Quite a lot of this chapter was inspired by the symbolism and motifs I noticed on my rereading of Ingo. It was my first time treading it as an A-level English student and I was just like: "...Whoa. Symbolism I never noticed before!" And this was born from that. The first half of the chapter may not seem that exciting, but there is a reason for it in a symbolic way XD. Anyway, I hope you guys like and thank you all for such lovely reviews! Also, the editing of the other chapters have been completed! Thank you so much for your patience! If anyone spots any gaping plot holes, please point them out and I'll run back and fill them in XD Lots of love, Sapphy xxx
This chapter is dedicated to starwarsgrl96, Jezel Redfern, catspajamas12, dragonett3 & annabethsapphireKatissgaleru e. Thank you all, you awesome people! xxx
"You'll find the mermaid of Zennor inside Zennor Church, if you know where to look. She's carved from old, hard, dark wood. The church is dark, too, so you have to bend down to see her clearly. You can trace the shape of her tail with your finger."
Rowan just blinks at me as I walk along the road towards the centre of Senara Chruchtown, but I like to think that she's taking this in. I've read the baby books lying around and know that she can see my face, even if she can't really form sounds to respond to my voice. But apparently she can mimic my facial expressions. I stick out my tongue at her and, after about a minute, she sticks hers out as well. I grin and adjust the baby carrier she's in slightly, so she's not being jiggled around so much. The last thing I need it a stream of baby vomit being projected at my chest and face.
"Someone slashed across her with a knife, a long time ago. A sharp, angry knife…" I trail off as I move to the side to let a car past. Lanes in Senara are definitely short of pavements. I start walking again once the car has passed, thinking about the mermaid and the knife that cut her. I can remember wondering, once, if it was Annie, Matthew's girlfriend. The mother of his child. The child which passed the merblood down, through the centuries, until it reached me and Conor.
"Sapphire!" I blink, jolted out of my thoughts by Katie's voice. I turn to smile at her as she speeds towards me on her bike, slamming on the brakes and coming to an abrupt halt next to me.
"Hey." I say, swaying slightly to soothe Rowan, who's beginning to grizzle a little. "How're you?"
"Meh, not bad." She smiles at me, and then at Rowan. "Oh my Gosh, your sister's sooo cute!" she begins to coo over Rowan, who looks rather startled by the sudden attention. "How old is she now?"
"Two weeks, thereabouts." I grin, the soft April breeze blowing wisps of hair around my face.
"Thanks for dropping off my school books." I say as we begin to walk down the road together, Katie wheeling her bike.
"It was nothing. Couldn't have you lying there relaxing or anything, could we?" she says with an wicked grin.
"You're an evil woman, Katie. Making me work." I stick my tongue out at her. Rowan copies me. "See? Even Rowan thinks you're an evil woman. Isn't she evil, Rowan?" My sister just blinks at me.
"Hey, can I hold her?" Katie says, smiling at Rowan as we walk by the Tinner's Arms.
"Urm…sure." Katie props her bike up against the wall and I scoop Rowan out of the sling and pass her over. "Make sure to support her head…"
Katie takes Rowan who, after a couple of seconds, starts wailing. I can see panic in Katie's eyes. "OhmyGod. WhatdidIdo?"
"Nothing…she's just grumpy today." I hold out my arms and she quickly passes Rowan back. I strap her back into the sling and begin jiggling her up and down again and gradually the wailing subsides.
"Why've you got her with you anyway?" Katie says curiously, calmer now that she isn't clutching a screaming baby.
"I'm babysitting; Roger's out at the diving school…Conor's over at Jack's…Mum's over in St Austell at Cornwall College..."
"Oh yeah, I heard about the Foundation Course; how long has she been doing that for now?"
"Well, she's doing it part time, so it'll take four years all together, and she started the autumn she got back from Australia, so…almost two years?"
"Wow. Well, hope everything goes well with that!"
"Thanks." I smile.
