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from Never Far Away by Patricia Elliott

Copyright © 2018–2020 Patricia Elliott

Chapter 2

Together, they carried her up the stairs and into the house, laying her carefully on the bed in the guestroom. It pleased him that Jessa laid out the towels exactly as instructed. The woman's hair was damp and water still dripped from under her scales.

"I'll go grab the first aid kit," the nanny said, disappearing out of the room.

He sat down beside the mermaid and moved her black hair away from her face, his thumb brushing her cheek. Her skin was softer than he'd expected from one living in the ocean. And he couldn't believe how much of a color contrast there was between her hair and her face, especially while lying on the white pillowcases.

Soon, Ms. Peterson returned to the room, and they worked on the bump on the woman's head, while his daughter stood there sucking her thumb. Something she hadn't done in years.

"Is she going to be okay?" Jessa asked, her bottom lip trembling.

How was he supposed to answer that? They were travelling in unchartered waters. No one, to his knowledge, has ever seen, much less taken care of, a mermaid. He didn't even know if they could survive being out of the water. Should he treat her like an animal or a person?

"Should we call the SPCA or something?" he asked, rubbing his thumb and index finger on his chin.

"If someone finds out about her, they'll turn her into a science experiment," Dorothy said, as she wrapped a bandage around the woman's head. "They'd dissect her and do whatever other experiments they can think of."

"I suppose you're right, but what if she's dangerous?"

"I highly doubt she is."

"Well, I'm...

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