I burst out of the surface of the water. At my first gulp of air, I swallow a little water as a wave crashes on top of me. I propel myself back to the surface, but a hand grabs my ankle.
Dragging me through the murky water, the bubbles blurring my vision.
When it finally let’s go, I’m left floating in bubble residue.
Relax little one, or you’ll put yourself back to eternal sleep.
I try to speak, but all I do is gargle salty water. I hear the mermaid elf’s chimes. She is laughing, but as the bubbles clear I see a naked old woman in her place.
I cover my eyes immediately and immediately hear the chimes, the naked old lady is the one laughing.
It is I, the one you call mermaid elf. I’ve transformed myself into my human form. Ack, I can still feel all my aching bones and muscles in the water.
I peek through my fingers, and the old lady wiggles her fingers my way. I notice she has the same catfish whiskers as the mermaid elf.
Comforts me to feel them. I do not like being in my human form. Bad history.
How is she talking to me?
In your head, of course, come on, let’s go up to the surface here. Earlier you would have been smashed against the rocks.
I look around, but I see no way we were anywhere near land. It was endless water on all sides. Returning back to the older lady whiskers to find she’s gone.
A hand grabs my shoulder from above and lifts me up through the water.
I break through the surface and get lifted through the air by a large dark skinned man. He holds me above his head, inspecting me.
‘I don’t see what is so special of this human boy. He is thin and fragile and looks like a seahorse. I could crush him into dust right now.’ The man squeezes my shoulder tightly, sure to leave a bruise or worse dislocate my shoulder, rendering me unable to swim. Bravo.
“Whoa, I only look small because you are enormous! Not fair to judge, don’t you think?’ I try to wiggle out of his grip, although looking down below me there is nothing but water.
Then I notice the man is standing on a transparent step that leads to a large round door the size of a cruise ship. It’s camouflaged against the sunset sky. We were surrounded by endless ocean at all corners except for a little island towards the east, not far away.
‘No point looking in that direction little Kampos, we are not going there, we are going in here.’ He carries me as he enters through the invincible doorway water lapping against his large log-like legs.
I am enormous and don’t you forget. If you hurt my mate, you are crushed into sand.
‘My love, stop scaring the boy. We need his help, try to be nice.’ The older lady had disappeared but is back, and this time she was dressed. Thankfully.
She is wrapped in a loose sheer white gown dusted with crystals that look like salt.
‘It’s not salt, it’s Stardust.’ The older lady pats her dress pleased with it.
‘It’s quite lovely; the Metiri women like to create them when the Astercentrum bursts. It leaves behind Stardust.’
I must be losing my mind. What the old lady was saying made no sense, and the fact I am dangling under the hold of a giant man as he walks through a crowded street in the middle of the ocean inside some kind of floating invincible city.
I think I died the second time, and I’m floating through the glass barrier lost forever.
All this had to be inspired by Luna, she did have an otherworldly look. Especially her glowing white hair and grey eyes that sometimes look silver. That makes sense. She always did inspire me. This city, not so realistic.
‘You are not dead little Kampos, you are in Metior, city of the fallen stars.’ The big man grins at me proudly like I should know what he was talking about.
The older woman pats my foot that is dangling dangerously close to her face.
Does that count as a danger to his mate?
They were somehow able to read my mind, the older lady moves a step away, and the man lifts me higher.
There was an advantage of being carried. Not like a baby mind you, more like a rat caught by the exterminator.
Metior City looks like the Egyptian and the Atlantean’s made babies and left them abandoned in the middle of the Ocean.
Everyone here was long but nimble and robust. Some had elongated ears like elf’s, just like the older woman. There were dark and light skinned folks with a few who had a mix of green and gold. Or maybe that was all makeup?
All the people look busy but happy. All protected under the invincible dome. Wouldn’t it be nice if Luna and I lived here? Get a little house on the edge far from other folks just enjoying the view of the ocean and sunset.
The man holding me starts chuckling.
I quickly erase it all and focus on my surroundings. Until I figure out what is happening. I’m supposed to be dead, but now I’m here. If this is a second chance to be with Luna. I will figure out a way to fly if I have too. I mean if this place exists. Surely I can fly.
The streets are clean; you could see the water streaming under the glass floors like jets of electricity. There is another stream that intermingles with the water in its own current. It has a golden glow, like an endless stream of light. It’s intercrossing, a double network of energy. That must be what made the city work.
Some vehicles float inches from the ground, the golden light zigzagging across the top of the vehicles glass window, forming symbols like a code.
It’s all crazy, and it gets crazier.
We enter a large garden, and in the centre, I could see a large well where all the streams of light are flowing from.
Hooded figures surround the well chanting in a deep, haunting tune. Past the garden, we walk by buildings made of large crystal shards floating upwards in a cone-like formation.
The base looks like a massive fire was burning below the transparent floor. The entire base could fit four to five cars side by side.
As we move closer, I peek down and I see under the glass floor is a giant eye looking straight up at me. The pupil looking like a black hole. Symbols flash across its pupils and disappear. It follows us as we walk by it.
‘What is that?’ I point backwards, trying to look back over my shoulders.
‘That is Metior, Luna’s father.’
Second chances come with a price.