The sound of someone singing off key brought me to my senses and I opened my eyes to the blinding sunlight. Seaweed and sand filled my mouth and I struggled to sit up, coughing and spitting out sea water.
My head pounded and dizziness overtook me when I tried to stand up. The last thing I remembered, I’d been with my fiancé, Maureen, enjoying cocktails on the deck of Mr. Anderson’s yacht with my other work colleagues. Mr. Mahar had just begun to tell me about how I was like a son to him when a big wave surged over the boat’s railing taking me with it.
“You sure did bump your head, didn’t you?” a female voice said nearby and I squinted in the sunlight trying to see who was talking.
“Who said that? Do I know you?”
“It’s me, Meredith.”
“Did you save me?” I asked.
“Well, I couldn’t just let you drown, could I?” She swam closer and a head popped out of the water. Dreadlocks sprung from her head like Medusa’s snakes.
“Are you a lifeguard? I rubbed my pounding head and blinked.
“Come over here so I can see you.”
“Nahhh, I’ll just stay here.”
“Were you the one singing?”
“Yes, what did you think? I’ve been practicing.”
“It was er....very enthusiastic,” I said, not wanting to be insulting.
“I dunno. My sister Dulsie says I should quit or I’m going to cause a shipwreck. That’s not very nice, is it?”
“A shipwreck? What the....? Are you a mermaid?”
“Matthew! Thank God you’re safe!” I looked over to see my fiancé running up the sand with one of the yacht’s crewmen. She hugged me and got totally soaked. “You have a bad bump on your head. Does it hurt? We must get you to a hospital.”
“I’m fine,” I said. “I’m so glad to see you. How did you know how to find me?”
“After you got washed overboard, we all heard this terrible sound of someone singing. Mike got out the lifeboat and we followed the sound to this beach.” She pointed to where the yacht was anchored out in the bay.
Dizziness overcame me and I collapsed against Maureen.
“We must get you to hospital right away,” she said, leaning my arm around her shoulder while Mike, the crewman took my other arm.
We trudged along the beach and I heard the singing.
“There it is again. Isn’t it horrible?” Maureen said, grimacing.
Looking back, I smiled to see the silver glint of a fish’s tail emerge from the water, followed by a loud giggle.
“Really?” I said. “I think it’s the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard.”