A Tale of a Tail

A Tale of a Tail

By: Emily Rudgers

Stranded in the wild a woman fights for survival but finds it easier than expected.

Author's Note: This story is similar to a story I read here called “A Fish Tale,” written by the user Amellie. I call this a fan fiction because there are enough differences where it could stand on its own but enough similarities that credit is due. I wanted to try something a bit less emotional so there isn't much in the way of character development. As always, thanks to djkauf for editing and comments are always appreciated.


I suppose the easiest place to start is at the beginning. I am a twenty-two year old woman named Morgan who lives in the middle of landlocked America. Being an only child of a very distant family who has difficulty making new friends, I spend most of my time at work helping my boss as an administrative assistant. Any free time I end up having during the day I usually spend watching the Discovery channel or reading obscure fiction stories from the local library. In fact the thing that knows me best in my secluded lifestyle is my library card. With its recommended read lists based on previous selections I whisk my mind off on glorious adventures that I can’t put down, but I’m getting off track.

The start of my plight occurred on a Tuesday afternoon, it was quickly approaching closing time for my business when my boss, Mr. Anderson, call me Fred, walked up to my desk directly outside of his office. “Hey Morgan. Listen, I’m about to head out for the night but I needed to tell you that the aquarium our campaign is based on has run into a snafu of administrative issues. Their paperwork is in a big mess since the usual assistant has been on her honeymoon.” Realizing that the organization that both myself and Brenda, the honeymooning assistant, have been using requires constant upkeep or else turns into an unsortable stack of paper I see where he is going with the conversation. “Since you are the only person in the company who has worked with all of the papers they have, you are also the only person who knows how to file them now that they are in one pile. The aquarium is willing to pay to have you fly out there and sort out the mess before they have their inspection next week. It will require a fair bit of overtime, but they are prepared to cover the cost. It would mean you would have to leave as soon as possible to sort everything out.”

Having opened my calendar on my PC while he fills me in, I see no important dates for the next couple weeks. “I can leave tomorrow morning if the tickets are available but I’m afraid if I sort out the mess there I will be returning to a mess here.”

Clearly having thought of this detail he chimes in, “I know enough of your organization to keep this place tidy for a couple weeks so one week should be fine.”

Having little faith in his organization skills but recognizing that he is still my boss, I give him an affirmative nod. “Then I will find tickets before I leave tonight and won’t be in tomorrow.”

Giving me a nod he bids me good night and walks out of the office towards his truck. Now having the office to myself I slip off my shoes and pull my hair back into a high ponytail. While not making me fully comfortable, I feel a little better. While I’m sure Fred wouldn’t have minded me making myself comfortable, I get a bit self conscious about being too relaxed at work sometimes. Firing up an internet search engine I start on my ticket search. No flights are scheduled to leave tomorrow due to the nasty weather that is apparently supposed to be starting in my destination. However tonight there is a plane taking off that gets me most of the way there, then lands at a private airport. From there I can book a puddle jumper or take a car relatively easily. Booking that flight so that I don’t have to deal with the weather delaying my already time sensitive trip I search the car rental rates at the airport and see that they cost more than several plane tickets, probably because it’s a private airport. I check the puddle jumper rates and see that they are going for low prices, as they should with a bad economy.

Taking one of the cheaper, but not the cheapest, puddle jumper rides I hurriedly pack up my belongings so that I can be sure to board the plane on time tonight. I drive home quickly and pack my bag with a week’s worth of supplies. I also pack some snacks in my bag, you never know when you’re going to get hungry on a plane and those meals taste terrible.

I make it through airport security relatively quickly, and am at my gate with a 30 minute wait time. I sit at the glass windows and watch the planes take off and land while I listen to music on my Ipod and snack on a cinnamon bun for dinner.

When boarding is called I get on the plane and promptly get to my seat. With no one on either side of me I effortlessly take my seat and stow my bag under my feet. Once the plane is in the air I dig out the pillow and blanket in the overhead storage container and spread out across the 3 seats with my seatbelt on and fall asleep for the night.

Several hours later I wake up when I feel a stewardess tell me we are about to land. I situate myself in the seat and notice the crack of dawn just on the horizon. Once landed I grab my bag and head towards the hangar marked with a big three. Upon arrival I notice a man in his upper 40’s tending to a private plane. Being the only other person in the hangar I assume that he is my pilot and walk over to him. “Hi, I’m Morgan. Are you Mr. Strandil, my pilot?”

Giving me a childlike grin he replies, “That’s me, and this here is my baby Melody. She will be the one responsible for getting you to your destination.” Having grown accustomed to men talking to their vehicles like people I give him a polite smile. After Mr. Strandil finishes filling the plane with fuel we are shortly underway heading towards my destination. He lays out the flight plan for us while in the air and within half an hour we are close to our destination. At 15 minutes out we run into the terrible weather that decided to come a little early. At 10 minutes out I am informed that we will be redirecting to a different airport because the track is flooded on our primary destination. With the ocean coast now barely visible below us I feel the rocking of the plane steadily increase to the point of becoming thunderous jerks causing it to rise and fall instantly. I’m informed by Mr. Strandil that we can’t fly over the storm because our plane is too small. As he puts it, “we have to tough it out.”

