Tahiti by

“When do you think you first knew? About being…”

“Queer? You can say it Mollie. Anyway, I never said I was fully, you know. No. You’ll laugh.”

“I promise I won’t.”

Trix smiled and shook her head. Her feet dangled from the edge of the pier. She leaned back and looked up into the sky.

“God. OK. Mermaids.”


“Sure. There was this TV show when I was growing up. Australian, I think. About these three teenage girls who become mermaids. And… hey, don’t look at me like that! I know, I work in an Aquarium. I studied Marine Biology. I live by the sea. But I swear, the two things are not related,” Trix laughed. “I don’t have some weird fish-based fetish. Honest to God. But one of the girls… there was a lot of swimming. Wet hair.”

“Wet hair?”

“I knew you’d laugh.”

“I’m not laughing,” Mollie said and clenched her lips tight.

“I can’t explain it. I just knew, all right? I started to think about running away with this mermaid girl to Tahiti or somewhere she wouldn’t have to hide her secret, oh God! How have I only just made that connection? She was in the closet too. Her own mermaid closet. I’m so dumb sometimes.”

“Look, if you want to, I’m pretty sure I can knock up a half-decent fish tail and we can-“

“You promised you wouldn’t laugh,” Trix said.

“Sorry. Or I could jump off the pier and you could dive in-“

“Knock it off. OK. Your turn.”

Mollie’s mouth opened and closed. “My-“

“When did you know?”

“I don’t think… I mean, it’s not like there was one neat, clear moment when the scales fell from my eyes.”

“Stop making fun.”

“Making fun?”

“You said scales.”

“Oh. I didn’t mean-“

“OK, well, tell me about the first girl you had a crush on.”

Mollie stood up. Then sat back down again. She didn’t really know why. Then she sat very, very still and listened to the sound of her blood thrumming in her ears. “There wasn’t really-“

“Must have been someone,” Trix pushed.

Mollie gripped the edge of the pier and rocked a little. “There was a girl I grew up with. When we were teenagers… but that was a long time ago.”

“You’re twenty. It’s not that long ago. Do you still keep in touch?” Trix asked. Her head snapped around to stare intently at Mollie, but Mollie was too busy watching her own feet rock back and forth to notice. As if catching herself, Trix looked away with an effort and stared out to sea, affecting an air of casual indifference as Mollie sat up straighter. But at that moment, Trix could have been doing handstands and Mollie wouldn’t have noticed.

“No. No, not for a long time.”

When Mollie didn’t elaborate, Trix took hold of her hand. “Good. That’s good. I don’t want to share you with anyone.”




T. K. Howell is a writer living on the banks of the Thames. When not writing, he manages ancient oak woodlands and tends to trees that are older than most countries. His writing is often inspired by mythology and folklore and can be found at various genre and literary spaces including Lucent Dreaming, Mystery Magazine, Firewords and Indie Bites.


Tahiti by T. K. Howell was first published by Scars Publications at Scars.tv


Photo by Mor Shani on Unsplash



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