It was tropical storm Melita at Williem Ocean’s High. It was straight up hell once the water pipers broke and the school started to flood. Of course, everyone thought it was the pipe’s fault that the school was flooding, but I knew the real reason. And it had nothing to do with the pipes or the plumbing. I knew the real reason now.
And I’m sure that some of it was definitely Dre’s fault.
School was let out early because of the whole flooding thing, but I didn’t go straight home. I saw Brite down the hallway, but I didn’t pause to talk to her, or Marshall for that matter, who gave me a questioning mark as he walked arm in arm with Luna. Instead, I dropped my jacket off in my locker, took my keys out of their, and speed-walked out of that hellhole. I needed to see Dre right that second.
I was walking down Kedzie Avenue, speeding to Best Buy. While crossing the street, a car was coming and honked its horn at me, but I just flipped him off and kept going.
I walked right into Best Buy straight into customer’s service. There was a woman with the name tag that read “Debbie” and I could tell right away that she would be all bright and cheery. Yeah, I wasn’t in the mood for that. Not by a long shot.
“Well, hi there!” She said, in her small-town mid-western accent. “How can I help—,”
I immediately cut her off. “Yeah, hi. Did one of your employees, Andre Young, come into work today?”
She didn’t even blink as I rudely cut her off. “Well, I’m not supposed to share information about employees,” She said reluctantly. She started tugging on her bangs, and I had the sudden urge to just snip them off with the scissors lying on her desk, just out of annoyance.
Turning my eyes back to her from the scissors, I decided to get my point across smooth and fast. “Well, I don’t mean to interrupt store policy or anything, but you see, I’m Andre’s girlfriend.” I whispered the last sentence real close to her like it was a secret. And I guess you could count it as a lie, too, since I’m pretty sure that people in a relationship didn’t just vanish and not tell them where they were going.
Immediately, her eyes widened open and sparkled. “Oh, I understand. Here, give me a second,” She walked into the back part of the customer service desk and I waited for her.
I stood there impatiently, hip against the counter and my foot tapping against the linoleum floor. Seriously, it was taking Debbie forever to get back out. After what seemed like five minutes, I noticed someone standing behind me. I guess I wouldn’t have really noticed if I wasn’t so pissed and impatient, but I was just all PMS-y that day.
“Do you mind?” I snapped, turning around to face the guy behind me. “You’re in my personal bubble.”
The guy smirked at me. “Wow Mel, I’ve never seen you this mad before,” he said, sounding amused.
I took a closer look at the guy, as I finally recognized his voice. I snatched off his LA cap and stared at him angrily. Of course, it was Dre.
“Where in the hell have you been?” I hissed angrily, my face contorted as I shouted.
“Mel, calm down,” He tried to assure me. “Look, I know you’re confused and everything, but I’ll be sure to explain. Just give me a chance to—,”
“No!” I interrupted, stamping my foot like an impatient child. I didn’t care how bratty I looked then, I was tired of Dre dodging my questions and acting like everything was okay, when it definitely wasn’t. “I don’t care that this is your job, you’re going to stop lying and answering my questions. Now, Dre!” I yelled, getting a bunch of stares from the people around us.
“What are you looking at?!” I yelled at them, and they scattered like mice.
“Mel, I’m telling you, calm down,” Dre said again, this time putting a hand on my shoulder. Strangely, I felt a calming sensation wash over me, like a curtain of certainty was flowing over me.
Immediately, I slapped Dre’s hand off. “You’re trying to calm me down!” I accused wildly, shouting. “You’re not just good with people, you have powers—,”
“Shh!” Dre urged me, his eyes widening as he put a finger up to my lips. “Whatever problem you have with me, don’t start anything here! I need my job!” he urged me. I was mad – and had every right to be – but I knew I couldn’t cost Dre his job. Without Best Buy, I would be putting Dre and Derek’s lives in jeopardy.
“Fine!” I agreed, shout-whispering. “But no more dodging my questions, okay? You’re going to finally answer me.” I said, staring straight into his eyes. Usually I would melt whenever I looked into his gaze, but now I just felt livid rage.