Katie glances at her watch. "Well, it's been great talking, but I'd better get going or I'll be late for work."
"Where are you working?"
"A Pharmacy in St Pirans. It's a hell of a cycle, but the bus doesn't run at the right time, so…"
"That sucks. Well, I'll see you then."
"See you!" she climbs back onto her bike and peddles off, waving.
I wave back, before crossing the street and climbing the steps up to the graveyard. I head down the path that runs in between the higgledy piggledy grassy graves and push open the dark wooden door of the church with a soft creak. I I let it swing shut behind me, and it closes with a dull clunk. The inside of the church is dimly lit. I step slowly down the aisle, padding softly across the diamond shaped slate tiles on the floor. The ceiling of the church is rounded; a wooden barrel roof. At the end of the church, above the alter and opposite the bells is a stained glass window depicting St Senara herself. I, however, am looking for something else. I reach the end of the pews and turn to the right. There, in the South Transept, is the chair. I kneel down on the right of it, so I'm facing the carving of the Mermaid. I lift Rowan from the sling and turn her to face it. "That's the Zennor Mermaid." I whisper. "Dad told me about her when I was little. You probably can't understand me right now, but I'm going to tell you anyway. And I'll tell you again, when you're older. It's important, you see. For people to understand. Because we have to heal Earth and Ingo. We have to make things right, restore the balance. And we have to understand our history to do that. How do you know where you're going if you don't know where you've come from?"
Rowan whimpers softly, and I slip her back into the sling, getting off of my knees and sitting on a nearby pew. She blinks up at me with her bright blue eyes and I smile and take her tiny hand in mine. "The Zennor Mermaid fell in love with a human…"
That night when I dream, it's a swirl of crazy images and feelings that, when I wake the next day, I can't put my finger on. All I can recall is the brown wooden eyes of the Zennor mermaid blinking up at me as I desperately rubbed at the gash that ripped through her, the good, solid warmth of my sister in my arms, the light steaming through the stained glass windows. I remember I knelt on the stone floor in front of the alter and looked up at the narrow window above, staring up at St Senara.
A glass tear ran down her cheek and shattered on the cold, hard slate tiles.
The warm spell is over.
I wake up shivering on Sunday morning and burrow further under my duvet, now missing my normal spring attire. I'd taken to wearing vest tops and shorts to bed due to the unseasonably hot weather, but now long for my flannel PJs. There's a spare blanket on the end of the bed and I grab it, pulling it over the duvet for extra warmth. To make matters worse, I'm still in Conor's room, up in the attic, so I'm even colder than I would be normally, and I have no Sadie-shaped hotwater bottle. The quarrel between Conor and I was quickly resolved (it's a wonder what a cute baby smiling at you will do to any animosity you're feeling), but he's still anxious about my whereabouts- not that I've had much time to go to Ingo anyway with a new baby in the house. When I'm not doing homework, I'm heating up bottles or doing nappy changes in order to give Mum and Roger a break. They both look exhausted. Conor helps as well, but he's got A-Levels to revise for, and coursework to do…not that I don't have the same to do with GCSE's, but then again; a smelly nappy, or Math's revision? I'll chose the nappy.
I snuggle deeper into the warmth of my covers, closing my eyes, deciding to have a bit of a lie in, while I still have the chance. It's so blissfully warm under here it's just like being hugged by a giant teddy bear. Warm and snuggly and cosy and sleepy…
The wail rudely interrupts my dozing. I love Rowan, but still; there is a time and a place! And nine o'clock on a Sunday morning is not it! I hear footsteps downstairs, creaking floorboards as Roger rolls out of bed to deal with the shrieking terror. I take a deep breath and sit up as well, knowing full well now that I won't be getting anymore sleep this morning. The shock of cold to my system making me shudder as I throw back the covers and quickly hop out onto the wooden floor. I throw my pyjama's on the bed and begin to dress, pulling on a pair of jeans for what feels like the first time in weeks. A navy blue fisherman's jumper is hastily pulled on over my t-shirt, as well as a pair of thick woolly bed socks on to my icy feet, before I head downstairs, past Conor who's already awake and studying. Like I said; he's a light sleeper these days. I ruffle his hair as I pass and he swats at me as if I'm an irritating bug. He's not a morning person. Roger is standing in the kitchen feeding Rowan, yawning sleepily. He looks totally washed out, with big bags under his eyes. But hey; at least he's not asking what I'm doing in the cove anymore. He hasn't got the energy to worry about my so called boyfriend, let alone do anything about the situation. I grab a cereal bar as a I swing past the cupboard. "Morning."
