Into the Deep
Dead for Real
“Abby is dead,” Ski raised an eyebrow, quizzically.
“Well, who sent that message?” I asked.
“Don’t look at me,” Atlantis said when we eyed her. Abby was dead, for sure. I mean, I watched the life get sucked out of her, literally. I saw her life flash before her eyes, the way they went blank. Is that what death looked like?
For the next week, I woke up either screaming, crying, sweating cold sweat, or on the floor. Cam was pretty freaked out. One time, he rolled out of bed, and he thought I was dead, because I was laying on the floor. He yelled for the guards, and reached down. Apparently, that was when I woke up.
I really don’t remember what was in these nightmares. Mainly, I only remembered glimpses of Abby, spirits, ghosts, and death.
Not sleeping wasn’t the only problem. Everywhere I went, I felt like someone was watching me. Cam assured me nothing was wrong, but I couldn’t help but look over my shoulder every five minutes.
I could hear ghosts whistling and howling behind me. As I turned around, I could only catch the sight of the last of their wispy tails, until they faded away.
If I didn’t get to the bottom of that message, I’m pretty sure I’m going to go insane.
“Nix?” Atlantis called after me.
“Yeah?” I responded, turning towards her.
“You look horrible,” she said kindly. I guess I did. From not sleeping, I had too many rings around my eyes to count, and from falling on the ground when I slept, I had this ugly purple bruise on the left side of my face. My hair was overdue for a trim, and well.... I looked like a hag or something.
“Thank you,” I told her, and kept walking.
“It’s happening to you, too, isn’t?” She stopped me.
“What is?”
“The spirits. They’re everywhere, aren’t they? I see them all the time,” she answered. As I looked at her more closely, I realized something. Underneath all the makeup the press and her designers made her wear, Atlantis was almost as exhausted and tired as I was. She just hid it better. Still, I could see images zipping around her eyes, I could feel the paranoia coming off in waves from her.
“Everywhere,” I agreed.
“Ski won’t believe me at all.”
“Neither does Cam,” I admitted. And he didn’t. He thought I was just stressed. In the past year, I had been shoved into more classes (politics, history, etiquette, magic, and fashion) than I had ever been in my entire life, human and mermaid, combined. Maybe it was just stress, I had thought, but when I look at Atlantis now, I seriously doubt it. Atlantis had been training to be queen since she was ten; she was used to it.
“We have to track it down.”
“Who is this ‘we’?” I wondered aloud.
“You and me. It’ll just be like old times-Atlantis and Nix, without any guys.” Atlantis reminded me of all the adventures we used to have as kids. We would spend hours on the beach together, pretending to be spies on a mission, or in the library, reading all of the latest books and the classic ones, too. We would climb the huge trees in her backyard, and use water guns to spray Braxen, my older human brother who was a complete jerk.
“No guys?”
“No guys.”
“Alright. Let’s go.” Then we swam to our different rooms, our tails swishing behind us.
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