Day 4

“Your mom does make the best mashed potatoes,” Alastair said, even though he secretly believed his father’s mashed potatoes were superior. His father used to own his very own restaurant and made only the best dishes. Alastair’s father had to give up his restaurant like Lila had to give up her two friends in order to fulfill his wife’s wishes, but unlike their children, he was quite alright with taking a break from normality. Alastair cleared away those thoughts and turned to Gabbie.

“I don’t really want to talk about potatoes. What I wanted to say was thank you for being my friend,” and then in a bit of a fluster, “and Lila’s. Friend, that is.”

“Why wouldn’t I? You guys are fun! You also took me to a mermaid waterfall.”

“Minus the mermaid,” Ginger called from her resting spot.

“Wait, I think I see something,” Gabbie gasped.

“Don’t mess was us, Gab,” Zane muttered as he sketched.

“I’m not messing with you guys,” Gabbie whined. She pointed at a spot directly in the middle of the lake. “There was a fin right there.”

“It was probably a fish,” Lila sighed.

“It wasn’t! The fin was purple. What fish is naturally purple?” Gabbie waved her hands, attempting to gather everyone around her. Alastair huddled closer to Gabbie, attempting to humor his friend. Lila rolled off of her rock. Ginger furiously scratched at her head and then walked over. Zane set down his sketchbook and completed the group. Alastair focused on the indicated spot where the purple fin was foretold to appear, but all he saw were the children’s reflections. Two boys—the taller of the two with light brown skin and soft, curly black hair, the shorter with Asian features and a natural questioning expressing. Three girls—the youngest with long, wavy black hair and tea colored skin, the other two sharing the same features of shocking auburn hair (one short and the other long,) freckles, and long noses.

“I don’t see anything,” said Ginger.

“Shh, don’t scare it off,” whispered Gabbie.

The group stared, their breath held deep within their chests. And then, a ripple brushed against the surface of water as if someone had skimmed their finger along the water’s edge. Lila and Zane leaned over, their attention at last gained. Ginger frowned, still skeptical. Alastair, despite his best reasonings, couldn’t help but hope that a purple tail fin would cut the waters apart.

“Chirp! Chirp, chirp, chirp!” Came a ruckus from behind.

Ginger jumped, grabbing Gabbie by the collar of her shirt. In response, Gabbie flung out her hands and latched onto Alastair. With a squeak, Lila threw her arms around her brother’s middle in a vain attempt to save him from his fate. Zane laughed as all four children fell into the lake.

“Stupid squirrels!” Ginger snapped as she drug herself out of the shallow water. Gabbie giggled, staring down at her soaked t-shirt and blue jeans. “Oh, you laugh now, Gabbie, but wait until Dad finds out. He just bought that shirt for you.”

“It’s just water!” Gabbie snorted.

“Ugh! I hate being wet!” Lila spluttered. She indeed hate being wet. The rain was her personal enemy.

“Alright. How about we trek back, then.” Alastair stepped out of the lake, checking to see if the silver watch his father gave him was still functioning. He couldn’t help but sigh in relief when he saw the watch’s hands eagerly pluck away at the tiny printed numbers. “We have about five minutes to get back.”

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