To start at the beginning, use this link: Link to chapter 1
Allen and the mermaids completed their preparations in the morning, then waited to see where the dolphins would lead them next. They came a little later than on previous mornings, but eventually they saw the dolphins swimming around the island, waiting for them to follow. The mermaids dove into the water and followed the dolphins, who seemed to be heading directly towards the spot where they saw the boats the night before. It didn’t take them too long to swim the two or three miles to a much bigger island. Though still only a few hundred yards wide, it was large enough to support palm trees and a few buildings. The dolphins headed directly for a dock. Hesitant to expose themselves, the mermaids hung back.
“WHAT SHOULD WE DO?” Lacy asked.
“JUST LIKE BEFORE, LET’S SEND TWO OF US AHEAD TO SEE IF THEY CAN FIND SOMEONE TO HELP US. THE REST OF US WILL WAIT OVER THERE, OUT OF SIGHT BEHIND THOSE ROCKS.” Replied Allen.
“DAPHNE AND I CAN GO AGAIN.” Maria signed. “SHOULD WE CALL DAVE JOHNSON AGAIN?”
“I THINK CARLOS MUST HAVE A SPY IN THE POLICE OFFICE. HOW ELSE WOULD HE HAVE KNOWN WHERE TO FIND US? LET’S TRY KATHERINE’S MOM INSTEAD.”
Allen gave the phone number to Maria and Daphne. Then the two mermaids swam to the dock, where the dolphins were poking their heads out of the water and letting a man stroke their heads. Maria and Daphne joined the dolphins, poking their heads out of the water in front of the man.
“¿Que es esto?” The man said to himself. Then he addressed the mermaids.
“¿Quien son ustedes?” He asked, then translated it to: “Who are you?”
Maria motioned to her mouth and shook her head to indicate she couldn’t speak.
“¿Pueden entenderme?” “Do you understand me?” The man asked.
Maria and Daphne both nodded, then swam to the shore. When they pulled themselves out of the water, the man stepped back, an astonished look on his face.
Maria used her finger to write the word “Paper” in the wet sand. The man looked at it for a moment.
“You prefer English, it seems. I will be right back with some paper.”
He left and went into the nearby building. When he came back out, a woman followed him. He had a pad of paper and a pen in his hand.
“My name is Marcos.” He told them, “And this is Felicity. Welcome to Isla Marisol. I take it you want to write a message to me.”
He handed Maria the paper and pen.
“Thank you.” She wrote. “I am Maria and this is Daphne. We need some help. We were being held captive but managed to escape. Do you have a cell-phone we can use to text a friend?”
“We have no cellular service out here on the island. But there is a satellite phone in the office or a computer for e-mail.”
“I guess we would like to send an e-mail then. I don’t suppose you have a wheelchair?”
“No, I’m afraid not. We are a small resort with no accommodations for handicapped people. Can’t you take your tails off? We had a guest once with a tail like that, but she took it off when she got out of the water.”
“Our tails are similar to that, but they have been permanently attached. Would you be willing to carry one of us to the computer? We can crawl, but it is slow.”
“What red-blooded man wouldn’t want to carry a beautiful mermaid? Of course I would be willing.”
“Are there many guests inside? Our captor has many contacts and we would like it if as few people as possible knew we were here.”
“Who was your captor?”
“I have heard of him. If he was holding you captive, you are very lucky to have escaped. Our guests are all out fishing or diving or snorkeling right now, so only the two of us are here. So now would be an ideal time to come inside.”
“Thank you. I need to go talk to another mermaid for a minute, and then I’ll be back”
Maria slipped back into the water and swam to where the rest of the mermaids were waiting.
“THERE IS A MAN THERE WHO CAN HELP US, BUT THEY DON’T HAVE A CELL-PHONE.” Maria signed. “THEY DO HAVE E-MAIL THOUGH. DO YOU HAVE YOUR MOTHER-IN-LAW’S E-MAIL ADDRESS?”
“OF COURSE.” Allen said, and he gave her the address.
Maria returned to the shore by the dock and indicated that she was ready. Marcos picked her up and carried her inside. Felicity stayed outside with Daphne. Marcos seemed a bit surprised at how heavy Maria was with the added weight of her tail, but he managed to carry her the few steps to the office building and set her down in a chair in front of a computer. Maria logged on to her e-mail account, and ignoring the hundreds of messages that had accumulated over the time she was gone, started an e-mail to Janice. She explained the situation, specified their location, and warned her that Carlos must have a spy who was able to intercept their last message to Dave. When she was done sending the e-mail, she brought up a document and wrote a message, then showed it to Marcos.
