Maria’s eyes widen as she watches a person dragging themselves away from the beach. Her jaw loosens when she notices an emerald green tail instead of legs.
“No way.” Maria whispers as her legs carry her to the unusual body.
The sand is stained green around the person. Person? Okay, she is obviously a mermaid. Maria catches her breath. Cautiously, Maria squats down and lowers her hand on the dark brown skin of the mermaid’s back. Is she breathing? Yes, she is alive.
“Wake up, can you wake up?” Maria asks the injured creature while shaking her shoulder.
“Tide.” the mermaid mumbles.
“Tide?” Maria repeats.
“I need to find Tide.” she says again.
“I don’t know who Tide is. Are you okay?” Maria lowers her face down closer to the mermaid’s. The creature’s eyes open to a brilliant emerald green.
“I have to find him.” her eyes look at Maria tiredly, but with worry, “The assassin from my pod. He will find Tide.”
“Where is Tide?” Maria asks.
“In a cave, hiding.” the mermaid answers, “Can you help me?”
“Uh, yeah. Hold on. Can you move?”
The mermaid shifts her with her bruise painted arms and tries to push herself up, but her arms begin to shake like jello before they give out under her.
“I am injured.” she huffs, “I need food and rest.”
“I, uh, I have a yacht.” Maria offers, “There might be some fish in the cooler. If that’s what you eat.”
The mermaid nods.
“Then I can help you look for Ty, or whatever.”
“Tide.” the mermaid corrects.
A thought crosses Maria’s head, “Can you swim?” she asks.
“Yes if I were in water.” the mermaid’s brow furrows.
“Maybe I can drag you to the water, and we can meet at the dock close to here. You know where that is?”
The mermaid nods her head, “I do. How are you going to drag me?”
“Try and move while I pull your arm, or something.” Maria grabs the mermaid’s hand and pulls on it toward the crashing waves. The mermaid winces but Maria can see her tail pushing against the sand making it easier for her to pull the creature’s weight. Maria uses both her hands and pulls as the mermaid pushes, both of them moving closer to the waves, until Maria’s ankles are deep in the frigid water.
“Almost there.” Maria encourages.
When both of them reach deep enough water, the mermaid flicks her tail and is out of Maria’s grasp. Maria sees the quick flick of the mermaid’s beautiful tail before she reminds herself to go to her yacht. Her feet splash against the water as she leaves the ocean and is back on land with her long blue skirt dancing in the wind.
Maria runs up a flight of stairs to the end of the beach and dashes towards the dock where her dad keeps his boats. Her bare feet hit the trail of grass down a hill, then hit wood. She runs to the very end of the dock where the yacht is tied up. She jumps on board, and begins untying the rope. Maria is out of breath, she hasn’t exercised this much in, well, ever.
“Human, I am here.” a familiar face surfaces out of the water, “The assassin’s gonna detect me. Please hurry.”
“I am doing it. You are so bossy!” Maria grunts, moving to the back of the boat and pulling out a safety tube from the side. She yanks it out of its rest and runs towards the front of the ship and drops the tube in the water.
“Hold on to that!” she orders the mermaid.
The mermaid grabs hold as Maria cranks the lever holding the rope. Inch by inch the mermaid is lifted out of the water and soon pulls herself onto the yacht.
“My friend is in a secluded cave waiting for me. You must leave the docks and go forward towards the ocean.”
“Alright, alright. Hang on. You need food.” Maria jogs to the wheel of the ship and opens the cooler of salmon. Maria gags at the stench of fish before reluctantly grabbing the slimy thing and throwing it at the mermaid.
Maria starts the engine of the yacht before driving off and towards the vast sea. The wind pushing her long black hair in her face.
“Where is the cave?” Maria asks as she glances at the mermaid next to her while pushing her hair back.
“Turn right and keep going, it’s not far.” Maria notices how the mermaid has not even touched her fish.
“Please eat so my dad doesn't freak about a fish laying out of its cooler.” she scowls at the mermaid while turning the boat to the right.
“Tide might need this more than me.” the mermaid responds.
“Well, I have more fish. So hurry up and eat.” Maria says.
The mermaid rolls her eyes, but she picks up the fish and starts to devour its flesh with her sharp teeth. Soon a cave is in sight, the ocean filling the entrance halfway, and the end appears dark and seems to go on forever.
“That’s where Tide is!” the mermaid exclaims, “Thank you so much, human.” she smiles at Maria with gratitude.
“No problem,” Maria smiles back, “Oh, and my name is Maria.”
“Anith.” she says.
“Will I see you again, Anith?” Maria asks.
Anith smiles, “We’ll see.”
Maria gives Anith another fish before helping her overboard. A splash is heard once Anith falls in the ocean. Anith swims back up to the surface and waves goodbye to Maria before entering the darkness of the cave.