Months quickly passed. Piscine tried to communicate with her family but she did not hear from anyone and she has grown quite worried.
More creatures have appeared in the Warmer Waters and this caused Piscine great distress. She understands that the warmer waters are appealing to these creatures and they sometimes come in groups.
She decided to train Alder and Oak, who insisted on helping her dealing with the situation when they realize that there are different, more aggressive marine life showing up from the waters and she did plan to. She let them help her deal with the bigger creatures, depending on how much they trained. There are sometimes spoils and she lets them take it to the Labs to sell with their parents. The twins have asked her if they can introduce her to their parents but she insisted to remain anonymous. Piscine wished she could contain some of the creatures somewhere but there are no safe areas anywhere.
As much as she is worried about her family, Piscine has grown to love the area around Krakatoa more. She watched from the waters the flowers that bloom around the island. She’s sure that her mother and Mer would appreciate them as much as she does. Her brothers would probably too. She thought it was a shame that they will not see this but with all the changes that is happening now, who knows and the peaceful people of the island. She did not understand why the Freedom clans refuse to associate with the city dwellers. And her answer to her question came to her one night while she is having a quiet time, wondering about her family, she heard a ruckus from a few miles out. She has not actually seen smugglers but she knows what they are like from the stories of the clans. She watched the smugglers come and go around the area where her ship is, studying their much different ways than the Krakatoa city dwellers. Over the next few months, she has seen some ships go down because some of them tried to kill a creature or two, sometimes three at the same time. She knows that they don’t think about the consequences much and sometimes, it’s just really bad luck on their part. As much as she hated not being able to help, she valued being not known to be around. There is one smuggler ship that has been quite successful with harvesting the new marine life. She has seen the ship, Jupiter, several times over the course of a few months and she realized how efficient the crew is on this ship. She also felt that it was a big advantage to her and the twins that they are able to defeat some creatures that need more than three people to handle. She was in the waters one night, scavenging for parts that the creatures may have swallowed and are now scattered about when she saw a bunch of swimmers a few meters away from her. They were wearing something that looks quite tight that it looked like they were wrapped in something and they had tanks on their back that are connected to mouthpieces. They were not fast swimmers like her but they had some sort of machine to boost their speed on their legs. It was pure luck that she was behind some rocks and that her hair is much shorter than it was or they would have seen her for sure. She watched them prepare large nettings and swam opposite each other. She felt the waters current change and she heard something whine loudly, she can hear it attacking anything that got in its way, marine life or rocks alike. The suited men were preparing to attack the larger creature, and as it got closer, Piscine thought that it looks like a Narwhale and it was angry.
It didn’t care about the net before it and went straight at it, slamming itself against it but something happened and it crashed against it, stopping its seemingly destructive head on charge. It opened its mouth and just as quickly, the men threw something in its mouth and boosted themselves away from it. There was a gigantic boom and the Narwhale started to bleed from all sides. It started to float up the surface and the men quickly went to towards it. Piscine saw her chance to flee but she did not. She swam towards the ship which she is sure is Jupiter. The Jupiter is a stern trawler, a modern fishing boat by the old world standards. Piscine resurfaced slowly and cautiously. She can hear the crew cheering because of another successful hunt.
‘Good job men!’ A voice boomed from above. Piscine was wide eyed in surprise. She did not expect that and she almost screamed. She was never good at this stealth business. ‘Let’s bring her up, cut it up, have a feast, sell whatever we can at the Labs and you can go home again to your family!’ he roars in delighted laugh and the his crew cheered him on. ‘Our dear Krakatoa will be safe again. We’ll sail in a fortnight.’
Piscine was surprised that he mentioned Krakatoa. Who is this man, she thought as she slid back down slowly to the waters.
Suddenly, someone is looking down at her who is as surprised as she is. He’s got slick back black hair, grey eyes and a large trimmed beard. She estimated him to be the same age as Mer. By the time he saw Piscine, the only thing you can see is her green rimmed goggles.
‘What in the…’ he starts to say, his large eyebrows, furrowing.
‘Captain Nay! They’re here!’ he looks back at his crew and when he looked back down at where Piscine was, she was already gone. He shakes his head in disbelief. ‘I may have eaten too many of that damn mutated frog delights,’ he tells his crew and laughed out loud.
Piscine’s heart was going to come out of her chest. That was too close, too close. She was reckless and she almost got caught by a smuggler, by a very skilled captain of a smuggler’s group to be exact.
Her curiosity almost got her in so much trouble but she is still wondering what he meant about Krakatoa. Does he live there? Does he have family? Is that why they are there? What do they know about the creatures and how did they get so skilled in their hunting skills. Piscine swam to Krakatoa, the safest place for her right now. They are too close to her ship and she hopes that it is too far up to be seen even by the sharp eye of the Captain of the Jupiter.
