Dryad in My Kelp Garden

Story 1 of an upcoming zine. The store is relaunching in 2021!

The mermaid lurked in the kelp, warily watching the feet dipping into the water. She rolled spells over in her mind in preparation. This is her garden and she was ready to defend it!

Bright pink hair drew up from the water’s surface as the mermaid sought to confront the trespasser — but her angry snarl was immediately swelled by a look of complete and utter confusion. She knew music, of course, but this was a tonal blessing previously unheard.

The dryad sat up, smiling, on her floating log. She spoke in a breezy language with a voice deeper than her short, plump form would indicate. The dryad pocketed her kalimba in the satchel slung over her shoulder and gestured with her hands, her expression mixing soft apologies with joyous salutations, and through it all, she kept singing.

The mermaid stared slack jawed at the verdant-skin wonder floating before her, utterly dumbfounded, unable to respond. “I — how — welcome to my red kelp garden! I mean, yes of course you are welcome, oh, I mean, hi! I am Strawberry, can I get you anything? Would you like a tour? Can you stay for lunch? Land’s sole purpose to exist is to be trod upon by your gorgeous legs —”

“Oh moon I didn’t mean to say that aloud!” Strawberry’s light blue skin blushed a bright cobalt.

Mercifully, though, the dryad simply tilted her head and smiled. She spoke a word, maybe a sentence, maybe a holy sermon containing every joy in the Netherworld, and most assuredly the greatest symphony the mermaid had ever heard — but the words were pure song alone.

The language barrier, for now at least, is unscalable.

Strawberry rested her arms against the dryad’s log, her tail swishing slowly back and forth in the water below to keep her afloat. She grinned shyly up to the dryad who, though not understood, kept talking. Finally she indicated her kalimba with a inquisitive expression. Strawberry nodded eagerly, “yes! Please play more!”

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