Barry Charman

Brilliant short story

Writers Against Prejudice

The Mermaid

The girl they found in the sea was a stranger.

They pulled her onto the beach and marvelled at her strange clothes. A little boy, who was more heart-broken than scared, asked if she were a mermaid. A man, more scared than heartless, laughed emptily.

The small group that had gathered looked out to the sea, wondering how many more cloth-swaddled limp-limbed people there were, drifting their way.

There was a sadness to it all that was offensive to some.

“Throw her back,” Sam Murdock said.

Inconveniently for him, she was still alive.

A woman turned the girl on her side and rubbed her back. Her voice was a murmur as constant as the sigh of the sea.

“It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright.”

Some wanted to take her to the village, care for her, look after her until she was better.

Aggie Dawes was livid. “How long…

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