He gave me a silent nod, and he took my hand is his. I was reluctant at first to let him hold my hand, but then I felt the familiarity of his skin, and I calmed down at the idea. Once I wasn’t giving him death stares, he led into the employees’ locker area behind the customer service desk.
On the way inside, I saw that Debbie was dead asleep – complete with the whole drooling package – in a chair near the refrigerator. So, she hadn’t been looking for Dre for me after all. That sneaky bastard. I couldn’t help but think in my head. Although I was still mad, I gave her a silent nod, saying ‘touché’ in my head.
No one else was around, so it was quiet as we went farther into the break room. Finally, Dre led me to a big unisex bathroom, leading me inside and holding my hand the entire time. By the time we reached the bathroom, Dre’s calm mask had turned into a worried expression, his brown eyes looking like Bambi’s as he looked into my dark blue one.
“Mel,” He said, his eyes soft. “What’s wrong?”
I wanted to be mad at him, I wanted to yell at him even more and complain about how much I was worried about him, but I couldn’t. As I stared at him, the boy (who seemed mature enough to be a man, really, in my eyes) who I was so in love with, but so scared to admit, I realized that I couldn’t stay mad at him. No matter how I tried, I would never feel anything but love and happiness towards him. I couldn’t help it.
As soon as I opened my mouth, my face contorted and scrunched together as tears began tumbling out of my eyes in buckets. “Dre, I was so worried,” I couldn’t help but sob, and he opened his arms for me to fall into.
“I thought you were dead,” I whimpered into his neck, taking in the smell of Irish Spring soap and what smelled like coffee and chocolate.
He rubbed the back of my head, his fingers in my hair, whispering in my ear. “I’m so sorry, Mel. I never wanted to hurt you like this,” He said, and it made me cry even harder into his neck.
“P-promise you won’t ever leave,” I begged hopelessly. My arms immediately tightened around him, like I felt as though he were about to get lifted away from me again. “Promise you won’t leave me alone again.”
He pulled me even closer to him, his lips in my hair now. “I won’t. I promise.”
We stood there in each other’s arms for a few more minutes; me crying my entire face off (which, I have to admit, was extremely embarrassing) and Dre rubbing my back and hair, kissing my forehead as he reassured me. I don’t know when the crying eventually stopped and we started kissing a little, because the next thing I knew, his lips were over mine, and I was clinging to him to never let him go. All I knew was that he promised he wouldn’t leave, and I didn’t want him to.
After more kissing mixed in with a little bit of crying, it was time for Dre to actually do his job, so that he wouldn’t get evicted. I really didn’t want to let him go, and it took a lot of convincing from him to unwrap my arms.
“I have to go,” He whispered to me, looking at his watch and then back at me.
“You said you wouldn’t leave,” I protested, feeling a little bad because I knew Dre had a soft spot for me.
“I don’t want to,” He admitted quietly. “But you know I have to go. Why don’t you ask your mom if I can come over tonight? I’ll act like I’ll leave then come back and explain everything, okay?”
I knew that my parents practically adored Dre like their own son besides Marshall, so I knew my mom would agree. “Okay,” I agreed, reluctantly unwrapping my arms from him. “Promise me you’ll come, okay?”
He gave me once of those smirks that made my heart warm inside, and gave me a good-bye kiss on the forehead. “I promise, okay? Now I have to go.” He said, his west coast accent giving emphasis on the o’s in his sentence. Man, how I loved that accent.
He led me by the hand outside of the break room again, and gave me another kiss on my lips that made the 12 year old girls behind us give me death stares. But hey, I was in a good mood, so I flipped them off for the second time that day.
I was reluctant to leave Dre; I felt like he was slipping through my fingers once again, like I would never see him again. I had already lost him once, and I didn’t want to lose him again. I swear, if I could take everything back and be just friends with Dre, I would. Because if I was right on this hunch I had, then I knew that it partially was Dre’s fault that all this stuff was happening to me. But it was only a hunch, and I had to make sure.
Once I reached home – and found Marshall and Luna watching The Hangover in the living room – I ran straight to my room and took out my notes from Myth and Legends. I didn’t even bother to turn on the T.V., which took a lot of concentration on my end, considering the fact that Regular Show was on and I’m practically in love with that show. But I needed to know what was happening to me. I needed to know why everything was going all wacky and shit. Maybe something supernatural really was going on with me.
