Her lungs were burning. Her ears were popping. Her face felt like it was going to explode. Her throat felt like it was on fire. She couldn’t take it any longer.
Audrey held on to the weight and counted to twenty. She could do twenty more, maybe fifteen more, eleven-twelve-thirteen oh god. Four… teen, Fif-teen.
She popped up out of the water, trying not to scream.
It wasn’t working.
She looked around. Was anyone – no. Nobody in sight. It was late at night, of course, on a new moon, and she hadn’t gotten night vision, either.
She hadn’t gotten anything so far, but Mom was a mermaid and Dad had a water Change and she really ought to have something. Something other than the slight webbing she’d noticed between her toes coming in last week. Something other than the talons her fingernails were turning into.
She didn’t want to be a sea monster. She wanted to be a mermaid, a kick-ass warrior of the water.
She dove down and grabbed the weight, kicking up to the surface of the water. She’d been swimming since she was born. It ought to work. She ought to be – she ruffled her fins in frustration. She ought to be something.
She did what? She pushed out of the water, leaving the weight – a big round stone – where she’d found it, at the side of the pond. There was nothing anywhere around to make a mirror of –
Are you a witch or not? She loved that book.
With a mutter, she made the air in front of her reflective.
And stared at fins moving confusedly on the sides of her head.
To LMD’s prompt of this picture. Doomsday Academy, year unknown.