I’d been waiting for this trip for a while now…
I stared at the beach through the windshield of my car. It was quite crowded today. Of course it was – it was a sunny day, after all. I let out a short sigh, glancing at my bag I had packed ready days ago. I could still go swimming, but… Maybe I should’ve gone elsewhere. There was that nice river I’d found, but getting there was a pain.
Then, after a group of people passed by my car, giving me side-eyed stares, I straightened my posture and took the bag, exiting the car. I had gone through so much trouble to get here, so I wasn’t going to give up on enjoying my day at the beach just because of the crowd. Why would I care, anyway?
Completely ignoring the people in the parking lot, I started making my way down to the lake. I didn’t care about the looks I was receiving. I refused to hear their words.
“Why is he here…?”
“Kids, come here! We’re leaving!”
“We’re leaving right now!”
I rolled my eyes. Why would I care?
I kept walking through the sand until I reached a quiet spot at the end of the beach. I let out another sigh while putting the bag down, peering over my shoulder at the people. A group I had just passed by was gathering their stuff. Good. Now I got to have this corner all for myself.
I laid down my beach blanket and sat on it, grabbing my bag to find my sunscreen. I checked my phone as well, but I had no new messages or missed calls. Good. That meant my father hadn’t noticed I’d sneaked out since he was the only person who’d try to contact me.
After turning off the phone, I took off my shirt, grabbed the sunscreen and started smearing it all over my sensitive skin – albinism and sunny days didn’t go hand in hand. I watched the swimmers in the distance, all the happy couples, kids, and groups of friends. My arrival had clearly put a damper on the atmosphere, and even from a distance, I could see people peering at me over their shoulders.
I closed my eyes, trying to find my inner peace. I wasn’t going to let them ruin my day. They could glare at me all they wanted because I did not care.
Once I was sure I wouldn’t get burned right away, I took off my shoes and socks, but didn’t bother taking my jeans off. I got up, pushed my long, white hair over my shoulder and walked to the water, stopping to dip my toes in it. A bit too warm, but nothing dangerous for my health. There was a bigger rock close by, so I went to sit down on it so my pants would stay dry.
And then I closed my eyes, my toes in the water, feeling my magic surrounding me. My transformation started as a small tornado of water that surrounded my toes and ankles, soon climbing all the way up to my waist. My skin itched around my cheeks, shoulders and sides as my pure-white scales with silver tips sprouted out, and seconds later, my legs were gone, replaced by my tail with big, veil-like fins.
Once I was fully in my mermaid form, I dropped down into the water, feeling much, much better already. The water was too shallow, so I had to pull myself to get to the open waters. When I finally reached it, I sank below the surface, moving my tail slowly to get even deeper.
I finally found my inner peace. I saw mermaids, selkies, and even a couple of sirens further away on my left, so I turned my back on them and started heading towards the quieter waters.
It was so peaceful… And the temperature of the water was perfect closer to the bottom of the lake where the sun couldn’t reach that well. It had been weeks since the last time I was able to swim in a lake, and even though the pools in our mansion were pretty decent, the harsh, filtered water wasn’t good for my skin.
And now I had room to swim. With my big, decorative fins I was a slow and clumsy swimmer compared to the saltwater mermaids, the warrior race, but I was still much faster than humans, so even big pools were making me feel claustrophobic.
I spent a long time swimming to my heart’s content, enjoying the peace. At home, there was someone always watching my every move, either my father or the guards, and it was suffocating.
But I didn’t have all the time in the world, so eventually, I had to return to the beach. I sat in the shallow water to let the sun dry my hair. My bag seemed untouched, but I wasn’t surprised. These people wouldn’t touch my belongings. I turned to glance over the beach. The people who had stayed were having fun again, pretending like I didn’t exist.
For a moment, I just watched them in silence. Supernaturals most of them, but there were a lot of humans too. Humans who knew about us. It was the only protected beach for our kind in this city – our sanctuary – where we could be in our true forms without the fear of being discovered. All races were accepted here. Everyone who followed the rules of the sanctuary was welcomed.
Unless your last name was Locke.
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