The Secret of Trefusis Cove – Episode 28

Val ran towards Tangara and mounted the steps two at a time. She hurried into the bedroom and rummaged in her bag. Betty opened her eyes.

“What’s happening?” she asked sleepily.

“I must find my camera. There’s a mermaid on Aircut’s rock!”

She found the camera.

“Val, don’t be a silly goose! There’s no such –”

But Val was gone.

She was breathless when she reached Alexander.

“Too late, I’m afraid.” He smiled. “I’m pretty sure it was a seal. It slipped down into the water and was away in a flash.”

“Darn it!” Val was disappointed. “It had arms, I’m sure of it. When it went into the water did you notice if it had a tail?”

“Of course it did.”

“Big tail or little?” she questioned him further.

“I hardly noticed. A big tail, I think.”

“There you are!” Val was triumphant. “Seals only have flippers, so it couldn’t have been a seal.”

“It was,” he argued. “And to cap it all, it was bald. Aren’t mermaids supposed to have long, silky hair?”

“Yes.” Val looked woebegone. “It must have been a big seal, after all.”

“Are you sure you only drank water this evening?”

Betty was behind them.

“Of course.” Alexander turned and grinned. “I think the mermaid was wishful thinking on Val’s part.”

“I was so sure,” Val said.

“You’re taking that mermaid book too much to heart.” Betty laughed.

“What book?” he asked.

“We found it in a shop on the way here,” Betty replied. “I believe it’s for children, really.”

“I’d heard you had an interest in local legends. Aircut told the pub landlord and he told me.”

“You could have strung me along and agreed that it was a mermaid, just for fun,” Val admitted.

“I wouldn’t do that.”

All three of them walked back to the car, Betty holding her dressing-gown tight around her. When they reached the car Alexander smiled at them.

“Thank you, Val, for a memorable evening. I admire a lady who isn’t afraid to speak her mind. You’ve given me much to think about.”

“I enjoyed it, too. Thank you, Alexander.”

“There are two things I’d like to ask.”

“What are those?”

“The first is to call me Alex, please. It’s more friendly. And . . .”


“Can I have my jacket back, please?”

“Oh, my goodness!” Val had forgotten she was still wearing it. “Thank you for the loan of it.”

“No worries.” He reached over to the back seat “Don’t forget the pavlova.”

He handed over the box with the remains of their pudding to Val. He started the motor and turned the car at the end of their lane.

Val raised a hand to wave at the car tail lights.

“Goodnight, Alex.”

Betty put an arm around her shoulders.

“Come inside. I’ll make hot chocolate, then you can tell me all about your evening. It’s chilly.”

“I don’t feel cold at all,” Val replied.

“Did the evening go well?” Betty asked as she made the hot chocolate.

“Yes, it was lovely.”

Betty saw Val was tired.

“We can talk in the morning,” she offered.

Val cupped her hands around the mug.

“He – I mean, the evening was not what I’d expected.”

“Was it difficult to make conversation?”

“Not at all. He was a gentleman. He knows the whole story about his uncle and the mine, but he found it all out only recently.

“It was only when he got a letter from the solicitors about the inheritance and came to England that he was told the story.”

Val pushed the box on the table towards her friend.

“Here’s half a pavlova for you. Alex insisted we bring it back for you.”

Betty laughed.

“Thanks, but not right now. I’ll tackle it tomorrow, but now we must sleep.”

She took the empty mugs to the little kitchen and put them in the sink.

“You curl up in bed and dream of mermaids, Val.”

“I probably shall,” was the sleepy reply.

Abigail Phillips

Abbie is the newest member of the fiction team at the "Friend." She loves how varied the role is - every day is different and there is always a new story to read. She is keen to work closely with established writers and discover new writers, too.