Past the Maroon Rock
“To reach for the stars, one must
persevere, even when times seem hard.”
She walked slowly, and unsteadily to the bank
of the ocean, her forearm crutches kept her body
She looked into the water, and saw her
reflection. It was that of a young, fragile, little
girl of about age twelve. She touched her pale skin,
and ran her fingers through her long, red curls.
The little girl looked out to the water and
said, “It’s a good day for swimming.”
The girl removed her clothing down to her
undergarments, she threw her life jacket to the side
of the beach and she then, removed her forearm
crutches one- by- one.
The girl slowly sat down into the water and
swam hesitantly away from shore.
She looked around and took in her
surroundings, so she would not get lost swimming.
She slowly came closer to a maroon colored
rock in the clear green water.
The breeze was soft, and the sun beat down on
her, as she swam over an orange coral reef.
The reef added an abstract beauty to the
magnificence of the ocean water.
Daddy is going to be mad at me if I go out
any further. But, I really want to swim.
But I really want to see how far I can
swim without my legs hurting. She thought to
as she passed the maroon rock, her father
always told her not to swim past.
Her legs began to throb and hurt, as she swam
into the deeper water.
She ignored the discomfort in her legs.
She performed front stroke, since it was the
easiest with her condition.
She kicked her feeble, underdeveloped legs
until the pain was unbearable.
Suddenly, her legs stopped working.
“What is going on?”
She tried to move her legs, but for some
reason, they would not work.
She looked down and her legs began to swell
to a light purple color.
She waved her arms, and flopped around, in
the water, like a fish on the shore, until finally
she began to sink.
Is this the end? She thought.
Her throat tightened from the lack of air.
She sunk around ten feet, when a soft, cold hand
touched her side.
The little girl’s eyes closed, but for some
reason she was being pushed up, rather than sinking
to the bottom.
When she reached the surface, the little girl
gasped for air and realized she was in the arms of
She looked at her rescuer and seen that her
savior was a woman!
“Are you okay?” The lady asked her.
“I feel a bit woozy. Thank you for saving
“What is your name, little angel?” The woman
said, still holding onto the little girl
“Aurora. My legs won’t move. I can’t swim
“It’s okay. You don’t need to.” The woman
She then showed that she was no ordinary
woman, but she had a tail, and fins.
The woman flipped her tail up out of the
The little girl looked at the tail, not
really realizing what it was at first, but then,
Aurora gasped then fainted.
Immediately with Aurora’s safety in mind, the
mermaid began to swim for shore.
Once they reached shore, the mermaid pushed
Aurora’s body up onto land.
The mermaid then pulled herself onto the
shore, suddenly, the mermaid’s tail began to melt
The pain shot through her body, as her tail
begun to split in two.
The mermaid’s scales started to melt off her
lower body and her fins disintegrated.
She rubbed handfuls of sand on her lower body
to help ease the pain.
The cold temperature of the sand helped with
the burning sensation in her tail.
The mermaid bit her lip in agony so she would
She balled her hands into fists and tightened
them to help, mentally with the process.
Finally, an extremely severe pain shot up her
body, and then, her tail was gone.
What remained were two human legs.
Seaweed fell from her legs as she made an
attempt to move them.
The mermaid slowly gained mobility in her
legs as the stinging completely ceased.
She crawled over to Aurora’s side, once she
recovered from the excruciating experience.
The mermaid looked for any visible injuries
on the little girl.
She looked to her left and seen two tarps and
covered her own naked body and the body of Aurora,
with the intent of keeping her warm.
She looked at Aurora’s face, with worried
eyes and put her ear to the chest cavity of Aurora.
Thank goodness you’re breathing. I hope
someone comes here soon!
Then, out in the distance, two men headed
towards her on the beach.
The mermaid ran into the water and
disappeared amongst the waves.
The two men saw the little girl and were
“That is ol’ man Joseph’s little girl. Call
an ambulance!” one of the fishermen said to the
The paramedics were called and they took her
to the hospital just across town; her father was
He immediately headed to the hospital and
made his way to Aurora’s room.
“Is she going to be okay?” Joseph asked of
the nurse, who was at Aurora’s bedside.
“She should be. It will be alright. Just stay
here with her.”
Joseph took the unconscious Aurora’s hand in
his, and waited at her bedside.
Hours passed, and Aurora did not wake up.
The medical team and her father began to
worry, because all of her vitals were normal, but
the swelling in her legs did not dissipate.
Then, she began to stir.
“Where am I?” She wondered
“Honey, are you alright?” Joseph asked, as he
held her hand to his left cheek, relieved.
“I feel a bit dizzy, is all.” She replied.
The nurse walked in carrying a clipboard. She
overheard the conversation and saw that Aurora was
“Aurora, you are in the hospital. You were in
an accident. Your illness caused your legs to lock
up when you were swimming in the ocean. Since your
legs are only partially paralyzed, you still have
movement in them, but try to take it easy from now,
on. Okay?” The nurse said.
“I understand.Will I still be able to swim?
Has it gotten any worse?” Aurora asked.
“We’re not one-hundred percent sure of what
the outcome is going to be. Your illness is a
mysterious one, and we cannot characterize it as of
yet. For now, just take this one day at a time, as
we work to figure out what exactly you suffer from.
For now, I would recommend ” The nurse replied.
“When will we know what her illness is?”
“The doctors are deciding on some treatment
and therapy based off of her symptoms. We have never
seen a case like hers. Your wife also had this
disease too, right?” the nurse asked
“Yes. She died in childbirth. Her heart gave
“We promise to do the best we can to help
Aurora. It will take some time though. This is an
odd case and these things take time.”
