The Merman and the Moon Forgotten - By Kevin McGill


This book is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents, and dialogue are drawn from the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Nikolas and Company: The Merman and The Moon Forgotten

Kevin McGill

Copyright Kevin McGill 2012

Published by Aero Studios Publishing at Smashwords

ISBN 9780983415626


Designed and illustrated by C. Carlyle McCullough/Aero Studios.

One • A Foggy Flight

A long time ago in a world not so far away…

The World of Mon. Eynclaene Province. Nuus Village.

Sweet Huron!” Yeri swore . . . well, judging by his mother’s standards.

The stagecoach wheel had nearly slipped, threatening to throw driver and passengers to the frothing sea below. Yes, Yeri had taken the stagecoach driver’s oath to “guide passengers through every hazard and peril.” Still, he didn’t have to enjoy it, especially when a devilish creature with red-pronged eyes gave chase all the way from Nuus village on one of the foggiest nights ever. And when the fog thickened so that Yeri couldn’t see its red eyes, or his own nobbly hands for that matter, he could rely on its smell. The monster reeked of rotten onion.

Yeri looked up in time to see a black shape envelop him.

“Aaah!” he cried.

He opened his eyes and patted his frock coat. No teeth ripping flesh from body. No blood being dispensed from its human vessel.

“Just a misty mirage, ol’ boy,” Yeri chuckled to himself.

“Grauhh!” came a blood-curdling roar.

“That was no mirage,” Yeri said, trying to steady the horses. But their nerves got the best of them, and they darted left, forcing the stagecoach wheels to skate across the cliff face again. Just when he thought they would descend to their briny death, wheels grabbed rock, and the stagecoach righted itself. Yeri was one of the more able drivers, but if they did not reach their destination soon, cliff or creature would win this race.

Of course, Yeri was sufficiently capable of driving the horses above a scamper, if it wasn’t for the double stagecoach. Mr. Fungman was always trying to save a sulmare and so devised the double stagecoach, allowing him to charge twice as much for every driver. Well, Mr. Fungman didn’t have to steer these monstrosities around every sheer drop.

A pounding fist came from the front stagecoach. Yeri thought to ignore the passenger’s need, but that was another oath he had taken. Maybe he should stop taking so many oaths.

The horses whinnied to a stop. Yeri scrambled from the stagecoach, pulled out a key and grasped the iron latch. Then, he changed his mind.

“Please, sir,” Yeri tried to control his gasps. “For, uhm—er—your safety, it’s best we continue.”

“Let me out, driver.”

Yeri’s eyes darted from the stagecoach door to highway and back to stagecoach door. Come to mention it, Yeri had never met his passengers. At the very last moment he had been charged with them after the previous stagecoach driver came down with squatters. Jamison’s face was covered in budding, orange flowers.

The key spun past tumblers, and Yeri swung the door open. The stagecoach lamp washed away any view of the passengers, but what Yeri couldn’t see, he could hear. There were gears on gears turning and belts locking into place. Slowly, something that looked like a collection of spokes and cranks crafted by a mad clockmaker emerged from the coach. The gears turned out to be legs—automaton legs, an invention and wonder used only by the wealthy.

The man must be a cripple, Yeri thought.

Leather gloves reached out to the edges of the stagecoach door, and the man pulled himself out.

Yeri gasped.

The passenger didn’t have two gnarled legs, but one long, iridescent fishtail. It bent where knees should bend with a wide fin and a line of sharp, bony protrusions outlining the dorsal. The automaton legs seemed to be a near extension of the man’s upper body.

“Thank you, driver,” said the passenger.” Unable to hear over the horses.”

“Dear me. Ve—very sorry sir.” Yeri removed his hat. “Jamison was sick, and I was unaware, of—er—your handicap, sir. I took zoology, of course, but it was only for extra credit, and my teacher was a blunderbuss of the highest ord—”

“Do not concern yourself, driver. It is no handicap. Now please, silence.”

“Forgive me, sir. One should be of more assistance, Mister?” said Yeri, with eyes locked on the passenger’s fishtail.

“Lir,” he sighed. Evidently, Yeri’s curiosity was greater than Lir’s need for silence. “My name is Lir Anu Palus, and this is Nia Menweir Palus. We are the Duke