The following story also appears in my short story collection, An Optimist’s Journal of the End of Days and Other Stories, published via Venetian Spider Press.
From my pilot’s seat, I watch the contents of the aquarium tank strapped to the plane’s inner wall. My cargo’s withstood shipment far better than I anticipated. Mermen bodies are less valuable dead than alive, so I’m glad I took extra precautions to ensure this package is cared for properly. Thank the gods I took him to the vet and had him sedated before shipment. Though the tank is shatter-resistant, I wouldn’t want to test it, because if he becomes violent, he might damage himself.
Usually, men alone track mermen, but their rarity coupled with their ferocity makes capturing them almost impossible. No one expects a woman to bag such a vicious creature. But it pays to know the science. By synthesizing mermaid pheromones, I’m able to use them to my advantage. I’m actually surprised how easy it was to lure the thing into a cage.
Still, he is a handsome beast. The way his emerald hair floats in the tank’s water, the way his sea-green eyes sparkle–
He’s watching me.
He’s watching me, capturing me in the depths of those startling eyes.
I feel myself change course, away from land and back towards the sea. My hands are moving; I feel the plane’s weight shift now that the nose is aimed for those beautiful, calm waters.
The merman lifts himself from his tank. I smell salt air and realize just how wrong I’ve been about everything.
** I used a random word generator to get the three words I used as prompts: trap, weather, runway.