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January 8, 2018

20 Days of Chill: Well, that was embarrassing - fiction

20 Days of Chill
Today's prompt is 'Well, that was embarrassing.'  Another fiction piece.

"Well, that was embarrassing," says Stella under her breath. She floats in the pool in the back of her best friend, Beth's house trying not to panic. She can at least stay afloat with no problems.

A moment ago, Stella had entered Beth's house using a spare key. When she tried to scoop up the bracelet she had dropped last week, her foot slipped and she fell into the water along with the pool skimmer she was using. Beth's parents and older brother wasn't home so Stella didn't worry at first. She tried calling Beth but her phone is not waterproofed as the seller told her. She had threw it aside and it landed under a chair.

Then she starts to panic and for ten minutes, she imagines all the horrible things that will happen to her. But then she spots the ladder on the side of the pool. She starts to climb and relief washes over her. But then one of the bars breaks off in her hand and she falls back into the water. She tries the ladder again but the whole ladder just fell off into the bottom of the pool. She starts to scream but then covers her mouth with her hands. She looks around but everything is silent. So she tries climbing out of the pool by pressing her hands on the tiles and leaning forward but she keeps slipping back into the water. Her mother have been right, Stella should have started weight lifting to build her arm muscles but now is not the time to think about that. After ten tries and her hand have turned scarlet from all the climbing, Stella decides to wait for Beth. Beth did said she was to come home at 4. It's only five hours away. She can wait.

Stella remembers how she screamed the first time her legs turned into a tail. She had just turned thirteen and after the birthday party, she went to take a bath. She screamed when she saw the tail emerging out of the water as if with a will of its own. Her mother came rushing into the bathroom only to laugh while Stella just glared at her. Then her mother explained everything - how Stella was part of ten generations of mermaids and how her legs will come back when they are dried. But Stella didn't care. She wanted to be normal but she didn't tell her mother that. Beth saw it too when she rushed in with Stella's mother. She laughed and said she wished she was a mermaid.

The time passes slowly. Stella starts to wonder if Beth is ever coming home. Night soon creeps in. The air turns chilly and Stella begins to imagine Beth coming home and finding a popsicle mermaid. All she have on is a thin shirt and she's wet. Her torn pants have settled down into the bottom of the pool.

Stella have a feeling she is being spied on. But as much as she looks, she couldn't see anything. Stella moves toward a dark corner of the pool. Perhaps there is no one. After all, most people are somewhere else during the weekend. Stella is sure she is making herself nervous for no reason.

"Hey, you there in the water!" The voice sounds excited.

A white light aims straight at Stella. The light is lowered and Stella could see that it is only Beth. She flickers some water at Beth.

"Hmm, mermaids for dinner..." Beth leans down and glares at Stella.

Stella swipes her hand back and forth into the water and Beth steps back without getting a single drop on her.

"Just get me out of here, will ya?" Beth have been fine with her being a mermaid but Stella doesn't like being different from her best friend.

Beth laughs a bit quietly. "Do you know there is a ladder over there leading you up and onto solid ground?" Beth points at a corner. Stella turns to take a look and then turns back to Beth and says, "It's broken." Stella tries not to sound too angry.

"Oh. How did that happen? That is made of...steel? I guess I'll have to tell father to install a new one." Beth places the towel and flashlight on the floor. She slides down onto her stomach and leans forward with both hands out. "Here, grab my hands."

Stella grabs on but then her hands slips from Beth's. She falls into the water and curses silently at her ancestors for making her a mermaid. Plus, her tail makes her weight more.

"Alright, we'll do this the hard way." Beth stands up, takes off her coat and dives into the pool. She then pushes Stella from behind while Stella climbs over the edge of the pool. Stella gets out and sits on the floor.

"Hey, what about me?" Beth waves her hand at Stella.

"Hold on." Stella takes the towel that Beth had brought and starts rubbing at her tail. In a moment, she has legs again. A shiver runs down her back. She looks around her but she couldn't see anything. She doesn't like how quiet it is.

"What?" Beth turns to look too.

"Nothing. I just thought..."

"Why didn't you call me?" Beth said.

"My phone didn't work." Stella looks again but sees nothing in particular.

"I thought you said..."

"Nevermind." Stella wraps the towel around her waist. She stands up and stretches out a bit. Then she leans on her stomach and holds out her hands. "Here, your turn." In a moment Beth is out of the water.

"You know, it would be best if you try practicing not falling into the water. I hear it's a good way not to turn into a mermaid." Beth merges her lips trying not to laugh.

Stella slaps Beth's arm. "Thank you for your kind advice."

"You're welcome. Come on inside. I told your mother you're staying overnight. You can eat the leftovers, wouldn't that be fun?" Beth tilts her head and smiles.

"Yeah, a lot of fun. Let's go."

Stella starts to follow Beth inside but then she stops. Stella looks around again but sees only the dark night.

"What is it?"

"Nothing. Just...nothing." She and Beth went inside.

For more '20 days of chill' visit A 'lil HooHaa.
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