Just as I was about to crack open my notebook, I heard a bang on the door and Marshall came bounding down the stairs.
“Mel! Help me hide!” He said, completely panicked. Before I could protest, he hid in the bathroom behind the door.
“Marshall, get out!” I yelled, the annoyance pricking at me. Usually, it seemed, I was getting angrier more easily everyday. In fact, it was kind of annoying.
“Mel, shh!” He urged me. “I need to hide here from Mom.”
I rolled my eyes and flicked on the bathroom light. “Yeah, well you’re not hiding in here. I’m studying, so lose it,”
“Here, you can still study,” He said, stepping out of the bathroom to take my textbook and plop it in front of the T.V. “Just don’t say anything about me being here.”
An angry red flush began to boil underneath my skin, and my hands started shaking. It took every piece of my me to control myself and not just slug him right then. “Marshall, leave right now, or I’m going to beat the shit out of you.” I said, surprising myself at just how angry I really was.
“Mel, calm down,” Marshall tried to reassure me, putting a hand on my shoulder.
“Everyone stop telling me to calm down!” I yelled. Before I could register what was happening, a groaning sound emitted above us, and a sudden downpour of water drenched Marshall as the sprinklers above sprayed only on him. He was completely drenched, his dark hair plastered to his forehead and his sorta baggy black sweatshirt clung to his skinny body. (Which, I have to admit, I was envious of sometimes. Seriously, his waist was like the same length of a PS3 horizontally.)
“Melita! What was that?” My mom’s voice was suddenly apparent in the room as she opened the door and started yelling.
I slapped my hand to my mouth as I took in Marshall. The pipe above in the ceiling had completely collapsed onto him, and had knocked him unconscious so that he was slumped against the wall. He was completely drenched in water, making him look sickly as it pasted his hair to his forehead. Everything had happened so fast that I hadn’t really realized what had happened until now.
“Melita?” My mom called my name again. The stairs creaked as I heard her descend down them. “Answer me, Mel.”
“Mom, come quick!” I managed to call out, finally regaining my voice again. “Hurry!”
I heard Mom’s gasp as she walked behind me. “My goodness,” She breathed, taking in the scene of unconscious Marshall. For a second, she was stunned and not saying anything, but the next moment, she was crouching next to Marshall and yelling at me. “Get your father!” She ordered. Her strict voice was so unexpected that it startled me, almost making me flinch.
My feet felt glued to the floor, but before I knew it, I was running up the stairs and outside, somehow having a sixth sense that Dad would be pulling into the driveway. I ran right out of the house and looked the street, and saw Dad’s car driving up the street. I could feel my eyes narrow a little, and then it was like the car suddenly sped up and he was pulling into the driveway a couple of seconds later instead of a couple of minutes. I was kind of confused for a minute, and wondered if I had anything to do with it, but I realized that Mom needed Dad right now, and I was being an idiot by just standing here on the lawn with my knees jiggling like crazy and not panicking to my dad.
“Dad! Marshall’s unconscious in the basement!” I yelled, waving my arms wildly, getting a couple of looks from the neighbors.
He gave me a questioning look. “What’s wrong with Marshall?”
I felt myself become a little annoyed right there, watching Dad be all stupid when we were in a state of emergency. Crushing the urge to roll my eyes, I repeated myself. “Marshall, basement, unconscious, help Mom!” I yelled more slowly.
Instead of panicking like a normal person, he just gave me a slight nod and ran into the house at full speed. I was about to follow him when I turned and saw that Mya’s bus was coming down the street. Shit, I totally forgot about Mya. She couldn’t see Marshall like this. It would probably spark more night terrors for her.
I waited patiently with a fake smile plastered across my face as she stepped gingerly from the bus and ran over to me to give me a hug.
“Melly!” She yelled right in my face, almost blowing out my eardrums. “Guess what? In class, I’m the fastest kid that can multiply!” She said excitedly, her wide blue eyes bright.
“Cool,” I said immediately, not really paying attention. Trying to be calm, I put my hands on her shoulders and looked into her eyes, being serious. “Listen Mya, I need you to go over to the Jacksons’ house and tell them to call 911, okay?
