That night I couldn't sleep. The gentle rocking of the ship made my eyelids feel heavy, but my thoughts buzzed annoyingly around in my head like angry wasps. I slipped out from under the blankets and felt my bare feet hit the wood floor. I was wearing a light blue nightgown, more like a simple dress than anything else. I didn't bother to put any shoes on, just slid out into the dark night.
The stars twinkled joyously from a clear, cloudless sky, and the waves tossed themselves repeatedly against the keel of the boat, beating a steady soothing rythm. No one stopped to talk, not even the sailors who patrolled the deck, speaking to eachother in low whispers. They simply saluted me and cast me generous smiles which I returned. I went to the rail and looked out over the silvery waves, letting the wind caress my face and put it's silken fingers through my red hair.
The starlight glinted enticingly on the water below, inviting me to dive in. I resisted the urge, though I would have loved to feel the cold water against my skin. I watched the waves intently, enjoying the way they were never the same twice. Something caught my eye, and for a moment I thought I saw a large fish leaping out of the water. But it wasn't shaped right. It disappeared and I didn't have time for a second look. But it appeared again and again, the irregular shape followed by a long silvery-green tail.
I stared at the water. What sort of creature was this? Then, suddenly, a person's head popped out of the water, and I nearly screamed in fright. The girl, if a girl she was, put her finger to her lips, eyes wide and terrified, begging me not to say a word. Then she rose on a wave and touched my cheek with long white fingers. She looked curious, as if she'd never seen a human before.
Bringing her fingers to her lips again, she descended towards the waves. As the long silvery tail slipped beneath the surface, the wind carried a simple phrase to me, spoken in a beautiful voice.
"My name's Amii, what's yours?"
I whispered my name back, placing my hand where she had touched my cheek. "Marina."
I slipped back to my cabin, knowing that no one would ever believe my story. But if I wasn't much mistaken, I had just met a mermaid.