“When I walked home, I noticed that there were advertisements everywhere, but that was not the only thing that was strange. For the first time ever, I realized I couldn’t read any of them right. The words had shifted into this other language I didn’t understand.”
It was another normal day: the blue sky, the scorching sun burning the faces of the people outside, and the sounds of the kids playing. I went into my bedroom closet to get my phone out of my jacket. But then, I noticed a framed photo I’d never noticed before. To get a closer look, I took the picture and looked carefully at the image. I knew something about the picture was weird, but what?
Maybe it’s just my head messing with me, I thought.
I got my phone from my pocket and looked at the text messages that I had received from my friend, Daniel: What are you doing man? I have been waiting all day for you.
My friends and I were going out in an empty field to play with water balloons. When we got there, we cleared out the place and started to play. Each person had 240 water balloons.
When I walked home, I noticed that there were advertisements everywhere, but that was not the only thing that was strange. For the first time ever, I realized I couldn’t read any of them right. The words had shifted into this other language I didn’t understand. I was creeped out, but didn’t show it. When I reached my house, I saw that my stepfather was home. My stepfather was mean, brutal, and lazy. He was the rather lazy and selfish type, and he had no manners.
”Go get me a coke from the fridge,” he yelled.
I took the coke from the fridge and gave it to my stepfather. Then, I went to my room. I looked at the strange picture. I stared and stared until…
“My real father!!!” I shouted.
When my mom came home, I was mad at her.
“Why didn’t you tell me before?” I said angrily.
“Tell you what?” she said.
“About my real father!!!” I shouted. “You haven’t told me this since I was born.”
“I — .” She continued, “He was a very special and unique person.”
“So special, I can’t even know about him?” I yelled.
“I’m sorry, but you are special too. You don’t even know who you are.”
At that moment, I was speechless. I didn’t know what to say.
”Then, why don’t you just tell me?” I said in my calm voice.
“I can’t. You must find out for yourself.”
At that point, I stormed into my room and slammed the door. I was so tired and exhausted from yelling and screaming, I fell fast asleep. When I woke up, I found what I dreamed about strange. It seemed as if it were a memory or vision. I saw my father leave and never come back. I was too upset about the whole thing that had happened yesterday night. I slumped into the bathroom to wash my face and brush my teeth. I splashed water on my face, brushed my teeth, and headed to the kitchen. I got a bowl and cereal, and ate my food. I felt awful for screaming at his mother.
“Wait,” I said. “Mom, I’m sorry about yesterday. I just wasn’t myself.”
“It’s okay,” she said. “You were right.” She walked out of the door.
Miles, my other friend, texted: Hey, what are you doing right now?
Not in the mood right now. Text you later.
I lay on my bed thinking about the whole situation. Am I so special she can’t tell me who I am? Who am I? Why can’t she tell me who my father is? I always thought I was another normal, ordinary kid. I thought I was normal. Not this weird, super-powered freak.
I just want to be a normal kid. I’d rather be normal than this unordinary person. I want to be me. Man, I hate my life, I thought. Nothing ever goes my way. My terrible stepfather, my poor family, and now, I have to put up with powers. Accept me for me, not that my life is perfect. My life is already terrible, I don’t want it to get even worse by changing even more.
After a little nap, I felt better. I went outside and walked down the block to where my friends were playing.
“What happened?” asked Miles.
”I’d rather not talk about it,” I said. “What are you guys playing?”
“Oh, we’re playing zombie tag,” answered Daniel. “How are you feeling?”
“Fine,” I lied. We played and played for hours until it was time to go home. I said bye to all of my friends and headed home. When I went home, my mom was waiting for me.
“Jack, there is something I need to tell you.”
I sat down. “Is this about me and my real dad?”
“Yes. I should have told you this a long time ago. You were born like your father who was
a merman. You can breathe underwater like him. I couldn’t tell anyone. I thought they would take him away from me. I know you should have known a long time ago, but I was scared for you to face the truth.”
I was so angry. Why do all the bad things happen to me? I just want to be another normal kid, but what do I get? Fins, a tail, and scales. I can’t believe it. Why did I have to be a merman. I just want to be ordinary, but now, it seems I have to be the opposite. I hate my life. I can’t wait for all of this to end.
The next day, I went to the pool to swim. I love swimmIng, and I am really good at it. The water made me feel calm. It was a place where I can actually think in peace. The water always made me feel peaceful and calm, the one place where I could put all my worries away. I got in the cool water and relaxed.
“Finally, peace,” I said. I lay down in the pool for 15 minutes.
“It’s as if I can breathe in water, or can I?!” I took a deep breath just in case and let it all out in the water. “I can breathe in water!!!”
“This is actually pretty cool,” I said. “Wow, I can also talk in water. This whole mermaid thing isn’t so bad anymore. Man, I wonder where my dad is right now?”
I sat for half an hour now, thinkIng about my real father. When I got out of the pool, I saw Miles and Daniel, and I said, “Hey.”
“What’s up wIth you, man. You are more stubborn than usual, and you don’t talk much.”
“Sorry, I have been upset because of my real dad.”
“Well, tell us when you feel like playing. We will be down the block playing.”