Joseph looked at Aurora with his dark brown,
“Thank you.” He replied to the nurse.
“Where…is the mermaid?” Aurora asked.
“What mermaid? Maybe I should turn down your
medication.” The nurse said a bit worried.
“I know there’s a mermaid! I saw her! She
rescued me. Please, you’ve got to believe me.”
“Aurora, there are no such things as
mermaids.” Joseph said, as he gave her a confused
“Get some rest dear,” the nurse said.
“But, I know she exists!” Aurora stated, as
she shook her arms in the air.
“Aurora, get some sleep, honey,” Joseph said,
as he rubbed her head.
Aurora stopped and closed her eyes.
Why can’t they just believe me?
Hours went by and Aurora was left wondering
about what happened to the mermaid.
I know she is real. I just know it. Why
else would I have ended up here, when my legs gave
The hospital ended up releasing Aurora, when
the swelling finally dissipated. While Aurora was at
school, Joseph walked along the beach and gazed at
How can something so beautiful, be so
He made his way over to the dock and looked
at the orange coral reef, which glistened underneath
the waves. His eyes met with a turtle’s eyes and a
sad smile overcame him.
I just want her to be safe.
Joseph closed his eyes as he felt the warm
sun on his skin and the soft breeze which blew
through his tussled, brown hair.
Joseph opened his eyes and looked down.
This can’t be happening.
His gaze met with that of the mermaids. She
looked at him, in an inquisitive way.
“You’re Aurora’s father?”
“Is she alright?”
“Yes she is fine. I must be dreaming,” He
stated, as he looked away from her.
“You’re not. I saved her. I can protect her,
you know. She loves to swim, she just isn’t strong
enough to manage alone. I can swim with her, to make
sure she is safe.”
“You would do that?”
“Yes. She is very unique. I want to help
“If she has someone to swim with her, I
suppose I wouldn’t have a problem with her
“Good. It’s settled then. I will help Aurora
“As long as she is safe, I don’t mind”
“She will be.”
With that, the mermaid swam off, and Joseph
was left in awe about the event in which just
Aurora looked out her window and gazed at the
sea. She envisioned the mermaid’s soft voice, and
I have got to know!
Aurora made her way into the kitchen, where
her dad sat at the table, sipping on coffee and
reading the paper.
“Daddy, can I go swimming? Please? I promise
I won’t go out as far as I did last time,” Aurora
asked of her father.
“Let me see your legs.” Joseph asked.
Aurora bent over slowly and lifted up her
pants legs to show him her small, feeble legs.
“See, Daddy. They’re not swollen today.”
Aurora said quite hopeful.
“You know I love you, Aurora. I don’t want
anything to happen to you. Please, don’t swim
without your life jacket. It is the only thing
protecting you. Before I let you go swim, I want to
tell you the story about your mother. I know I
haven’t really spoken about her, but I just want you
to know, you are never alone.”
“I know, Daddy.”
“Your mother died when she had you. This
disease weakened her body to the point where she got
very sick before she gave birth. She did not have
enough strength to endure the pain and the trama of
having a baby. That put her body through hell. She
died shortly after you were born. Before she died,
she wanted you to believe that you are beautiful
inside and out, and to never give up on your dreams.
Her dream was to have you. She was willing to
sacrifice everything to bring you into this world.
Please, know you are never alone through this. I
don’t want to lose you, Aurora. You scared me.
Please, don’t ever do that again. You’re all I
A tear rolled down her father’s face and he
hugged Aurora, tightly.
“Thank you, Daddy. I promise, I will obey
your rules. I love you.”
“You were right about her.” Joseph stated.
“Who was I right about, Daddy?”
“You saw her?”
“Yes. Be careful. Go have fun.”
Aurora nodded and pulled her pant leg down.
Aurora made her way for the shore; she used
her forearm crutches to help sturdy herself. The
bulky life jacket, which wrapped around her body,
annoyed her. She knew her father would be displeased
if she removed it, so she ignored it. She looked out
at the water and was left speechless.
I hope I can see her again. I think I will
go sit on the dock. At least then I can feel the
breeze on my feet.
Aurora made her way for the dock and she
slowly inched her body down into a sitting position.
She slid her feet over the side of the dock and let
them hang. She set her forearm crutches next to her,
and she closed her eyes while the breeze cooled her
legs. The dock was warm and the sun shined down on
“Hello, little angel,” A voice said.
Aurora opened her dark eyes and looked down
to see the mermaid who looked back at her with ocean
“Did you save me?” Aurora asked.
“Yes. How are your legs?” She asked as she
looked at Aurora’s semi-swollen legs.
“They’re fine.” She said, as she pulled them
away from the mermaid’s sight and looked down in
“You don’t have to be embarrassed; you are
beautiful inside and out, Aurora.”
“How do you know? You’re a fish!” Aurora
“Because I too have a…limitation. I turn into
a human when I am on land, and I turn into a fish
when I am in water. I can never live a normal life
in the sea or on land. We both have limitations, but
it is who we are inside that makes us beautiful,”
The mermaid said as she flipped her fin.
“You’re so grown up and beautiful with your
long blonde hair and bright blue eyes. I am ugly. I
will never be able to accomplish anything
with this broken body!”
“Aurora, you can accomplish anything you set
your mind to. If you want to swim, you will improve.
Your beauty is in your perseverance. You can only
reach for the stars if you try.”
“I can’t even walk. How can I expect to do
anything if I can’t walk?”
“Just keep swimming. Your legs will become
stronger, and you will too.”
“Alright…teach me how to swim…without
“My pleasure,” the mermaid stated, as she
pulled Aurora into the water slowly.
“Perseverance creates a new kind of