Holly Lisle Students
Deep Dive Short Story
I wrote this first in 3rd person and decided to rewrite in 1st person. It changed a bit doing that. This will probably get another rewrite, but here it is for the hop. It really was meant for a bigger story, but my character insisted I tell his story, so to make him hush his prattle in my head–I did.
By Juneta Key
ISLE OF MOON HOLLOW
Outer Limits Motel
The pool shimmered. Thick silvery light gathered at its center exploding up in a steady stream. Shadowy outlines of Mer-Fey, not seen in centuries, swam within its flow. They rode the arching stream to the ground where they stepped out on human legs. The water grew silent, settling. The guest rooms remained dark as the dawn tinted the horizon.
Nothing had gone as planned. The moment I voiced my unease it disappeared. I tried to recall the last three weeks, but my memories were hazy.
True to specks, at 130 feet our sea scooters became ineffective.
I told them.
A dorsal fin pushed into my hand dislodging my sluggish sea scooter. That was a first. I smiled despite the oddity of it.
My companions discarded their sea scooters and continued on without dolphins. My eyes narrowed staying glued to my equipment until it near the seafloor.
Every diver experienced narcosis when diving around 60-feet. I was lucky. The effect was moderate. Narcosis had no long-term effects on divers it just temporarily messed with your head a bit.
The precaution against it was practice until it was as natural as breathing. Plus, safety checks at intervals on the way down. This kept a deep dive on course.
When had we stopped doing the safety checks?
I switched my air-cylinder, patting myself on the back for staging a tank drop the night before. We’d need the extras for the return to the surface.
My deepest dives were commercial hires. Around 200 feet. The deepest ever recorded was 1044 feet, and this was deeper.
They assured me they were expert divers. It wasn’t my diving skills that were needed, but my expertise in cartography. That was what brought Tia, Raina, and Jock into my business, Jonas Beck’s Tours, Deep Dives & Souvenir Maps (handmade).
The ancient map they produced was older than any map I had seen. I itched to carbon date it.
The trident symbol on the corner matched a symbol on one of the arcane artifacts my father had collected over the years.
It was not hard to convince me to join the excursion, but an uneasy nagging remained in the back of my brain when I mentioned the artifact.
My father’s collection was not something I shared. I remembered the overwhelming need to tell them. It was out before I could stop myself.
I scowled. I was forgetting something. I was jarred from my current thought as we entered the catacombs traveling faster than a human or dolphin should.
What should have taken more time than we had air, took only a few minutes, until we halted in front of a giant wall of gelatinous-light.
The existent of the paranormal in Moon Hollow was an accepted occurrence in a world that no longer believed in real magic.
I admit, when my companions grew fishtails for legs I freaked inside. The mystical children of Poseidon were a thing of legend. No one had ever seen one in my lifetime.
My dolphin friend vanished.
Jock and Raina took hold of my upper arms. One on each side. My inclination was to fight, instead, I remained passive. I wanted to know what was behind that wall.
Besides, I was the only one who could not breathe underwater. My senses were intact enough to know I’d be the loser here.
We crossed the barrier into another world filled with bright phosphorous light. The variety of fish more than I could count. Seahorses. LARGE seahorses. Not possible.
A voice answered. A hidden world under the sea. It is possible.
GET OUT OF MY MIND. This time I struggled. They released me. The floor sloped up. We swam until we could stand. Yup, they had legs again.
I removed my mouthpiece and mask. “Why am I here? You could have taken the artifact at any time.”
“Our magic energy is limited in this world.” The Mer-Fey Tia answered.
“Am I supposed to understand that? What do you want from me? Oh, wait. My artifact. You have that. You used magic to sway me, so why am I here?”
“One of the lost children of Atlantis must be present to awaken Poseidon. It has been 10,000 years since Atlantis sank. A few of their descendants still exist here.”
“I don’t have magic. I am not from Atlantis.”
“Ah, but you are, you carry the gene. It calls to the magic inside us, as does the artifact made in the Fey world.”
I knew I looked confused. I felt it. “What are we, cousins or something?”
While we talked the Mer-Fey Raina had moved through the opulent sea palace to a titan-size statue of Poseidon.
Give me the key mortal.
“Get out of my head. If they have voices so do you. Use it.”
Jock the closest, grabbed the watertight bag I had sealed the artifact in and tossed it at Raina.
I would have grabbed it back before he tossed it, but Tia was pointing a trident at me. The tips glowed blue. Easy to figure out it was a weapon imbued with Fey magic.
I acknowledge compliance with a nod.
The artifact was the size of a shoe box, many shades of gold and silver, in the shape of a large “P” with a trident as feet. There was a circle where trident met the tail of the “P”.
Raina inserted it into the navel of the statue.
Light exploded out from Poseidon in a concussion wave, much like a nuclear event depicted on television.
The wave of light hit me knocking me back into the water, out through the gelatinous wall, and into the depths of the catacombs.
The rock walls shook and crumbled. I shoved my mouthpiece back in and pull my mask on. I swam dodging falling rock trying not to get trapped until I ran out of oxygen That was the last thing I remembered.
I woke in my bed. I was alone. The ancient map the Mer-Fey showed me on my nightstand. My body tingled. Something was off.
I turned on the news. Reports of minor quakes on the Isle of Moon Hollow and the Florida peninsula filtered out. A small tidal wave had hit the Florida shore.
I walked to the nightstand and picked up the map. I had to find those catacombs again.
There was a knock at my door. The tingle in my body increased. Opening the door, I stood face to face with Poseidon whose head brushed the top of the door frame as he pushed past me.
“Child of Atlantis. You shall be my guide in this new world. I wish to see what has changed.”
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