“The Calling” Scene 12: “The Plea”

The moment Leigh walked through the door she knew something was wrong. Both girls were sitting on the sofa in the living room, still dressed in a bathing suits but with the wraps around them. There was a bandage on Kemena’s forehead and a serious look on her daughter’s face. She set down her purse. “What’s wrong? What happened?”

Penny stood and took two steps from the couch. “Mama, I want you to know—”

She never had the chance to finish her statement as Kemena bounced off the sofa with a wince and hurried next to her daughter’s side. “Is it true you’re a mermaid just like Penny?”

Penny looked at her friend, rolling her eyes. “Kemena.”

“I’m sorry.” Kemena looked down for a moment then back up to Leigh. “Is it true?”

Lee wasn’t certain if she should be angry or not: she figured she had better hear the full story before she spoke. “Both of you, sit.” She sat in her favorite chair and turned it so it face the sofa. “Penny, tell me what happened.”

Penny relayed the entire story of what happened with Kemena’s accident and subsequent rescuing. She didn’t leave out any details and even told her mother what she told Kemena after her discovery. “If I didn’t do what I had done, Kemena would’ve drowned.” Her eyes were filled with sadness. “Mama, I made you a promise I wouldn’t say anything. You have to understand, I didn’t mean this.”

Kemena pulled her wrap around her. “Mrs. Coffey, Penny’s telling the truth. I would’ve drowned if she hadn’t did what she did. And I’ll tell you the same thing I told her—” She leaned slightly forward on the sofa. “I promise, I won’t tell anyone. I won’t even tell my mom. You have to believe me.” She glanced at Penny then back at Leigh. “She told me what could happen to you both if I said something.”

Leigh did know her daughter and felt she knew her well. She believed her story that she needed to take the action she did to save her friend’s life. At the same time, however, she had led an outsider into their world, and any type of exposure ran the risk of discovery.

There were several ways she can handle the matter: she decided to take the course she felt would be best.

She left her chair and sat on the sofa next to Kemena. “I believe you. I believe you wouldn’t say anything because you know it could hurt Penny or me. I have no choice but to trust you, Kemena, but I believe you can be trusted.

“But I need you to understand: if you ever did tell someone, people could come and take Penny and me away—and they may even take you with us. I don’t believe anything would happen to you, but…” She looked across the young Mexican girl towards her daughter. “I can only imagine the worst would happen to Penny and me. And you don’t want that, do you?”

Kemena started to shake her head then thought better. “No, I don’t.”

“Then neither of us have to worry about you, correct?”

“You don’t have to worry about a thing, Mrs. Coffey.”

“All right then.” Leigh stood and faced the girls. “Here’s what we going to do. Kemena, I’m going to take you home now. I’m going tell your mother that I came home about thirty minutes ago and that you slipped getting out of the pool and hit your head. That way, she won’t get upset by you being hurt. I’m also going offer to take you to the ER in case your mother wants you to get professional treatment.

“You’re still permitted to come over anytime you want. Now that you know what we are—” She looked at her daughter. “Penny, you can swim anyway you want. I don’t see the harm.” Leigh walked over and grabbed her purse. “Well, come on, you two. We’ve got a story to tell.”

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“The Calling” Scene 11: “The Accident”

Through the month of July Penny’s days became one of hanging out either at her pool or at her friend Kemena’s pool. She knew how to control her transformation when she was in deep water, so there was no fear that when she was swimming with Kemena she’d flip over into Mermaid Mode, but at the same time she felt the pull to change and swim free as herself.

It was for this reason that she always swam early in morning and after dark in her own pool. She loved the nighttime swims especially, because Leigh would join her and they’d spend several hours together swimming while her mother told her stories of what she remembered of her time in the pod.

Since Penny’s mother worked it wasn’t unusual for Kemena and her to be alone at the pool during the day. Leigh knew she could trust her daughter not to engage in any activity that could harm either of them, and she also was aware that Kemena was not the sort of girl who would fool around and put her daughter or herself in danger.

For her part Penny knew that swimming with her from was all done on the honor system: the first time her mother suspected they were doing something which could cause trouble, injury, or even death, that would be the last time she would allow them to swim alone. Penny wasn’t worried that her mother would stop her pool parties: as it was, most of the time Kemena and she sat under the shaded area listening to music and talking.

That didn’t mean the unexpected couldn’t happen at any moment…

Everything simply occurred without reason. Penny was standing under the canopy, enjoying the shade and watching Kemena swim across the pool and pulled herself out at the far, deep end, climbing one of the two ladders placed there. She was walking quickly back towards Penny when she stumbled and pitched forward. Before she could get her arms out to break her fall, she struck her head on the concrete and rolled over into the pool. Penny watched in shock as Kemena bobbed once on the surface and then sank.

It was only after her friend vanished that Penny spring into action. She leapt into the pool and quickly swam towards her friend. By the time she reached her Kemena was a dozen feet below the surface, sinking slowly and unconscious. Penny got her arms under her from and kicked hard for the surface, but even though she was a better-than-average swimmer as a human, the combination of weight and water resistance prevented her from any headway toward the surface.

Penny was faced with a dilemma: she could allow her friend to drowned, or she could do the one thing that she felt would save her.

She needed but a few seconds to make up her mind.

Penny stripped off her bikini bottom so she could transform into her true form. Just a few feet now from the bottom of the pool, she wrapped her arms around Kemena and began thrusting hard with her tail. They shot to the surface with enough thrust that they flew nearly two feet out of the water. A last-second flip of her tail push them beyond the edge of the pool and both girls dropped to the hot concrete with a thud.

While she didn’t know CPR Penny knew the real secret was getting water out of Kemena’s lungs so she could breathe again. Fortunately, her lungs were perfectly suited for that task. Clamping her mouth over her friend’s, Penny sucked all the water out of Kemena’s lungs before looking up and expelling it back into the pool. She then began breathing as much air as possible back into her friend, compressing her chest each time to expel the carbon dioxide. Because Penny’s lungs were not like those of the human, she was breathing oxygen into Kemena with every breath, ensuring a greater possibility of survival.

After nearly a minute Kemena’s eyes popped open as she began coughing. Within a few seconds her breathing was back to normal, thanks to Penny extracting all the water from her lungs. She blinked twice as she looked up into her friends face. “What happened?”

“You slipped and fell into the pool.” Penny touched the gash on Kemena’s forehead. “You hit your head, too. We’re going to have to bandage that.”

Kemena swallowed before touching her wound. “Yeah. You got me out?” She pushed herself up on her elbows. “How did you—?”

Penny didn’t need an explanation for the shocked look on Kemena’s face. She had been so concerned with saving her friend’s life that she wasn’t able to transition back to her human legs—not that it would matter, as she was too far from the edge of the pool to be able to slip into the water and make such a transition possible.

She put on a brave smile as she rolled on her side and faced her friend. “Yeah… About that—”