With the ever increasing turbulence, we eventually encounter one that is too much for the plane to handle. With a loud snap I hear one of the wings break. Looking out the window to my sides I see that the left wing is now half of what it should be. We promptly start spinning into a dive, through the front window I see land and water intermittently flash as the plane violently keeps changing directions. Grabbing for my bag and the life raft behind it I prepare for a watery entry, hoping that we don’t hit land and go splat.

The plane crashes down and water explodes through the front of the plane causing the door on the side to be ripped off by the change in pressure. Stunned by the slap of water to my face I desperately try to struggle and find a safe direction to swim in. My hands clumsily find the door and pulling the raft behind me I get out from inside the plane and pull the auto inflate tab. Using the raft’s stored air it inflates and pulls me to the surface of the water in one swift motion. Once on the surface in the terribly rocky waters with waves the size of buildings crashing around me I crawl into the raft and pin myself to its edge, hoping I won’t be capsized. As one of the huge waves crashes over the raft I am hit with a piece of the plane and blackness envelops me.

~o~O~o~

I awake the next day with my eyes stinging, the salt water from the night before having formed a paste over my eyelids. Rolling onto my side I promptly start coughing out who knows what. I am still lying on the raft, which is a good sign. Slowly I gather my surroundings and sit up to see nothing but water around me. Inside of the raft there are now metal scraps of the plane and my bag that I had managed to pull with the raft. Quickly tossing the metal scraps out for fear they would rupture my floating oasis, I am left with nothing but my raft, my bag and myself in the middle of who knows where under a beating sun with what looks like a storm on the horizon. It would make sense that that would be the storm from yesterday, meaning I want to head that direction in order to find dry land. Thankfully the current is pulling me in that direction so I don’t have to worry about trying to steer the raft against the current, wasting precious energy. With only two small water bottles and a handful of power bars from my bag I doubt I would be able to fight the current and survive. Hiding in what little shade the boat provides from the sun to slow dehydration I quickly grow bored. I have never had a great singing voice and knowing that opening my mouth will just dehydrate me more so I take to humming. Tunes of pirates and any water song I know to start and then move to today’s more common hits. By the end of the day, I have finished my first bottle of water and 2 of the power bars, leaving just 2 more. That night I hit the storm I have been floating towards all day, having prepared myself by ducking in the corner like I did the night before I wait. When the rough waters do not start I peer over the side checking to see if my timetable of its arrival was wrong.

I see that I am now starting to pass into a thick bank of fog. The bad news is that means I wasn’t heading towards land all along because this isn’t that violent storm from yesterday. The good news is that I don’t have to worry about drowning. By the end of the day my optimism at being found has dwindled to a neutral reality that I may have drifted outside of their search area. Sleep that night is hard to come by, I frantically search for some kind of light on the horizon but find nothing but the moon. Eventually I fall asleep to the rocking of the ocean.

I awake to a splashing from a wave and find the waves now all rolling in one direction with white caps forming on their tips. I have been in the ocean swimming enough times in my life to know that this is a sign of being not far from a shore. Turning around in the boat I see my salvation. Just as I start to feel happy for my luck a sharp snag catches the bottom of the boat. Up through the bottom some kind of coral juts through, tearing a hole through the boat causing it to start losing air. With the boats position now locked in place pinned by the coral I realize that my salvation is not getting any closer and I’m in a sinking boat. Taking my bag I swing it at the coral in a hope of breaking it without cutting up my hands.

After several strong hits, it finally snaps letting the boat start to drift slowly towards the island again. With the speed of the deflation I soon find myself sitting in water with my bag and start swimming towards the island. After I battle with the waves to allow me to the beach without being cut on rocks or coral I find myself on the safety of a beach, setting foot on dry land for the first time in too long. Once outside of the breakers, I collapse down onto my knees and hang my head in exhaustion. Once I can manage to breathe without feeling like I’m going to pass out, I head towards the shade provided by the tree line. Once there I take one mouthful of my last water bottle, to prevent dehydration from kicking in from my struggle of a swim.

Knowing I will need more water quickly with all the salt in the air and all the physical activity I will need to do to find food I set out finding dry logs. Once I have enough, I set out to create fire in the kindling from scratch. Having seen people do it all the time on the Discovery channel I set out rubbing sticks together. Apparently they clip out about 20 minutes of stick rubbing on television because I didn’t see the first signs of smoke until then. Once the flame was started I carefully lit the rest of the wood and looked at my now cut and blistered hands. All in the name of survival I guess.

