The story of the mermaid bothered Craig the most. It did not mean anything, not really, but now this children's tale was imbued with strange significance. He thought about the woman on the bike path. Was she a redhead? It had been too dark to tell. Strange. Both he and his son had encountered a mysterious female before the Sea King Festival.
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Elle wakes to a merciful dusk. She walks away from the pond, sticking to the well-worn path, and only when her senses tell her it is safe, does she leave it. The important thing is to be as quiet as possible. She must erase herself until she becomes part of the forest. Every once in a while she stands still, holding her breath so that she can really listen. She uses her nose, which has become even more important than her eyes. Her whiskers have a life of their own. She is so hungry it hurts.
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You didn’t have to be married. You didn’t always end up with a baby. You didn’t have to be a certain age. You almost always got into some kind of trouble. Girls disappeared to have their babies elsewhere. Girls made their babies disappear. Kids who took things too far sometimes became famous for it.