|Xanadu story universe
Not everyone was staying at the convention centre for the same reason.
Since I had been at the Orlando Convention Centre earlier in the day, at the time of the change, and had pieced together some idea of what had happened by watching the effects on others, by the time I returned to the hotel corridors I was somewhat relaxed. Both experience and a large beer helped me cope with what had happened to me, and what was happening around me.
The corridor outside my room reeked with the sharp smell of fresh acidic horse manure, the carpets soiled with not just effluent but scorched in places, as if a flamethrower had been used against the walls and floors. A number of the light fittings seemed to have been scraped off the walls by somthing large passing by, so the corridor was dimly lit by the natural light coming from frosted panes at the end of the building.
I fumbled with the keycard in the dark, and the door to my room opened. It seemed odd that, only a few hours before, this room had been my sanctuary from the outside world. While nothing had particularly changed in the room - my stuff was where I'd left it - now it had a bathroom ceiling dripping with water, and a rythmic thumping was coming from above.
While watching TV would have masked the noise of the dripping and the thumping, something was nagging at my unconscious mind. Three quick thumps in succession, then three with a longer gap, then three quick thumps again. Something told me that the pattern was important, and that someone was signalling for help. Since the noise was coming from above I figured I needed to find the room directly above me, and I confess, it's not exactly what I was hoping from the evening - frankly I needed time to explore the changes that had happened to me, but it seemed that would have to wait.
Outside the room the corridor was quiet, the water from the dripping bathroom was beginning to spread out from my door across the carpet, I noticed how odd the wet carpet floor felt against what used to be my feet. The stairwell seemed quiet as I ascended to the next floor, and padded along another deserted corridor. This was not quiet - from one room sobbing, another the wailing of the recently bereaved. Who knows how many souls were ripped apart by the events of the day. Just as I passed a room, a door opened and a thin blonde haired girl with what looked like functional fairy wings and dressed in a leotard and tutu looked out into the corridor, saw me as I turned around, and closed the door. I found the room I was looking for - the rythmic thumping from within continued. I knocked on the door, the thumping stopped, I knocked again. From within a young voice shouted
"Can you help me please - I can't get to the door and I need help"
"Are you near the door?" I shouted back.
"I'm in the tub" came the shouted reply.
Since the hotel was already severely trashed I thought only briefly about the vandalism I was about to inflict on the lock mechanism, found a water fire extinguisher along the corridor and smashed the lock with a repeated beating. The room beyond the open door was tidy, clean and the carpet soaked. The anonymous thumper was in the bathroom.
"Oh thank you sir for breaking in, you wasted no time on that lock did you!"
She was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen - a perfectly symmetrical face, exceptionally long and thick blonde hair, a chest of perfect proportion, long arms finished with perfect hands, lying in the tub with just her face, breasts and arms above the water, looking up at me.
"I can honestly say I have no idea what happened, I was soaking in the tub and then somthing happened and I seem to have a fishes tail, look..." and she swished from her hips and her tailfin dumped several more gallons of water on the floor and my legs. From the waist downward she had the tail of a fish, not like a cartoon drawing, but of irridescent scale, markings, fins, other smaller fins - very biological in detail.
"Well I don't know what you're staring at, you're no pretty picture young man."
I was brought out of my shock by another wave of bath water, more expertly aimed at me this time, and soaking my unexpected fur.
"I'm sorry, I'm just not quite used to seeing a mermaid in a hotel bath".
"Well, I'm mighty grateful that you've pounded your way in, but I can't get out of the bath on my own. I've tried a couple of times, and these little fins get caught and give me a nip, and I just can't get out. I don't know where Robert got to either, he was going out for a couple of minutes just before this happened" she waved her hand in the general direction of her tail "and I've not seen him since".
"Do you want to get out of the water?" I asked.
"Of course I do son, that's what I just said".
"No, I mean, right now the water is supporting your tail and if I pick you up and carry you to the bed is there any way that you can lie down without hurting yourself?"
"I have got to get out of this water, right now".
I turned my attention to the water, it was brown and had bits in it.
"Young sir, there are things that are simply not discussed in polite company".
I darted back to the room, moved some clothes off the bed and pulled the bedclothes off, leaving only the sheet.
Back in the bathroom I found that she had pulled herself up the bath to a more sitting position and was holding the position with her arms.
"You're going to have to get your arms wet, I can't pull myself further out", and with that I discovered somthing unexpected about her tail - it was slimy, cold and hard to handle. Grasping her round her slim waist was easy, handling the tail a lot more slippery, but she was light and she held herself around my neck. I carried her to the bed and laid her down on her back, but a fin was sticking out of her spine near her lower back and she rolled over to 45 degrees and bent her tail to hold herself in a comfortable position - bent in a way that a person with legs could not bend.
"Thank you Sir, you are most kind. Can I see myself please?" she asked.
I found the bathroom mirror was fixed to the wall but not well and I ripped it off the plaster and brought it to her. The shock on her face I guess matched my expression when I first saw her, and she studied her face, hair, breasts, waist with her hands, feeling what she was seeing as if to confirm that it was all real.
"Oh my... I'd concentrated on the tail, I had no idea..."
"Well you certainly are a beautiful woman" I reassured her.
"Half a woman I think. How old do you think I look?"
She seemed to become uncomfortable with her nakedness and moved to cover herself up with her hands.
"Can you get me a towel, and I have a red blouse in the dresser please?"
I obliged, she dried the top half of herself and put the blouse on. While she was fastening the buttons I had a premonition of what was about to occur, the fabric simply 'rotted' away leaving her naked.
"Did you have a fantasy about being a mermaid?"
"Yes, I did" she said slowly, and slightly in shock of what happened "many years ago I imagined myself able to walk on the shore and then I'd find a beautiful clear place to swim and turn into a mermaid, swim in the clear blue waters, and then when I dried myself my legs would come right back. Sir, do you think that has happened?"
"Was it a really strong fantasy?"
"Well, I've had it all my life."
"And were you having this fantasy earlier today?"
"Well I had almost fallen asleep, but I was having that fantasy really strong at the time, it's one I use to help me relax my old bones".
"Was the mermaid ever clothed?"
"How about we get your scales dry and see what happens?"
Drying slime is really hard to do, and where the slime was completely removed and dried so the scales faded and human skin appeared. Over a period of a few minutes the tail merged into two long, shapely legs with human feet.
"Was this mermaid of your imagination tall?"
"I always imagined her to be the same height as I was, and I was tall in my younger days, just over six feet tall".
"When you say 'your younger days', how old are you?"
I passed her a hotel robe, she slipped her arms in it and slipped it over her shoulders, it went the same way as the blouse.
"Well we were staying at this hotel as it's the closest to the hotel we came to for our honeymoon, that was knocked down many years ago, and we are celebrating our 60th wedding anniversary tomorrow. This might be a lovely surprise for him" she said as she stood up, six foot of confident, tall, and I suspected permanently naked beauty. Her hair shimmered in golden waves, and was almost to the middle of her thigh, and although most of it was still wet she did not seem to mind or notice.
"I'm eighty-nine. I wonder where Robert is?"