By: Terri Talley Venters
Minerva awoke to the soothing sounds of the sea, just as she did each morning. As an early riser, she thrived on the solitude of her early morning swim. She meandered through the palace as her family slumbered. Arriving at the terrace, she jettisoned herself into the peaceful serenity of the open water.
She began her routine at mach speed, waking her body and mind up as her lithe form cut through the water like a spear. Feeling invigorated from the aqua sprint, she dove towards the depths of the sea.
She swam at the ocean bottom, admiring the tiny seahorses with their tails wrapped around the plant branches. The sand, undisturbed, sparkled as the rays of the morning sun breached the water's surface, illuminating the ocean floor.
Minerva froze, spotting a great white shark a hundred yards away. She prayed the carnivorous creature wouldn’t sense her presence. He appeared occupied with a bloody carcass at the surface. Her eyes scanned the surface above her as more sharks joined the great white and his feeding frenzy.
A dark shadow loomed over her, blocking sun’s rays. Scared, Minerva looked up, knowing the shadow’s source before she verified the terrifying object above her--a boat.
She swam away and headed home, wishing she’d never left the safety of Atlantis. But a wall of rope came towards her, it extended from the surface to the floor with its sides angled towards her.
She knew the dangers of the net; she’d witnessed it capture her fellow Atlantians. She retreated backwards, away from the dangers of mankind’s fishing net. She sensed a presence behind her. Fearful, she turned to face yet another enemy, the great white shark.
The enormous creature swam towards Minerva, trapping her between the net and his carnivorous intentions. He lunged towards her, but missed her in his closed-eye frenzy. She darted around the great beast, never taking her eyes off of the predator. She realized her mistake as the ropes of the net caught her fin.
The shark floated away in retreat, thus avoiding the net. But Minerva saw the net close around her struggling form. She stopped wiggling as the hopelessness sank in. Tears flowed as the net lifted her up towards the surface.
Crunched together with a mixture of fish, she saw the morning sun as the net rose Minerva out of the water and onto the wooden deck of the fishing boat.
“Captain, we’ve caught a mermaid!”