Son of a Mermaid Online - Katie O'Sullivan

Chapter One

What had started as an ordinary Thursday was quickly turning into something else, and it wasn’t even third period yet.

Tingling sensations coursed through Shea MacNamara’s legs, zinging from his toes up into his stomach. It was as if some switch in his body had flipped into high gear at the same moment the school’s emergency system started its loud electronic beeping. Each beep over the monitors sent another vibration racing through his bloodstream.

Could it be just the stupid tornado drill putting him on edge?

He sat with his back against the cinderblock wall, at the very top of the gym’s bleachers, hoping desperately that no one would notice the sweat dripping from his forehead. Shea closed his eyes, as if that would make him invisible.

Logically, he knew tornados and tornado drills were simple facts of life in central Oklahoma. Plainville High’s cavernous gym had more than enough room to hold the entire student body. It wasn’t claustrophobia or nerves that had him on edge. It was something else. Something more. Almost as if there was some sort of charge in the air and Shea’s body was the magnet attracting it.

Finally, the all-clear bell rang and he heaved a sigh of relief as the tingling slowly subsided.

“Okay, people,” said Mr. Kelley, raising his voice to get the attention of the students milling next to the bleachers. “The drill’s over. Line up and head back to class.”

Shea stood, gingerly testing his legs to make sure they would make it down the stairs without an embarrassing fall. As he reached the gym floor, John Hansen spotted him and made his way to Shea’s side. John was taller than most of the other freshmen and built like a brick wall. The other students – and teachers – quickly cleared out of his way. “Hey, there you are, MacNamara! Where were you hiding?”

Shea shrugged. He didn’t want to admit anything was wrong. Especially when he didn’t understand why his body was freaking out this way.

A big goofy grin lit up John’s face. “I was so saved by the bell this morning. No way was I ready for my history presentation. Western Civ has got to be my least favorite class ever.”

Just shy of six feet, Shea was considered big for a freshman, but even he felt dwarfed as he looked up at John. The pair had been friends forever, and Shea knew that even though John towered over their classmates, he was all heart. The baseball diamond was the only place John ever showed aggression in his passion to win. “Yeah, Mr. Kelley can be harsh,” he agreed. “I can never get all those dates right.”

“What are you talking about, MacNamara?” John laughed, a low rumble that caused the girls in front of them to turn and giggle. “You practically ace every quiz.”

Shea scowled. “No I don’t.”

John kept laughing and shook his head. “Whatever. So…did you ask yet about Saturday? Mom said you could spend the night Friday so we can get an early start.”

Shea didn’t answer. He was distracted by another little zing crackling along his spine. He knew he’d never experienced anything like this before, but it almost felt like his body remembered the strange sensations.

“Hello, Shea?”

It took a minute before he registered John’s question. “What? Oh, yeah, the Redhawks game. I forgot to ask.”

“Oh come on. It’s gonna be your birthday, Shea.”

“It depends on whether we get the rest of the fields planted before then. Otherwise, I’ll have to stay and help.”

“Your dad never lets you do anything fun.”

They’d reached their classroom. With the overhead lights still off, the slatted blinds painted bold stripes of light along the desks closest to the windows, leaving the rest of the room in shadow. Darkness made no difference to Shea. His eyes always adjusted to whatever light was available, which came in handy when it came to early morning chores like feeding chickens or milking the cow.

John dropped his backpack next to his desk. “If I didn’t know better, I’d think your dad was trying to keep you locked away from the world.”

“Don’t be an idiot.” Shea shook his head, his mouth twisted into a half grin. “Why would he do that?”

John shrugged. “Beats me. Hey, what if there really was a tornado, and it sucked away that John Deere of yours?”

“Yeah, right. I’d never be so lucky.” Shea gestured toward the partially opened window next to his desk. Brilliant blue skies peeked through the blinds. “Not a storm cloud to be seen. Besides, that would