We’d come to see the last of the Mermaids, called it a conservation trip but really we were just there to gawk. And point. Stand in the background of a CNN reporter’s camera and wave to our friends back home who had thought we were cruel to come so far just for a sideshow.
But something hit us on the ocean’s edge, when we saw that scales were washing up apart from fins. These weren’t some ladyfish wearing seashells for false modesty, singing songs like Ariel. More than anything, they were like mutant seals: plastic bags knotted around their flippers and aluminum cans like shrapnel in their flesh. And maybe it was cruel to stare, as the news cameras instead captured our despair.
This post was written in response to this week’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers Challenge!
The photo prompt was provided by TJ Paris. Thank you!
You can read other stories inspired by this prompt here.