“Can we have some food?” She wrote. “We’ve been eating nothing but raw fish for the last few days.”
“Of course we have some food. I’ll be right back.”
Marcos went into another room and came back with a bag of oranges.
“Will these do for a start?”
“Yes!! Those will be great! Can you carry me back outside? I want to share these with my friends.”
Marcos agreed and struggled back outside with the mermaid in his arms. Daphne’s eyes lit up when she saw the bag of oranges. Once Maria was back on the sand, Daphne picked up the notebook and pen that she had been using to communicate with Felicity.
“Felicity says you have an empty cabin that we could use for a few days. Can you show it to us? There are several more of us hiding in the water.”
“Yes, you could use the cabin Felicity is referring to. It is close to the water and has been closed for renovations.”
“Can we stay out of sight of your guests?”
“As long as you stay inside the cabin. We can bring you food or tell you when there are no guests around so that you can come out.”
“That would be ideal. Thank you so much for all your help.”
“It’s not every man who can say he helped a group of mermaids. I will have a great story to tell once you are all safe. How long will you need to hide out? If you stay too long it’s likely that someone else will find out you are here.”
“I hope only for a day or two. We hope some friends will be coming soon.”
Marcos described the location of the cabin, though it was difficult for him to think of what it would look like to someone swimming around the island underwater. When Maria and Daphne were sure they understood his directions, they thanked him and Felicity again, and then swam down to the rest of the mermaids. They explained about the cabin and showed everyone the bag of oranges. They were all eager to get to the cabin so they could eat the fruit, so they swam quickly around the island to the location described by Marcos. Carla was the first one out of the water. There was a sandy path about 20 feet long that led to the cabin, and then a few steps that would have to be negotiated to get up to the porch. Marcos was standing near the steps.
“I don’t know if I can carry all of you to the door.” He said. “But I can help you up the stairs. How many of you are there?”
Carla held up 9 fingers, then quickly crawled up the sandy path to the stairs. When she reached the stairs, she held her arms up so that Marcos could help her up. He wrapped his arms around under her arms and lifted her up to the porch. His cheeks became a bit pink as he lifted her when her bare breasts pressed up against his chest. At first, Carla wondered why. It had been so long since she wore a top that she had almost forgotten how she must look to most people on land. When Carlos let go, Carla crawled across the porch and through the door into the small cabin. It was small for nine people, with only a single large bed and an attached bathroom, but Carla was quite excited about the possibility of actually sleeping in a bed again. Carla was followed out of the water by Renna, Daphne, and Allen. Like they did during their escape, Renna and Daphne supported Allen so that he could crawl easier. Marcos was surprised to see a merman among the group.
“Mermen as well?” He said. “And such a strange tail. I wish I had time to hear your whole story.”
Allen and his two helpers were followed by Fernando, with Anna and Maria helping him. Lacy and Audra came last, and Marcos helped lift each member of the group up the stairs. The two men were especially difficult because of their extra size and weight, and their tails which prevented him from holding them under their arms.
“I put some pads of paper and pencils in the room.” He told them. “And Felicity brought a tray with supplies for making sandwiches. We will try to check on you from time to time. Please be careful with the water you use. It is all desalinated here on the island and we have a limited supply.”
Renna held up a pad of paper on which she had written “Thank You” in big letters. Marcos closed the door and they all crowded together into the small room, hoping that this time their true rescue was at hand.
“IF CARLOS FINDS US ALL IN THIS CABIN, WE WON’T BE ABLE TO GET AWAY.” Signed Lacy when they had all found spots on the floor or the bed.
“I HAD THAT THOUGHT AS WELL.” Said Renna. “BUT IT FEELS GOOD TO BE IN AN ACTUAL ROOM ON LAND AGAIN, EVEN IF WE ARE ALL BUMPING INTO EACH OTHER.”
“WE’LL TAKE OUR CHANCES.” Said Anna. “LET’S EAT!”
They were all able to agree on that point, so Maria passed around the oranges and they all took turns making sandwiches. It felt so good to be eating something other than ration bars or raw fish. They ate with gusto, and the last crumbs of sandwich disappeared in just a few minutes. After eating, they found there was very little to do in the cramped little cabin room. Carla and Daphne shared the bed, with the rest of them sitting or lying on the floor, and there was little room to move around and do anything. Before long they could hear resort guests outside, so they tried not to make any loud noises. They spent the day resting and talking to each other in sign language, and after some of their discussions they decided to make a note for Marcos and Felicity.
Marcos and Felicity,
Thank you again for being willing to help us out. Once we are rescued and safe, we will try to arrange some kind of payment for the food and supplies we are using. We would like to ask for two more things, if possible.
