“The Calling” Scene 25: “The Visit”

Easing in and out of slumber she says she was not alone in the infirmary. As the healer had checked up on her a little while before, she figured she was getting a visitor.

She opened her eyes and discovered Curious Squid smiling back at her. Her friend grinned and spoke in a low voice. “I wasn’t sure you’d be awake.”

Penny smiled back even though she was slightly out of it due to the relaxant she was given. “I don’t ever sleep, really. It’s more like I just the slip in and out of being conscious.” As she was lying on her left side she reached out with her right hand. “Thanks for coming by.”

Curious Squid took her hand and gave it a squeeze. “I figured you wouldn’t mind another visitor.”

Penny snorted. “You were here twice yesterday.”

“Which means I get to come back again later today.” Curious Squid slip to her side and stretched out so she was more or less facing Penny. “What did the healer tell you today?”

“She said I’m doing fine, that I’m healing just the way I should.” Penny gave a long, protracted sigh. “Eight days down, six days to go.”

Curious Squid reached out and rubbed her friend’s arm. “Poor Little Bubbles: stuck and unable to move for two weeks.”

“Uh, I hate this. It’s bad enough people bring me food, but then I need two or three people take me out to go to the bathroom.” Penny rolled her eyes. “I would give anything to be able to swim just a little ways.”

“I didn’t mind helping you the other day.” Curious Squid flashed a coy smile. “After all, one friend should be willing to do anything for her other friends.”

“Yeah, well, friend or not, I’d rather you not be there when I go to the bathroom.”

“What you mean? It’s not like we haven’t swam off together to the current before.”

There was a certain modicum of truth to what Curious Squid said, you just like everything else it was rare for one mermaid to go off to the current to relieve themselves; they often went in groups of two or three making it something of a social function, just like girls often did back on land. “I guess you’re right.” Penny’s eyes fluttered; it felt like she might have dozed off. “How long was I out?”

“Just a few seconds. I don’t think it was more than ten, really.” Curious Squid motioned with her head toward the door. “You want me to leave?”

At the moment that was the last thing Penny wanted. “Not really. It’s kind of boring just laying here with nothing to do. Nice to have someone here so I can talk and pass the time.”

Curious Squid cast her gaze aside for a moment as if she were thinking of something. Penny had noticed her doing this more over the last couple of months now and she wondered what exactly was on her friend’s mind. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing.” Curious Squid snapped her attention back to Penny. “Not really.”

“What does ‘not really’ mean?” Penny was really confused now. It was quite obvious Curious Squid was thinking of something, but didn’t want to talk. “You know, if something is bothering you, you can tell me. Remember—friends?”

There was a silence that stretched between them for nearly ten seconds before Curious Squid nodded twice. There is something I would like to talk about.”

Penny worked up her best smile. “And that is?”