Here’s another exclusive extract from the Winter Minimus children’s series brought to us by Robert Dozari, this time from Winter Minimus and the Crystal of Gertabor
Silky’s bedroom was so large that one could not even see the walls.
― My father banned all the walls in Mermaiddom since the day he bumped himself into that of the bathroom, she said.
This however, had not prevented Silky to collect all kinds of pieces of furniture. Her bedroom was bursting with tens and tens (once again Winter didn’t know how to count to one hundred) of cupboards and wardrobes of all shapes, colours and sizes. These pieces of furniture were full of dresses custom-made for a girl with a fin instead of legs.
She took off her crown, and tried another one, then yet another one…
― How do you like this one? she asked. No, don’t answer. I find it perfect, and that’s what matters. My father gave it to me for my first nightmare.
― I don’t understand why you put on a crown before going to bed, Winter said. I always took off my magic wand out of my hair before sleeping.
― I am a princess! I must wear a crown. And this one is my night crown.
Silky looked at her reflection in a mirror that was taller than she was. She carefully looked from every angle, inspecting her fin, adjusting a scale here, a yellow hair there.
― Tell me who is the prettiest!
― You are the prettiest, said Winter unguardedly.
― I was talking to my mirror! snapped Silky. It’s a magic mirror, but it’s not even capable of telling me I am the prettiest mermaid in the world! I might as well ask a deaf shell. It’s an easy thing to do, no? I am the prettiest!
Then she swam to her bed.
At least there will be plenty of space, Winter thought.
Indeed, the bed alone was larger than the house of Frigida and Surgelo. Silky was probably finding it hard not to get lost between all these blankets covered with multicoloured sea anemones and golden corals.
― Hey! What do you thin you are doing? she shouted when Winter tried to lie down on one corner of the bed.
It took the water balls filled with Silky’s words few seconds to reach Winter.
― I prepare myself to go to sleep, he replied, putting his hands in front of his mouth like a loudspeaker.
― No way! It’s my bed, and there is just enough room for me in it. You can sleep in the other bedroom, behind you. And hurry up because the light will soon be turned off! Tomorrow I will show you the sperm whales.
Silky showed him another bed, much smaller, with worn blankets that had lost all their colours. Winter got just enough time to lie down before the night fell all at once. The lantern fish had all turned off their light at the same time. Energy saving was not an empty word in Mermaiddom!
The next morning (even if it was difficult to tell if the sun had risen since the story is taking place several kilometres under water), after having cleaned her teeth with an Argentinian coral toothbrush, and after having washed her face with a very soft Japanese submarine sponge, Silky brushed her yellow hair for only fifteen minutes because she was in a hurry. Then she switched her night crown for a day one.
Winter looked at her through a kind of fog, and started to cough.
― The effect of my kiss is fading out, Silky said. I have to snog you again or you’ll drown. But it will be the last time!
No sooner said than done. Silky wiped her mouth afterward several times.
― Are we going to get a breakfast? Winter asked, now that he was not coughing anymore, and was seeing clearly.
― But you did eat plenty yesterday! Didn’t you get enough?
― Yesterday was yesterday, Winter replied with surprise. Don’t you eat everyday?
Silky tapped the side of her head with her index finger.
― Mermaids only eat once a month, she said. At least the mermaids who are neither kings nor princesses. In doing so, they have the rest of the month to do something else. It makes things much simpler, no? Let’s go and see the sperm whales. I didn’t kiss you twice, and brought you here just so that you can eat everyday.
Winter reluctantly followed Silky, but his stomach kept sending water balls full of rumblings.
They soon arrived at King Tubercule’s enclosures. If one could call them enclosures that is, since there was of course no walls!
These wall-less enclosures were providing shelter for eleven sperm whales, each wearing a crown similar to the one that was now hanging from Frigida’s ceiling.
The eleven animals were aligned, and separated from each other with lines of fish that were holding each other’s fins.
The sperm whales were held prisoners by chains salvaged from old ships that had sunk to the bottom of the oceans. Winter also learnt that the iron suits of the mermaid guards were made with metal from these same sunken ships.
When Silky walked in their direction, all the sperm whales greeted her with a bow. All, except one! This one was completely white, and had still several harpoons deeply stuck inside its body.
― This one never welcomes me. It never bows, and is always in a bad mood, Silky groused.
― Maybe it has something to see with all the big needles stuck into its back, Winter suggested. It must be itchy. We could pull them out. I am sure I would be able to do that.
Silky flatly refused. There was surely a good reason why these harpoon were stuck into the back of this one.
― Why are they enchained? Winter asked.
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