By Randi Krueger

Hi, my name is Willow and I have a brother named Ray and a sister named Sky. I am the oldest child in our family. We have our parents and our grandma. My grandpa sadly passed away four years ago. The crazy thing about our family is that my mother is human and my father is a merman, so they got three half-blood mermaids when they decided to have children. As a half-blood mermaid I can dry off and get legs. When I get in water again, my legs form into a tail and I can breathe underwater. It’s the same for my siblings, except our hair and tail colors are different. My hair is about to my knees and is a turquoise color, while both Ray and Sky have dark blue hair.

Our lives are run by a strange government that sorts us by the color of our hair. Blondes are wealthy, proper, wear fancy dresses, hold fans and are always so polite. The blondes’ jobs are making clothes and providing delectable foods. If they are talented enough, they can make jewelry or art.

The people with brown hair aren’t as fancy and are definitely not as polite as the blondes, at least that’s what I have heard. They believe in this weird thing that includes women doing all the housework, while the men’s jobs are building furniture and farming. The farming includes meat and all crops imaginable. This is only possible since the government can regulate the weather.

Then there are the black haired; they are the best at fighting! I read a book about their techniques. They were so amazing! Anyway, they make the best weapons, like swords, knives, bows and lots more! I would love to learn how to shoot a bow and arrow, it looks like so much fun!

Then there are all the half-bloods. We all live together to protect each other. It’s not allowed but if the other territories could get to us we would all be kidnapped and sold. Merpeople’s jobs are to find seafood and seashells, the centaurs write books about astrology and planets, the satyrs can usually get rare plants for medicines, and there is this half-blood bull man that makes a lot of bakery stuff. I don’t have the specifics on what the others do. All these things get transported on a boat tram, so each territory gets its own amount of goods from the others, but they too have to provide their share.

I forgot to mention that each tram stop has lots of guards to make sure that the goods arrive safely but most importantly that no one gets on or off the tram. The tram is the only way to get to the other territories and it is strictly forbidden that anyone rides it. This life is really unfair, for example if a child in the blonde community ends up with brown hair, well, that’s the end for them, same if you get caught riding the tram or in someone else’s territory. I guess if they wanted to spare you they could, but if the government found out you would all be killed.

You’re probably wondering why I didn’t mention the red-haired territory, well it doesn’t exist anymore, they rebelled against the government. The government killed lots of them, though some got away and now call themselves pirates. I’ve heard that they live in boats and rescue the children that are supposed to be killed. I’ve never met one but I think I’d like to one day.

“Willow! We have to go,” said Ray, he was being impatient about us having to look for shells.

“OK!” I say jumping in the water, it only took a few seconds for my shiny turquoise tail to form.

Ray was already ahead of me. When I caught up he said, ‘’I’II race you.”

Before I could say anything, he took off! All I could see was his shiny green tail ahead of me. Then I saw this weird looking wall type thing that seemed to move. I didn’t know what that was, but Ray didn’t even seem to see it?

“Stop, Ray! Slow down!” I yelled but it was too late. He had already run into it.

“Will, help me! I’m stuck!” he yelled.

As I was swimming towards the wall it started moving upward and I panicked. I swam as fast as I could, but it wouldn’t stop. By the time I got there the net was out of the water. “ I can’t just leave him!” I thought. “I need to get him out!” So, I jumped. I jumped so high that I could finally grab onto the thing holding Ray.

It all happened so fast. One second I was hanging on for dear life, the next I was thrown onto a hard floor tangled in this weird substance. All I could see was people trying to get to us until I heard someone say, “Back up, what did you catch?”

They all listened, they all backed off and I saw the one that spoke. He was really tall and looked powerful, he had on a large trench coat and had several swords on his belt, but the thing that stood out most was his red hair.

“You’re a pirate,” I said nervously, but did not even realize I had spoken.

“Yes, I am, and you two must be half-bloods,” he said. “Great, that will be about 4 million in my pocket once I sell you.”

“You can’t sell us!” I yell while standing up. I look to Ray who is still trying to comprehend what’s happening.

“Why not? I need the money and you two seem like the perfect opportunity to get it,” he says as he grabs my wrist and drags me to the bottom of the floating device. He throws me into a box shaped thing with bars, locks the door and leaves.

A few seconds later my brother gets dragged down here as well except that he is put in a farther away box. As I contemplate what to do, someone comes down and slides food under the door. It’s been a while since I have had food, so without thinking I eat all of it.

After a few minutes I start to feel dizzy. I have never felt this way, it feels like the world is spinning. Then just darkness. I wake up to a bird screaming in my ear. “Shoo!” The bird flew away.

Then I check my surroundings, it looks like I am chained to a low bridge in my human form. Ray is next to me. I reach out and shake him. “Hey Ray, get up we have to go now, we have to try to get out of here. Buddy, get up, the pirates are gone we have to go now!”

After a few seconds he stirs. “Will, we really need to get out of here,” he says sleepily before he realizes that I actually mean it. “But how are we supposed to do that?” he asks.

“Well, first we need to get out of these chains,” I say while messing with them. “They didn’t put them on too tight so I can just slip them off,” I say as I slip the chains off my wrists.