“911?” She repeated, her eyebrows drawing together in confusion. “What’s going on?”
“OH MY GOD MYA JUST DO WHAT I SAY!” I yelled, accidentally letting go of my temper. She gave me a startled look, but then just ran across the street and into the Jacksons’ house like I told her to.
I looked back towards the house and felt a wave of anxiety creep over me. Trying to take in deep breaths, I rubbed my temples and closed my eyes, trying to calm myself. Everything was fine, Marshall was okay, and Dre would come to over tonight and everything would be solved. Everything really was going to be fine.
I couldn’t really face the truth of what was happening, though. I knew that the school flooding and the pipes in the house falling were just freak accidents. I knew the real cause.
I knew that I caused it. And I needed to figure out why.
Once Dad found Marshall in the basement, Marshall turned out fine and just had a little bruise on his head. Luna left after that, and Mom told me to sleep in Mya’s room tonight sense there was like three feet of water surrounding my bed. Mya came back home from the Jacksons’ and everything turned out fine. For everyone else besides me, that is.
I mean, I didn’t know for sure, but I was pretty convinced that I was the one causing all these problems that involved the whole water thing. I was angry when the school flooded and I was angry when Marshall came to my room and interrupted me. So it had to be me who was causing all of this panic. And I didn’t know why I was suddenly causing these things to happen. It had never happened before, and trust me, I’ve gotten mad plenty of times in my 16-year lifespan. And why was it water that I affected? I mean, I hydrophobia. Water terrifies me.
Not lately. A part of my crazy brain seemed to remind me. I had been having dreams where I was absolutely comfortable in water, and I wasn’t panicking while in it. So where were these changes coming from so suddenly, and why? To that question, I had a hypothesis.
Somehow, I had developed these…“occurrences” as I would call them now, and Dre knew about it already. He might have even had something to do with them. That’s why he was so reluctant to return the feelings I had for him. Or, then again, he might just not like me like how I like him. That wasn’t really something I was ready to face.
But I also needed to know what exactly these occurrences were and where they had come from. Did I always have them, or had something else caused them and that’s what triggered them? Is that why I had been having these weird dreams and visions lately, where I couldn’t tell if I was living in reality or a dream? I mean, I still wasn’t sure if that whole thing about falling into that vortex thingy was real. I had watched Dre die. But here he was, alive and well.
After the whole pipe fiasco, I decided that I couldn’t just stay home and wait. I needed to get out there and find out what was going on with me. Not just sit here and wait around. So I decided to go to the library and look some stuff up, just to see if I could get a few answers from somewhere. The library wasn’t for hobos, although a couple of times I did see a few hanging out by the water fountain squirting water at each other.
I had combed out my hair – it was doing this weird flippy thing at the ends, so it looked like it was curling up like Medusa’s hair or something. Wait, wasn’t her hair really snakes? Great, I just related my hair to a woman who froze people into statues whenever someone looked at her – and shrugged into my favorite black hoodie – which was actually Marshall’s – when my cell phone rang. I knew it was Brite because every time she called, I had my phone ring to ‘Find Your Love’ by Drake because she’s basically in love with him. Seriously. If she ever met him, she would probably cut off a lock of his hair and stuff her pillows with it or something weird like that. It’s kind of sad that I know that, actually.
“Yeah, Brite?” I said, not able to hide the annoyance in my voice. Seriously, I couldn’t get a freaking break, I was always interrupted.
“Heyyyy!” She replied, dragging out the ‘y’ in the word. “What you doing? Charlie and me – or is Charlie and I? – I don’t know, who cares? We’re at his house!” She said excitedly, and I could tell right away that something was wrong.
“Wait, what?” I said confusedly, my eyebrows drawing together. “What’s wrong with you? Why is your voice so weird?”
“Um, I don’t know,” She said, like she was actually thinking about it. “But hey, Charlie and me wanted to know what you’re doing?”
I rolled my eyes, taking out my keys from my pocket as I walked up the basement stairs. “Brite, I’m about to leave, so can you just get to the point please?”
“Gosh, I was just being nice to my BEST friend and calling you,” She said, adding an emphasis on the word ‘best’. “But sense you want to be all blah, I guess I’ll talk to you later.” She said, and then hung up.
