Water Prints (427 Words)
She didn’t live in town. The island population, a little under five hundred residents, was limited mostly to farmers and fishers. The moment Davie saw her sitting on the sand, looking out to sea with her knees pulled under her chin, he knew she didn’t belong.
There was something unusual in her quietness and poise. Something in her eyes was strange and deep, wild and unafraid like the sea itself. Davie was a little afraid of her. But even though he was afraid, it comforted him somehow to see her every morning. People gossiped about her but he never listened to what they said. There was a mystery about that young woman he was satisfied to solve himself.
But all his mild interest vanished when he saw her footprints leading into the sea. Davie was terrified. It was high tide and the water was rough. There were dangerous rocks and on a day like this, with the wind blowing cold and hard, even the most skilled swimmer would be in danger. Without thinking, knowing she must be in trouble, he ran into the surf.
The cold water hit him like shock. He gasped for breath and fought to see, to find her. The water was churning and murky. The strength of the waves battered him and he struggled to reach the surface.
Something held him. He was forced above the water and sobbed for air, his hands gripping his rescuer’s shoulders, looking into the strange wild eyes of the young woman.
She helped him to the shore. They sat together, Davie shivering from cold and shock. At last she moved closer to him.
“Why did you go in?” she asked.
“I—I thought you would drown.”
She looked down at her bare feet. “I can’t drown.”
Her warmth at his side was comforting. The man gritted his teeth against the cold. “W-what are you?” he asked.
“I’m a mermaid.”
Davie coughed. It was half cough, half laugh, as he looked at her sideways. “Y-you don’t have a t-tail.”
“Not all of us do.” She stood. “Do you have a home?”
The laughter went out of him. He looked up at her. “Why?”
For a moment their eyes fixed. Davie looked into her wild, deep eyes.
“You saved me,” he said.
“I had to.”
She touched his arm, her hand resting on him. “Because you wanted to save me.”
He placed his hand over hers. His next words were faint. “Will you come with me?”
“Yes,” she said. She glanced aside. “I am cold, too.”
Written in response to Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt. Check it out!