Chapter 14: Lilly Taken

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Hailie's head was spinning when she woke up. She sat up slowly and held a hand to her head. Sunlight was coming through a few portholes. It took a few minutes before she felt as if she was awake. She still had the bag in her hand.

Another mermaid dream. It was getting ridiculous. She didn't care about them. They weren't the people she so desperately wanted to see again.

Hailie unbuttoned her shirt to see how the bruises looked. They had started to change colour. She hadn't expected that for another few days. Celeste must be a magician. The spots were still a bit tender and she felt stiff in her entire body, but better than she would have normally felt after getting in a fight.

Her mind went back to what she had seen the evening before. She took out the pearls and the paper from her bag. On the top was the word 'Instructions'. She put everything back in the small bag and took the other out. It was a notebook that her father always kept with him. If she remembered correctly, this is where he got all the information for their stories. He had written it in a code that only he and his children knew. It got Mother angry that he had left her out.

She flipped through the pages. There were many drawings of sea creatures that she'd never even heard of, much less seen, and mermaids and mermen swam across the pages. She hadn't taken the book out in... it must have been years since the last time she saw it. She'd always had some sort of pressing matter to attend, not to mention the fact that it took an immense amount of self-control not to destroy it. If it never existed she wouldn't be where she was right now. She would be at the Casa with her family.

Hailie's eyes scanned the runes. She hadn't used this code in a long time. Some of the words were unfamiliar but things were starting to come back to her, albeit very slowly.

She skipped over most of the words looking for some mention of the pearl necklace. Her eyes glazed over. This wasn't working. She needed to wait until she was a little more awake to understand these things. She wanted to go back to sleep.

Hailie tried to remember everything her father had ever told them in his stories. She could hear his voice and see his lips move but the words evaded her.

Maybe she was trying to remember too far back. She had refused to think of those things for too many years. She went back to the day she saw Lance kill her father. It was a scene she'd replayed many times in her mind but she hadn't been paying much attention to what had happened, only the end result.

They had been arguing. Uncle Lance had pulled something from his pocket. He had pushed it at him and she'd just managed to catch a glimpse of it, the pearls. He'd said he'd found one and that he'd taken the pearls from her and gotten the instructions. Her father told him to throw it as far away from him as possible, she would have never given him the real things, and if she did, the instructions would be wrong. Uncle Lance had said something about power and that all he needed were the notes. Her father threw the book at Uncle Lance's face and told him to try to read it.

The door opened. Elli walked in.

"Everyone else is already up. We need to start working on the sail so we can head out by evening. We've been taking too long." He caught sight of the notebook on her lap. She tried to shove it in her bag but he grabbed it from her hand and began flipping through the pages. She reached for it and he held it away from her.

"Give it back," she said.

"Where did you get this?" His eyes were blazing. The middle pearl had started to change colour but she couldn't tell what colour it was supposed to be. "Did you write it or someone else?"

She stood up and tried to take it back from him ignoring the ache she got with every move. "I did not write it. It was given to me. It is mine. Give it back."

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