Goodmorning Mr. Archer. How are you feeling?
“It’s Archy. Where am I?” He said, rubbing his eyes.
“You're in the hospital. We just conducted surgery on your right leg, you should feel like yourself within a couple of days. Is there anybody I can call for you?”
“Who are you? How did I get here? Tell me!”
“Sir, I am going to need you to relax. I am a nurse, my name is Percula and I have a degree in psychology. I am going to help you on your path to recovery. Can you tell me what you remember from last night?”
“No, I don’t know anything! Let me go, please! I don’t need any more rest! Why can’t I move my legs!”
Beep Beep Beep Beep Beep
“DOCTORS!” Percula screamed.
The rest of the night was a blur, but he would still be able to make it through the night. The next morning, a rhythm of beeps filled the room at a stable pace.
“Hi Archy, I am sorry for stressing you out. I shouldn’t have made you talk so early after surgery.” Percula said apologetically.
Archy ignored her and anxiously typed on his phone.
“Is everything alright?”
Archy threw his phone at the wall letting it shatter. Pieces of glass spread across the floor.
“No, everything is not alright. I was supposed to go to my daughter’s wedding. Now she won’t pick up any of my calls, or respond to any of my texts.”
“Well given the situation, I am sure she will understand,” Percula replied.
He stared down at the floor, a tear rolling down his eye.
“Should we have a look at your leg?”
“No, I just want to go home. I’m sure you did fine.”
“Sir, I am a nurse. I didn’t fix your leg.”
“That’s a shame.” He said.
“Would you like to know what happened?” She offered.
“No, I am going to go see if I can find my daughter. Thank you for everything.”
He got up and grabbed his crutches, and left the double doors to the hospital.
Archy went to the beach and slid his body in the cold, salty water. He dove under and came back up with the moonlight reflecting on his face. His muscular arms looked like he would be able to carry two boulders. The ocean sparkled, and a girl rose from the bottom to meet him.
“Who are you?” Archy said.
“The name's Tira, the Sea Goddess! Listen here, you belong to the sea now. You’re one of us!”
“Did you do this to me? Did you fracture my leg?” He inquired.
“You will grasp the truth when the time is right. This is only a dream, Archy. Wake up.”
“Tira, why would I wake up when I have nobody. There isn’t anyone that wants me in this world. My daughter hates me, my parents are dead, who do you want me to turn to?”
The goddess pointed to the dry sand, where Percula stood.
“My nurse? Why would I turn to her?” He questioned.
When he looked back at Tira, she was gone. Finally, he opened his eyes and scratched his head. This made him question whether this was a dream, or if he was seeing things. He uncovered his blanket to get another glance at his leg, but it looked the same as before. He got ahold of his phone to call his daughter once more, but the same voicemail would play. He sat there hopelessly and depressed. He didn’t know what to do. Suddenly he lost control of himself and just began to cry. He cried until he was able to fall asleep once more.
The next morning, someone was knocking on Archy’s door. Being cautious of his leg, he put on a long pair of jeans that were so long it covered his feet. He took a deep breath, then opened the door. It was Percula. Without a response, he shut the door on her face.
“Leave me alone,” Archy said.
“Mr. Archer, Please.” She said.
“For the last time, It’s Archy!”
“Can we please go for a cup of coffee? There is something I need to talk to you about!”
He opened the door and crossed his arms frustrated. She attempted to latch on to his arm and drag him to her car, but he was twice her size.
“Talk.” He said.
“No, please grab your crutches, and let’s go.”
Finally, he obeyed her orders and sat face to face at the coffee shop.
“What did you want to talk to me about?” He said impatiently.
“Let’s not jump right into that, okay? Aren’t you getting hot in those jeans, it’s summer and you’re wearing jeans longer than your feet, are you even wearing shoes?”
“No, I’m not wearing shoes. And I am trying to cover my leg.”
“It’s just a bandage!”
“It should have been just a bandage!” Now can we talk about something else please?”
Suddenly the waiter came to our table and grabbed his pen from the side of his shirt.
“What can I get you guys?”
“I’m really in the mood for some seafood! Do you have shrimp?”
“IDIOT! THIS IS A COFFEE SHOP! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? WHY ARE YOU ASKING FOR SEAFOOD! IS THAT SOME KIND OF JOKE?” Archy shouted.
“Please Archy! You’re making a scene!” Percula said.
“WE ARE DONE TALKING! WERE YOU AT THE BEACH LAST NIGHT OR NOT!”
“WHY WOULD I BE AT THE BEACH!” Percula shouted back.
Archy was breathing heavily, and he violently grabbed his crutches and got out of the coffee shop as quick as he was able to. However, when he opened the door, he fell face-first on the pavement.
Percula helped him up and placed him in a wheelchair that she got from the trunk of her car. She ran to her first aid kit and took out some napkins to stop the bleeding in his nose.
“Archy I know you don’t want to hear this right now, but before you get any crazier, I need to confess something to you!” Percula demanded.
“I saw someone at the beach last night, I saw a sea goddess. I saw you. I saw you standing on the sand.”
“No, you didn’t see me, Archy. But I heard things about the sea goddess. She is just a fantasy creature, she isn’t real.”
“You know nothing about the sea. Now leave me alone, that’s all I ask of you.”
Archy called a taxi home, but Percula felt the urge to follow after him. When they reached the doorstep he turned to her and stared into her eyes.
“Stop trying to care about me. You are not one of us. Be thankful you get to walk.”
“Archy, listen. I care about you. Please, give me a chance.”
Archy put one hand on hers, the other on his wheelchair, and wheeled himself in the house. He laid her on the bed and climbed on top of her. Without thinking, he pressed his lips against hers and held down her arms. She didn’t resist, and when he let go of her arms she ran her hands through his hair. Suddenly, he pulled back.
“I’m sorry, I can’t do this.” He said.
He wheeled to the beach and looked out at the water. She walked behind him.
“Please help me in the ocean.”
She pulled one of his arms over her and used all the strength in her body to walk him to the water.
“What happened in the operating room that night.”
He pulled the leg of his jeans up to his knee, revealing a fish-like structure. Percula gasped.
“That’s why you were going in the water?” Percula asked.
“I am one of them.” He explained.
Percula stayed on the sand and stared at him, her eyes watering.
“Archy, your daughter is dead. I was trying to tell you in the hospital, and in the coffee shop, but you kept running away from me. She drowned, and you tried to save her, But she didn’t know how to swim. You were at the wedding, the wedding was at this very beach. Her husband was encouraging her to swim, but you knew she couldn’t swim. When her friend told you about it, it was too late. You ran into the water and did your best, but her husband kept telling you to stop. He thought she would be able to learn without help.”
“So you turned me into a fish?” He asked.
The Sea Goddess rose from the bottom once more and looked at Archy.
“They didn’t turn you into a fish. I did. Your leg was the meal of a shark. Hi Percula.”
Percula slid in the water and wrapped her arms around Archy.
“I want to be one of them too,” Percula said.
“I can make that happen, but it’s up to Archy,” Tira said.
He looked into her eyes and wondered if this would be able to change his life.
“I want this to be my path to recovery, I know this is what my daughter would have wanted. Count this as my wedding, but before you do I have a question for Percula. Why did you keep calling me Archer?”
“It’s a fish, idiot.” She laughed.
“Very well, Percula you are now one of them.”
She snapped her fingers and Percula had a matching fish-like leg. They dived in the dark ocean and swam the night away.