I pressed the end button on my phone to hang up, and looked down at my phone strangely. Brite had been acting really weird, like really weirder than usually. She was starting to worry me a little bit. I wanted to worry more, but my mind was still preoccupied with the whole library plan, so I just decided to leave and walked the two blocks to the library.
My mind was practically blank as I walked. My eyes were cast straight ahead as I walked, my hands thrust into my pockets and my eyes glued to my black and gray checkered low-tops. (I can’t wear my black hi-tops everyday.) Once I reached the library, I headed straight upstairs to the computers on the second floor. It was an early Monday, and people besides me had lives, so there weren’t that many people there. Actually, if it wasn’t for Mya, I could be using a computer at home right now.
But one day, Mya decided to be a stupid (yet still loveable) eight-year old kid and went running around the house with sharp scissors in her hand just because Mom told her not to. Of course, she tripped over the rug in the living room, sending a chain reaction that caused Marshall to spill his coffee over me (he drank coffee not only to wake him up, but to stunt his growth a little too since he was like 6’ 4’’ already), which caused me to jump up from the couch and crash into the computer since there was a slippery rug and coffee all over the hardwood floors.
And that’s why we don’t have a computer anymore. Because of my little sibling.
Anyways, the place was completely empty basically, so I chose the first computer I saw and quickly logged on. Once I pulled up Google (they’ve enslaved the human race, but they sure a damn good search engine) though, I found it hard to search what exactly what I was looking for. So, just in a general search, I typed in “water+freak+accidents+hydrophobia” just to see what would come up.
There was a lot of stuff about therapy for people with hydrophobia, something that I wasn’t looking for, and not a lot for what I was looking for. I decided to skip to the third page when I saw a PDF document that read “The Modern-Day Nymph”. I wasn’t really that interested, but the “nymph” part just caught my eye, and I decided to take a look.
It was an article written by some guy named Blake Wayne (ha, he had two first names like Ricky Bobby from Talladega Nights) and about how he went around America looking into freak accidents and cases about water. There was one part that caught my eye though, about this woman in Nevada who had hydrophobia, too. She divorced from her husband, and became depressed. Whenever she went to her therapist’s office, the pipes in the building would go all wacky and the sinks in the bathroom would go off. It sounded pretty familiar to what was happening to me too, so I started reading further. Blake went and took an interview with the woman, and she was convinced that she had been descended from ancient mermaids. She was convinced that mermaids were real, and the species was going instinct. Of course, everyone thought the woman was crazy, especially when it was found out that her therapist’s office just had really bad plumbing because it hadn’t been inspected for a few years.
I thought the article would end after that, but then I read a little bit on. After hearing the news about the bad pipes, the woman became so overwhelmed that she drowned herself in her neighbor’s pool, and that was the end of it.
That definitely scared the shit out of me.
Would that happen to me? Did it turn out that the school and my house just had bad piping, and I was just freaking out over nothing? I mean, it’s not like I thought my emotions had brought on the pipes breaking, but I thought it might have related to something. Maybe I was just getting crazier and crazier by day so I thought I was some powerful ocean witch or something. Even though water scares the shit out of me.
“Well,” I sighed out loud. “I’m fucked.” I heard a gasp behind me, and realized that the library clerk had heard me. Her eyes were wide as she clapped a hand over her mouth.
“Oh, I’m so sorry!” I apologized, but she just shook her head at me and walked away from the clerk desk.
I shrugged and went back to looking at the computer. At lot of the stuff that came up was just about mermaid tales told by sailors way back when. I wasn’t really interested in the stuff; I mean, I’m not a mermaid. So, why would I even bother. There wasn’t a lot of stuff to look at, but then I saw a link that said “Sirens: The Troublemakers of Greek Mythology”. I figured that I was pretty much done trying to research anything, so I just clicked on it just to skim through and read.
