For my sister, whose love of mermaids helped inspired this story.
For centuries common myths have been adored among the human race. For little girls, the stories of the fair maiden and handsome prince rule most of their entertainment. For the boys, pirates and knights fill their dreams and cause their parents to regret ever buying that wooden sword. Nikki Sanders grew up the only girl in a house with three brothers. Her dreams of being the fair maiden came with her also being the heroine. We have proof that dreams are nothing but adventures we play in our minds to make our life less boring. We don't, however, have exact proof of the nonexistence of the mythical species.
Chapter 1 ~ The Beginning
The beach was warm on my bare feet. I looked out at the shimmering water and listened to the ocean waves lapping onto the shore, completely engulfed. I should have been studying, but my soul had begged me for a break. Who could study on a day like today?
I took step further into the water. Suddenly my foot caught on something and I fell face first into the damp sand. I spat the grit out of my mouth and sat up, brushing it off of my cutoff shorts and hands. I shook out my hair, and thought for a moment about cutting it. It was a nice color; brown, like my mother’s, but it would be easier to take care of if it were shorter.
I looked down at my feet to see what I’d tripped on. It was a green glass bottle, half buried in the sand. I pulled it out, the hole filling up with water. I held it up to the sun. It clanked, like there was something inside it. I’d have to pry the cork to get it out, the lip was partially broken. My phone rang, breaking the tranquility and I jumped a little, then fumbled for it in my back pocket, glad to have landed with it safely out of the wave's reach.
"Hello?" I said into the speaker.
"Hey, Nikki, Mom and I are leaving. We’ll be back by ten. Make sure you finish your homework."
"Love you, kid."
"Love you too, Dad."
I hung up and turned my back on the ocean. It was only a short walk back up the beach. I passed little kids throwing sand at each other, angry mom's yelling at their teenage daughters and their husbands feeding the seagulls. I wondered if living on the beach could be a viable career choice.
I walked up the back steps and into the kitchen and poured myself a glass of water. There was a note on the fridge. Frozen pizza for dinner. Caleb will be home from work soon to help. I simultaneously laughed and groaned in my head. Just because Caleb was older, didn't mean that he was more mature. I pull the pizza from the freezer and turn on the oven, then head upstairs to change my sandy clothes while it heated up.
Peter and James rush past me in the hall, swords in their hands, followed by Caleb with a pillow shield in one hand and the good remote in the other. James waves the dead remote in the air, taunting him. Guess he was home already. I set the bottle on the banister.
"You can’t hide forever!" Caleb shouted as they scrambled down the stairs to the basement. He stopped and leaned against the wall in the living room with a grin. "Hey sis. When did you get home?"
I meet him downstairs and hold my hand out for the remote. "Just now."
"Attack!" Peter yells from the top of the stairs and rushes towards me. "She’s got the treasure!"
I catch his sword with my free hand and pull him into a bear hug while he squirms to get free.
"Terror Twin!" he screamed. "I’ve been captured by the kraken!"
James rushes up and Caleb catches him. "No fair!" he yelped. "You guys are older then us!"
I hand Peter the remote and he lets out a pirate-ish, "Aargh! The treasure!" as he and James escape to the basement.
"Thanks a lot," Caleb groaned. "Nothing but Jake and the pirates for the rest of the night."
"Jake and the Neverland Pirates," I correct him. "Put the pizza in the oven. I’ve got homework."
I didn’t wait to hear his answer. I grab the bottle off the banister and retreat to my bedroom. Once the door is shut I set the bottle on my desk. I tried to take the cork out with my fingernails on the way here, but it was stuck in pretty good. I pulled my pocket knife out of a pair of dirty jeans and opened the corkscrew. I dug it in and pried some more. With a pop the cork finally came out.
I carefully turned the bottle upside down over my bed. A small silver locket on a dark chain slid out followed by the edge of a damp piece of brownish paper. I got some tweezers and carefully pulled it the rest of the way out of the bottle. I held my breath, praying it wouldn’t tear.
It came out in one piece, rolled up and bound with a piece of wet seaweed. That seemed like a strange thing to put around a piece of paper in a bottle with a cork. I mean, wasn’t the point of the bottle to keep stuff like seaweed out?
I pulled off the seaweed around the paper and carefully unfolded it. Unlike the words on the bottle the words on the paper where written in English.
"I know you must have many questions but I do not have time. My people are at war with the Makara Divided Colonies and we are in dire need of your help. I have placed my locket inside this bottle along with this note, so that it may guide you to my safeguard. Please hurry. -Queen Ali'ikai of the Sirens of the Kingdom Ke'ana."
I laughed. Someone had gone to a lot of trouble to pull a prank that might never have been seen. It was pretty cool, though. Maybe I’d find another bottle and do the same thing so somebody else could find it. "Nikki!" I heard Peter yell.
Even if I wanted to get my homework done, babysitting made it almost impossible. Unless that homework was first-aid. I got lots of practice with that.