MerMay: Breathing, Barely

So Chanter-Greenie asked for a continuation of Under Water, and it turned out I already had 500+ words written on that, so voila!  

Aelia screamed.  The secretary screamed some more.  The man gasped, screamed, and spat up water all at once.

“Call an ambulance,” Aelia repeated.  Her voice at least sounded like her voice.  “I’m Aelia Hartman. I know I look – funny, sure – but this is the guy who just tried to drown me.  I fought back. He’s breathing but I’m worried about him. Please call 911.”

The secretary, staring, pulled out her phone and dialed 911.  Once she had gotten through the phone call – full of shaky words and not a small amount of gibbering – she looked at Aelia again.  “Are you really-”

“Yeah, sorry.  I don’t know what happened.”  She poked the man in the chest.  “You. Stay there. You need medical attention, and also, I think you’re a murderer.”

The man coughed and didn’t move.

“I mean, I was swimming-”

“You know you weren’t supposed to be in here.”  The secretary seemed to be taking refuge in rules.  Aelia couldn’t really blame her.

“Yeah, I know.  I’m sorry. I just, there’s a match coming up-”

She wasn’t going to be able to swim if she was all scaly.  What had been in the water?  This was like a bad episode of Buffy!

“Mmm.  I won’t write you up for it this time, but it’s going to be hard to miss.  And what happened next?”

“Well, someone started pulling on me.  I thought I was dying. My vision was going and my face felt tight and my belly felt really weird, and then-”

“Wait, your belly?”  The secretary frowned.  “No, sorry, please continue.”

“I got angry.  I didn’t want to die.  So I kicked and I scratched and, you know, all of those things that they taught us to do in that self-defense seminar.  And then he let go of me and I pushed up to the surface, but he wasn’t moving, so I fished him out and started compressions.   He’s definitely alive.”

“You – you rescued the man who had tried to kill you?”

“Well, yeah.”  Aelia frowned at the secretary.  “He can’t stand trial if he’s dead.  And it looks sort of bad if I’m here all alone and then there’s a corpse.  But um. Mostly, it’s just that I have lifeguard training, so I did it.”

“There’s cameras in here.  I’ll make sure we get those to the police as soon as they show up.”  The secretary shook her head. “All right, I’m having a perfectly calm conversation with a dragon.  I didn’t ever think that was going to happen again. Well. You – I don’t know. You should probably stay there, but nobody would blame you if you went into the shower to calm down and clean up.  He didn’t- he didn’t rape you, did he?”

“He didn’t have time.”  Aelia knew she sounded grim.  “I think I should stay here. Because he’s scared and not moving, but we don’t want hiim to get away, and we don’t want – well, I don’t want him to attack you.  Remember that time his victim got away? Over in Gates? And -”

“You’ve been following this case pretty closely, haven’t you?”

“We all have.  The swim teams.  It’s like he’s telling us we can’t swim, you know?  And that really made me mad. All of us, really.” She stretched out her fingers.  “I’m not a dragon. I don’t think. I wasn’t a dragon yesterday.”

“You.”  The secretary felt behind her for a bench and pulled it over to her, never taking her eyes off of Aelia.  “You are, um. You were on our list of Special Students. There’s three. Students we were supposed to keep an eye out for. So.  I have a number to call, and I’m going to call it. They – I’ve been assured that they don’t mean you any harm at all, they’re just here in case, well. In case this happens.”

Making sure that Aelia could see all her movement, she carefully texted a message.  Then she put the phone down. “So. You were here because you had a match coming up and-”

“And someone pulled me under.  I thought about the murders and – and I fought back.”  She looked at her claws. “He’s still losing blood. I should – I should put something over that.”

“Here.”  The secretary threw her a shirt, something from the lost-and-found.  “Use that. The police should be here any minute. And then, ah. Then we will have a whole new problem.”

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4 thoughts on “MerMay: Breathing, Barely

  1. Wait, she’s a dragon? I thought this was gonna be a mermaid story. 😀

    *wishes her luck, poor thing* Looks like she’s not gonna be in that swim meet.

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