“Beyond the Wave and Foam”, Part 12

Part 12


Two days after their run around the island Calista came down from the loft for breakfast, and Izzy immediately knew something wasn’t right.  Usually Calista came down from a good night’s sleep full of zip and ready to face the day.  This time, she still came down the stairs appearing bright and alert, but the look on her face said otherwise.  “Good morning.”  Izzy held up a just-poured cup of coffee. “Something to drink?”

“Thanks.” Calista scooped the mug from her friend’s hand and looked about the bungalow as she sipped her coffee.  A few seconds later she turned back to Izzy. “Does something feel wrong to you?”

“You mean besides being on an island in the middle of the Pacific where my best friend is turning into a mermaid?” Izzy looked about the kitchen slowly before shaking her head once. “No.  Why?”

“Smart ass.” Calista turned and faced the patio. “There.  Did you hear that?”

Izzy didn’t answer for a few seconds as she was trying to hear whatever her friend heard. “Hear what?”

“It’s like someone whispering.” She set down her mug. “It’s coming from the patio.”

Izzy carried her coffee with her as Calista threw open the patio door and stepped outside.  She stood in the middle of the space and looked around. “I swear–”

“What?” Izzy stopped next to her as she sipped her coffee. “What are you swearing to this time?”

Calista sighed as she slowly turned. “I swear, someone is whispering my name.”  Her eyes pleaded with Izzy. “Tell me I’m not crazy.”

“I don’t think you’re crazy.”  Izzy finally set her mug down upon a nearby table. “What does it sound like?”

“It sounds like this little voice saying my name and–” Calista tilted her head slightly to the right and almost seemed to wince. “There.  I can hear it again. And…”

“And what this time?”

“It’s telling me–” Calista turned towards the lagoon. “I should go out to the edge of the patio.”

Which she didn’t think her friend was crazy, Izzy was concerned that Calista’s transition was possibly doing something to her mind.  “Are you sure?”

Calista nodded as she took two steps toward the far edge of the patio, which stuck out about five meters into the lagoon. “I’m telling you, Izzy, I’m hearing this voice.”

“I believe you.  It’s just–”

“What?” Calista stopped just short of the patio’s edge.

“I think maybe you should go into the lab and tell them what’s going on.” There was a concerned look on Izzy’s face. “It is possible this isn’t normal.”

“It’s possible.” Calista turned towards the lagoon and took one step closer to the water. “Maybe this is–UuimmPHHH

Izzy saw a mermaid shoot out of the water from her right, sail through the air, and hook one arm around Calista. The motion was great enough that the mermaid lifted Calista off her feet and away from the patio, with them both crashing into the water a couple of seconds later.

From Calista’s point of view she was hit hard, yanked off her feet, and dragged below the surface of the lagoon.  Her reflexes were such that the moment she found herself submerged she began breathing water; a second after that she began fighting off whomever it was that snatched her into the water.  She didn’t have to fight hard, however: the mermaid was Harmony, who swam about three meters away and hovered with a big smile on her face as she watched her mentee overcome her disorientation.

Calista was about to head for the surface and start arguing with her mentor when she heard Harmony’s voice clearly in her ear. “What’s your hurry?  Don’t you want to talk here in private?”  Calista tried talking but nothing came out but bubbles and gurgling sounds.  Harmony motioned for her mentee to calm down. “Don’t speak aloud.  Sub-vocalize.”  She smiled. “You can move your mouth like you’re talking, but don’t talk.  Got it?”

After a moment of calm Calista did as she was instructed. “Like this?”

Harmony nodded. “Exactly like that.”

“You can hear me.”

“Just like you hear me.”  The mermaid chuckled. “You most definitely heard me calling to you.”

“That was you.” Rather that get angry, Calista wanted to know more. “How is this working?”

“The nanoids have built a little microphone over your larynx: it allows you to speak without having to make real sounds.  At the same time, they’d constructed receivers wired into your auditory nerves, so you can hear what I, or other mermaids, say.  In fact, anyone who know the frequency we’re using can speak with us, and us to them.”

Calista sank slowly to the bottom, taking this is. “So this is how you communicate?”

“How else did you think we’d talk?” Harmony gave her mentee a broad smirk. “Squeaks and whistles?”

“I wasn’t sure.” This brought something else to mind. “Does this mean everyone in Down Below Town can hear us?”

Harmony shook her head as she settled next to Calista. “No. The range on this equipment is only about fifteen meters and you have the option of picking with whom you wish to speak.”

Calista floated on her back.  “And you’re gonna show me how that’s done, right.”

“Sure will.  But first–” Harmony touched Calista on the shoulder and looked up.  “You may want to finish your coffee and get changed into your working tail…”