The sky is stripped of all its stars, but the full moon guides me to the ocean. I'm earlier than usual, so I sit on a big rock and begin to read. My toes drown with the frosty rocks submerged in the sand. The fun thing about picking a random book is the surprise. I laugh to myself, as I look at the page that has a mermaid drawn on it, but it's not like a real-life mermaid. Real-life mermaids have pointy noses and aren't as human-looking.
The day I met Etta I almost screamed. It was my turn to switch on the lighthouse beam and I saw a light dancing on her sliver tail as she swam. At first, I thought it was a shark but when I climbed the wobbly ladder down to take a closer look I was greeted with a smile.
"Novara?" I hear a whisper from the water.
"Yeah, are you okay?" I lean towards the ocean only to see my reflection gazing right back. A girl with short curly brown hair, not even nicely brushed. "Etta where are you?"
"It hurts!" she whispers loudly still trying to keep her voice down. I hear a grunt and she begins to struggle even more. My eyes scan the bloodstained water. The red almost looks brown.
"Oh gosh Etta, you're bleeding!" I yell softly seeing her limp body float closer. Reaching for her arms I bring her onto the rocks. She sees my book on the ground and rolls her eyes.
"I told you to live your life! Not to waste all your time in a book!" she smiles even though her salty tears roll down her cheeks.
I dismissed a clever comeback but instead examine her cut, "What happened?"
"Stupid glass bottles," she answers "how bad is it?"
I want to tell her that it's a small one, but by now the rocks are stained red. When I don't answer she looks back at herself and fakes throwing up.
"Stop joking around!" a smile sneaks onto my face.
A grin slides across her face and she throws her arms around me. Even though her mint skin is dripping wet she feels warm.
"This has happened too many times!" I sigh staring at her cut once again. The deep red slices her moonlit tail.
"We're used to it by now. Don't humans call it Palujion?" she asks and I can't tell if she's joking but it doesn't stop me from laughing.
"Etta, It's Pollution!" I snort between my giggles.
She smiles and laughs with me but her blue lips turn into a worried frown "Um, Novara?"
"Was your room light on when you came out?"
My head swings back and I notice the light shining through the glass window. My heart feels as if its plunged into my stomach. "Oh shoot! I have to go back before he notices!"
"I think he already knows your out. Just pretend you were reading in the fresh air!" she replies as I get up and start running back.
"Take care of that cut!" I yell and hope she hears me.
Before the front door slams open, I sit down leaning against the house with the same book in my hand. I see his crinkled face with furred brows come closer.
"Whatcha doing out here?" He demands. His voice is so rough it startles me.
"I was-um-reading," I reply and wish my eyes don't give it away. I notice empty cans and plastic bags in his hand and know what he's up to but I ask anyway, "what are you doing?"
"Going to get a kill" He smirks looking out into the ocean.
I imagine Etta still waiting for me and her weak scream suffocating in the plastic bag thrown into the ocean by my father.
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