‘Are you hurt, brod?’ Alder asks Oak as he looked around the waters. There are only waters around them.
‘I’m not hurt, just bruised maybe.’ Oak replies, concentrating on the waters and looking around them, ready if anything would attack them.
‘How did you manage to find that thing?’
‘It found the boat and it took me down with it. I’ve never seen anything like it, brod.’
‘I’ve never seen those other creatures before either.’
‘What other creatures?’
‘Just like this one! Incoming!’ Alder shouts out and a creature with a large rock on its back and large teeth jumps out of the waters, attacking the twins. ‘Ready!’
Oak takes Alder by the arm and waist and threw him up towards the creature. Alder shot up, made a clean cut and decapitated its head. The only noise it made is when it fell back into the waters. The twins swam back towards each other quickly, and continued to watch the waters attentively, listening for any different noise, feeling the waters for different currents.
‘We have to keep moving’ Alder says as he looks around him, ‘if we stay in one place, we might get surrounded.’
‘But where will we go?’ Oak says, also looking around him.
‘Can you see the reed boat anywhere? I’ll take guard.’
Oak wasted no time, looking around as far as he could see. ‘Nothing. We’re too far out,’ he says, shaking his head.
‘Toot!’ Alder swears, disbelieving their bad luck.
‘Brod, we have to keep swimming,’ Oak tells Alder, worried.
‘But where will we swim?’ Alder asked him.
‘We can’t stay here…look out!’ A large fin is swimming towards them very quickly.
Alder took hold of his younger brother’s shirt and held on to him. They both go under and Oak waited for the creature to get closer. The creature had long ears and large teeth. It’s got a long pointy nose and it’s not stopping. When it came closer, Oak punched the creature with all his might. The creature shot back and it didn’t move for a moment. A few seconds later, it regained consciousness, but it was a little disoriented. It recoiled back, swimming in the opposite direction in retreat.
They swim back up and just as they resurface, they notice a shadow of another creature, it looks like the fish is burnt to a crisp and its teeth are large, bared and sharp. Its gigantic mouth is wide open and are scattered inside like sharp broken glass and it’s landing on top of them. Even if they move, they will still be caught in its fangs.
There is nowhere to swim.
Alder unconsciously puts an arm in front of Oak, defending his younger brother.
Suddenly, a large spear shot up from the water and into the lower jaw and out of the upper jaw of the creature, which made its mouth snap shut. Another spear went through its body and the creature fell back into the water, and it sunk as quickly as it appeared.
Alder and Oak was too stunned to move. They did not know what just happened – all they knew is that they were saved but by whom? Or is it another creature? Another predator?
Suddenly, something appeared on the surface of the water, not too far from where they are. The boys got their weapons ready.
The figure became bigger and it was green in colour. Alder and Oak looked at the incoming creature intensely, watching its every move.
It moved sideways at first, it doesn’t seem like its sure where it was going or what it was looking for.
‘Maybe it’s a little…’ Oak says, whispering to Alder. Alder shushed him before he could finish and creature stopped pacing.
‘Toot! It heard us,’ Alder said, his teeth gritted.
The creature turned around, wearing what looks like green rimmed goggles and the twins gasped.
‘My water babies!!!!’
It was Piscine.
‘P – Piscine?’ Oak says, unbelieving his eyes. They said that if you are in the waters for too long, you start seeing things that you want to see. Once it takes you, you can never come back.
‘Is that really you?’ Alder shouted.
‘What if she’s not real?’ Oak asked Alder.
‘Toot! That’s a possibility.’ Alder was worried. ‘Wait!’ he tells Piscine, holding out his hand. How would we know you’re the real Piscine?’
‘Ahh…clever boys! I am glad you both remember,’ she tells them as she swims closer to them anyway. ‘I will start and you have to finish…or you want to start?’ she asked them.
‘I’ll start,’ Oak tells her, looking at Alder for any signs. ‘Okay, ready?’
‘Whenever you are,’ says a smiling Piscine.
‘Won’t you come see about me? I’ll be alone, dancing you know it baby…’ Oak sings, remember the lyrics by heart. These are one of the songs that Piscine taught them six years ago.
‘Tell me your troubles and doubts, giving me everything inside and out and…’ Piscine sings in perfect pitch.
‘Love’s strange so real in the dark, think of the tender things that we were working on…’ Oak continued, his eyes started to cloud, so is Alder’s.
‘Slow change may pull us apart…’
‘when the light gets into your heart, baby…’
They swam towards each other and they all hugged, laughing, screaming and crying.
