Cleo looked up from where she was sitting in the Biology classroom at school, and sighed. Five minutes left of the lesson, and then she could go for a swim with Emma and Rikki. Tapping her pencil off the desk she copied the questions off the board and put away her notebook. The bell rang and she ran out of the classroom eager to to get to Mako. She ran down to the beach and waited for Emma and Rikki. Just as she dove into the water, Lewis ran up to her and shouted.
"Cleo, don't get in the water! There's going to be a shooting star, but this one's different. If any mermaid is in the water today then they will be stuck as a mermaid. Forever." "Oh Lewis!" Cleo tried and kicked towards the shore, but as she was ten metres out her tail appeared before she could reach the beach. Lewis reached out to pull her in but he was too late. The comet appeared overhead just as she was getting near the sand. She burst into tears, terrified that she was stuck as a mermaid. Lewis saw Emma and Rikki approaching the water next to him and he grabbed them. He told the pair all about what would happen if they were in the water in the next day. Now they were all crying, terrified for Cleo.

Lewis looked around to check if anyone else was there and they were alone so he dragged Cleo onto the sand. Rikki began to use her powers to try and save Cleo but nothing happened. Cleo really was trapped as a mermaid.

Soon Cleo began to feel dizzy. She could barely talk and a minute later, she collapsed unconcious. Everyone exchanged glances - Cleo could not breathe out of water anymore! Lewis pulled her back into the waves. Cleo was revived almost immediatly. She sat up and looked confused, and then it dawned on her.

"Emma - what can I do? All by myself..." Cleo cried, swimming up to the beach and grabbing hold of Rikki with her wet hand.
"Cleo! Don't!" Lewis begged, realising that if Rikki didn't dry off, then she would be a mermaid forever too. Emma rubbed at her hand desperately but it was too late. In seconds she was on the ground as well.
She crawled into the water and looked up at Emma. Emma was so shocked she didn't see the water touch her foot until it was too late.

Lewis groaned and stared at the three mermaids in front of him. "I'm so sorry... It's irreversible. You're trapped in the water." he whispered.
Emma shook her head. "I can try", she said as she crawled out of the water. The others didn't even try to leave the water. Emma grabbed hold of Lewis' arm and managed to pull herself up on her tail.
Lewis looked on in shock as Emma managed to walk a few metres before collapsing into the water. "Lewis, help me up again" Emma begged. He grabbed her arm and pulled her up. She sat down on a rock and sighed.
"Lewis, what do we do? How am I ever going to see my family again?"
"You'll just have to tell them the truth. I'll bring all your families to Mako and you can all tell them"
"Lewis, maybe it's not permanant."
He shook his head. "It happened 100 years ago, I saw the reports."
"Go and get my parents and Elliot. Bring them to Mako, I'll tell them now."
"Go, get my dad and Kim." "Go get my dad"

Finally, the families were going to find out their secret.

*

The trio resurfaced in Mako. An hour later Emma's family arrived, guided by Lewis. They had had to take the long trek through the forest to reach here. Trembling Rikki tried to pull herself out the water like Emma had done before but couldn't. Cleo didn't even bother trying.
"Why are you all here?" Elliot whispered, Emma frowned.
Then she whispered "Come here Elliot" and he walked up to the edge of the moon pool. "Promise we are family. Promise..." Emma mouthed and he nodded puzzled. Emma made her parents do the same and then she grabbed Elliot's hand and then she pushed herself up onto the rock ledge.
There were gasps as they looked at Emma and saw a girl so different from they expected. A mermaid girl. Elliot laughed.
"You're joking Emma aren't you?" he said and she sighed. "I'm not joking Elliot,how can I prove it to you?" " Touch the scales Elliot, touch the scales."
He cried out as he realised that his sister really was a mermaid. "Emma, come home please"
"How can I Elliot when this has happened, what am I supposed to do - live in the bath?" she smiled.
"Please Em, for me, your brother" but she shook her head.

The other mermaids had equally emotional reunions and goodbyes, and the worst thing was that they knew that they probably wouldn't see their family in a long time.

Over the next few months the mermaids got used to what was happening. They stayed at Mako and every month one of them ended up possessed by the full moon. They were lonely.
Soon Cleo couldn't cope. "Em,Rikki. You know if we give ourselves up and tell the newspapers or something, yeah we would be in a zoo but maybe they can cure this. Anything beats a lifetime here, right?"
They all thought about it and agreed. They knew from Lewis, that a massive police search had been out for them. Now they could tell the truth.

Trembling with nerves they all swam to the beach.
"It's now or never," Rikki whispered and crawled out of the water. When she left the water, she couldn't breathe properly so she hoped that someone found them soon. Next came Cleo, then Emma. They all lay there on the beach,
waiting for someone to find them. Just when their vision was turning black they saw someone approaching them. It was a young woman who screamed then took out her phone and called for an ambulance, and the police.
"Who are you?" she whispered, not expecting the mermaids to understand.
"I'm Rikki, they're Emma and Cleo..." "Are you mermaids?" "One of a kind, yeah"
"Am I dreaming?"
"No... is this twenty questions? Do you want me to pinch you?" The woman laughed then looked worried.
"What will happen to you now?" she whispered.
"Probably a zoo... Oh well. Won't be so lonely there anyway"
"I'm sorry. How can you be a mermaid, I mean you sound just like anyone else..."
"I'm no differrent inside."

The ambulance appeared and were amazed to see three mermaids lying on the beach, the woman who had made the call gone. The ambulance people loaded them into the ambulance and drove to the Aquapark. As soon as they got into the ambulance their eyes all closed.
* Cleo woke with a start and found herself in a glass tank. She was about to scream for help when she realised why she was there- she was a mermaid.
A woman with long black hair, the aquapark's manager leaned forward towards the tank and smiled. Cleo surfaced to listen to her.
"You're a mermaid! Can you understand me?" the manager said, speaking reallly slowly.
Cleo went underwater for another breathe then came back up. She decided not to talk yet and instead pretended to look puzzled.
"Do you come from around here?" to which Cleo pretended to look even more confused. With each question the woman asked Cleo would pretend not to understand.
Then the woman asked a question which made Cleo feel like she had to answer.
"How do you feel about being a mermaid?" Cleo swam up to the surface and spoke as loudly as she could, "I haven't always been like this. Once I was like you. And then..."

As Cleo explained to the woman, over the next few days, she felt releaved of a great pressure. But still - she was trapped.
Now in just a tank - had she done the right thing?