A day spent on the front in one of England's most famous resort towns. - British spelling!
Bob shuffled along the shoreline below picturesque cliffs. The sun shone in a cloudless sky. Scooping up a pebble, he lobbed it into the sparkling surf. This was the most depressing day in his life.
It took him a year to build up enough courage to ask Miranda out. They worked side by side in a Leeds call centre, and Bob fell for her sultry voice while she hoodwinked gullible homeowners into purchasing overpriced double-glazing. She was bubbly, attractive, and adventurous — the opposite of him. However, when he invited her to spend a weekend in Scarborough, she shocked him by agreeing.
He glanced back. The strand and even the castle overlooking the town were hidden from sight by a rocky peninsula. Good. If he didn’t have a return train ticket for tomorrow and a paid-up hotel room, he’d have left last night. Immediately after that prick wearing a Rolex sauntered over to Miranda and told her she resembled Aphrodite emerging from the waves. Bob might as well have been in another country as a man she only just met swept her off her feet.
Shaking his head, he climbed over a rocky outcrop and examined the rockpools left behind by the ebbing tide. He vaguely remembered coming here as a boy with the Scouts. A hermit crab scampered into the shadows, and Bob gazed into the depths. Was this pool deep enough to drown in? He sighed and moved on.
After a short distance, he spied a flash of bright yellow. A plastic float, like those attached to fishing nets. He wandered closer. As he thought, a section of green netting stretched across one of the rockpools. The net must have fallen from one of the small fishing boats he saw in the harbour.
Movement in the pool caught his attention. He couldn’t imagine a fish large enough to make that much of a splash. Had a dolphin become tangled in the net? He cautiously pulled back the netting, only to stop when it caught on something. He crouched beside the rockpool and made to untangle the net.
He fell backwards in surprize, then scrambled back a few more feet. There was a slender arm caught in the net. He’d found a corpse. Bob fumbled for his mobile phone then tapped 9—
The arm spasmed and a finger moved. Not a corpse! Bob dropped his phone and darted back to the rockpool, mentally rehearsing the CPR procedure he learned on a First Aid course last year. He grabbed the arm, dragging it from the water. A naked body followed, caught up in the net. That of a young woman with bedraggled ginger locks and generously proportioned breasts. She coughed, water spewing from her mouth.
“What the—?” He jumped to his feet and pointed. “You’ve got a tail!”
Where the woman’s legs should be, a silvery fish's tail trailed back into the water. She gazed up through weary eyes. “C-cuidich mi.”
He didn't know what that meant, but she clearly wasn’t a monster. She could talk and didn’t have fangs or claws. Actually, she was stunning. Except for the scaly bits lower down. He retrieved his phone. Should he call for an ambulance? A vet?
“Cuidich mi,” she moaned, her emerald eyes imploring him.
“Oh, bugger it.” He crouched beside her and pulled his Swiss Army knife from his jeans pocket. “Be prepared.” He smiled. “Scouts' motto. Just hold still.” He cut away the tough netting.
Once released, she perched on the edge of the rockpool, her tail dipped into the water. “Tapadh leat.”
He sat beside her. “I have no idea what you just said, but you’re welcome.”
She straightened and pulled back her hair to reveal an emerald pendant dangling from a chain around her neck. After unfastening the chain, she turned to Bob and refastened it around his neck.
Suddenly, her tail became blurry. Like Schrödinger’s cat, it was there and not there for a while. Then a shapely pair of legs appeared in place of her tail.
She touched the pendant on his chest. “Thank you, sir. This enchanted emerald enables us to communicate. My name is Breagha.”
“Breagha. That’s a pretty name.”
She flushed. “You are a kind and handsome man. I am pleased Fate chose you to be my husband.”
“Yes. We mermaids must come to land to mate. You saved my life, proving you are a worthy spouse.”
“This shitty day just got much better.”
Word count: 750
Prompt: A DAY AT THE BEACH
taboo words: beach, sand, sea, shells, and beachball, or any derivatives of these words