It first started off talking about sirens, what they were, where they come from and blah, blah, blah. I got to the really interesting part where it started talking about mermaids, sirens, and nymphs all mixed together. They were all considered to be beautiful and everything, and that’s how they lured sailors to their death in the ocean. But what freaked me out the most was this one tale of mythology where the drowned sailors were raised back to life some kind of siren-witch so she could raise an army and start new colonies of mermaids and sirens and nymphs. Supposedly, the sailors made new generations with these sirens, so the kids were all jacked up because they looked human on the outside, but they could live underwater, too. So that their hybrid secret wouldn’t be discovered, the kids were said to have developed hydrophobia and would stay away from water, because they didn’t want to go back underwater. Because of the whole siren-witch woman was creating chaos and killing off anyone who disagreed with her.
As I read through the article, I started to get chills down my back and goose bumps dotted all over my arms. There were so many…similarities in the article that related back to me: the whole hydrophobia thing, they talked about their skin crystallizing when they were too far away from water, their scabs were differently colored because their bodies were composed of water more than humans, so their blood was a different color, and when their evil siren-witch mom wanted them to come back underwater, she would creep into their dreams and send them back to her while they were asleep.
It was all very creepy.
And all too familiar.
I started to log out and close everything since I was just too creeped out to look at anything more. I tried not to think about it as everything shut down, but my mind couldn’t help but wonder. So, since all of that weird stuff was happening to me, did that mean I was one of them? Did that mean I was some sort of human-siren hybrid? But how? Both my parents are human.
Dude, do you hear yourself? One part of my mind contemplated against me. You just questioned if you’re even a human. That type of shit will get you sent to the mental hospital. I seemed to remind myself, and it helped me snap back into reality. What was I thinking? Mermaids aren’t even real. Hell, Greek mythology isn’t even actually real. I think. Because we read The Iliad and The Odyssey in Myths and Legends, and I’m sure that isn’t real. I mean, you can’t leave your house for like 28 years and come back as the same age. Doesn’t make any sense.
“The library is now closed. All exits have been locked.” I heard an intercom voice say, making me snap out of my thoughts.
“Wait, what?” I asked, even though I knew no one would hear me. Oh shit, I had been so absorbed in the stupid story that I hadn’t heard the intercom voice saying that the library would close in a few minutes. Crap, did that mean I was stuck in here?
“Damn it!” I yelled, and stamped my foot like I was throwing a tantrum. I was locked in this freaking library until 8 A.M. And I didn’t have my phone either because I knew that Brite would keep bothering me, so I just left it on the coffee table in the living room. Shit.
Again, I’m fucked.
Instead of wallowing in self-pity, I decided to get up from my chair and go downstairs to see if somehow I could get out. As I turned, I saw a black shadow come out of nowhere, and it grabbed me. I was startled, and I tried to scream, but whoever it was put a hand over my mouth. I struggled and flailed, trying to get away from whoever it was, but they had an extremely strong iron grip.
I thrashed from side to side, trying to throw them off, and they started to loosen. Suddenly, an idea popped in my head, and I bit as hard as I could onto the person’s hand. For a second, I hesitated, but then I realized what a dumbass I was being and started sprinting down the stairs.
“Hey, somebody helped!” I yelled, my voice echoing and bouncing of the walls. There wasn’t a response, and I started to panic. “I yelled for help, somebody help me!” I yelled even louder, making my throat raspy and sore.
I was running for my life down those long stairs, and I let out a cry of relief when I saw the front doors. I would only need to run for a few more seconds, and I would be out of this hellhole. All I would have to do is push the emergency doors open, and I would be out.
“Stop!” I heard someone say. I realized it was the guy who was trying to capture me, and it sent another burst of adrenaline though my veins. My legs kicked up higher and higher as I ran, I was breathing hard, and my heart was racing. As much as I wanted to look back and see who it was, I didn’t. I kept running.
Right as I reached the bottom of the stairs, I heard the guy say something like, “Forgive me, ___” I didn’t catch the last word. But then I heard a shuffling sound. I didn’t take the time to look back to see what was happening, but before I knew it, I felt a big book hit me square in the back of the head, and I collapsed like – how ironic – a sack of books.
Nooo! I cried out in my head, but I still crumpled to the floor, unconscious. Faintly, I heard footsteps behind me, and someone lift me up.
“Silly Mel.” I heard the same voice say, and brush my hair from my forehead.
I tried to fight, to get back up, but I couldn’t. I drifted into unconscious, and didn’t hear anything else.
Maybe I am a siren hybrid.