Stuck at a family reunion at Uncle Jerry’s cabin with no internet, no cell access, and no cable or satellite TV, the four cousins roamed the property. The only nearby village had the same lack of electronic access. With nothing else to do, they walked out the long pier and lay on their stomachs looking over the side into the water.
“Wish we could swim,” Sally said. “Do you really think this lake is as deep as everyone says?”
“Don’t know. What I don’t get is why have a pier if you can’t fish or swim? I don’t believe those tales about some dangerous creature living in this lake.” Dean stood up, pulled a flat rock out of his pocket, and skipped it across the water. The entire lake was posted with no fishing and no swimming signs. It had long been a sore point with the kids.
Joey pointed under the pier. “Did you see that?”
“There’s nothing there.” Sally rolled over and looked up at the clouds.
“Is too.” Joey leaned further over the pier. “That tail fin. See it? It’s huge.”
“I think I saw it.” Amy, the youngest of the four, always agreed with her older brother.
Dean peered into the water. “I don’t see nothing. I’m hungry. Let’s go see if any of Aunt Mary’s coconut cake is left.”
“Or those chocolate oatmeal cookies,” Amy said.
“No, wait. I saw something.” Joey leaned more of his body over the edge to get a closer look, and Dean pushed him in the water.
“That was mean.” Sally ran for the life preserver.
Laughing, Dean looked over the side of the pier, expecting to see Joey splashing around. Joey was a good swimmer.
“Wha…” Dean stepped back as Joey rose to the surface in the arms of… a merman. From the waist down the man sported scales and a long tail fin in place of his legs. There were also side fins where his knees and hips should have been.
Once the merman deposited Joey on the pier, he said, “Tell Jerry to have a care for his guests. These waters are not friendly.” The merman turned and dove back into the lake. The barbs running up his spine twinkled in the sunlight. The last the kids saw of the merman was his tail flipping out of the water.
Screaming at the top of her lungs, Amy ran toward the cabin. “Momma! A merman saved Joey. A real one. Momma!”
Dean and Sally backed away from the edge of the pier, watching Joey, who dripped water on the planks as he stared at the lake.