I took out my shampoo and conditioner bottle and dumped the contents on the beach and went and rinsed them in the ocean. Returning with one full and the other empty I set the full one in a position over the flame and cut the top half off the other one so as to make a collecting cup for the evaporating water to collect in. If I remember correctly, you shouldn’t use plastic for this kind of thing but when that’s all you have, risking getting cancer in 30 years doesn’t sound so bad when compared to death now. While the water is being taken care of I set out searching the beach for fruit trees, but my search provides no fruit. I do collect more firewood and some large mostly green leaves that I can use to provide someplace to lie down without being in sand. Recognizing the futility of wearing shoes while on the beach getting sand in them I take them off and set them aside for when I go in the corralled water or hiking on the island.

Coming back I check on my water and see the process is slowly working. I taste the water in the collecting cup; while warm it still tastes very salty so I quickly spit it out. Not knowing where I went wrong I re-examine my strategy and make some tweaks to the setup. The bottle over the flame doesn’t appear to be melting at all which is good. While waiting for the new water setup to cook, I look in tide pools and find some unsuspecting crabs. Using one of my shirts I collect a couple and leave the rest for later. With them squirming in my shirt I place the wet shirt closed down on the sand and hit it with my bag, stopping all movement from within the shirt. Taking a flat rock I place it inside the fire to sterilize it then place the now slightly mashed crabs on the rock. While they cook I taste the new water and while not tasting like bottled spring water it does taste fresh and not like plastic. Partially filling my empty water bottle, I then collect more fire wood and sit down on my leaf pad and eat my shellfish. While I know you usually eat shellfish by peeling them in civilization, I realize that the shell also has nutrients I can use so I set out eating everything but the nasty lungs and intestines. Realizing I will have to eat something other than crabs I find a stick and place one end in the fire to start sharpening the point without me doing all the work.

Once reasonably sharp for having burned, I start rubbing it on a rock to get it sharp enough that it hurts to poke my skin. Taking my now fully stocked supply of water, spear, and power bars I set out to explore the island and find a safe place to sleep. Walking through the island I quickly find my way to the other side and find it having much the same conditions as the side I was on before. Also, no signs of people having ever been here are visible. Cutting back through the island taking a close but not exactly the same route I managed to find a way to climb on top of the mountain on the island. Realizing that I am out of shape and such a hike would require lots of water and energy I set that aside as something to do tomorrow. Once I could see the beach again, I noticed a cave off to my right a bit away from my camp. Walking over to the cave, I get my spear in position to attack anything that jumps out at me in the cave. Once through the large opening I lower my spear, seeing it is just a large room with a pool of water and large stalactites. Going over to the pool of water, I stick my finger in and taste the contents. It is definitely salt water, which dashes any thoughts of just boiling the water to get rid of the bacteria.

This could be a nice place to set up camp, with the ocean close by for food, the cave opening facing so that the wind doesn’t blow right in, and a bath available. Feeling a drip of water fall off a stalactite onto my head I look up and see beads of water preparing to fall all over the place. Catching one in the outstretched hand I give it a taste and finds that the water indeed is fresh, but since its coming out of a rock it might have minerals in it that are poisonous. I head back to the beach and collect my belonging. Taking as much dry wood as I can carry I set up for another fire inside the cave. Taking a twig from my already lit fire I set ablaze the new fire without having to torture my hands. From now on, I’m going with that method.

With my new camp relatively set up I feel my stomach grumble. Having not noticed any animals to eat nor nuts or fruit on my hike I realize my diet is restricted to seafood for now. Going back out to the tide pool I search for more crabs and find none. Grabbing my spear I go in search of fish in the water but after standing waiting for one to get close enough to even try to spear, I eventually get too hungry. I break down and eat one of my last two power bars when my stomach turns to full painful churning from hunger.

After making a bed out of leaves I lay down near the fire to keep warm. I take out my medication stored in my bag and pop them in taking a drink of water. Before falling asleep I feel my stomach churning, dissatisfied.

~o~O~o~

I awake to the crashing sounds of waves. Staring up at the ceiling I gather myself to get up and face the day. With a mighty grumble from my stomach I know it’s time to go get some food. Relighting the fire from the left over embers from last night, I set out to find food. The tide pool is full of life again this morning so I pluck 4 crabs from their home and follow the same process as yesterday. Getting low on water after my meal I set out boiling the water from the pool inside the cave because it is closer. While the food is cooking I decide it is finally time to wash off the salt and sand that has collected the past few days. Stripping off my shirt, I finally get a good smell of myself and turn my nose up at the scent. Quickly stripping off my bra, I get a sense of relief from finally having the freedom on my boobs. After massaging out some of the places the pain is the worst I remove my jeans, with a bit of a struggle. The salt, having dried on my legs, causes the tight jeans to fight every inch. With only my panties left, I push them to the floor freeing my constantly tucked penis.

