August 22, 2016 | Posted in The Mermaid & The WolF Adventures

The farther down they go, the darker the water gets. And then the strangest thing happens – it starts to get light again. Bright red coral grows along the stones, giving off a light all of its own. Thick green smears of luminescent algae cling to the underwater mountains; small schools of clown fish float among the crevices.

This is no underwater utopia. It’s no grand mermaid kingdom. There’s something about it, though, that seems almost magical – almost ethereal.

WooFZee’s legs are already starting to grow tired. He’s not used to swimming like this. While the scale makes it possible for him to breathe and withstand the intense pressure of the depths, it doesn’t make his muscles used to this sort of work.

He asks, “do you see the crevice?”

“I don’t,” says Pao. He points towards a bright out cropping of yellow coral and lilting seaweed. “But I know that it’s that way.”

WooFZee doesn’t ask how the fallen star knows. He just changes direction and keeps swimming.

They do, eventually, make it to the chasm that the Elder Star spoke of. It’s a great stretch of blackness; a scar over the ground that seems to have been picked up from somewhere else and dropped onto this stretch of ocean floor.

WooFZee says, “she’s down there. I can feel it.”

It’s a tugging on his heart, the sort that can’t be ignored. WooFZee braces himself for the dark descent. The water makes his fur feel heavy, as if it weighs far more than it should.

“We need to find her,” says WooFZee. “You can still go back, Pao. Neither of us blame you for this. You didn’t know what was going on.”

“I can’t,” says Pao. “I won’t. I’m going to help you get her out of there.”

And then the fallen star takes off, kicking his feet and leaving behind great streaks of bubbles.

WooFZee takes off after him. The scale is rough in his mouth. But, for her, for MeaZea, he goes gladly down into the chasm. It’s dark – the sort of dark that makes your chest ache, that makes you believe in boogeymen and monsters.

Pao’s scales give off a faint glow. They’re the only light in this horrid place. He says, “look for the golden rings.”

“I’m looking for anything that’s not stone,” admits WooFZee, with a humorless laugh.

 

Katelynn E Koontz – Author