Life had always been easy for Titan, even if that meant that it was also always boring. The most excitement he ever got was when his owner would bring home gifts for him to eat or to play with to keep the young merman’s mind active. A lot of captive merpeople would would simply stop trying and some even become no better than goldfish so research had been poured in and it was shown that they needed as much if not more stimulation than a human child did. Since his owner took great pride in Titan, he was almost always given whatever it was that he wanted. The key word being, almost.
Titan knew there had been a time when he had not lived in the equivalent of an indoor swimming pool in the basement but instead had lived among color and of life, though he could no longer remember what such a place was called. It still filled his dreams and left him feeling lost whenever he woke from them. Those dreams, however, had long since started to become dimmer and less often. Instead, he dreamed of the pool he lived in. It was almost like he’d never even been to that wonderful place. Titan had started to think it was all created by the imagination of a child even. No such color could exist in the world. The brightest thing was himself, more orange than any carrot his owner had ever given him or any pair of swim trunks he’d seen worn on his owner’s legs. He really couldn’t understand why he had so much color when the world didn’t. What was the point in it? Wouldn’t he have stood out like a sore thumb in the wild? Obviously it was for the best that he’d been taken.
But then Titan had learned the lessons of life and of death and how not everything stayed the same forever the day his owner died. One day he was there and the next day he was gone. There were no more carrots or swim trunks. Instead, people dressed in black came flooding into the house. Some were crying but most just wanted to see Titan which he didn’t mind. The crying made him uncomfortable and he’d been so lonely since his owner abandoned him for a mysterious place called death. Had he done something wrong? Why had his owner left him?
Most were curious eyes filled with awe that looked at him but one man, the one that most looked like his owner, only looked like he might be sick every time he had to look at the merman. That made Titan uncomfortable too. Obviously he had done something wrong to drive his owner away and that’s why this similar looking human was so upset by the sight of him.
Only it wasn’t. He found this out while being lifted up by a large net into a much smaller tank of water on a truck. The man was smiling now, going on about how he was going to make things right. Titan couldn’t understand what that or the word he most often used; freedom. He was free, wasn’t he? The man assured him that he wasn’t and Titan didn’t argue though he would have liked to. Instead he did what he was told and quietly waited to see for himself.
This involved a two hours drive down the road, though he saw none of it as he was in an enclosed back of a truck in his pool of water, and another hour on a boat which he also didn’t see any of. So far freedom really didn’t seem all that great. It was cramped and dark no matter how much he requested for there to be light. None of this was right.
The light came, blindingly in fact, some time later when he found himself being carried up the stairs to the deck of the boat in the man’s arms. He’d only been carried this way three times in his entire life but he wasn’t about to argue. This was the first nice thing to happen since his owner left. Titan had always loved and craved physical attention, after all.
Titan leaned forward to nuzzle into the man’s neck and he wasn’t stopped which had a small purr sound rise from the back of his throat even as he winced from the brightness of the sun. “This is freedom,” the man offered, motioning out to the what was the biggest pool he’d ever seen. No… this wasn’t the biggest he’d seen. Something about this was familiar but not in a good way.
“This is where we say goodbye,” he’d been told
Titan’s affectionate gestures turned into thrashes of panic. What? He didn’t want to go there! That wasn’t freedom! That was horrifying. Something was wrong but he couldn’t give a good answer as to why so his pleas had been ignored and he’d been tossed overboard despite his screeching. It felt like a slap as he’d landed flat on his back and the shock of that and the cold water meant all Titan could do was watch in horror as the boat left him.
He’d watched that spot where the boat had once been for a good two hours before finally going under. Something was wrong and he had to find out what. Where was he? This wasn’t good.
A creature lazily swam by and it might have left him alone had Titan not actually gone over to it and grabbed onto its tail to get its attention. He’d just wanted to ask for help or where he was but that turned out to be a huge mistake. The shark turned and attacked. Titan was suddenly struck by not only teeth but the vague memory of a woman’s voice telling him never to go out into the deep water before the world went dark.
He’d just been coming to when he felt himself being pulled along through the water. Even if he had been conscious at the point where Nereus had found him the warning probably wouldn’t have helped. “Oh my god!” he hissed out, a phrase he’d learned from the humans, as he began to try to break free of whatever was holding him hostage, ”Freedom is going to kill me!” He hated it. Freedom was horrible. He was going to die… this thing was going to- that’s when Titan took the time to actually look at what was holding him and he fell silent abruptly. It was a creature that looked like him, not exactly, but the closest he’d ever seen.
All he could do was stare as he was set down only long enough for Nereus to move a rock and then pick him up again. There were questions but which ones should he ask? Was that person freedom? He had been told that freedom was out here…
Titan didn’t say anything at first when the other merman set him down to get a better look at him. Instead, he just stared up with wide eyes like he was seeing a miracle.
“What are you?” Was all he managed to ask
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