The seconds ticked slowly by as we all waited for Cindy to reappear. Five minutes passed by and still she hadn't come back.
"Do you think she's ok?" I asked worriedly.
"Stop worrying Denver, you're just lovesick!" Owen teased with a grin.
Everyone started laughing and I felt a little bit of heat rush to my cheeks. I smiled sheepishly and quieted down for a little while. It wasn't long, however before my impatience began to return. Where was Cindy? Why was she taking so long to come back? Eventually I couldn't stand it anymore. I swam off into the murky water to investigate.
I nearly choked as I entered the pollution, I had forgotten to take a breath before swimming off like that. It couldn't be that much farther to the source though, the murk was so thick that it was getting harder to swim. I was swimming full speed ahead, hoping to get to the source and be able to take a breath and slammed heavily into something. I reached out to feel whatever it was and my eyes widened as I realized it was Cindy. She was not moving. At all. My mind started spinning in circles. This couldn't be happening. Not to Cindy. Not as we were just starting to get close. I picked her up and began to swim as hard as I could through the murk. My tail burned and I felt sick and weak from the toxic water and the lack of oxygen.
At long last I broke through the cloud of toxic waste and collapsed on the sea floor with Cindy beside me. I put an ear to her chest, I thought I could hear her breathing but I wasn't sure if that was my own heavy breathing or not.
"Owen!" I screamed.
"What happened?" Owen asked from right beside me. His voice full of worry.
I ignored his question. "Is she still breathing?" I demanded urgently.
Owen listened for a few seconds then lifted his head and nodded. She's still breathing, but only barely," He trailed off. "She doesn't look so good."
I looked at her and realized that her face had lost all it's normal coloring and had even turned slightly green. My chest tightened terribly and a knot formed in my throat. This couldn't happen. Not to her. I picked her up in my arms again and began swimming toward the cove. We had to get her away from that...whatever it was...and fast!
"Where are you taking her?" asked Aya as the group fell in behind me.
"The cove," I replied shortly, not in a mood for jokes or long-winded speeches.
About half-way to the cove I heard a splash and suddenly there was a girl in a dive suit in front of us.
I knew there was such a thing as mermaids! she exclaimed happily. I saw you guys go into the water and transform! How did you do it! You have to show me so I can too!
Get out of my way I said, my mind voice dangerously calm.
Not until you show me how to transform! the girl replied petulantly.
Get out of my way. Right. Now. I growled.
She didn't make a move so I pushed angrily past her and continued swimming toward the cove.
Wait! Stop! You have to show me right now! the girl screamed at me.
I completely ignored her and put as much speed as I could into getting to the cove.