Serena ears perked to a loud boom, which shook the table that she and a couple of friends were playing Apples to Apples on. "What was that?" She asked, bewildered.
Setting her cards down on the table, her friend Olivia replied "that would be the signal for me to go back to the cabin!"
"How do you know that it's your signal?" Asked, Serena's sister, Skylar.
Olivia shrugged her shoulders in reply. "A few of my family members came up last night and we were going to do fireworks and start a bonfire the moment the sun started to set!"
Seeing, that it might be her last time to see her friend, until August; Serena exclaimed "hey, why don't we jump in the lake one last time!"
"Sure!" both Skylar and Olivia replied in unison.
"Common then," Serena stated, laying her cards on the table and reaching for her camera. "But, first, just one last picture!"
"Ugh, please no!" Begged Olivia, but having none of it Serena pulled the three together and quickly snapped a picture, before they could disappear on her. Serena turned around to get her towel from behind her chair, but before she could walk out the door, a brisk movement rustled the tree tops towards her left catching her attention. An array of sparks lit up the already orange sky and fell below the horizon, leaving ripples in the smooth lake and sending a chill down her spine.
"LAST ONE IN IS A ROTTEN EGG!" Challenged Skylar, as she ran through the opened screen door and down the steps, followed by Olivia.
"Please, wait you guys, not so fast!" Called Serena; running to keep up. A few minutes later, she found herself floating on the raft, resting after a long race.
"Well, it was fun, but I probably should be getting back now!" Exclaimed Olivia, just before her dad called out to her.
"Leaving, so soon?" Asked a mystical voice; Serena, Olivia, and Skylar turned their heads towards the island and saw a woman, poking her head out of the water. Her dark hair flowed with the waves, as they rose and fell, crashing on the rocks. Her pale skin, shone in response to the setting sun. "Don't you want to play, some more?" The woman's, green eyes, beaming up at them with excitement. "Oh, common it'll fun!" She promised.
"Thanks, but not right now, perhaps tomorrow." Olivia replied, sensing that something was up.
"Oh, please!" Looking at each other with astonished gazes, they grouped together and turned back to face the woman.
"Okay, what is it that you want to play?" Serena asked, cautious crawling to the edge of the raft.
"Why, don't we try to hold our breaths underwater?" The woman suggested.
"But, that's impossible!"
"What makes you think that it's impossible?" Asked the woman
"Because, there is only one explanation, as to why you want us to get in the water!"
"I have no clue, as to what you are suggesting?" The woman furrowed her brows in confusion.
"We know what you are and we won't jump in the water!"
"But, how are you going to go back home, and what exactly am I that you think there is only one explanation as to why I want you in the water?" The woman asked, swimming closer to the raft and hoisting herself with ease upon the edge.
The three girls looked at each other in astonishment, as the woman exposed to them a scaly turquois colored tail that rested itself upon the raft and sleeking half-way and then disappearing into the darkening water below. What was even more entrancing, were the three oysters that clung to each side of her tail. The woman raised herself, so that she equally matched Serena's height and stared deep into her eyes. "If, you know what I am, then speak it." She whispered.
"Speak it!" The woman raised her voice, getting agitated.
"You are a mermaid!" Three voices, replied in unison.
"Well, aren't you three so smart?" The woman stated, sliding back into the water. Turning, she asked them the same question she asked before "so, do you want to play?" Three pair of eyes darted back and forth to one another and until finally, one was brave enough to speak.
"If we said, yes, what is it that you'll want us to play?" Skylar asked, cautiously. The woman thought carefully, pacing to and fro in the water, stirring up the mud and lake weed with the swish of her tail.
"Aha!" She stated, making the three girls jump after a quiet interval. "I know, we, could hold our breaths underwater!" Sam rolled her eyes. "What?" The woman asked, eyeing the movement.
"That'll be possible for you, but not for us!"
"And, why's that?"
"Because, you're a mermaid and we-we are humans! You'll just win." Skylar exclaimed, pointing out reality.
"What makes you think that I'll win?"
"Is that a challenge?" Olivia asked, forgetting that she had to be on her way home.
"Only, if you want it to be!" The woman suggested.
"I don't know about the rest of you, but I am in!" She exclaimed.
"If you're in, then I'm in!" Serena replied.
"Oh, okay fine, you win mermaid!" Skylar stated, surrendering and together, they plunged into the water, leaving but a small cascade of ripples that grew and reached out to the horizon.