‘Sea Monkeys’ by Peter Foote | Short Story Winner

Tiny fingers dig into beach sand until foaming sea water fills the hole. Shelby unfolds the envelope she found in the old comic book and sprinkles dried eggs which disappear into seawater.

“Please work,” Shelby says biting her lip.

Peeling apart the envelope, Shelby folds the waxed paper into a lopsided boat. Digging hands into pockets, she places seven jelly beans inside the bobbing craft, the setting sun reflecting off the water.

The morning sun chases Shelby down the beach, her flip-flops slapping the wet sand.

Peering into the pool, Shelby finds a mermaid smaller than her pinkie finger lounging inside the paper boat, iridescent tail hanging over the side. The mermaid cradles a purple jelly bean covered in tiny bite marks, looks up at Shelby and smiles, jelly bean smeared on her face.

“The purple ones are my favourite too,” Shelby says, her grin turning into a sad frown. “I can’t stay, school starts tomorrow.”

Ears drooping, the mermaid balances the jelly bean one-handed and points to the open water.

“You have to go home too?”

With a sad smile, the mermaid nods, tail swirling in the water, scales sparkling.

Kneeling in the wet sand, Shelby digs a channel allowing the incoming tide to connect with the pool. The gentle ocean waves grab the paper boat as it bobs through the breach, her jelly beans around her, the smiling mermaid waves goodbye.

“It was nice meeting you, I hope we met again!” Shelby calls out.

Peter Foote is a Freemason and owner of the FictionFirst Used Bookstore, a bookstore located in Nova Scotia that ships used genre fiction and manuals worldwide. He is from Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia and currently resides in Kings County, Nova Scotia.

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Words © 2018 Peter Foote. Image © 2018 Kit Sora.

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