The Waterwood Box, 91

Catch up!

What’s wrong? May I help?” Ramata asked.

“No, the suit isn’t coming off. Let’s swim closer to shore,” Adam said. He swam to where the water lapped up against the mountainside. “I’ll take the suit off later. For now, get behind me and squeeze my chest with both of your arms. You’ll have to squeeze fast and tight to force the breather out of my throat.”

“I’m going to miss you.” At the water-folk’s words, Adam turned from the mountaintops toward Ramata. “Adam, I’ll try to get other Tiskaloons to come help. We’re free now. We can move through Ocean again.”

Adam turned back around and rested his knees on the gentle, rocky slope. The top of his head lightly touched the surface of the water. “NOW!” He took a deep breath and Ramata wrapped their arms around him.

“Don’t forget where you’ve been, Adam. From where you’ve come.” Ramata squeezed quickly and with great force. Nothing happened.

“AGAIN!” Adam yelled.

“Why won’t you choose to remember Sesre?” Ramata asked and squeezed once more. Still nothing.

“AGAIN!” Adam yelled and flecks of blood sprayed into the water. Ramata did squeeze again and, afterwards, a steady stream of blood began to flow from Adam’s mouth. Adam swam backward to the shore, coughing and choking.

“I’m killing you, Adam!” Ramata cried.

Adam swam backward, struggling to break the water’s surface. Every exhalation brought bright blood along with it. He pulled his body halfway out of the water. In front of Adam loomed the vast spread of water that the planet had become. Behind him stood massive islands of seemingly barren rock, with nooks and crags that could both deter and shelter an inhabitant. Behind him waited the unknown.

The Waterwood Box, 91