I guess I left out some details at the beginning. While the world identifies me as a 22 year old woman, I’m actually a bit more complicated than that. I was born with the name Brandon into a classic family, my life started much like other boys. Being encouraged to play sports and be rough and tumble. By the time I made it to fourth grade I knew I wasn’t like other boys. I didn’t have an interest in sports or in being rough, but I thought that meant I wasn’t one of those types of boys. Because of my difference in interests my only friends at this point were girls, while boys didn’t make fun of me they also wanted nothing to do with me. So I grew up around only girls, except for my dad. When puberty hit, I didn’t even realize. It wasn’t until I was 18 years old that I finally realized that my body had changed while I wasn’t paying attention. I spun into a circle of depression at turning into a man I didn’t feel that I was. By 19 I changed my name to Morgan legally, started hormones and started living a very androgynous lifestyle. Slowly throughout my androgynous living I must have shifted more towards the female side because now everyone I meet refers to me using feminine pronouns. I don’t really mind, I actually see it as a compliment that the world lets me be myself without thinking anything of it, despite the fact that I don’t truly identify as a girl.

Where was I, oh yes. I climbed into the pool of water in my birthday suit and immediately felt relaxed. Sitting there without hunger thirst and feeling the cool but not cold water soothe my aches and pains from the past few days. Once the relaxation had passed, I set out wiping down my body with my hands to get any excess salt, sweat or dirt off. Once I feel moderately clean, I slowly make my way out of the water. I could sit there for hours but I need to start stocking up on water and food in case I have another situation like last night where there isn’t any available. Putting on a bathing suit instead of my full set of clothes, I re-tuck and grab my extra pair of shoes as well as the spear. Once my shoes are on I walk into the water and set out trying to spear some fish for lunch or dinner. After an hour or trying I finally wound one enough that he floats to the surface despite the fact that he managed to swim off. With his size, he should be enough for a meal tonight.

Carrying him back awkwardly, I manage to clean and cook him. One of the things my dad managed to teach me was how to clean a fish and the knowledge stuck despite the fact that I hated the task. With the fish now cooking I grab my water bottles and set up another system again using my bath water now since it is close. Grabbing my one bottle and wrapping some of my cooked fish in a leaf I set out to make it to the top of the mountain.

The hike ends up being easier than I thought. Despite the fact I managed to get winded walking from one side of the island to the other, today I don’t feel myself getting tired. I look all around once on top of the island and enjoy my food and water while taking in the beauty of the landscape. No signs of there ever having been humans; I feel a little crestfallen. I also don’t notice anything of consequence while up there on the horizon meaning I am either a long way from anywhere significant or this island is a ways from a shipping lane. Not even the smoke trail of a plane flying over head can be seen. Realizing that I am sitting in the sun and will soon be getting a sun burn I quickly make my way back to the shade of my cave. Once there I notice my fish is a little past done and starting to blacken so I move it away from the flame towards the pools edge. I also shift my now sterile water into my drinking bottles and place them at the pool’s edge.

Recognizing that I can cook food for the day ahead without it going bad or having a way to store extra water I mentally start planning ways to do such a task while I climb into the pool and soak off the sweat from my hike. Eating while in the pool I realize I am still hungry despite the fact I just ate most of a fish. Forcing myself to wait to make sure the food sits well I continue to soak in the pool. It isn’t long before my stomach rumblings turn painful despite the fact I have just eaten. I don’t usually get hungry this quickly, but with all the physical activity lately I can’t blame my body. I eye what’s left of the uncooked gutted fish and my mouth starts to water despite the fact it looks unappetizing. Climbing out of the water I look down the bones of the fish and find some bits of meat that I had previously left because they were too small and popped them into my mouth raw. Sushi is okay I figured so this should be alright every once in a while. Before I noticed there was nothing left but the inedible pieces, I had even eaten most of the tail fin which tasted surprisingly good. With a slightly more satisfied tummy, I prepared to go catch more fish if I could. It being mid afternoon there were no fish along the beach, so I swam out to a bit of the coral and managed to find some really small fish but nothing big enough to eat. Swimming back I made it to the beach and checked the tide pool to find it empty, the same as yesterday. Looks like the only time I will be able to find food here is the mornings to I better stock up for the day then.

Once back at the cave my stomach started to rumble again. Knowing that I have an unlimited supply of water I start swallowing large amounts of that to flood my hunger away. It worked for a few minutes before the rumbling returned, and now I was low on water and the cooking wasn’t going fast enough. Eying my last power bar, I make a split decision to enjoy the last one now that I have figured out the food supply times. I get about half way through the bar before I start to feel sick. I set the rest of the bar aside, chastising myself for eating that fish raw. In one last churning from my stomach I run outside the cave and heave up what I have just eaten. Surprisingly I don’t heave much, with all the water I have drank I figured it would be a fair bit of liquid coming up, but all there seems to be is the power bar. I guess I was more dehydrated than I thought. I will have to keep an eye out to drink more. Thinking about all the water I have been drinking today, I suddenly feel the need to pee.

Despite the fact that I have the easy to use outdoors equipment, I end up going in a more ladylike fashion out of sheer habit. Feeling a little better I go back into the cave and find myself hungry again. Knowing that I have eaten the power bar before without getting sick, I slowly nibble on it so as to be gentle with my unsettled stomach. A few minutes after the power bar is gone I end up running out of the cave for a repeat performance. I can’t afford to be getting sick like this, I will get dehydrated quickly if I’m not careful.

