pixabay image by Natan Vance
Written with Spring in mind for D. Wallace Peach-Myths of the Mirror, March Speculative Fiction Prompt.
“Final decomp term in 30,” vacuous voice of the program.
At over seven kilometres beneath the surface of the Laurentian Ocean an oyster gave up its pearl. It had always been a legend and of course there were the believers, the seekers and the nay-sayers. For thousands of years, but never proof. In the end it was a simple logarithm, an amplification.
“Return all secure one, descent in 30.”
“We’re about to enter the abyss,” tour guide interrupting the rote transcript.
The earthquake itself was memorable: the rift in the ocean floor revealed so much more. Not only the Lost City, but there was life. A form of life. Human was the ancient term. Once a year they burst from the seabed pushing through the accumulations of silt, sand and chemical deposits, the water warmed by volcanic thermals and black smokers.
“Power up ring lighting, set now 1-7-7.”
A shudder seized the vessel making the clients uneasy.
“Vents, hydrotherms, nothing to worry about,” eyes wide.
So the studies began, the adventurous with their bucket-lists and the barium poachers and the regulations and the inevitable tourism: all mountains climbed. They worshipped the sun, the Human. Blooming once a year and to flail at stars. Twenty-four hours of life and then wait another cycle. Face open to the possibility, limbs wide and hopeful, hair luminescent in the purple darkness, thick and flowing under the artificial rings of light.
“Dimming int shell, atmos purge and refresh.”
“Can I have one if we see one can I keep it can I have one,” a child on her fourth birthday.
“Shhhhh, be still, watch.”
“And no, they’re protected now,” child’s mother, eyes rolling.
“There there there…,” Pointing. “See her? …the first of the season.”