“Please Mom! I know I forgot, but I’m nearly eleven! I am just as responsible as you. Mom, if you won’t let me go, I will cry until I can’t anymore. Oh, what will Saskia think when I don’t show up? Oh Mom!”
“That is enough Luna. You can phone Saskia and tell her everything. Now stop groaning and head over to the phone.”
Luna June reluctantly walked over to the phone the phone and dialled a number. The phone rang for awhile then a voice said.
“Hello. Grey Residence.”
“Hi Mrs Grey. Can I speak to Saskia please?” Luna said.
“One moment please.” Mrs Grey said. Luna guessed she had covered the phone so that she couldn’t hear her but, she could hear Mrs Grey calling Saskia’s name. A moment later, a joyful, sweet voice rang into the phone.
“Hi Lu,” Saskia said, “What’s up? Are you excited for the sleepover tonight? If your ringing to ask if we’ll have treats, don’t worry, Dad bought louds of chips, pizza, ice-cream, sweets, popcorn and a lot of cool drinks! It’s sad that Emily and Tanya couldn’t come, but...”
Luna cut in before Saskia could finish.
“I can’t come!” She said. She heard the gasp at the other end.
“But, Luna, we’ve been planning this for ages.”
“I know but I forgot to lock up again when I left for music practice yesterday. Mom’s favourite pearl necklace is gone. She is so mad she looks like a bull when he sees red.”
That made Saskia laugh.
“I am so sorry Sas! But this isn’t the first time and Mom won’t let me off so easily. Please don’t be mad!” Luna said.
“Oh Lu! I should have known forgetful Luna would do something like this! Don’t worry! I am sure we could arrange it for another time… Oh wait, just hold on…”
“Sorry Luna. Dad just said that the food delivery was delayed. Guess what! My mom said we could have the sleepover next Friday? Then maybe Emily and Tanya could come too. How about you ask your mom and I’ll ask Emily and Tanya.”
“Yes! Great idea Saskia!”
Then Luna went to ask her mom. Ten minutes later Saskia and Luna were back.
“Saskia! My Mom said I could come if I do all my punishments! Isn’t it awesome?”
“Yes! Emily can come but Tanya can’t. I asked Chrissie instead.”
“Yay! It will be so fun! You, Emily, Chrissie and me hanging out, watching movies eating treats and having fun! I can’t wait!”
“I know! Well see you next Friday!”
Luna left the phone feeling happy and bubbling with excitement.
As she walked into the kitchen, she frowned as she saw her mom.
“Yes Luna. You will start tomorrow.”
“This is your punishment. Now eat something. You look hungry.”
Luna nodded and dished up some soup that her mom had made. As she cut and buttered some homemade bread, her thoughts kept wandering back to her punishments.
“Please Mom. I will do anything but that! Please!”
Luna groaned again and ate her lunch. As she started for her room, her mother pointed to the sink and cleared her throat. Before Luna could complain, Luna’s mom said…
“This has happened twice so you will have two punishments. You already know them.”
Luna sighed, thankful that there was only a small number of dishes when her mom dropped the big news.
“You will do the dishes for a week.”
She put up her hand as a signal that it was useless to complain. Luna just reluctantly walked over to the sink and started washing dishes. Then she hopped on her bed and groaned once more.
“Dishes for a week and beach duty. Oh dear. What have I gotten myself into?”
Now you probably don’t know about the beach duty punishment, as I have not mentioned it yet, but when Luna had walked into the kitchen, her mom was holding up a postcard with the beach on it and a plastic bag. That gave her enough information that Luna had to clean the beach. For you and me this isn’t so bad but where Luna lived, the beaches were covered with trash! It was a terrible punishment, but little did Luna know, this was the beginning of an epic adventure!
The next day, Luna woke up early and got dressed. She was wearing her overalls that were sploshed with the colours of the rainbow. Her rainbow T- shirt matched and she tied her blond hair in a pony tail. Then she grabbed her grey jacket and her back-back and set off. Just as she was leaving her room, she saw her swimming costume on her chair. She remembered she was going to the beach. She undressed, put on her costume, re-dressed and ran down the stairs. She left a note on the counter telling her parents where she was going, then packed a lunch and threw it into her back-pack along with several pairs of clothes, tons of plastic bags and a change of clothes. Then Luna slipped her feet in her slip slops and walked out the door. She remembered to lock up, then grabbed her bike and rode along the streets until she came to the parking lot of the beach. Next to her she saw a red-haired girl wearing a brown jumpsuit with a red floral print, waiting to get into the parking lot just like Luna, and Luna recognised her instantly.