Knowing I have a bit of time with all the water I have been drinking before that happens I check on my current water production and find an issue. In my hurry to make more water I wasn’t careful of the bottles height to the flame. Looking at the now melted bottle I feel crestfallen for the second time today. There goes my water supply. I search through my pack for something to use as the heated water holder but find nothing suitable. As a drip of water from the ceiling lands on my leg I have a realization. I didn’t feel at all bad yesterday from drinking that little bit of water from the pool or the ceiling. The pool is salt water so that is out but the ceiling is freshwater. As long as I can find a safe way to collect it then maybe there isn’t anything toxic in there. I set out my empty water bottles so that the water drips into them and before long there is enough for a mouth full. I swallow that water and set the bottles back out to collect more while I wait for me to feel sick.

Growing bored I head out to the shore in hopes that a stray fish will come in so I can cook something to keep in my stomach when the hunger returns. Moving slowly and steadily in the water I manage to get close enough to a couple small fish in the reefs that skewering them with my spear is easy, they might not be that big but with enough of them they could make a snack large enough to hold me over. Still feeling perfectly fine I set down the fish to cook and taste the water while taking my medication. I feel a sense of dread for when my hormones run out. Only a couple of days left. As it was I was taking half doses in a hopes to make it last longer, most of them were destroyed by the water from the plane crash.

Still feeling fine after my bout with the flu, I drink more of the water and munch on the little fish. I am careful to avoid the in-edibles and I find myself shortly having cleaned the entire fish with my teeth without even looking at the fish. With a satisfied stomach and no thirst to speak of I set out some curved leaves between piles of clothing to make suitable collecting pools for the dripping water. I climb into the water of the pool after stripping out of my bathing suit and tennis shoes. I sit in the water until it starts to get dark, I start to think about climbing out of the pool when the moon shines through the caves entrance. I notice that the moon is much larger today than it was a couple days ago, it must be quickly approaching a full moon.

Mesmerized by the moon I absentmindedly sit in the water. Once the moon has past the entrance I notice that I have been playing with my left breast. Feeling embarrassed I move my hand away. As I do I notice that my nipples are engorged. Looks like I will be going through another growth spurt there soon. I frown, if I have enough hormones to last me that long.

Now in a bad mood at the potential loss of my prides growing, I climb out of the water and move to my bed, throwing some wood on the fire to ensure it won’t die, I go to bed in the nude that night.

~o~O~o~

Waking up I feel an incredible thirst, I drink all of the water in my water bottles and the leaves I have set out and still feel thirsty. I quickly crawl over to the pool in frantic thirst and start drinking from the pool. As my brain starts to wake up I realize where I am drinking from and stop. Pulling my face back from the water in surprise I mentally chastise myself, this is bad. I just drank salt water, chances are I’ll get sick and really dehydrated. I quickly run out of the cave and set out additional leaves in hopes to catch every drop of water falling from the ceiling in preparation for the salt water drinking to hit me. With all of the preparation I can take care of done, I feel my stomach grumble for food. I walk out to the water’s edge with tired legs. After the hike up the mountain yesterday I’m not surprised they are making some complaints.

Upon arrival I look in the tide pool and find several crabs, I take all of them and set them out to cook after rekindling my fire. While they cook I grab my spear and head out to the shore again to catch some fish. I manage to catch one fairly easily today that isn’t large enough for a full meal but a snack when my thirst hits me like a truck. I frantically swim back to the island and run as fast as my unsteady legs can carry. I arrive to find my water collection has been slow today but there is enough for me to fill my mouth a couple times, reducing the frantic thirst.

Again I chastise myself for my stupidity at drinking from the pool of salt water. Making a mistake like that out here could be life or death, I need to try to think my actions through before I do something that stupid again. Now only feeling a normal amount of thirst I head back out to catch more fish while I wait for the water to collect again. While back in the ocean I catch another two fish about the same size as the first. My hunger is growing painful, so I make my way back to the cave without delay. I eat the now partially burnt crabs and they don’t taste very good. I cook one of the fish, figuring I would save the rest for later. Before it has a chance to thoroughly cook, I find myself grabbing it and biting into the juicy fish. I make quick work of this fish and end up eating the other two raw before I can stop myself. With my meal finished, I frown in disappointment. I really need to be more careful, but that tasted too good. Shaking away my thoughts I drink all of the water in the leaves, removing the last of my salt water driven thirst.

While they collect more water, I go back out to the beach to catch more fish before they are chased away by the mid-afternoon sun. Walking on the shoreline I find the fish closer than they have ever been. As I prepare a spear lunge I stop, this doesn’t feel right. Lowering the spear causes the fish to spook and swim away from me. I dive into the water and swim out until the water is up to my hip. Dipping my face below the surface I open my eyes to be able to see where the fish are. I have opened my eyes up underwater since I was a child, every time the water seemed to distort my vision making everything blurry. This time I could see like I was wearing perfectly clean goggles, not even the movement of the water from the waves bothered my eyes. With my clear vision I managed to catch fish with my spear much more easily, I had two decent sized fish on the spear when a nice sized one started to swim by. I waited patiently holding my breath, but the fish refused to get close enough for me to nab him.

