Ramata led Adam and Spot through the twists and turns of Tiskabloo, past row after row of faded blue, coral housing complexes and corner-shop business selling food and supplies made from kelp, rock, bone, and coral. Adam and Spot had no trouble following Ramata’s lead, because they knew that without the water-folk they would be absolutely lost in the winding, disorienting city. The byways and side streets of Tiskaloo went not only forwards and backwards but also up and down. Once you got into the city, you really were into the city.
After some time the three stopped at a coral wall that was half-blue and half-pink. “To our left is Tiskabloo. To our right, Pinkaloo,” Ramata told them.
“Which way do we go?”
Ramata looked up, laughed, then kicked their great tail once to shoot up and over the side of the split-colored wall. Spot looked at Adam and grinned, too. “See you on the other side.” Then Spot swam over the wall.
Adam looked back the way they’d come. Even if he wanted to head back, he’d be without Ramata’s lead and would never make it anywhere. Likely some Tiskaloon would help him get to Frear but Frear already said he couldn’t help Adam find land or even get home. Adam had to find land or, if not land, some answers to what had happened. The only way get either was to swim over the wall and follow Ramata.
Adam’s legs delivered a powerful thrust and his body surged up the wall, u-turning just above it before racing down the outer side. Ramata and Spot waited.
“What took so you long?” Ramata asked.
“I had to think about whether I was making the right choice.”
Ramata nodded, then headed off, away from the city. “Doesn’t seem like much of a choice to me,” Adam heard Ramata say from up ahead.
Spot said, “My school says, ‘There is always a choice to act or not act; both a decision to make.’”
“I’m tired of choosing, Spot. I just want things to be the way they were, that’s all.”
“That’s everything, Adam. Everything. Once a thing changes, rarely does it return to the way it was before. Everything is headed towards a maybe, Adam. And you’re headed towards something that no longer exists.”