The day it started

I was walking on the beach, as I usually do after lunch on sunny days, when I saw something “fighting” in the water.
As I walked faster to reach it I “heard” a voice in my head “Help me, please! So tired…”

When I reached the place, I realised what was in the water had scales and arms, I didn’t see much more. I dropped my bag, took my shoes off and walked in the water, hoping my dress would be short enough not to get soaked.

I reached the creature, as I had taken to call it, and took hold of her torso. I dragged her closer to the beach, leaving her bottom half in the water as it looked like a fish tail. I sat on my heels and kept her torso upright against me as I felt her regain her breathing.

“Thank you, you saved me. I nearly drowned. I don’t know what happened to me.”

Deciding to use the same mean of communication, I replied “I don’t understand, you are a mermaid, I’m guessing, what could make you drown?”

“I don’t know. I just felt weak; I couldn’t breathe anymore under water…”

I looked around to see if anyone was close but the beach was empty, luckily. She must have heard my thoughts because she then told me
“I called for help; one of my sisters is in a safe place. They’re sending someone to look after me. Can you stay until then?”

I didn’t think twice “Of course, I’ll stay with you.”

***
Two men reached us, a young, good looking one and one slightly older.
“Erm… Hi, do you speak English?”

I laughed, nervous reflex I guess “Yes, I studied in Britain a few years, why?”

The younger one replied with a smile “Because my French isn’t so good.”

I took a deep breath; he was visibly trying to reassure me “You’re here to help her?”

“Yes, I’m Doctor Zimmerman, from the Sanctuary. We look after creatures. Can you tell me what happened?” All the while, he was crouching next to us and checking the mermaid’s vitals, then took a blood sample. The other man was still standing, looking every way, alert.

I told him how I had seen her struggle and heard her call for help. He looked surprised but let me finish.

“You heard her even though you were a few feet away?”

“Yes…” I got worried he might not believe me.

“Has anything like that ever happened before?”
“Hearing creatures? No. But I study Druidry, meditate and see myself as a bit of a shaman, so I’m used to strangeness, in a way.”
He didn’t look at me like I was mad, which was a nice change.

“Really? I’ve never met a shaman before but I guess that’s why you could hear her.” He went on explaining “Usually you can hear a mermaid’s thoughts only if there is contact, or just a glass panel between your hands. Well, we are going to bring the van closer so we can transfer her into the sea water tank.”
His friend nodded and went to get the van.
“Where are you going to take her? Where’s the sanctuary?” As a last thought I added “If you can tell me…”

He looked thoughtful then said “I’ll ask my boss if I can, after all you are pretty special yourself if you could hear her. We’ll only keep her there as long as she wants to stay, once we know what caused this.” He stood up, took his phone out and moved away.

“My sister says Helen is a great woman, looking after all creatures. The Sanctuaries are safe places for us.”
“But they can’t keep you all in buildings to keep you safe… And in this world, if you’re different, whatever your difference, you’re potentially in danger. Not that it stops us from living, but still…”

Our conversation was interrupted by the Doctor coming back and the van reaching us.
“Doctor Magnus agreed for me to tell you where we are taking the mermaid and wants you to know that if you want to come and visit her you are welcome.”

I was surprised “Thank you, that’s really kind of her! How can she trust me like this when she hasn’t even met me?”

“Magnus is a good judge of character usually. Since the mermaid talked to you, connected with you and you helped her, we can take it you’re not evil, right?” He was smiling, clearly joking with me.

“Maybe it’s a big plot to find where the sanctuary is?”

“I doubt it, you looked genuinely surprised at all this. We’re taking her to London, the nearest sanctuary.”

“London? Are you flying her there?”

This time it was his friend who replied “Yes, we have a private plane.” He had an accent. Scottish maybe?

“Ah, yes, that’s helpful!”

He asked his friend “Will, we’re going to have to carry her to the van, ready?”

“Hold on, I have wet feet already, I can help you.”
So the oldest took her under the arms and I went back in the water for her tail. Once we’d lifted her and carried her a bit over sand, Will helped her and we got her to the van. I switched place with will so they could get her in the tank.
The mermaid and I said goodbye and they closed the doors.

Both men thanked me, then the oldest said, as an afterthought “Maybe I should give you the number of the London Sanctuary. Once abnormals will hear you helped one of them, they might decide to turn to you for help.”
That’s how I learnt his name was Declan MacRae and he was none other than the head of the London Sanctuary. And I had his number and e-mail. For some reason, I thought that was really cool.

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