Featuring work by: McKenzie Richardson
One Foot in Front of the Other | McKenzie Richardson
I stare down at the miracle outstretched before me. Legs! I have legs! Brand-new, long, walkable legs! I’m giddy with laughter, moonstruck with my new appearance.
Wobblily, I get to my feet. My feet! My brand-new feet! Using a rock to steady myself, I take in my surroundings. There is the sky, still as blue as ever. And there are the rocks and the shells and the coral, just as they have always been. And there is the sea, the beautiful, glorious sea. It has been my home for sixteen-years. It’s all the same.
But me, I am different now.
I look down again at my new human form and smile, pleased with my decision. This is all I have ever wanted in life.
Just then, I hear footsteps in the soft sand and notice a dark figure approaching. I take in his tall form and elegant build. The prince! The prince has come to fall in love with me. Oh, all my dreams are about to come true just like all those old stories said they would.
The prince stands in front of me and I smile up bashfully at him from behind a large rock. Glancing down, I find the ratty remains of a discarded beach towel at my feet and use it to cover myself.
His smile betrays his intrigue at my mysterious appearance. “Good morning, fair maiden,” he calls. “What is such a beautiful girl as you doing all alone on the beach?”
I smile and shrug flirtatiously when I remember that the old Sea Witch took my voice in exchange for these magnificent legs. I could write a response in the sand, but he probably wouldn’t believe me anyway. Surely a mermaid princess sprouting legs is not an everyday occurrence.
“Please, let me show you around.” He holds out his hand. I reach for it and he escorts me out from behind the rock.
His smile morphs into a grimace as he looks below the hem of the towel which stops just above my knees. His expression changes to one of disgust as he takes in the long legs and the bristles of dark hair that adorn them. He gapes at the two large feet jutting out of my new ankles like dinner plates.
“Actually, I just remembered I have somewhere else I have to be.” He excuses himself and walks away, not even trying to hide his horror at the exposed hairs on my legs.
Oh, well. I shrug my shoulders and look at my hairy legs and big feet. He might not think they’re beautiful, but they are perfect to me. They will fulfill their purpose; they will get me from place to place.
I’ve got better things to do than worry about what some ragtag prince thinks anyway.
Wanderlust compels me as I knit together some garments from weeds and shells, because we princesses have to be crafty like that, and set off to explore the land I have only ever dreamed about.
As I walk along the beach, feeling the sand between my ticklish toes, I wonder what adventures are in store for me.
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McKenzie Richardson lives in Milwaukee, WI. Her short stories have been published in the anthologies, Mutate, Electromagnetism, and It’s Behind You. Her work has also been featured in Flash Fiction Magazine, Whispers and Echoes, Winter Wishes, and Love Letters to Gaia.
Follow her on Facebook for more updates on her writing: https://www.facebook.com/mckenzielrichardson/
She also runs a crafting website at www.craft-cycle.com