The Mermaids, a novelette by Robert Edric, is free in the Kindle store at Amazon today.
An isolated, struggling fishing village, inward-looking and increasingly dependent on the outside world for its survival.
And then at dawn, one early-summer morning, the fifteen-year-old Sarah Carr witnesses a group of mermaids, and immediately that small, suspicious world is divided between those of its inhabitants desperate to regard this sighting as their salvation, as something to be advertised and exploited; and those who understand only too well the ridicule, pity and contempt this might equally swiftly bring down upon them.
All now depends on somehow verifying what Sarah Carr says she saw, and over the course of those few overheated days, the whole world appears in turmoil – a place of scarcely-believable wonders and possibilities; a place of squandered opportunities, and of tawdry and regrettable compromises.
And for those few tumultuous, alarming days a natural balance is irretrievably lost, and the whole village, with the girl immovable and unflinching at its centre, struggles to regain that balance and to ensure that that which might secure and safeguard its future – the sighting of the mythical creatures themselves – does not now, ultimately lead to its destruction from within.