“Others survived, like me?” Adam sniffled.
“Hardly. You flooded the world, Adam Might. It’s a mystery that you’ve survived this long, even with the suit and breather. Nevertheless, we do thank you. All of us.” Altern slowly spun Adam around. No longer was she referring to herself as “we,” for lined up along the ravine’s edge were all types of sea-life. Adam saw urchins, fish, whales, sharks, anemone, eels, octopuses, rays, and other creatures he couldn’t name. Adam saw Spot, and Spot’s school. What Adam didn’t see was any Tiskaloons.
“You see,” Altern continued, “life continues. Not life as you knew it, but life as we know it. As a token of our appreciation, you’ve already been presented with the means that enable you to live among us.”
Altern swam down, back under the rock shelf. She brought Adam along. Up above, on the ravine’s edge, the creatures watched them both disappear underneath.
“The Drain is just under here, Adam. I’m happy to show it to you.”
And there it was. The Drain of the World. Adam hadn’t expected the object of his desire to be right there. He figured it would be far away, the goal of yet another long journey. The Drain was plugged up by a large, rock stopper. The top of the stopper connected to a giant pulley and lever system. If Adam could pull the lever, he could remove the plug and drain the world dry. To Adam’s surprise, Altern brought him to the lever and put him down in front of it.
“Well, here we are. Your beloved Drain. What now do you plan to do with it? Draining the world will not bring back your family, Adam. They are drowned; dead some thousand years past.”
“I don’t care.”
“Dear boy, you must understand. Draining the world will kill you, too. You are a part of Ocean now. There is no going back for you. So, look at the Drain all you like but to pull the lever is foolishness.”
Adam put his hand on the lever. “I don’t care. I don’t want to be part of Ocean. I don’t belong here.”
“You belong wherever you are, child.”
Adam turned to see Spot swim under the rock lip and into the drainage chamber. “Adam! You can’t do it. You’ll kill us all. We need the water to live. All of us. Please, Adam.”
Other fish and sea creatures made their way into the chamber. Soon the place was full of pleading sea-life. Adam looked from face to face and fin to fin, his hand still on the lever.
“Come, dear boy. You have no choice,” Altern whispered.
“I HAVE NO CHOICE?” Adam screamed. “No choice?!” he repeated, then pulled the lever.