"I can't," Sara coughed, "I've nearly just drowned. You cannot possibly expect me to jump back in, can you? Besides, I am shivering from the cold; I'll no doubt die of exposure!"
The mermaid's face scrunched into a curious sort of smile. She pulled herself far enough into the boat so that the water which ran from her light locks down her nose dripped into Sara's lap. This sudden and unexpected response made Sara's eyes widen in surprise and her body lean back, yet she remained calm and unafraid. Though it wasn't every day one encountered a mermaid, Sara yearned to jump into the water with her new friend and have, quite possibly, the greatest adventures ever experienced. Every fiber of her being pulled her back toward the water.
But she had -- just moments ago -- come within a faerie's whisker of succumbing to the waves. She was barely conscious, her head spun wildly, and her entire body hurt (how far had she fallen before she had struck the water, she wondered.). It was not beyond the realm of possibilities that this fanciful blonde girl was no more than a byproduct of a concussion. It was at that point when Sara realized the other girl was bare below the shoulders. Sara gasped and looked away from the other girl's nude form.
"You're so odd," the mermaid said in a hushed, conspiratorial tone as she examined Sara's face as one might look upon a three-headed alien wombat with wings.
Then the smile returned and she asked, "How else do propose I swim beneath the waves, hmm? In a ball gown? Overalls, perhaps? A rain slicker?"
The mermaid laughed and slid back over the edge of the boat and into the water. Sara panicked and scrambled herself to the edge of the boat to call out for the girl, but the mermaid's head bobbed along only a few feet away. She gave Sara a sideways smirk and squirted water from her mouth into Sara's face, who balked and brushed it away with her shoulder, "Hey!"
The mermaid's eyes quickly glanced over Sara's head at the boat which had apparently seen the little dinghy floating alone in the black water and had already altered its course toward them. Then she adjusted her gaze to Sara. She flicked her long strands of blonde hair in an inviting manner and asked, "Last chance. Coming?"
"I'm -- I'm sorry."
The mermaid shrugged, "Your call," and surface dove into the depths, the shiny scales of her tail glistening in the bright moonlight for an instant. And even as brief as it was, it was a sight to take Sara's breath away.
"Wait," Sara called out, "I don't know your name. Will I ever see you again?"
She leaned overboard so much that her own hair dipped into the water. She waited for the mermaid's reply, but the water where she was last seen remained still.