Ray grumps, “Well lucky for you, my hands are bigger!”

I remember reading about how black-haired picked locks to get into things. After I read that I was so obsessed that I bought my own lock picking set and carry it with me all the time. “I remember!” I say as I fish the kit out of my pocket.

“That sure would have been useful in that floaty thing,” Ray said annoyed as I picked at his lock.

“One done finally,” I say as I move to the other lock. As I am working, I feel Ray flinch.

“I’m not really the type to rush a person, but that red head is rowing his way over here!”

As I pick up the pace on the lock I hear the tram. “Ray, listen to me. When I am done with this lock you and I are going to jump on the tram.”

“What?” he yells.

“You have to listen to me, it’s our only way out. We can hide on until we get to our territory. I know it’s dangerous but it’s the only way!”

“OK, but pick up the pace, the pirate can now see that you’ve escaped and is now running towards us!” Right as he says this, the lock bursts and the tram goes by.

“Jump!” I yell as we both jump onto the tram. It was moving faster than expected. We find a place to hide and figure the next stop is ours. As we are just sitting there Ray starts going through things.

“Hey look, it’s one of my favorite fruits!” he yells as he holds up a watermelon. ”I’m going to take it home so I can eat it!” he says excitedly.

“As long as you’re going to carry it, there’s no way you can make me lug a whole watermelon home,” I say as we see our stop. We had both made a plan to run to the woods and meet up there, that way hopefully the guards wouldn’t see us.

As soon as the tram stopped, we bolted. I don’t know about Ray, but I accidentally ran through the guards open break room. It turns out we were wrong, this was the brown-haired territory, and when I tell you I ran through that break room and made eye contact with one of the workers I knew that this was not going to be easy. I was running and they were chasing.

I met up with Ray in the woods, he was still holding that watermelon, “We need to get out here,” I said out of breath. “And you should ditch the watermelon.”

“No way. I haven’t eaten one of these in months. If I go, the watermelon will too!” he said stubbornly.

“There they are. Get them!” I hear someone yell.

Ray and I both decide to dash into the community hall. It was packed in there, and our bright-colored hair isn’t easy to hide. The surprising part was when everyone decided to scream and run out room. I don’t know where they went but that was a dead giveaway. Ray and I started running in the halls that seemed like a maze that lasted forever, and soon they caught up to us. We started running faster but Ray was falling behind but he was still carrying that dumb watermelon.

“Drop the watermelon!” I yell at him so he would hopefully not get caught.

“No!” he yells, “I want to eat it.” He tries to pick up his pace but ends up falling behind again.

“Drop the dumb melon. If we get back home, I swear I will get you another!” I yell,

hopefully convincing him that he does not need the watermelon.

“Fine,” he yells back tossing the watermelon behind him, slipping up a few guys.

He caught up to me laughing, but that stopped as soon as we realized that we were cornered. These people were not as rough as the pirates, they wouldn’t pull your hair or randomly poke you, and they wouldn’t threaten you if you sat on the floor and refused to move. They would just pick you up and carry you to their so-called “interrogation room.”

When we were put in there we just told them the story acting sorry the whole time in hopes that they wouldn’t kill us. They all seemed really nice and even though they put us in a so called “cell,” they would always talk to us about being a half-blood. They told us that they agreed with the pirates about killing people and how unfair this whole world was. I actually made a really good friend there. He is a carpenter, and usually comes to talk to us every day after work. His name was Adam.

One early morning I woke up to Adam shaking me. Ray was already awake. “Hurry and get up we have to go, I think I found a safe way out of here, it’s a long walk but then you can go home.”

“Ok,” I mumble as I slowly get up. As we walked, I asked about how we were going to get home.

“When I was little, I ran far away from my house after I found out about what the government was doing. I stumbled across the ocean that seems to attach to all the other territories. So, I built a boat, and I think we can get you two home with it,” he replied.

“You know we could have just swum, right?” I asked. I didn’t even know about the ocean connecting all the territories, but I guess it makes sense.

When we got to the boat, Adam got in but Ray and I just stood there staring at it.

“So, the floaty thing is called a boat.” Ray said and then got in.

I on the other hand, wanted to swim so I just dove into the water. It felt so free, I had missed swimming. When I came to the surface Adam looked surprised. My ears changed and I now have a tail but I thought he knew about that. “I’m just going to swim along,” I said. “Which way are we going?”

Adam could only point north. A few hours later we finally made it.

“Are you going to be ok by yourself?” I asked Adam.

“Yes, it’s not that far back, plus I like the ocean,” he said and then he turned serious. “I will see you again, right?”

“I don’t know. Hey, maybe we could send letters to each other on the tram!” I replied.

“Good idea, let’s do that. I better get going before it gets dark, but it was nice meeting you and I know we will see each other again. We will have to send letters to the other groups about taking over the government but when we do I’II see you two again! Well, bye,” he said and we waved.

As soon as we got home, we told our parents everything. Then I had to tell them about the watermelon and how we now have to buy one for Ray.

Four years later we had taken over the government and everything was fair, and it all started by getting kidnapped by pirates.


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