Do you have any swimsuit tops available? We are not bare-breasted by choice. Sizes 2X36D, 34B, 38C, 38D, 34C, 32B. We can use other sizes if you don’t have the exact ones.
One of us would like to check e-mail regularly.
The afternoon passed slowly, and finally in the evening Felicity showed up at their door. She slipped inside with several trays of food.
“All of the guests are having dinner now, so I was able to slip out and bring some food for you. Are you doing all right?”
They nodded their heads and Renna and Lacy took the trays. Anna handed Felicity the note. Her eyes twinkled as she read.
“So you aren’t topless just to embarrass poor Marcos, eh? We have a little gift shop over by the main office, but we don’t have much selection in swimsuits. I might be able to find one or two in the right size. We also have some t-shirts with our logo on them. Would those do?”
They nodded their heads again.
“Carlos and I figured you would need to check the e-mail again. We think the best time might be late at night, when all the guests are asleep. Carlos will come back to get one of you about 2 in the morning. Will that work?”
They nodded again.
“Just stack the dishes and trays somewhere and I will pick them up when I come back. Breakfast may be a little harder because the guests don’t all come at the same time, and I don’t know if they will all leave the island at once tomorrow, so it may be a while before we can bring your next meal. I included some more fruit and some candy bars for you to snack on if you get hungry. Good night.”
The trays were loaded with plates of food. Although the main dish was seafood, at least the fish was cooked, and there was a large pile of rice and vegetables to go with it. There was a plate for everyone, and one of the trays had two bottles of wine on it in addition to the food. As Felicity had told them, there was also an assortment of candy bars, fruit, and some crackers. One small bowl was filled with a homemade hot sauce that several of them really appreciated. They had a stack of paper cups and there was enough wine for everyone to have some. After eating their dinner, the mermaids were all in a very good mood, and they chatted with their fingers for a while before settling down to sleep. There weren’t enough pillows to go around, but there were some extra linens in a small closet as well as towels in the bathroom, so everyone found something to lay their head on. Though not ideal, the sleeping accommodations were a great improvement on the sandbars and mangrove roots they had been sleeping on since their escape.
They were awakened at 2 AM by Marcos’s gentle knock on the door. Renna had been chosen as the one to check the e-mail, so she crawled through the supine forms on the floor to the door. Marcos passed a bundle of t-shirts and swimsuit tops into the room, then picked Renna up and carried her down the stairs, setting her in a wheelbarrow at the bottom.
“I remembered the wheelbarrow and thought it would be a good way to transport you.” He whispered.
Once Renna was settled, Marcos handed her a t-shirt to put on. She gratefully pulled it over her head, then enjoyed the ride across the island to the office. They slipped in a back door and Marcos helped Renna move from the wheelbarrow to a chair in front of the computer. The room was lit by a dim night light and the glow from the computer screen. Renna logged in to Maria’s e-mail account and immediately found the reply from Janice.
“I got your message. We were so glad to hear you are all OK. Dave’s crew went to the previous site and found signs that Carlos had been there, so we feared the worst. I will pass your message on to Dave, and I’m sure he will come to you as soon as possible. I have some good news about Katherine – Dave was able to rescue her and she is back home safe! I hope that you will all be here with her in a day or two.
Renna was so excited to see the e-mail from Janice that she jumped up and down in the chair. Marcos came to see what she was so happy about and she showed him the e-mail. She quickly wrote a reply telling Janice they were OK and they would be waiting for Dave, then indicated to Marcos that she was ready to go back. When she got back into the room, Allen, Lacy, and Anna were awake. Lacy had found a yellow bikini top that fit her, and Anna was wearing one of the t-shirts. Renna quickly filled them in on the response from Janice, and despite trying to be quiet, their excitement soon spread and all of the rest of the mermaids woke up. They had a quiet little party, hugging and kissing each other, when they heard the news that Katherine had been rescued. Then the women all found a top to wear before going back to sleep.
Late the next morning, Felicity slipped through the door and into the room. She had several boxes of cereal, two gallons of milk, and a bag with bowls and spoons in it.
“I can’t stay long.” She told them. “We still have several guests on the island this morning. Is there anything you need?”
“We’re doing fine.” Daphne wrote.
“Good. I’ll take your dishes from last night and slip out then.”
The mermaids passed the dishes to her from the corner where they had stacked them the night before, and then she quietly slipped back out the door. The day passed uneventfully for the mermaids. They could hear guests as they walked past or spoke to one another, and for a while they listened to the sounds of what appeared to be a lively beach volleyball game nearby. In the evening, Marcos brought them dinner again.