After a while I couldn’t hold my breath any longer. As I went to rise out of the water, my need to take a breath suddenly disappeared. I must have convinced myself I didn’t need air quite yet. With the new found time, the big fish finally swam close enough that I could reach out with my hands and touch him. With that thought my hands lunged forward and grabbed him at the gills in one swift motion. Having surprised myself with my motion, my grip falters and soon the fish is swimming away quickly. I look down and to grab my dropped spear when I see some black things lying on my stomach. I quickly panic, grabbing the spear and throwing my head above the surface I run as fast as I can in the water to the beach. Once on the safety of the beach I look at my stomach and find it in a perfectly normal condition. It must have been some seaweed, look at me freaking out over a little piece of grass.

No longer feeling the desire to be in the water because of my little freak out, I walked back to the cave. I drank the water that was available and before long I was hungry again. Cooking the fish didn’t even cross my mind this time. I simply set out eating one, then the second. Realizing that there was the beginning of a bone pile in the cave, I moved them outside to an area away from the cave so that there wouldn’t be a smell. Even with the fish away from the cave I could still smell a lingering stink. Smelling my hands and body, I could smell the fish smell all over me. Climbing into the pool of water I set out to wash any trace of fish off of me. Even after 30 minutes of soaking and rubbing, the smell of fish didn’t seem to dissipate. Finally I gave up, conceding that I will have to get used to the smell since that is all there is available to eat.

I lay in the pool taking a nap in the shallows. When I finally awake it is starting to get dark outside, and my hunger has returned. Drinking some of the available water, I set out to see if I can find some fish. The tide pools prove fruitless, but the waters of the reef produce four decently sized fish. While I’m walking back towards the cave I finally realize that I didn’t use the spear to catch the fish. I had grabbed them with my bare hands and simply bit them to kill them. I also had caught all four fish in one breath. While walking I stumble on the beach and fall flat on my face causing the fish to fly from my hands in an attempt to catch myself. My hands make it fast enough to slow my descent but I still feel one of my toes snap at having been bent the wrong way.

I cry out in pain, making more wailing sounds than audible words. Stupid clumsy me, trip over nothing on a sandy beach and manage to break a toe. Hesitantly I stand up and brush some sand off of my naked self. My brain clicks in this instant, I have been naked the past two days and I didn’t even think anything of it. Dismissing the thought as a new wave of pain comes from my toe; I grab my scattered fish and limp back to my cave.

With my feet completely covered in wet sand I move over to the pool of water and rinse them off. I can see my toe already turning shades of purple, blue and green that it shouldn’t have. Pulling my foot out of the water, I clumsily make my way to my bag and try to find something to make a cast or stint. I don’t manage to find anything useful when I have an idea. I grab one of my sports bras and rip one of the shoulder straps off of it. Using a rock I manage to cut the strap down to a manageable piece of elastic. I wrap the elastic around one of my good toes and my broken toe. I then use what little I have left of my fire to heat a stick to have an ember tip then singe the elastic strap ends so that it makes a tight seal. Holding the ends in place while the strap cools I wait. Once the ends feel secure I pull my hands back. It looks silly, but I would say it’s an otherwise successful toe taping without tape. With my now hindered mobility, my fire dwindles to the point where there is no heat coming from it.

Dragging myself to the pool instead of walking I drip myself into the waters, finding that it is warmer than the air this evening. Rinsing off my fish I dig in while I wait for morning to come.

~o~O~o~

I awake to the feeling of a warm day breeze blowing across the pools surface, ruffling my long hair. I climb out of the pool shallows with much protest from my legs. I give them a good stretch this morning, in a hope to remove the lingering fatigue. They seem bigger than usual, curvier. With all of the exercise and my high protein diet, I must finally be getting the curvy look I have been trying to get for the past few years. Realizing that I forgot to take my hormones yesterday I quickly take one and drink some collected water. As I bend over I see more boob than I am accustomed to. Must be all of the water I have been drinking, it will probably go away once the water weight goes down from physical activity. With a gurgle from my stomach I head to the tide pool and find a jackpot of crabs. Taking all seven so I don’t have to fight the water with a broken toe I head back to my cave.

The fire is completely dead today, so cooking them is going to take a while. My stomach gives another loud gurgle signifying it’s not willing to wait. I drink a bunch of water to drown away some hunger and grab two dry sticks and start rubbing them together. After a little while of rubbing sticks with the smell of fresh seafood in the air I grab a mashed crab and start eating while I’m making the fire. Eventually the fire is ready to go and I turn to set my crabs on the cooking rock and find I have eaten all of them while waiting, raw.

