Jill laughed and broke free from Pete, climbing out of the old building and running off down the sheep track into the dark of the evening. There was a full moon, leaving their clothes behind on the old blanket from his car, Pete chased after Jill’s ghost-like body as she ran. Pete knew exactly where she was going. He sometimes called her his mermaid because they’d met at the local baths early one morning, both there swimming before heading off to work. One of the few things Pete knew about her was her love of water.
Almost at the same moment, he heard the splash from the river and Jill’s yell of surprise. It didn’t seem to matter to her how often she jumped into water; she was always surprised by the temperature of it. Even in the swimming pool she gasped as she entered its heated waters.
Pete paused to pull off his underwear on the bank, ready to dive in after her.
The scream came just as he had steeled himself for the shock of the cold water.
‘Jill! What’s happened?’ Pete yelled, searching the rough water for a sight of her, but there was nothing there, only the swollen river, tumbling over itself from the heavy rain of the last few weeks out in its middle. Here at the calm edges, though, where he expected to see Jill he could see nothing.
It looked like dirty foam, as though someone had emptied a massive bubble bath container into the river. As Pete, wondering what the foam was, edged closer to it, he noticed the movement of the foam. At first, he’d assumed the undulations he could see in the foam were caused by the ripples in the river water. Now, he could see it wasn’t that at all….
The foam seemed to be breathing.
Just then he saw Jill, her naked body rising from the water like some creature from mythology. Pete sighed in relief, reaching out his hand to help her from the water.
As he reached towards her, he noticed the strange foam spreading up her legs from the water, the reverse of how the foam should have dripped off her as she rose.
She reached out… took Pete’s hand in a grip far stronger than she’d ever had before, even in the heat of passion. It was then Pete noticed her eyes and the strange undulating light behind them… then he stopped noticing everything as she dragged him back down into the breathing foam.