Civitas Lumine

J.D. Scheer
6 min readNov 12, 2020


I regret to inform my readers that this might very well be my last letter. I have been given a primitive writing utensil and some sheets of papyrus to place in a bottle. I’m experiencing things that are too horrid to describe; yet I feel compelled to share what I have been through with someone. Can I trust you to carry on my story? I’m sure I can, you’re my only chance at belief in my story. I’ve been accepted by something so deceptively evil I cannot imagine what my life would be like past this night. This will, as I said before, serve as my last letter to you all.

When I jumped the ship as it was sinking I knew that was it for myself. I was certain of it. Luckily a piece of debris floated past me, and I caught it to stay afloat among the freezing water. The airplanes still wizzed over head, dropping bombs and firepower that I could not hide from in any case. Shots splashed among me on all sides, and I was sure a stray bullet would penetrate my heart. Alas, it never happened, and that is what sorrows me.

We were just a few hundred miles from the coast of East Japan, and all of our ships had been sunk within minutes. Where I was expecting to float to, I have no perception or recollection. Nothing would be worse, I thought, than to have been picked up by the Japanese and become a prisoner of war. Still, I fought and struggled upon that debris like my life depended on it (which it did). I screamed for help, hollered at the top of my exhausted lungs, yet to no avail. The gunfire and engines of planes were too loud, drowning out my desperate cries for help. I was indeed alone.

Then something touched my leg: a hand. I would swear it was no fin from a fish, no tentacle from a squid or octopus, but a five-fingered hand. Its touch was gentle, soft, almost as if to comfort me in my time of need. Companionship can come in all forms, but this form was most certainly human. And that, dear readers, is what worried myself. I at first assumed at most it was maybe a stray piece of seaweed, something that had come up from the depths and tickled my calf. Yet, when it wrapped around my ankle, I knew this was something different; something undiscovered by man as we see fit to science to this day.

Just as my superstitious ways began to overcome me, something breeched the surface of the water slowly, breaking my confused musing. What came up from the depths was other worldly, yet completely human to my shell-shocked standards. The face shown to myself was that of a beautiful female brunette. Supple; a woman who would have come from somewhere more exotic, such as Brazil, or Spain. But this cannot be: I was in the Pacific, far from those two pieces of land. Even then, what would such a perfect specimen be doing in such a war-torn area such as this? My mind could not comprehend the sight which beheld me, and my heart began to beat rather irregularly to my chagrin. I was nervous for merely existing in the presence of someone so beautiful, yet I was terrified at the sight of someone (or something) who did not belong in this setting.

Next thing I was aware of was her pressing her pursed lips upon mine and pulling me underwater, just dodging more fire from the airplanes. At that one instance, she became my guardian angel, despite my lack of knowledge as to who she was (or what she was). Mythology never intrigued me. I was a Bible believer, and I think I still am. But the breath she gave me was one of oxygenated water, a water I could breathe. This shook my heart to its core, and I began to panic. As my heart rate accelerated she gave me more breath. I opened my eyes under the surface (something I’ve never been able to do before), and locked vision with hers. Her eyes were intoxicating to the point of drunkenness under water. As my manliness took ahold, I glanced down her naked body: neck, breasts, waist, then fins from waist down. I screamed, letting all of my air out, and she locked lips with mine sensually as she pumped me full of breath yet again. She held me close to her body, warm and cozy, something I hadn’t felt since my military leave in Hawaii. I felt perverted; something in me felt wrong inside my heart.

Before I could swim away, she took my hand and lead me deeper, a smile plastered on her face. Normally this would frighten me, but her serenity kept me calm and collected. At that particular moment I knew I would be safe. Little did I know how short lived that safety would last.

The woman (or, mermaid as she stood to be), took me away to an underwater utopia that only some deep sea diver would have dreamed to come upon. It reminded me of illustrations I’d seen in childhood of the famed and fictional Atlantis, marble columns circling around the oval city. Somehow, still unbeknownst to me, torches of fires lit up the ocean floor citadel that protected the city. It was at this moment that I realized I could breathe without my company’s assistance now. I tried to speak but the only sound that protruded from my lips were nothing but a gargle. As my feminine escort swam me down, she placed a delicate finger to my lips as if to hush me. I looked up and still could spy explosions coming from the air above the surface and couldn’t help but find relief that I had been transported to this other world.

The male fish-guards that glided along the city’s ramparts pulled effortlessly at levers that opened the gates into the downtown portion of the city. There were thousands of people; or should I correct myself and say beings; gathered to greet our seemingly triumphant entrance. A muffled applause roared and waved through the ocean from their slow clapping hands, waving and bowing all to me. My escort lead me through the crowds of beautiful yet unearthly beings that I can fail to describe only as nautical angels. They patted my back in a congratulatory manner as I could tell, but for what reason I had not known at the time. As we swam further into the city, I could see majestically carved statues of what appeared to be human men but chiseled like the Greek gods of old. Much was my confusion, past the point of the existence of these creatures, but on to the fact that they worshipped similar gods that dwelt thousands of miles away. Nothing was adding up in my calculated and logical brain. Perhaps, I thought to myself, I had been dying and these were merely phantoms of my bleeding consciousness?

Soon after that questioning of psychosis I was snapped back into reality and began to choke under the water. The mermaid looked at me concerned and gave me another kiss of life, thus relieving my drowning. I then felt fine; as fine as one could in such a beautifully mysterious alien world. The crowds dispersed and swam ahead of us to an arena nearby, its architecture similar to the grand Colosseum. My escort and I, however, took a detour down a cobble-stoned street and into a Roman style hut. Inside the hut, protected by a giant breathable air bubble, were piles of modern shoes, pants, and shirts; hundreds of them almost leaving no room for me to maneuver. I half expected her urge to strip me, but she just seemed to show me these things with a sorriness in her eyes while staying in the water.

I raised my hands in the air, trying to signal my confusion. She pointed to a small table in the corner where I found this pen and paper. My confusion still haunts me but something haunts me further. As I write this I hear a certain tribal drumming and chanting. I can only imagine what they have in store for me at that enormous stadium, and as for the clothes…I believe they had once belonged to men turned warriors like I myself am doomed to become.



J.D. Scheer

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