Chapter 1: Tragedy of 80s Clichés
I left my dorm just as the sun was creeping over the horizon. It was a beautiful summer morning for a swim. It seemed like it was going to just be another day in the life as Mira Ainsely. As I was walking down the hallway, a door swung open and a dude in a wet suit popped out. He looked my way and noticed my swimsuit and towel.
"Hey, you going for a swim too?" He asked smiling at me.
"Yeah, I usually do in the morning." I answered back and continued on my way.
"I heard the current is pretty strong out this morning, you think you might need a partner?" I didn't want to bring upon any suspicion, but I can't just say yes and let this random dude know what I am.
"I think I'll be alright," He nodded and replied with a 'ok have fun' as I continued to walk to my secluded spot.
The sun was mid way through it's rise over the ocean. I was fully captivated by it's beauty. The cover-up that I was wearing slipped down my legs and I sprinted to the ocean, trying to get to the drop off as fast as possible. As I was englufed by water my legs befane to cramp and my skin split for gills. My blonde hair floated around as I struggled slightly to deal with the cramps, but once the pain ceased I was able to swim to the coral not to far below.
I've seen this place everyday since I moved to this island for college, it was still beautiful. There was something about the hussel and bussel of the ocean floor that was thrilling. Maybe the bottom of the ocean was just a nice contrast from the calmness of the island and it's people?
I spent too much time chasing innocent fish around the coral before I decided to visit the sunken yacht. I swam towards it to see if anything had changed since yesterday. The interior design was still a tragedy of 80s clichés, even more so after spending forty years under water. I opened a drawer of the master suite dresser. A smile bursted onto my face when my collection met my eyes. These shells were my pride and joy, nothing could replace them. I took out a few and examined their beauty before my hair stood up on the back of my neck. Panic began to overtake my happiness as the sound of a diver's air tank filled my ears. My head whipped around and I saw a pair of goggles stare back at me.
We stared at each other for what seemed to be hours. Both our brains short circuiting on what exactly to do. Fear overrid any rational thought I had.
I threw up my hands, the water under my control forced him into the wall of the ship. He bounced against it with an audible thump as I began to swim through the hallways of the yacht. I almost reached the drop off, before my conscience got the better of me.
There was no way he hadn't been knocked out by that, right?
I couldn't just leave him there. He wouldn't survive. I swam back to the yacht and carefully made my way back to the room we were in. I was desperately hoping that if he hadn't been knocked out he wouldn't see me. My head peaked into the room and saw him aimlessly floating there, not breathing, evident by the lack of bubbles. I lightly gripped his hands and pulled him out of the yacht, careful to not hit him on anything. There was a small fishing boat floating above, that I assumed was his, and pulled him to the surface.
It was going to be impossible to get him into the boat with just my strength, so I used the water and pushed him up into the air with the water and placed him in the boat. I then crawled in, which wasn't easy with a fish tail. I shuffled next to him, took off his mask, and struggled to get his tank off, without magical intervention. My eyes stared at him laying on the bench of the small boat as I drew blank on how CPR was going to be possible on him.
No way was I going to be able to do it properly, with a tail.
"Fuck" I whispered realizing what I needed to do. I put my hand on his chest and felt the water in his lungs. I zeroed in on it and began to guide the water up his windpipe. He began to cough and spit as the water travelled up his throat.
"Oh thank God, you're alive!" I exclaimed and relaxed when he opened his eyes and say up still coughing.
"You're a mermaid." He said bluntly. I stared at him with a confused expression.
"You are, surprisingly, calm about that." I remarked.
"I'm pretty sure I have a concussion." He held his head. Luckily my tail decided it was dry enough and transformed back into my legs. "Woah." He whispered.
"We should get you to a doctor." I lifted the anchor using my powers and then took the position by the motor to get us back to shore.
"Well Simon, you definitely have a concussion." The doctor said as he shined his flashlight into Simon's eyes. His attention soon turned towards me, "Make sure he gets plenty of rest and doesn't do anything too physically and mentally strenous."
"Oh I'm not his girl-" The doctor turned and left before I could finish, "-friend, oh okay." I defeatedly whispered.
"Doctor's orders, looks like you're taking care of me." Simon smiled.
"I barely know you." I slumped back into my chair.
"Well, looks like we will have to get to know each other." Simon smirked as be jumped off the table. His feet smacked on the floor and he clutched his head. I jumped up from my seat to help him. "Why did you do that?" I asked.
"Didn't think it would be that bad." He mumbled.
"Come on let's get you back to the dorm." I remarked an guided him out of the office.
Simon sat upon the twin bed and crossed his arms, as I with held his phone and the TV remote. "I'm bored." He remarked, staring at the black screen in front of him. He then looked at me, who also was caught up in the thrilling entertainment that is staring at a blank screen, "Entertain me."
