Been wanting to do a mermaid thread for awhile, but the ones I kept seeing were very romance-centered and kiddy in a sense. I have a rough draft of a story but need someone to look it over and help me hammer into shape. Sitting in a circle of young children, an elderly woman cracks open an aged book with a mermaid embossed on the leather cover and begins telling them the folklore of their harbor village. The elderly woman was dressed like a pirate to give her stories more magic, but her words were magic enough to capture the attention of the youth gathered around her. Their eyes were glued to her as she told them how their village came to be. How it was settled by weary pirates looking to put their swords away and live the rest of the days out in peace. That they made a deal with a mermaid to find the perfect place that would always be prosperous for their future generations. That their deal came with a price. As the mermaid fulfilled her end of the deal, the Captain crossed her and imprisoned her in one of the many caverns surrounding their village. Bonding her body and soul to the village that would thrive upon her prison. A group of parents arrive to pick their children up from the park that the elderly woman recites her tales. There are mixed reactions to the stories, some wave it off as fanciful while a few glare angrily at such an act of defacement to the village founders. They are the ones that drag their children off, forbidding them to speak with the “Crazy Old Hag”. What most do not realize, some stories hold a kernel of truth and then there are those rare tales that are frightening real. The Harbor Village of Fortuna, Maine is one of the most prosperous fishing locals off the eastern coast and the envy of any fishermen unlucky to fish anywhere else. After three centuries, the village has forgotten its true past with the truth hiding in plain sight as a “Fish-Wives” tale buried under pirate folklore. With only a small hand-full of those that know the truth working to keep it that way and hide the nature of problems that continue to plague the village. Beneath the façade of a sleepy village, a curse runs rampant that effects the bloodlines of the Founders that crossed the Mermaid. Four families suffer from their Ancestors’ sins, a curse that passes through the blood. Although each families curse if different, it all stems from the same source. The fear of the truth coming out of what their Ancestors had done is so great, not even all members of the suffering families knows the truth. Suffering in ignorance. The curse of flesh: The Jol family suffer this curse and are able to explain easier with the growing knowledge of medicine. Some members of the family develop scales, baldness and webbed hands and feet. They live in isolation from the village and continue with the help of a vast wealth accumulated from smart investing. The curse of Hunger: The Lancaster family suffer from being unable to derive much nourishment from food or drink and are sickly. They discovered from some crazy experimentation, that blood and liver is the only thing that gives them health and relief from sensitivity to the sun. Victims state that all food except blood and liver tastes like ash in their mouths. The curse of the Pale: The Wards suffer from complete blindness and albinoism. The curse of the First Born: The Cavendish suffer differently in that the first born son dies of their twenty-first birthday. On that night, the victim hears a song and falls into a trance akin to sleep-walking and walk into the sea at midnight to drown. First borns are often kept locked in the basement to prevent them from leaving. Eventually the curse will end for that victim when they marry a chaste woman of great virtue. Why that is, no one has figured out. If the man should ever commit adultery, they will suffer the curse anew. The Cavendish pray for female children. The village of Fortuna has had folktales of mermaids for as long as the village existed, even longer as historians have unearthed proof that the Native Americans that lived before the pirates came, had stories of their own of the mystical aquatic people. That they can heal the sick with a single tear, see misfortune before it happens and sense when storms are about to blow in. In the modern age, mermaids are the same as the stories of Mermaid’s Betrayal. Fanciful tales for children. But they are real, they’re just good at hiding in plain sight.