How to Become Human: a scientific examination (first draft)

This is the first draft of my short story(?) How to Become Human: a scientific examination. It’s very new and fresh off my imaginary presses. Constructive criticism appreciated.

I am a freak of nature.

I’m not the only one- all of my sisters are, too. As is my father, my entire family, and everyone I know, actually. We are all freaks. None of us admits it, but my youngest sister, Ariel, has been growing uncertain. She wants to become human.

Ariel no longer appreciates the fish tail attached to her body, nor her gills, nor the complex cardio/vascular system that is a main part of being a mermaid. Maybe she’s right. There’s no reason that Ariel shouldn’t become a human. Anyway, she has asked me to make her human, but I don’t think she knows how completely impossible that is.

Yes, I am the most skilled scientist in all the oceans, but that only means that I am educated enough to know that odds are truly against Ariel becoming a human.

Who created the mermaids? We are surely not a natural occurrence. Whatever created us was very skilled- mermaids are much more than half of a human taped to fish’s tail. Nature has never before hosted a creature that is both a mammal and a fish. We are both warm and cool blooded. We have both scales and hair. We breathe both air and water. We have both a human’s larynx system for vocal communication and a fish’s clicking mechanism. Our tails point in the direction that whales’ and dolphins’ tails point, yet they are covered with scales.

However we came to exist, our bodies are complex, like machinery. The muscle groups of our torsos interlock seamlessly with the muscle groups of our tails. And thank goodness a mermaid’s tail is vertebrate as well as her torso. The bone structure each one of us is born with is so delicate that we are hardly half human. I have two respiratory systems, one with lungs, to filter air, and one with gills to filter water- the human respiratory system sleeps most of the time, as we live underwater. I have three hearts, two for my cold blood and one for my warm blood. I could go into all the details of my own complicated existence, but I haven’t the time.

All this to say that I can’t see any remote possibility of Ariel becoming human. What am I to do? Ariel has threatened to turn to witchcraft to get her way, if science can’t help her. I will never let Ariel turn to magic. Magic can’t do anything science can’t do- without a difficult price. I have heard horrible stories. I’d never let my sister go through with some horrible curse.

I hope Ariel has thought through this, and it’s not another of her mindless flings. One could live through her entire life without realizing that she is living masterpiece. With all this knowledge on the subject, I can’t help but admire who- or whatever created us. Forget freaks of nature. We are living, breathing, aware works of art!


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