“Okay,” I said. I went to the bathroom to take a shower. I put my clothes on, and watched TV. I looked at my phone, picked it up, headed out, and walked down the block to my friends. They were playing tag at the park.
“Hi,” I said to my friends.
“Hey,” they said back.
I joined my friends in tag. We played for a couple of hours. The next thing I knew, it was six o’clock. I went home before my stepfather noticed. When I tried to creep upstairs, he noticed me.
“Where have you been?” he asked.
I said: “I’ve been out wIth my friends.”
“Daniel and Miles.” I crept back upstairs and waited in my bed ‘til my mom came home. I told her about my day and asked her to tell a story about my real father.
“He was a good person,” she saId, “Very loyal and brave. When people found out about him, they took him away, and they tried to see how he worked.”
“That’s awful!” I said.
“I know,” she said, “I never saw him again. I don’t even know if he’s still alive.”
When my mom was done telling the story, I went to sleep. I was sad that I never got to see hIm. “What if I could find him?” I asked myself. “All my problems would go away. No rude stepfather. I’ll just have a normal life.”
I woke up the next day, energized and peaceful. I went to the bathroom to wash my face. I saId bye to my mom and headed out to play with my friends. I felt better than usual, energized and healthy. I always hung out wIth my friends. We would play tag or play with water balloons, but tomorrow, I would go hiking wIth my mom in the forest.
The next day, we packed everythIng we needed for the trip. When we got there, we made our tents and hiked through the forest. At night, we made s’mores and went to sleep. The next day, I saw somethIng strange.
There was a sign. It shifted into other words, words I could read. It said: To find your father, follow the river and look for another sign. Then, turn left, then right.
“Mom, I’ll be gone for a while. I will come before dinner.”
“Okay,” she said.
I followed the path. It was hard because it was rocky and rough. I stopped when I saw another sign: Beware, it said. I went left, then right. Then, I saw a lake full of water. There was a sign that said to go inside the lake, so I did just that. Before I knew it, I grew a tail and scaley skin. I swam farther down to find another merman.
“Return the legendary pearls, and you wIll see your father again.”
“What did you do to my father?!!!” I yelled.
“He’s right here, and if you want to see him again, you wIll return the legendary pearls.”
“What pearls? I don’t have them.”
“You can’t fool me, child. The pearls have gone missing, and you took them.”
“I don’t know anything about pearls. I just found out who I really am.”
“Look, child. We could do this the easy way or the hard way.”
“I don’t have them!” I yelled.
“If you give me the pearls, I will give you your father.”
“I don’t have them!” I yelled. I swam back up to shore, but the other merman pulled me down.
“What’s your problem, man?” I said. “I don’t have them!”
“Give them to me!”
I was so frustrated that he didn’t believe me, I pushed him down, and swam up to the surface. As soon as I came up to the surface, my tail shifted into normal legs, and my scaly skin turned smooth. I thought about everything the other merman said. I was frustrated because people thought I was a thief.
I have to go back in there, I thought. I jumped inside the water. My tail and my fins grew back. I swam all the way down to the bottom of the lake. It was empty. I needed to find the pearls. I read the sign, and it shifted into different words.
It said, To find the pearls, turn left, then turn right, and run to the nearest river.
I turned left, and then, I turned right. I searched around to fInd a river. When I found one, I jumped inside and swam all the way to the bottom. I saw another merman wIth things that looked like pearls.
“What are those?” I asked.
He turned around and looked at me like he never saw me before. He yelled, “You just fell into my trap!” He gave me the legendary pearls and yelled, “Hey look, everybody, he’s come back with the pearls!”
“I knew he took them!” somebody else yelled.
“I didn’t take them!” I saId. “This guy threw them to me!” I pointed at the guy.
“Who would believe you now?” said the person who gave me the pearls.
These pearls could show what happened in the past, present, and the future. I set the pearls to show the past.
All of a sudden, a video expanded for everybody to see.
“You just fell into my trap!” It played back and showed how the other merman passed me the pearls and shouted to everybody that I was a thief. They all looked at him and stood in shock.
“He’s the thief,” somebody shouted, “get him!” They all chased the guy who gave me the pearls. The merman from earlier apologized for accusing me of stealing the pearls.
”I think there is someone waiting to see you,” he said.
Another merman suddenly appeared right in front of me. “Is this my father?” I yelled.
“Indeed, I am,” saId the merman.
“I can’t believe it’s really you!” I yelled. “My mom has missed you so much.”
We swam back to shore. It was almost nighttime, so I had to hurry up. We walked back to our tent. I told mom that there was someone waiting to see her. She turned around. She didn’t know him at first, but then she gasped in sudden shock.
“Is it really you?” she asked.
“Yes, it is,” he said.
She said, “I can’t believe you’re really here!” They hugged for about two minutes. “Thank you, Jack. I could have never done it by myself.”
Meanwhile, my stepfather had heard we got lost in the woods and only tried to find us because of the money he could get.
I can use the money to leave this place, he had thought.
Like I said, he was a very greedy person. Fortunately, he got lost instead. When we heard he got lost, we were not surprised he had come back.
“Should we help him,” I said.
“No, I think he deserved it.”
I finally realized that this is who I am, and I need to accept myself.
Everybody hugged and lived happily ever after.