Feeling disgusted for having eaten raw shellfish and having enjoyed them, I climb in the pool to wash all reminders away. On the way in I slip with my fatigued uncoordinated legs and end up gently kicking a rock under the water. Thankful I didn’t break something else, I climb in the rest of the way and start washing. Half way through my process of cleaning I realize that the foot that kicked the rock was the one with my bad toe. Lifting my one leg up in the water proves to be a struggle but I eventually get it over the surface and I examine my toe. I timidly touch the toe expecting pain when I move it but no pain is produced. The blue green color of the bruise has spread to include the toes on either side and some of my foot, but that could happen with how much it hurt yesterday. Taking off the makeshift toe taping I try to wiggle my toes and slip further into the water when I end up moving both feet. That’s impossible, my toe was broken yesterday and now I can move it? Maybe there was just swelling that prevented it from moving last night and the cool water soak caused the swelling to go down enough it could move.

Shaking my head with disbelief, I slowly climb out of the water. With nothing else to do today, I decide to go take a swim. With my food supply figured out and the water reliable all that is left is having fun. Heading out to the ocean I pick an area where there isn’t a reef and dive into the water. I swim for ages, when I get hungry I swim closer to the reef and using my fast hand technique grab a fish. I eat it while drifting on my back in the water and then with a satisfied stomach I go back to swimming. The process continued without me taking a break for water all day. Eventually I started to grow tired. I grabbed a couple of straggler fish from the reef and made my way back to the cave with some difficulty. The land didn’t feel right, I couldn’t feel the rocking of the ocean.

My legs having had a full day’s work eventually gave up at walking right when I made it to the cave. Dragging myself into the cave on my butt with my fish in my lap I drink a bunch of the collected water to satiate the days thirst then climb into the cool pool to soak my tired limbs. While soaking I eat the fish I managed to catch. Before long an ever increasingly large moon peaks through the caves entrance as I fall asleep.

~o~O~o~

When I awake I don’t feel right. I feel pins and needles on my lower body like I have slept in a bad position and cut off the blood flow. With a groan I hoist myself up out of the water with my arms and drag myself to get a drink of water. Lying on my back on the dry ground of the cave I wait for feeling to return to my legs, vowing that is the last time I sleep on the hard floor of the pool.

Eventually the feeling returns, sitting up I am startled by what I see. The bruise from my toe has moved to encompass most of my right leg and the lower part of my left. Being very familiar with the symptoms of deep leg thrombosis caused by hormones given by paranoid doctors I start to panic. I’m lucky I’m alive, it could have caused a brain clot and I could have died in my sleep. Part of me knows the stupidity of my next action but I don’t care because it is such a part of who I am, I take my last estrogen pill and swallow with a little bit of water.

I wait, expecting some huge moment where my life ends to happen but it never comes. I start to get hungry and climbing to unsteady feet I meander to the beach probably looking like a drunk person. I skip over the tide pool today and head straight to the water. The closer I get to the water, the stronger a desire I have to run and jump straight into its loving embrace. Eventually I can’t take it anymore and I stumble as fast as I can until I feel the touch of water up to my shins, then I dive. Once I’m off my feet, any clumsiness that I had vanishes. I go about swimming faster than I ever have before, my colored and swollen legs proving to be unhindered.

After enjoying my moment of freedom in the ocean I take off to catch some food. I make quick work of my hunger following a similar routine to yesterday with much more efficiency. When the sun starts to lower in the sky I call it a night. Grabbing five fish to snack on later I make my way to the beach. Once I’m in shallow enough water that swimming is impractical, I get to my knees in an attempt to stand. As I do my legs brush one another and I feel bumps on my legs. Not being able to see them well in the crashing waves I try to pull one leg up in front of me like I have taken a knee. The only thing I succeed in doing is falling back into the water as both legs try to lung forward at the same time. With me now on my back facing the beach I can see my legs as I lift them both out of the water together. My legs look entirely bruised now with bumps all over them. At the base of my legs where my leg ends and my ankle begins I find the source of my trouble standing. My legs are attached to one another. No other parts of my legs are connected, despite the fact the swelling has caused them to more than touch. My penis and sack are pinned between my swollen legs, making it look like I have no genitalia at all.

Breaking into tears over my situation I sit there as the water flows back and forth over my lower half. By the time it’s pitch black outside, I change position in my crying and pull one of my knees to my chest. Hugging my knee with one breast on each side, I have a moment of realization. My legs aren’t fused anymore. I quickly stand and force them as far apart from each other is possible. This causes my penis to become more visible which I don’t like but having my legs fused was too scary. After standing there for a while I become convinced that they won’t spontaneously fuse, I gather the remaining fish that weren’t washed away by the waves and head back to the cave. That night I sleep with my bag between my legs on dry land, but throughout the entire night I have dreams of basking in the pool when the moon is full with legs that don’t separate.

