She woke the next morning in her apartment feeling parched. She’d combed her hair last night after a ritual cleansing shower and confined it in a tail, thinking blearily about dying it. It had been a rich, glossy blue-green, but this morning it was dry and brittle like dried kelp. Her skin itched, and lotion didn’t help. An entire pot of coffee and glasses of water barely quenched her thirst.
She didn’t understand how she could be dehydrated, but maybe the dip in the sea had done more harm than she realized. As soon as she thought about it, she craved salt water.
Groaning, she sank into a chair at her table and ran a hand over her dry hair. All morning she’d yearned for something, a craving she didn’t want to acknowledge. Those witches, or whatever they were, had done more than drown her. They’d changed her somehow, and now she longed for the sea like an addict craved gin. She wanted to swill it, swim in it, and it hurt.
She paced. Her skin felt too tight, and her bones ached. The last thing she wanted was to go back to the scene of her attempted murder. She had some Epsom salts; maybe that would be enough. Seizing on the idea, she hurried to the bathroom and dumped half a bag in the bathwater.
It helped. It didn't feel quite right, the balance of salt and water seemed to be lacking something, some kind of mineral perhaps. Closing her eyes, she tried to think what to do. She didn't dare go to the doctor and be treated like a freak. Same with the police; they would think she was on crack. She wasn't possessed, so priest was out, and as far as she knew the X-Men were fictional. Maybe there were mermaids after all, but it's not like they were the Yellow Pages. She felt her body settled heavily on the bottom of the tub and opened her eyes with a frown. They widened as she realized her body had absorbed all the salt water, leaving a bone dry tub. With that much water in her system her skin should have looked plump, you bloated, but it was only slightly less withered then when she got in.She frantically turned on the tap and added the rest of the salt to the water, but she knew in her heart it wouldn’t be enough. She was going to have to return to the sea.