Sunday, July 1, 2012


They spoke not with words, but with clicks, or rather sharp little pulses of energy produced via rapid contractions of the lungs and sinuses. These organs functioned properly above the surface of the sea, yet performed different duties down under. And frequent trips up into the gaseous portion of our atmosphere were unnecessary. Those elements required for respiration entered their bodies through the skin. 

Papa comprehended this method of communication, because he was so old and had visited them countless times. I know not all the details, but some say he spent years with them and others talk of centuries. Perhaps his extraterrestrial friends, the sentient manta ray people of Europa, are not too different?

They took him deep within the caves, each limned with a thin layer of bio-luminescent microbes bathing everything and everyone in soft, blue light. Luna stayed behind him. She was quite unconcerned about her nakedness, for all about her were likewise exposed. Males and females had similar ventral slits, though the interior equipment was conventional in every way. Occasional, something would pop out, but the males concerned showed no discomfort. It all seemed natural.

Two among their number came up to accompany Papa into another, more commodious chamber, carpeted with sugary, fine, pink sand. Luna followed. There, at the end of a long, straight gallery sat the leader. Well, maybe 'sat' is not the right term, for he reclined against a smooth concavity worn into the old, coral surface. I believe the material was brought down from sunnier levels generations ago.

The whole place resonated with scores of Mer-folk 'voices'. Papa used hand signals. I suspect they were more complex than that, compromising  something like a lingua franca for the many nations of the undersea world.

Luna did her best. She tried to pick up what she could telepathically. And due to her training (at the hands of The Anti-Enchantment-Bureau) she understood a lot.

The vitality of the race, if one could call it a race, was declining, although their inherent attractiveness still came through. They needed sunlight. Some bands initially tried living pelagic lives upon the surface, forming sizable 'rafts' of homo-aquaticus upon the golden waves. Yet even sea folk grow tired, descending down to the ocean floor, there to take their rest.

Papa heard the lament and promised to sing it to the dry-folk. He knew there could never be a wholesale migration back to most coastal areas, but he felt sure certain safe havens could be arranged.

When it was time, they broke to take their supper, dining on succulent oysters and other delicious bivalves. They had prisoners for the vampires. Mer-folk blood is much like ours, but Papa declined. Luna, it must be said, was eager for this new experience, however Papa restrained her. She did not like it, but bowed to his greater wisdom, accepting samples of his own blood instead.

This continued for ten nights, the Mer-folk equivalent of our week. At one point a ship anchored up above and via speakers lowered on stout cables, serenaded the foreign creatures with sounds of dry-folk life. Another dropped hundreds of crates of live shrimp, a delicacy in these parts and much appreciated by those in attendance. 

Luna went off to examine Mer-folk settlements spread 'round about, paying particular attention to the young ones, searching for any signs of solar deprivation...... And she found many.

Finally, Papa was called up to the surface, so that he could address (via Skype)a hastily formed United Nations committee. None of this was public. How could it be in a world where many cultures still denied biological causes for disease and others believed righteous souls of 'lesser' communions writhed in torment for all eternity?

Perhaps one day such ludicrous concealment will not be necessary.

But unfortunately... now it is...

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