"Mornin' Shapphy…" he mumbles, blinking blearily. "Where you off to?"
"Walking Sadie." Sadie, who is sitting by the door, perks up at the sound of the golden word. I grin and grab her lead, clipping it to her collar.
Everyone seems to be telling me that these days. I roll my eyes, but I'm not really annoyed with him anymore. I like to think that older siblinghood has mellowed me. Or maybe it's just that he's stopped prying into my business. Either way, we're back to that mutual respect we had before the whole baby issue. I hope it'll stay that way.
I bang the front door behind me, opening the cereal bar and munching as I walk down the front path with Sadie. I'll walk right along to the headland with her and then back; a short walk, but an adventurous one, climbing over stiles and along narrow tracks and the like. She bounds ahead eagerly, wanting to be set free, but I keep her on the lead, just in case. I can still remember the seagull which flew at my head not so long ago. I shudder at the thought. I remember Faro's warning words and the look on his face when he spoke of Ervy's old supporters. Be careful.
That was what Roger said. Be careful. Suddenly his words don't seem so silly.
We've reached the headland, and the sea is stretching out in front of us. But something feels off. Something feels wrong. I don't know what, but the feeling is growing deep within me. As if on cue, Sadie begins to growl, the hair on her neck rising. I put a hand on her collar. "It's okay, girl, it's okay…" I turn and begin to head back towards the cottage, chewing my lip anxiously as the feeling grows stronger. Something is wrong. Something is wrong in Ingo. I begin to run, Sadie hurtling along beside me, a blur of golden fur. I reach the cottage and rush inside, unclipping her lead. Roger has gone upstairs; I can hear him murmuring to Mum. I dash outside again, shutting the door before Sadie can follow me, and snatch my swimming costume and wetsuit off of the washing line, where they generally hang unless in use. I practically tumble down the cliff, leaping from rock to rock, wetsuit and costume over my shoulder. I slip at the last minute and land with a thud on the wet sand, but quickly get to my feet. My merblood is singing now, thrumming with the same sense of wrongness. Ahwer yn Ingo. Ahwer yn Ingo. Trouble in Ingo.
I scramble into the costume and sit on a rock as I wriggle into the wetsuit, tugging it up. I fold my clothes and leave them and my shoes in a cranny above the waterline before running towards the waves, my hair streaming out behind me. The shock of cold vanished quickly as I slip into the embrace of Ingo, wading further and further in until I'm swimming and then I'm under, water lapping over my head. I swim forwards, out of the arms of the cove, out into open water. Faro. I call. Faro!
What's going on?
I can know he's shaken by his tone, and the thought of Faro being shaken by something scares me. Fear begins to creep through me, icy cold fingers clutching at my throat.
A flicker of something stirs at the edge of my mind. An echo of a dream.
It's them. Ervy's supporters. They… he trails off, as if composing himself.
I remember kneeling in front of the Zennor mermaid, trying to rub out the gash.
What did they do Faro? What did they do?
I rubbed and I rubbed as desperately as I could, but she wouldn't heal, and the crack just grew deeper, the divide between her human half and her mer half increasing.
They wanted to punish those with mixed blood. Punish us.
What did they do, Faro?
He hesitates, before summoning the courage to speak. They took Mordowrgi.
I can remember now, the end of the dream.
With a sickening crack, the Zennor mermaid broke in two.
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