The first time I saw her was after the Purge. It should have been impossible. She was supposed to be dead. And she nearly was.
I almost didn’t notice her. I’d been so lost in self-pity, she almost died right there next to me. I was sitting on the edge of the water, my scuba gear spread out beside me, considering just throwing it all into the ocean and walking away. The thrill of the job, diving, observing and recording aquatic life, things that no one else got to see, was now gone. The peace I found reaching depths that few on land ever got to experience, evaporated the moment I put a price tag on it.
It was the sudden splash that attracted my attention. The splash that, looking back, I was surprised she even had the strength to make. I’d turned toward the noise and there she was. Her teal tail was wrapped in the thick twine of the hunter’s nets, streaks of blood flowing down onto the sand, and the glowing skin I’d observed on so many of her kind was dull and pallid. But she was, impossibly, alive. The last of her kind. The last mermaid.