Lullaby (A Watersong Novel) - By Amanda Hocking
Harper woke up when the sun was just beginning to set, and squinted at the dim orange light streaming in through her curtains. For one moment—one brief, glorious moment—she’d forgotten about the night before, the night when her little sister had been attacked before turning into some kind of mermaid and disappearing in the ocean.
Then it all came back to her. Her head throbbed at the memory, and she squeezed her eyes shut.
After Gemma had swum away, leaving Harper alone on the dock at Bernie’s Island, Daniel had checked on Alex to make sure that he was all right. When they’d arrived at the cabin, Alex had been lying unconscious on the floor. Harper hadn’t seen what had happened, but it wasn’t hard for her to imagine.
A horrible bird-creature stood over him. Its mouth was filled with razor-sharp teeth, and massive black wings stretched out behind it. Then it had shifted, changing form into a different kind of monster—the beautiful Penn.
It was almost impossible for Harper to wrap her mind around. When Alex had come to, he’d been certain the things he remembered were a bizarre dream brought on by head trauma. But Harper and Daniel had been forced to tell him that it was all true. The monsters were real, and Gemma was gone.
Then, after all of that, Harper knew she had to go home and attempt to explain to her father what had happened, even though she didn’t understand it herself. Not that she could tell him the truth—there was no way any sane person would believe it unless he had witnessed it for himself.
So Harper told Brian that Gemma had run off with Penn and her friends. It was something close to the truth, but even that was still hard for him to comprehend. Harper stayed up all morning convincing her father that Gemma wasn’t coming home, and that was one of the hardest things she’d ever had to do.
But she knew things were only going to get harder. Harper didn’t even know what Penn and the other girls were, let alone how to stop them or how to get Gemma back.
Lying in bed all day wouldn’t solve anything, though. Harper rolled over and grabbed her cell phone from the bedside table, meaning to check the time, and noticed she had two missed calls from a number she didn’t know. Gemma had left her cell phone behind, so if she called, it would be from an unfamiliar number.
Harper’s heart dropped to her stomach. She’d been so dead tired that she’d slept right through her phone ringing. Harper hurried to check her voice mail.
“You have one new message,” the automated voice told her, and Harper cursed herself under her breath. If she’d missed a call from her sister, she’d never be able to forgive herself.
“Hey, Harper, this is Daniel,” his deep voice came through the phone.
“Daniel,” Harper whispered, and put her free hand on her forehead, listening to his message.
“I got your number from the surly girl at the library. I wanted to make sure that you got home all right and see how you’re doing after … well, you know, what happened last night.
“I’ve been keeping an eye out for Gemma, like you asked me to. I took the boat out earlier, but I didn’t see her. I’ll keep looking, and I’ll let you know if I find anything.
“So anyway, give me a call later.” Daniel paused. “I hope you’re doing okay.”
When his message ended, she left her phone at her ear for a minute, even after the automated voice assured her that she had no other messages.
It was thoughtful of Daniel to call and check up on her, but Harper couldn’t call him back. The strange dalliance she’d had with him had to be pushed out of her mind. If he found out anything about Gemma, Daniel would let her know, but that was the only time she should be talking to him. Whatever was happening to Gemma came first. Harper had to deal with that before she could think of anything else.
Harper had slept in her clothes from last night, and they stank like the ocean and sweat. She grabbed a change of clothes, then crept across the hall to the bathroom in case her father was home. There was nothing more she could say to him about Gemma’s disappearance, but she knew Brian would want to keep rehashing it until it made sense.
She cleaned up quickly, then got dressed. She’d started to sneak back to