Thursday, April 18, 2013

THE MAGIC MERMAID #three (Swimming) by Summer Day

The next day, Storm was born anew, just as the woman in the cave told her she would be. The ache started in the joints of her legs and to stand was not only difficult but excruciating. Storm whimpered and cried out in agony. Thankfully, the pain subsided after a few hours. The girl studied her feet, toes and limbs; she crawled onto the face of a rock and leaned onto another with the great effort it took to stand. Finally, Storm stood on her own two feet for the first time. She took the package wrapped around her waist and pulled out a folded waterproof coat which she wrapped around her. Inside was a plastic credit card, some money (also sealed in plastic) and the names of her foster family.
   By now, Storm had been standing for a few minutes. As she tried to walk for the first time, she screamed in agony. Falling to the ground she wondered if she’d ever be able to get up again. As she fainted, she could not believe she had made such a stupid mistake. In her mind, she envisaged a place of comfort, warm and dry.
   When she woke, she was in her new home with her foster mom’s face hovering over her. It was a kind face but almost instantly, Storm missed her family.  She thought about her sisters and their disappointed faces as they read her note. They would want to meet, or at least see, the boy - the reason she’d run away from home.
    As Storm lay recovering in bed and her wounded, reddened joints healed themselves with each breath she took, she realized, with her human transformation came an incredible power. The power to journey in moments what would have once taken hours. When she had healed sufficiently to walk without too much agony she merged from her bed to the bench in seconds.
    By her first day of school, she was feeling, almost human. But she craved water. Not just to drink but to swim in. It was very lucky Sloan Select High had the best swim team in the state and that Jack Hunter was the captain of the team. There was only one problem. If Storm stayed in the water too long, like a human in a bath whose skin might turn prune-like, her legs resumed their mermaid status and Storm’s tail returned, although with no ability to breathe underwater, she would never be a real mermaid again.
    But Storm was not worried. Love had changed her, made her even more optimistic, if that was possible. Unfortunately for her, Storm’s love was, so far, very one-sided.
   In the earliest mornings, she crept out of her bed, merged to school in double quick time, pulled on her swimsuit and dived into the pool.
   It wasn’t as nice as the ocean, but Storm was getting used to chlorine. After ten seconds or so, Storm could feel her body tightening and her fish tail growing in all its silky, fluorescent glory. Although she couldn’t breathe underwater through her gills, the scar remained. Storm missed her gems and shells; being human was like being born anew.
   The minute she was out of water, her gills and tail dissolved. She climbed out of the water using her long, delicate but muscular legs. The thrill of walking was different. The pain had subsided but Storm didn’t feel steady, yet. She told herself Jack was worth the transition without ever really asking the important questions.
    How would she feel if he didn’t love her back?
    Storm was enjoying herself, swimming like a fish in the pool in the hours before classes started, that first week, never daring to stay long. Though the school was full of ‘exceptional teens’, Storm knew none as freakish, in reality, as her. There was talk that Jack was a shape shifter and his (rumored girlfriend) Sara, was a merger and weather changer and that mean girl Lavinina Snow was a powerful conjurer. In any case, she hadn’t befriended anyone yet, so how would she know for sure? She knew the school rules prohibited use of these powers outside controlled classroom environments. Extraordinary powers could only be used during lessons like ‘Chemical Romance’, ‘Merging’, and ‘Invisibility’.
   Storm liked to swim underwater. She liked to feel the rhythm and the pressure around her. It reminded her of home. She knew she had to pull herself together, that after her transition – which seemed to be taking more than a few days – she’d feel close to normal.