Chapter 2

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Jeffery eyed the water unsteadily. Where is it?

"Jeff," a familiar voice said as a big hand clamped on his shoulder. He turned to find John laughing hail heartedly as he offered him a drink.

Jeffery declined the drink softly before turning back to the water.

"What are you looking at?" John asked as he sipped from the mug of beer Jeffery had declined.

"Do you think they're real?" Jeff asked his gaze still on the water. He'd returned to the crew and everyone had welcomed him, but something was different. He couldn't just get his mind of that creature.

"Do I think what's real?" John asked, resting his hands on the edge of the ship's railings like Jeff.

"The stories about merpeople, do you think they're true?" Jeff asked staring intensely at the green-blue waters beneath him. They were heading for a known seaport and would be there in the next hour. Jeffery's crew wasn't made up of pirates or anything of that sort. They were regular sailors on a cargo boat.

John looked over at Jeffery worriedly. His dark hair was being blown here and there by the wind and his eyes had a certain look of restlessness attached to them.

Something must have happened. John thought, giving his friend a pitiful look.

"Why do you ask?"

"I just wanted to know what you thought about it, just trying to initiate discussion," Jeffery said with a shrug. It was more than just that obviously. But what was he going to tell his friend, that he saw a merman?

John laughed. Jeffery had always been a bright fellow and he wondered what on earth he was doing as a crew member on a cargo boat in the first place.

"I don't know. I haven't seen one but that doesn't mean they're not real though," John said, feeling his throat with his free hand. The sea water was salty and wet, even close to the shore.

"Then how do you determine what's real or not?" Jeffery asked, looking at the now emerging seaport.

"I don't know. If you've seen something you can't deny it though. It's solid proof," John said, making a beat with his fingers as he drummed against the ship's railings.

"Thank you," Jeffery muttered, giving John a weak smile. Without really knowing what for John muttered a 'No problem' in reply.

The ship moved towards the shore. Jeffery watched as deck workers pulled the ship to the shore with long chains and ropes. He visibly winced at the sound of the stairs being let down for the crew to get down and for the cargo to be unloaded.

He watched the loaders work for a while taking down barrels of wine and crates of fruit, cotton, cocoa, and leather. He yawned, getting a bit tired of watching crate by crate being unloaded, so he headed for his cabin.

The ship would remain ashore for a whole month before it left for another voyage. He planned on remaining in his cabin for the whole time; maybe grab a drink or two once in a while with the other men.

*

Night came quickly. The loud laughter of men made Jeffery shift in his sleep. He wrinkled his nose as he opened his eyes. The boats usual smell of seawater and exotic cargo was now overshadowed with that of strong wine and beer.

He sat up on his bed as full consciousness washed over him within his dark cabin. He let his eyes follow the shadows that passed by the cabin door; briefly obstructing the light from the lighthouse up the shore.

He tried to stand up but moaned in pain. His left leg was still healing and was terribly sore due to lack of movement whenever he woke up. He staggered to the drawers, taking out a lamp before lighting it, bringing light to the once pitch black room. He winched from the brightness of the light, rubbing his eyes with the back of his hand before dropping the lamp on the desk opposite the drawer.

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