin instructing it what to do. The tentacle grasped her a bit tighter as it adjusted course toward the ship above.

Looking left and right Alora checked that her other companions had heard the horn as well. The fins of two great whites flanked her as they all raced toward their target. Making eye contact their souls connected, they were awaiting her orders.

Coming up under the boat she thought through her options. They didn’t belong here and needed to leave. They were close to the Atlantean border and alarms would soon alert all the residents. She’d surely end up in jail serving hard time if she let that happen. That blue shell was bad enough, she couldn’t risk a border alert.

Gesturing with her hands first to the octopus and then the whites, the plan was laid. Coming just underneath the humans, the octopus lifted her up and over the stern dropping her into the boat. She landed with a thud against the wood planks, her trident clanging against the nearby anchor.

The three humans sitting around the edges, glass bottles in hand, scrambled from their chairs. One fell on his butt and the other yelped in surprise. Their pitiful human eyes were wide in fear. This race was weak and they needed to made examples of.

One by one Alora leapt across the stern and kicked or stabbed each of the scrawny human forms lifting them over the edge of the boat and into the water. They were horrible swimmers, even clams had more elegance in water.

Screams of pain and agony echoed through the blackness of night as the whites tore the humans to pieces. The waters around the boat were painted in blood as the crushing began. The octopus started tearing planks and contraptions off the roof of the rickety boat.

Alora reached up to one of the tentacles and briefly made contact, reminding it to not destroy the boat entirely. She wanted to deliver a message to the shore. Something the humans would remember.

Happy with the destruction being brought upon them, her gills were beginning to dry out. She needed to check the inside before departing. Walking forward she stopped just outside the vessel’s door and could hear it. A faint crying noise, a human infant. Pressing the door open she saw it. It was cradled in a clam-like structure and nestled within what looked like seaweed but she knew better.

The baby was innocent. It didn’t know any better and as such couldn’t be held responsible for the failings of its elders. She reached down and gently lifted it, pulling it close into her chest. Walking out of the chamber she returned to the stern.

There alongside the boat, the whites awaited Alora’s command as they playfully swam in the blood-red waters. Lifting her leg over the edge they swam up. She slowly lowered onto the back of the nearest, the infant still tucked safely to her chest.

She linked with the white and ordered it toward the nearest shore. She needed to drop the infant in a safe place.

Racing across the surface of the water, Alora looked to the left as the giant octopus was towing what remained of the human craft alongside her toward the same short. There on the bow, she could make out the name the humans had assigned the pitiful vessel, Point Reyes.

Alora wondered what it meant but realized at the same time she didn’t care. The humans were destroying her world and continued to trespass near Atlantis. Part of her hoped they’d heed this warning and change their ways. The other part of her hoped they’d ignore it. Their days were numbers and Atlantis would rise again someday, retaking this planet the was rightfully theirs.

Word Count: 931


I’m nearly 431 words over target. I’ve not edited at all and actually only reread the story once, trying to not change anything. During the next week I’ll do some self editing before it’s turned over to some critique partners.

I hope you enjoy what I wrote! I’m looking forward to sharing my results after editing and in the coming weeks.

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Writer In Motion: Week 4, Draft 2

The seahorse wouldn’t leave Alora alone. It swam around her face and kept pecking at her neck. She batted at it a few times and missed. The little bites were starting to hurt. “What do you want?” she shouted. Unfurling its tail, the seahorse dropped a small shell into...

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  1. Sheri MacIntyre

    Intriguing premise Sean! I liked your setting and your upside down world. I think we’re allowed 500-1000 words for our final. What’s your target age? I’m interested to see your final version!

    • Sean

      I was originally thinking Adult Fiction but I need to understand what level of violence is acceptable to YA.

  2. Stephanie Whitaker

    Alora seems like a pretty tough girl / mermaid… I love her name too.

  3. Ari Augustine

    Hey Sean! I love Alora. She’s the kind of mermaid who has her crap together and knows what she can handle. A quick question: Are the humans in this story aware of the mermaids?

    Like Sheri, I’m curious about the target age, and can’t wait to see how this story evolves.

    Great job!

    • Sean

      Great question. In my mind they’re mythical and the nature of Atlantis being hidden and “fantasy” keeps them away. Kinda like the fear of the Bermuda Triangle for years kept people from flying within it. That reality of them existing, humans not heeding to the myths (that weaken as time goes on), and also destroying the planet is what sets Alora off so quickly.

      I originally said Adult Fantasy but that was because I’m unfamiliar with what level of violence is acceptable for kids officially in YA and if my shark scene would preclude that categorization.

  4. CoffeeQuills

    The shell was what drew me into this completely – it makes me wonder what the colors mean, how they’ve either gotten that shell or seen it delivered to another, and what other colors might be. Looking forward to further edits!

    • Sean

      I’ve since writing this brainstormed some colors and delivery methods funny enough. That color spoke to me randomly when I was writing the piece so I just went with it.


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