Chapter 3: Two Fish
“Fea?” Fea nodded. Andy ran over to her and untied her. “What happened?”
“Your dad’s fishing net got me. They found out.”
“They? Who’s they?”
“Your dad and Michael, for sure. But the word has probably spread that there’s a mermaid on board.”
“Then we have to get you out now,” Andy said with fierce strength. Fea hadn’t seen him like this before, even when he’d been picking on people.
“Come on,” he said as he approached the door. They snuck out of the room and climbed up the stairs. They crept onto the deck. No one was in sight. They ran up to the edge of the deck.
“Grab my hand. When I’m a mermaid, I can see in the dark water,” Fea told him. They prepared to jump. A gun cocked behind them.
“Come away from the edge or I shoot. Andy,” Bruce told them.
Fea stepped in front of Andy, “If you shoot him, I’m going down, too.”
“No! I won’t let you do that!” Andy stepped out from behind Fea.
“Andy! This is the only way we’ll both survive!” She grabbed his hand again. They jumped off the boat together. The gun rang out just above their heads. They hit the water and took off. Fea swam as fast as she could, pausing every now and then so Andy could get a breath. She kept looking back, worrying that they might be followed. Fea had never felt more paranoid and scared. They didn’t head back to the island, but they went back the the main land.
They got out of the water on a beach that was secluded. As Fea’s tail dried off Andy talked to her.
“What am I going to do now?” he asked her.
“What do you mean?”
“My dad’s going to kill me! I can’t go back home and no one in the entire school likes me so I won’t be able to stay with someone!” Andy exclaimed. They were walking into town and didn't want talk about what had just happened out of fear of being overheard.
“I like you,” Fea said quietly. He looked at her in surprise.
“Yeah. I used to think you were a mean jerk that only cared about himself. But I’ve seen how it is for you outside of school, and you risked our own life for me! No one’s ever done that before,” she summed up the day. Fea looked at her watch, “Hey, um.. I got to get back to my foster parent’s house. You want to come?”
“Sure,” Andy shrugged. They walked to the bus stop.
“How much money do you have? I have a dollar,” Fea said.
“I have two.”
“Okay. That should be enough for the both of us,” Fea led Andy onto the bus. When they got to Fea’s house, they started looking for her foster parents. They found them and talked about Andy staying at their house.
“He’s... having some problems... with his dad.”
“Well who’s his dad?” they asked Fea.
“Bruce Tanner,” came Andy’s sullen reply
“Oh, you poor thing! Yes, you can stay at our house. Any child that can endure living with him is well worthy of staying with us,” they agreed. Andy thanked them and Fea showed him to his room.
Andy got the spare bedroom next to Fea’s. In the night, Fea had a dream. She was swimming in a wrecked ship. She got to a hallway and started looking through all the rooms. At the end of the hall was a room with a heavy oak door that was still very much intact. Fea opened it. Inside were her parents. Two fish laying face down on the floor. A note was scratched on the floor by a knife. It read, The humans did this. They will never understand.
Fea woke up screaming. Andy came running in the room.
“Fea, are you okay?”
Her foster parents came running in the room looking extremely worried.
“Fea?” they said. Fea shook her head and moved herself further away from them. She scrunched herself up in bed. What is Andy or her foster parents were like the humans that killed her parents?
“Fea, it’s okay. I’m here for you.” Andy stepped up to her bedside and put his hand on her arm. She relaxed. Her foster parents looked at Andy. He nodded back at them and they left the room.
“I’ll be right back,” he said as he turned to leave the room. He came back with his pillow and two blankets. He put one down on the floor and made himself a little bed.
“I’m right here. You don’t have to tell me what happened if you don’t want to. Just know that I’m here for you.”