Alice Tethysdaughter In Search of a Home
The salty waves lapped at Alice’s bare feet. Her eyes were the same stormy color as the clouds above. Her long blonde hair was matted to her face as the tattoo on her arm glowed a soft green. A sad smile played on her lips as her tears blended with the ocean.
She had played in the ocean for her entire life. It was the one place where other children couldn’t tease her. None of them could swim like a mermaid. The water never bothered Alice, not even in winter.
Winter, with its cold reminders of another year gone by; its short, dismal days that never had enough light. The winter solstice that other looked forward to with much fanfare. Others that weren’t Alice.
Alice had always hated the winter solstice. The low tides continuously shortened the visits with her mother.
Tethys, wife of Poseidon, was one of the gentlest souls that Alice knew. She was as gracious as the Queen of the waters should be. Yet she was often distant. That didn’t bother Alice though. At least she saw her. Time with her mother was precious to Alice; Poseidon would only allow her to visit once a year.
Every year on this, the shortest day Alice made her way to the shores at dawn. She would walk until she was waist deep before feeling her mothers loving embrace as the waves crashed against her frail body.
At any other time of the year Alice wasn’t allowed in the waters of Poseidon. This was better than the punishment from her fathers wife though. Hera, the Queen of the Gods, was a woman who constantly had to defend her position to the others. Sadly, it was Zeus’ offspring that usually paid the price. Consequently Alice was never allowed to have a child, or to marry. Nor was she allowed to grow into an adult. To make matters worse, whenever she was near live cattle they tended to stampede.
Alice couldn’t blame the great Queen though. To constantly have to defend yourself against the others must be humiliating. This was something that Alice could relate to.
Humiliation. Alice knew that emotion well. The feeling of never being good enough for the families that came through the orphanage wanting a spritely child. Never being pretty enough for the other children to play with. Never being polite enough for the caretaker at the orphanage. Always being compared to another person.
Centuries ago Alice had been condemned to eternal childhood. By the time she reached sixteen or so the waves always carried Alice away from one culture and into the uncertain arms of another.
This would be the last time she saw her mother in these waters. Within a few hours she would float away and wash up on another shore or in another time. With luck the shores would be warmer than these. Alice always hoped for that.
The chance that someone, somewhere would want a solemn child in search of a home. The chance that someone would defy the ancient gods and want an Alice of their own. That someone would let her grow up and live a life other than that decreed by the gods.
Alice didn’t think it was too much to ask for. Then again she didn’t think living was too much to ask for. After all if she could truly live, she could die. She had seen so much in the centuries since her birth that Alice yearned to feel any of it. All she needed was for someone to deny the gods and give her that chance at life.
Before her thoughts could finish the waves pulled her further into the ocean and under its crisp, clean surface. Alice gave a sorrowful smile as the inevitable occurred; it was time to go. The waves rose higher and higher as the current pulled her into deeper waters, that modern mortal eyes would never see.
Rather than struggle against the waves Alice drifted into them; she accepted their chilly comfort as she would the arms of a parent. Hoping that this time they would carry them into the arms of a forever home.
If you enjoyed this piece you might enjoy my latest book, “Spirit of Winter”. Available here. As will all my books, Spirit of Winter is printed in the double spaced format. This is a format that I have termed “Easy Read” because it allows for people with dyslexia to read.