"Fine, twenty questions. What are you majoring in?" I asked.
"I'm majoring in oceanography." I gave him a puzzled look, "It's like the study of ocean water and how it effects and is effected by it's surroundings. What are you majoring in?"
"I'm mostly bouncing around but I've had a growing interest in marine life, and I think I'm gonna stick with it." Simon nodded as he listened. "Do you scuba dive often?"
"Usually weekly, my friend, Ethan, comes with me most of the time. He obviously couldn't make it this time." Simon chuckled a little bit. "I'm still foggy on everything that happened this morning."
I had been itching to ask, but didn't want to put any stress on him. "What do you remember from this morning?"
"Well, I woke up and got ready, then went to this new dive spot that Ethan had scouted out. I wasn't planning to go into the yacht but I saw you swim in there. You had a fish tail, and I don't think I was hallucinating." He looked up and to the left trying to clear the fogginess from his memory. "Yeah you definitely had a fish tail." He nodded his head and looked at me with his arms still crossed. "I also remember a force exactly like in the movies" his arms became uncrossed as he mirrored the motion of what he was describing, "shove me back into the wall and after that it is very fuzzy." His arms laid in his lap, "Is that what happened?" His eyebrow slightly raised as he looked to me for the answer. I feigned pondering about the situation when I was trying to decide whether to lie or tell the truth.
"Yeah man, I don't know what saw, I definitely did not have a fish tail. You must have hit your head real hard." I lied smoothly.
"Yeah, must have." He stared back at the TV screen. "But how were you in the yacht? It was at least 40 feet down, and no one I know has the lung capacity to hold their breath that long." He looked down at his hands lying in his lap.
"Can you get me a glass of water?" He asked.
"Isn't my turn to ask a question?" I responded.
"You have to take care of me, doctor's orders." He smirked and winked as I huffed out a breath and got him his glass of water. He took the glass from my hand but it never reached his lips and instead was flung all over me.
"Well, fuck." I remarked before falling on the floor with a tail.
"I knew it!" Simon smiled. "I knew I wasn't seeing things!"
"Next time, don't do that to me while I'm standing on hard floors unless you want me to be the one with a concussion." I pushed up from the floor and looked up at him.
There was a knock at the door that caused my heart to race. I looked at Simon in shock only for him to give me the same panicked expression.
"Be quite and they will go away." Simon whispered, but the knocking continued.
"Hey Simon! Do you have the physics text book!" A masculine voice shouted from the door.
"Oh, shit." Simon whispered, "Yeah Corey! Give me a second!" He grabbed the book on his desk and looked at me unsure as what to do.
"Give me the blanket." He tossed a blanket over me and dried myself off as fast as possible while he took his time getting to the door. Simon opened the door just enough to get the book through.
"Yo, you trying to hide something?" Corey asked as he bobbed his head to see around Simon, I was almost dry.
"Nope, don't you have class soon?" Simon said quickly.
"Ow, fuck." I whispered as my tail cramped up badly while changing back.
Corey stopped trying to see as soon as I spoke and had a smirk on his face, "Ah, I see, don't do anything too wild." He winked and left.
"Holy shit, that was close." Simon said with his back to the door, suddenly his eyes widened. "And you're an actual mermaid."
It took twenty minutes and me changing one more time for Simon to stop saying, "There's no way."
"So, were you born like this or did it just happen?" He asked.
"Well funny story, I got bitten by a radioactive fish when I was eleven." I responded.
"No, the real story is that when I was around fifteen, I joined a volunteer program were you go take the elderly medication and groceries. I met one old lady who lived pretty deep in some woods. She had to be a witch or something because one day I walked in and she was being extra nice and offered me a drink. I was not one to be rude and learned quickly that old people take offense if you do not accept what they are offering, so I took a sip. Then I got a massive concussion and a split head when I fell on my bathroom floor testing the water for my shower."
"There's no way that happened you are trying to prank me." Simon laughed.
"Wait are you trying to say that's less plausible than the radioactive fish story?"
"Maybe? I don't know. I'm still trying to wrap me head around the tail part."
"Why don't we talk about something else?" I suggested.
"Wait I have more questions, have you ever met another mermaid?"
"No, I think I'm the only one, I've tried to find out if there are any others, but to no avail." I would love if there was someone like me. Someone who could understand what it is like to pretend to be exactly like everyone else.
"What time is it?" Simon asked.
I tapped my phone to life and stared at the numbers on the screen. "Oh shit. My exam started ten minutes ago." I stared with my jaw to my knees at Simon.
"Well are you gonna go take it or sit here, oogling over me." He half smirked as I scowled at him.
"Keep it up boy, and I won't be back to take care of you." I swung open his door and ran to my exam, no pencil, no preparation, only anxiety and tears to carry me through.
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