‘Don’t You forget about meeeee….don’t don’t don’t don’t!’ they continued singing in unison.
‘There are no more creatures, my water babies. Don’t you worry!’ Piscine tells them when they finally pulled apart from each other.
‘What were those creatures? We’ve never seen them before.’ Alder tells her, amazed and shocked at what happened to them.
‘You’ve never been in this line, that’s why.’ Piscine tells them as if she already knew where they go.
‘But we should be in the same area; we don’t wander off so far because of our age. We are only allowed certain distances as we grow older.’ Alder informs her.
‘And that thing, the red knight, Cthulhu! He attacked our reed boat! Oh no! Wait! Isn’t he…?’ Oak suddenly felt a chill up his spine.
‘Don’t worry; I told you both, they are all gone already.’ Piscine reassures them. ‘Give me one moment,’ and she dives down quickly.
All the boys could do was wait and keep a look out for anything, just in case.
After a few minutes, Piscine came back with something on her hand. ‘Here Oak, blow air into this over here, in this tube,’ she tells him pointing at it. Oak did as he was told and the yellow material became more solid. Oak’s eyes went wide. ‘Don’t stop or you won’t be able to make the boat. Alder, help me get something quickly.’ Alder did not think twice and dove after Piscine. She was very quick. He also noticed how her hair is actually shorter and she’s gotten much leaner and taller. Before he could reach her, she was holding out two large sticks and she pointed up, handed him one of the them which was quite heavy and they both swam back to the surface. Oak is almost done with their makeshift boat and is just amazed at what he’s seeing, still wide eyed with fascination.
‘That should be sufficient. Oak, put the cover on the tube so the air won’t come out.’ Piscine instructed.
‘It’s a boat!’ Oak says happily.
‘Now get on it, both of you but slowly or it will topple over. I will hold the other end,’ she tells them. But it took the boys longer than they anticipated. They were not used to inflatable boats.
Oak tried it first but he toppled over with the boat. Alder thought he would be able to do it more easily coz he thinks he’s much more agile but the same thing happened to him. Piscine watched in amusement how they struggled to get onto an inflatable boat, even if she was already helping them.
When the boys finally managed to get onto the boat, Piscine taught them how to use the wooden oars since they have only used sails all their life.
‘Will you not get on?’ Oak asked.
‘No, there is no need. Besides I am fine here.’ Piscine says, swimming next to their inflatable boat.
‘Where have you been, Piscine? Again, you saved us!’ Alder says, finally. He’s wanted to ask her questions since she showed up.
‘Many things have happened since we last met. Too many to mention now but it doesn’t matter! Look at how you’ve both grown!’ she tells them happily as the boys blush beet red.
‘We’re better at swimming’ Alder boasts.
‘And singing!’ Oak tells her excitedly.
‘I’m very proud! I thought you may have both forgotten the songs I’ve taught you! It’s been years!’ Piscine tells them, her turn to be amazed.
‘How long are you going to be here this time?’ Alder asked, dreading the answer as much as Oak.
Piscine smiled widely. ‘I’m going to be here for a while!’
‘A while?’ the boys asked in unison.
‘Yes. A while. Weeks. Months. Years.’
‘That means you’re staying?!’ Oak asked excitedly.
‘I will still be going out but I won’t be gone so long anymore,’ she tells them happily.
‘You must have a lot of stories!’
‘Indeed I do!’
‘So, does that mean we get to meet your clan?’ Alder asked.
‘No,’ she answered flatly, ‘they’re too busy but you know, maybe one day you will!’ she smiles at them, swimming gracefully next to them like fabled mermaids you read about from fairy tales. The sun is setting soon and they paddle more quickly. ‘Oh, turn here so the current will be faster,’ she instructs them and they paddled towards Krakatoa.
And soon, before night fell, the boys made it back home to Krakatoa. They did not go through the main port, managing to sneak in at the other side of the island. Alder thought it was fascinating how a boat can be so compact. They had to hide the inflatable boat by deflating the boat again. They would not know how to explain to anyone about the boat. Some people might even think they stole it at the Labs. Better to hide it, and use it only when necessary.
What a day.
Newfound creatures in the deep waters – something their parents might take an interest, a new emergency boat, Piscine back in Krakatoa, more stories, more singing, more adventures!
They say goodbye to Piscine by the port and head back home happily.
As they stood at the front door, they realized that they have to still explain about their missing reed boat to their parents.
They both sighed. ‘It’s going to be a long night, brod,’ Alder tells Oak as they go into their house.
(Written for 2013 NaNoWriMo.)