~o~O~o~

After a fitful night sleep I awake and feel a similar unusual feel to yesterday. I feel wet, like I peed myself during the night. Groaning at the thought of going on myself and causing my bag to now reek of pee, I roll onto my back from my side. Looking down I see my greenish blue bruised bumpy legs covered making them glisten. Reaching down, I try to wipe any excess wetness off of each only to find that this liquid isn’t pee. It isn’t even water. Pulling my hand away from my leg produces a trail of thick sticky goop. Grossed out by the disgusting fluid, if you can even call it that, I try to wipe my hand on the cave floor. Getting the majority off but still feeling the residue left on my hands I pull myself over to the pool’s edge and rinse my hands off.

Having gone through puberty as a guy, I know what a wet-dream is like. Although, never in my entire life have I managed to produce enough sperm to coat both of my legs to the point they feel slimy. Feeling sick at the thought of sperm covered legs, I spin my legs into the water and start wiping off any trace I can find. Once my legs are a semblance of clean, I pull them both out of the water in one swift motion. They look even more swollen than yesterday, to the point that it feels painful to even try to keep them separate. After managing to put enough space between them to see light, I concede to their unruly behavior and let them close back together. At least they aren’t joined, that really freaked me out yesterday.

Realizing that the swelling has gotten to the point where walking is impossible, I drag myself towards the beach. Regardless of whether or not I will die from clots in my legs, I’m a fighter. I won’t give up until I see the light at the end of the tunnel. Even then I will probably turn around and run from its embrace. There is always a chance that a cruise ship or private plane will go by, providing me expert medical equipment that saves my life. Then I can go back to my boring life of work, books and television.

Once I reach the water, I let myself drift out into the ocean, letting the water soak through me. I start to feel a bit peckish and head towards the reef and snag enough fish to fill my stomach. I’m a little clumsy in my movements, having to swim with your legs unwilling to separate proves an interesting challenge. Before my meal is finished, I manage to adjust to my new swim style. Despite my legs inability to function well on land their increased size proves valuable in making large bounds through the water with one unified kick.

With my hunger resolved, I play in the water’s current. Despite its strength that caused me trouble only days ago, I swim through without any difficulties. Once I make it to the other side of the reef, I look back and realize how far from the island I actually am. It’s in this moment that my legs seize up, my powering through the current must have tired them more than I realized. I try to use only my arms to keep myself afloat while my now uncontrollable legs try to sink me I panic. In my panic I start thrashing in the water, which causes me to descend even faster. With one last gasp for air my head plunges under the water. Clawing for the surface gets me nowhere and before long I am 10 feet underwater with the light on the surface getting further and further away.

Recognize no hope of reaching the surface with my current thinking. I try to swim sideways to reach the reef so I can pull myself up out of the water. After several pulls in the water with my hands, the reef is no closer than it was before.

My lungs start to burn from my quick oxygen usage during my struggle. As the last bit of oxygen in my lungs is consumed my body instinctually opens my mouth and gasps for air. Instead of the choking feeling that I usually get from getting water in my windpipe, I find myself take a breath, then another, then another. My lungs rise and fall filled with oxygen rich air.

With the ability to breath I manage to steady myself and think rational thoughts. I must be dreaming, there has to be something in the water I have been drinking that’s causing me to have really vivid dreams because there is no way I should be able to breathe underwater. My vision in the water is surprisingly clear, and after pushing my floating hair back out of my face I take survey of what’s happening. I feel relatively normal, two eyes, one nose, two arms, two breasts, and one tail. Wait a minute, what was that?

My legs have completely fused looking like a solid muscular mass without even an outline of legs visible under the surface. Beautiful teal scales start sporadically at my waist, increasing to full fish at my hips. This isn’t my first mermaid dream, but it certainly has to be my most vivid. I normally can control my dreams to a limited degree, yet this one acts exactly like reality, ignoring my intention to steer.

Testing a theory I take a swift kick, in the one motion I feel myself propelled significantly closer to the surface. Taking another kick to reach air, I feel a strange sensation on either side of my tail and find myself propelled not up this time but slightly sideways. Pausing I look down and take notice of collapsible fins of some kind on either side slightly below my hips. Flexing the muscles of what my brain tells is my upper thighs I notice the different movements the fins make, clearly having the purpose to help steer and stop. Relaxing my fins and kicking with my tail produces the right result to shoot me forward to the surface.

With my first breath of air comes a momentary pause before I feel normal breaths. Grinning from the thought of being a mermaid, I dive back under the water surging forward with new found speed. Stopping and steering proves to be difficult to get right at first until I just relax and let my body move instinctually.

I play in the ocean losing track of time and come to a conclusion when it grows dark enough that I should get out of the water. I don’t want to get out of the water, if this is a dream then I don’t want it to ever end. If this is real, this feeling is better than anything my life on land offered. Swimming as quickly as I can away from the island, I run from my old life.

Several hours later I find a coast guard vessel. With an inexplicable certainty I know this is my last chance to return to land before becoming an inhabitant of the sea forever. I give pause, thinking of all the things I would be leaving behind. The only people in my life were those I worked with and my relationship with them was nothing but a professional one. Diving under I surrender to the sea, praying I never have to go back.



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