A friend pointed out that this section didn't make a whole lot of sense with a four-year old messing and getting away from a sixteen year old. It's a fun little piece if you ignore that discrepancy. All part of writing, that would get edited, boiled down, in the final manuscript or we say it was magical. But that hadn't been my plan to give the boy ‘powers’.
Mermaid Kisses 1.2
The air was sweltering and I slowed my pace. The air crackling with anticipation, great billowing clouds gathered over the mountains getting ready to bring the rains, but I had time. Besides if it rained there would be frogs and together we could do the “Frog and Leap” together.
The heat had dried up all the rain from the previous rain-shower. With my tiny feet I made a game of kicking stones. Counting their dust puffs as they skipped, “One, two, three …” and the next super-fast, “four, five, six, seven,” before I couldn't tell the bounces from a roll. Then I'd kick another counting again.
When the creek came in sight I ran towards it jumping and hollerin’ down into the water to make the frogs jump. I came down creating the biggest splash I could, water and mud splashed satisfyingly everywhere and I heard with a pleased smile the sound of frogs crying their displeasure. They weren’t the only ones…
“Hey watch it freak!” and seeing a shadow and recognizing the voice of the great Howie Tanner sweeping down towards me. I dodged and came up rolling through the marsh water seeing the face of Howie wiping mud and water from his face. How had I missed him? I was done for, especially seeing him with a ‘girl’ in a now wet pretty white dress.
Expecting anger on the level of my sister Mar from her, I got ready to run. But instead I saw a plea in her look that said, “Help me,” that stopped me in my tracks. Confirming the look, I turned my temper on the bully.
I didn't hesitate. I’m not one to back down even from Brad and I directed a laugh at Howie as loud as I could, yelling and pointing “Mud Face!” as a plan formulated in my tiny brain. We little ones must stand up for damsels in distress, though in my case it meant getting the mean ogre mad enough to chase after me. Perhaps earning me a thrashing, but he’d have to catch me first and worth it if the damsel went free.
He had his weight on the girl, and though he'd shifted some it wasn’t enough for her to escape. I had to get his attention, and deciding another pile of mud in his face would do the trick. Scooping up mud from the creek bottom, I wound up, seeing in his face, “Don’t you dare!” and let fly.
I hurled the wad not for a minute expecting to survive the encounter. Nor for the wad to fly true. Mortally afraid I'd hit the girl instead, but for once my aim and arm were coordinated. I had a glimpse of Howie’s face as he held up both hands to ward off the goo, but I didn't stay to see the results. I turned tail and was up the opposite side of the creek from the way I entered.
With a loud “Thwop!” as the wad hit home, the sixteen year old, broad-shouldered, bully was on my tail yelling, “Twerp, you've had it! You're gonna die!”
I'd forgotten how quick those with big-hands could be as he leaped to the top of the creek that had taken my tiny legs so much effort a second before. I screamed and yelled to keep him on my tail, and with a wild hope of my brother’s joining in. We might be enemies, but against everyone else we were thick as thieves. I was still laughing as he tore after me. I hadn't a hope of out distancing him, but trees grew big and bushy all along the creek and I ran in among them.
“Mud Face, you too slow!” I hollered some more, turning to see where he’d got too and afraid he’d given up the chase when I didn’t see him.
Just then, unexpectedly as I came out of the lane he landed in front of me arms and legs out wide. I dove forward between his legs and amazingly, “ducked and rolled,” out before he could bring his hands in to nab me. “Haha, Mud Face!” I yelled laughing, I was going to have to tell Mark, “Duck and Roll” had just saved my life. Then I was into the next row of hedges and trees.
Suddenly I was windmilling my arms as I came to the edge of an unexpected cliff. I’d never come so far before. My hands sweeping for anything, came up with a brittle vine, but it held as I swung outward. Holding on with both hands I swung out over a water filled pit that the creek flowed into and through. I had a great view as I hung horizontal for a second before swinging back. There was an old wooden dock over to my left where the pit opened on a pond.
From behind I heard the crashing Neanderthal Howie not about to give up. Looking around when I landed, still holding to the vine branch afraid I'd fall. It was either swim, which I couldn't or the rickety dock. It wasn't much of a choice.
I ran for the dock, the big-hands almost beat me to it. The thing was rotten and old, my first step and the board disintegrated under me and I skinned my shins landing on the next that cracked. “You’re gonna drown twerp,” and I felt something hard smash into my back. Tears came to my eyes, but I wouldn't let them have their way as I yelled back, “You missed Mud Face!”
Keeping a weather eye, I reached the first pole where the boards were marginally better, and dodged his next throw. Recklessly I shouted at him again, dodged two more throws as I crabbed backwards. Then two boards in a row disintegrated on me and I was falling backwards towards the water. My legs below the knee the only thing holding me as I swung upside down.
Howie yelled laughing, "Gonna get you!" but I was staring lost into the face reflected in the water. A curiously feminine face, flowing blond hair that drifted in front of ‘my?’ face and I moved my hand to brush it back to my ear, seeing the hand in the water duplicate the motion. Until a look of concern crossed the face of my reflection and out came two hands from the water and took a hold of me. She pulled herself up and me down with the same motion. Our lips brushed, and then I was falling as something large thundered across the dock above, rolled and splashed into the water nearby.
Next: Mermaid Kisses 1.3
Note: This post was resurrected from my old site. It may not be the one that showed up on the site. The date of publication here is from when it was added to this site.