Somewhere along the line, she had somehow gotten lost. Maybe she’d gotten caught by a current and pushed in the wrong direction. She put down the oar, holding it across her lap, looking around, trying to see if anything looked familiar. Nothing.
Her heart began to pound in her chest, and the oar she was holding became slick with sweat. How was she going to find her way back to the beach? She had nothing with her except a few bottles of water, some snacks, and a bottle of sunscreen.
And then she spied the dark shapes moving in and out, under her boat. She clapped her hands over her mouth to stifle a shriek of panic and fear. Her vision spotted, and soon every breath that she took in was a labor, her chest seemingly wrapped in tight iron bands that made breathing all but impossible.
Okay, okay, she thought to herself. Don’t let your panic get the best of you. She took a few deep breaths, and after a few moments, her vision cleared. She gathered her wits and looked ahead; she had to get to land, and then she would focus on what to do next. She put the oar back into the water and began to row, trying to ignore the way that the sun was beginning to set, and the way her arms screamed in protest at the movement.
She never should’ve stormed off after they’d fought. But she hadn’t been thinking clearly, too blinded by the need to get away, her throat still hurting from crying and screaming. She had no idea just how long she’d been out here, and she wiped a hand across her face, crusted with sand and sweat. She needed to go back, to make things right, but the bitterness that built up in her throat prevented it; she just wanted to find her way home and go to sleep.
“I think she’s lost,” A voice murmured from behind her, soft, hesitant. “Should we help her?”
“You know the rules. We aren’t supposed to interfere, not for any reason. Besides, she’s a human,” Another voice responded, aloof and gruff. “And it wouldn’t matter anyway; one less of them to worry about.”
“How could you be so callous? She’s been out here for hours.”
“We’re only supposed to watch, and you know it! Besides, this wouldn’t be the first time someone invaded our home.”
“I’d hardly say that she’s invading. You can stay here, but I’m going to help her–”
Thalia wondered if she was hallucinating, if she’d been out on the waves so long that she was beginning to lose her mind from lack of sleep. Where were those voices coming from? They were muffled, as if they were creatures speaking from underwater.
But that was impossible. Wasn’t it?
There was the flowing of water, and then a sleek black head popped up, coming to the side of the tiny skiff. “I can help you get back home.”
The speaker was male, and Thalia saw through the clear blue water that though he was human on his top half, with sun-drenched skin, tattoos, and brown eyes so dark they looked nearly black, his lower one ended in a sleek black seal tail.
“Who are you?” Thalia asked, and the creature smiled at her, speaking in a language that she did not understand.
“Let’s get you to shore and then we’ll talk. Deal?”
Hey, guys! My latest short story, courtesy of an image prompt on Reddit! As always, feedback is encouraged and appreciated! I hope you enjoy it! Thank you so much for your support, I love you all! <3 <3 <3