‘Saskia!” She said.
Saskia turned her head.
“What are you doing here?” Luna asked.
“Can’t a kid go to the beach?” Was the reply.
“Yes of course it’s just I am very glad I have someone to talk to. One of my punishments is beach duty.” Luna replied.
“One?” Saskia said.
“Dishes for a week.” Luna replied dryly.
“Oh. Well you know what? As I am here, I will help you.” Saskia said.
“Are you sure.” Luna said.
“Positive.” Saskia said firmly.
“Thanks.” Luna smiled, then opened her back-pack and threw Saskia a pair of gloves and a few plastic bags.
“Have fun.” She said grinning mischievously.
“Thanks.” Saskia said sarcastically, but grinning at the same time too.
The girls parked their bikes, locked them and walked to the beach. One look and the children dreaded going there. Sunny Town’s beach was beautiful when it was clean, which it never was.
The pair walked forward. Luna winced as she put on her gloves and picked up a chip packet. She threw it into her bag and bent over to pick up a can. Saskia wasn’t doing much better. She was picking up bottles, packets, wrappers and paper plates. She scrunched up her nose as she always did when she didn’t like something.
The girls picked up packet after packet, bottle after bottle, wrapper after wrapper, until it was lunch time. The pair went to the bathroom to clean up, and then ate lunch. After that the girls got into their costumes, ready to start cleaning the sea, when Saskia saw something move.
“AGGGGGHHHH!” She cried.
“What?” Said Luna.
“Didn’t you see that?” Saskia said.
See whaaaa….” Before Luna could finish, she saw a giant tail poke out the water. It looked like a dolphin’s tail, but this tail was scaly. One thought came to Luna’s mind.
“A mermaid?” She said.
“Lu, we found a mermaid,” Saskia said, “But wait, she seems to be struggling.” Sure enough, the tail was thrashing around.
“Let’s save it!” Luna said.
Both girls ran forward, but were stopped short.
“What are you doing?” Said a voice.
Saskia and Luna turned to face two girls. The Robins twins. The Robins twins were probably the most irritating pair in the world. They were identical. And I mean identical. They both had glossy black hair, pale skin, green eyes, freckles across their nose and dimple in their right cheek. Plus, if one twin grew taller, the other would stand on her tip toes until she grows that tall. If one twin grew an extra freckle, the other would draw it on. If one twin… well you get the point. One more identical thing about them. Their names: Jess and Jessie. These twins loved to stick their noses into things they shouldn’t and right now, they were interfering.
“Hello Jessie.” Luna said to one twin.
“I’m Jess.” Said the twin Luna was talking to.
Then the twins kept switching places until you didn’t know who was who. They like being a nuisance. The girls called this the switcheroo. Saskia turned to the other twin.
“Hello Jess.” She said.
“I’m Jessie.” Said, who we assume, is Jessie.
“Twins, we are cleaning the beach. Nothing exciting. Really boring. So, please leave us alone.” Then she smiled.
“Unless you want to help?” The twins looked at each other and ran off to find mischief somewhere else.
“Right,” Saskia said when the twins were gone, “Let’s save our mermaid.”
The girls ran into the water, their skin tingeling as the ice-cold water soaked in. They pushed aside bags, bottles, wrappers, tins, plates, cups and packets. Slowly the water got deeper and the trash amount got bigger. Soon the children were swimming. When they got to the part where the thrashing tail was, the trash amount was humungous. The girls couldn’t swim through or around it.
“We’ll have to go under.” Saskia said.
Luna nodded. They swam as close to the tail as possible, then looked to each other, nodded, inhaled and dived under. There they saw the oddest creature they had ever seen.
It was like a mermaid with wings! It had a mustard coloured crop-top and tail with orange wings that had a mustard outline. Her long golden hair, was matted together and her pale blue eyes were filled with worry.
The oddest thing about her, was that she seemed to be changing shape. The girls watched in awe, until they had to go up to the surface to breath.
“Did you see that?” Saskia asked.
“Did I just see a mermaid?” Was the reply.
“No.” Saskia said.
Luna faced Saskia.
“What do you mean, Sas?” She asked.
“It had wings.” Saskia replied.
Luna thought it over.
“So, what is it?” She asked.
Saskia bit her lip, like she always did when she was thinking.
“Let’s ask her.” She said finally.
“But we can’t speak underwater!” Luna said.
“We have to try.” Saskia replied, firmly.
