Ancient Secrets of the Undersea Children
Thinking about it, he realized that It had been years since he had walked beneath the sea, breathing water while he played within the world that lay just beneath the waves. As a boy he could do it, because he wasn’t old enough to have learned how each demanding facet of modern life takes an instant of time underwater away from us. Removing his clothing and carefully placing it above the tide line, as if he were coming back, he turned and walked down into the water, and he didn’t stop until he was fully submerged.
Looking about him he saw the bright, sandy bottom of the Atlantic was both familiar and strange. He could not really tell by looking whether he was below the water, or above it. He paused to think, soon felt his lungs beginning to protest, realized he would have to make a choice soon. He looked around carefully, eyes wide open, and began to walk slowly to an area that was full of other people, each of them engaged upon a large project.
All of them wore the forms of small unblinking children, their pale hair floating in the water above them. He saw his own father was there, palest of the pale, along with several other people he knew who that chose to return to the sea after death. It was clear they could no longer leave the ocean; their skin gleamed fishbelly-white and luminescent, a sign they could no longer break the surface for any length of time to confront the sun directly. He knew they could only leave the water’s protection on nights when the moon was only half-full, or less, or they might sizzle away to nothing.
He wasn’t sure if he was ready to take his place among these or not, but he watched fascinated, his heart hammering, his lungs close to bursting, while they bent to their task. None of them so much as turned an eye to acknowledge his presence. Wielding their clasp-knives, they busily cut the netting that trapped the vastness of the great pale thing shot full of colors which none but them had ever seen; it lay pinned against the sandy bottom, and each child was sawing carefully on their chosen strand of the webbing that held the great creature bound.
He could not decide, he thought, if he should help or not; he was willing to bet his last breath that not a one of the children, even his father, had stopped to consider the enormity of what they sought to release.