The Water Horses and the Mermaid

By Megan Wilcox

“Be careful!” Mom calls as I race away. “Please don’t go too deep!”

“I know!” I toss over my shoulder, not even looking back. The ocean is calling, roaring my name with each crash of the sparkling waves. They glimmer like my brand-new nail polish, like the butterfly earrings dangling from my freshly pierced ear. Even the sand under my feet feels new—though I’ve run to these waves hundreds of times before. However, I have never before run into the water by myself.

“Mom, I take swim lessons now. I can swim really good!” I had maturely reasoned with her earlier that morning.

“I know, Meg, but I still think Dad has to go in with you. It’s deeper than you think.”

“Katie, I think she’s fine.” Grandma comes to the rescue. “She’s been swimming like a fish out there all week.”

Grandma’s opinion had convinced Mom to finally let me swim without Dad’s supervision, and now the ocean lies before me, an undiscovered universe waiting for me to dive in.

Seashells scrape the bottom of my feet as my shadow darts across the sand. I stop just as I reach the ocean’s edge, the white foam of the waves tickling my toes as I look out over the water. My heart begins to race as beautiful white stallions charge towards me, crashing over the waves. Their long manes soar over the water—

Is that a unicorn? I think to myself, sea-blue eyes blown wide despite the glaring sun. These wave horses must be unicorns! What other creatures could sparkle so brightly? Or leap over waves so gracefully, so weightlessly?

I slowly wade into the water towards the white unicorns. When I’m up to my knees, I pause. The unicorns spit sea spray into the wind and onto my cheeks. The wind carries their whispers to me, and they are undoubtedly uttering my name. They call to me, the water pulling at my legs, begging me to ride the waves with the beautiful ocean steeds. I take another step, the water brushing my stomach.

Beyond the white stallions, where the water is a sapphire blue, I see a flash in the corner of my eye. Between the sunlight glares on the waves is a deep green shadow peeking in and out of the surf. My heart stops. I squint and see a long emerald fin. It flicks aqua crystals behind it as it dives back under the swell, and I stand speechless, staring at the spot where it disappeared.

I have just seen a mermaid.

Though it was only above water for a second, I know it was a mermaid. What other ocean creature has such a long, graceful, shimmering tail? Come to think of it, I’m almost certain I saw a long blonde braid — and an arm, too. It must have been.

Once my heart starts beating again, I sprinted back up to Mom’s beach towel, my thoughts racing. First unicorns, now a mermaid? I wonder if it means I have special powers, that

I was the only one that could see her? I think she might’ve been waving at me…


“What, honey? Are you alright?”

“Mom,” I gasp. “I just saw a real life mermaid.”

“Really?” Her eyes widen; I know I’ve impressed her. “Maybe you’ll see her again

tomorrow when we come back! You can show me.”

I grin. Silly Mom. Spotting a mermaid isn’t that easy. She’s probably already back in

Atlantis, the golden city of the merpeople. Maybe next time I see her she’ll take me with.…

Megan is an acting major about to move to NYC. While at Syracuse she’s been involved with the Honors Program, Buddhist Meditation Association, and vocal jazz ensembles. She also loves yoga, reading, and photography.