Luna clenched her jaw and inhaled, then dived under. Saskia copied. They saw the creature once more, changing shape every second. Saskia and Luna swam forward, and when the creature saw them, she thrashed her tail, beat her wings and changed shape. The look of fear hung around her eyes. Saskia tried to tell her who they were, what they were doing, ask what she was and what was wrong, but when she opened her mouth, water filled in and she sounded like this.
“Obble, Google, ooble, ooo, gobble, oble oo.”
The creature saw her trying to speak and she outstretched an arm. It touched Saskia and her arm and Saskia’s throat, glowed up. She did the same to Luna. Once that was done, Saskia and Luna realised they were breathing underwater! After a few moments, Luna spoke…
“Wow! I can talk underwater! Wait, I can talk underwater!”
Saskia gasped and smiled.
“This is epic!” She said.
Then the girls saw the mysterious looking creature and remembered what they were there for. Saskia spoke up.
“Hello, my name is Saskia and this is my best friend Luna.”
“Anyhow, we were here to clean the beach because…” Saskia launched into the story which I won’t tell you since you already know.
“…Then we saw a tail thrashing about and came to investigate, but were stopped by some annoying twins, anyway once we dealt with them, we found you.” Saskia finished.
“And you know the rest.” Luna said.
The creature smiled.
“Hi Saskia, hi Luna,” She said, “I am sorry I wasn’t talking at first. Let me explain. My name is Melody. I was swimming along when I saw a weird man holding a net. He saw me and started chasing me. I dived under but got caught in the trash. The man stopped chasing me, but I am afraid he might come back.”
“You must be talking about Dillan,” Saskia said, “He is someone who looks for strange creatures then sells them for a lot of money. But, if you said he went away the don’t worry because he is rather lazy so he won’t be back.”
“Hi Melody,” Luna said, “I don’t mean to be rude, but what are you?”
“I am a mershifter.” She said.
“What’s a mersift thingy?” Luna said.
“A mershifter is a creature that lives in the sea and sky as we have tails and wings. We can shape shift.” She said, an exciting look in her eye. Her eyes were odd. They seemed to reflect emotion. Her eyes had different colours for emotion. Pale blue for worry, Black for fear, Red for anger, Purple for joy, Pink for excitement, Crimson for happiness and White for puzled.
“That explains why you kept changing shape.” Saskia said.
Suddenly Luna noticed Melody’s tail.
“Let’s help you out of here.” She said.
“Yes!” Said Saskia.
The two girls swam up to Melody’s tail, and untangled a few things. Soon Melody was swimming around.
“Thank you!” She said. Then she handed the girls each a necklace. “It will help you breath and talk underwater.”
The girls thanked Melody then said goodbye. They swam to the surface and spent moments thinking.
“Wow.” Said Saskia.
“Wow.” Luna replied.
Then they switched back to reality, and started picking up trash. By 4 o’ clock the girls were tired and hungry. They changed into warmer clothes then grabbed their bikes. As they were climbing on, Luna said.
“Hey, Sas. Thanks for helping me.”
“Your welcome. It’s always nice doing things with you, even beach duty.” Saskia said. Then she grinned.
“Plus, if I didn’t help you then I wouldn’t have met Melody.”
The girls went their different ways. Luna bike all the way home then put her bike in the shed, came inside, said hello to Mr and Mrs June and sat down to dinner. Then she washed the dishes, showered, brushed her hair and teeth and went to bed.
The next day, Luna was surprised to see Saskia waiting at the beach with gloves and bags.
“I can’t do half a job,” Saskia had told Luna when she asked why she was there, “I am sticking with you until this beach is sparkling.”
“Thank you.” Luna said.
Then the girls set off to work. They worked hard. Then they visited Melody.
It went on like this all week and into the next. The girls visited Melody each time, and they always did something fun. Once they played underwater instruments, another time they had an underwater tea party. Oh, and once they went to a coral reef. These visits helped the girls get through the ugly part of the job.
By Friday, the beach was super clean. The girls had put bins that the wind couldn’t push over in several places. They had put up signs explaining everything and the people followed it. The beach was always beautiful now. Just as the girls were leaving, Saskia remembered something.
“Luna, the sleepover, it’s now!”
The girls ran home. Luna hurriedly changed, packed a bag, said goodbye and set off. Tanya surprised all of the girls, saying her plane was delayed until the next day, so she could come and Saskia, Emily, Tanya, Chrissie and Luna had the best time.
So remember the next time you have a bad chore, what happened to Saskia Grey and Luna June, they met a mershifter. Maybe You can too.
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