The months turned into a year, and she watched how the Jupiter crew managed to take down as many as five larger creatures that she and the twins will not be able to take down on their own. She has not seen any of the crew sail to Krakatoa which puzzled her immensely. It took every bit of her being to control herself and not go near the Jupiter again ever since that incident. She continued to train Alder and Oak on swimming deeper in the deeps and in water combat. Soon another few months turned into another year. She continued watching the crew of the Jupiter and grew respect for the hard working efforts to keep Krakatoa safe. Many times, she felt compelled to go to Vesuvius to see the island for herself but she knows it’s too dangerous even if she blended in. She still has not come across Pelee or Vesuvius. She tried to study the weather changes outside the perimeter of Krakatoa. Weather changes is as constant as sneezing and when it starts, it won’t stop until it goes back to spring. It could snow, rain, suddenly clear with the sun out, then there will be hail and then rain and then snow again, it goes on and on. She realized after a few months that there is no way she can actually learn how it works unless she has more sophisticated machines or tools. Anything to read the weather, like they do in the old world, she thought. She remembers her mother talking about it once in a while with them after family dinner or family outings. As Piscine worked out that morning, she realized that she has not seen her family for almost three long years.
Piscine decided to just go back. She has not heard from them at all. She has not detected Huginn or Muginn. She will be gone for a few days, stay for a few days and then come back. Surely Alder and Oak can take care of themselves in the waters now. And Krakatoa is safe with Captain Nay’s efforts. There has been no radio contact not even messenger birds. She needs to make sure her family is safe and then she can come back to Krakatoa. Perhaps her findings in these waters will prove useful for them since they haven’t communicated since she got here. Perhaps they will be more to learn when she gets there.
Piscine set down her weights and went straight to the navigation deck. She pushed some buttons and checked the dials. Arya started to move towards the direction of the Other Waters. She will not say goodbye to the twins because she will be back in no time. She’s sure of it.
In a day, she was halfway to her destination. She was glad she decided to fly instead. Readings from the radars could detect various different creatures of sizes in her route. The waters are raging as if a storm is brewing. The Other Waters seemed suddenly even more enormous than she remembered. She felt uneasy and hoped that it did not get any worse. But we never get what we hope for.
A sudden beeping sound went off in the deck which took Piscine by surprise that she dropped her fish on the floor, which she always does. She looked out at the never ending Other Waters. She knows she is close. By the time she got to where her family’s ship was supposed to be, it was already nightfall and the beeping sound intensified, the light turned green and it stops. She turns it off and went straight to look around the surrounding areas but she couldn’t find any other ships. She found it strange since their ship is the only one that is bugged that way so she can find it easily. All she could see is water from as far as she can see. She pondered on the idea whether to go low to check or go down to the waters by herself instead to investigate. She watched the creature infested waters below. A quick dip should be sufficient. She went back to navigation deck and pushed up the lever half way and the ship floated down slowly. When it stopped going down, she looked for supplies she needed to bring and wondered whether she needs to be wary of bigger creatures. Just as she thought of it, she felt she is being watched. She can see large eyes blinking and watching her from her right side, outside the window. She does not move and pretended to be blissfully unaware of its presence. She started to whistle and its eyes went wide. She stepped on a button on the floor and held on to dear life. The ship shot up almost immediately which startled the large long necked creature. It kept snapping at the ship but it is too high up to reach. Piscine is on the floor with more or less everything else. She gets up and the thick manual of the ship that has been carefully written and drawn by Un fell on her head. She groaned with pain and stayed on the floor to recuperate. She was almost cool. Almost, she thought. She looked over the manual next to her and felt glad she’s learned how to read and re-read everything. She stood up and thought that was the stupidest idea she ever came up with. Swim with the creatures, more like swim with the fishes, she thought, shaking her head. She went out of the deck and she looked around the empty skies. Not one ship in sight. She looked down, using her binoculars, hoping to see what kind of creature it was earlier but all she saw was the stormy waters below. Where could her family be? The scan found them at this exact same spot where she is. She went back to the navigation deck and turned on the scan. It was still green and it was not beeping. She did not realize that she held on to the manual and tears started falling from her eyes. She doesn’t want to think it but there’s a possibility they are all gone. Where could they be? Why did she wait this long to come back, she asked herself wanting to kick herself for being so inconsiderate. She should have come back when she did not get any feedback from them for the first few months. Why oh why did she think that it was going to be alright?
There are two possibilities:
It’s that Ark. It’s all those monsters from that Ark. But there are so many of them, how could they be so easily defeated?
It’s Sebleng. They found out about her but if they did, they would have tried to find her.
How long were her family gone? Ever since she tried to contact them? Has it been that long?
She wiped her face and breathed in and out. She has to focus. They can’t just be gone. She’s talking about her family.
The Freedom Clans. They are good at what they do and one of the best things they excel at is hiding. They cannot just disappear and be defeated, she assured herself. She wondered where the other ships are. The Bons, The Rinks, the Onis, the Rells, the Kuats, the Aces, to name a few. There were more than thirty ships in total; surely they cannot just disappear into thin air.
She held on to that spark of hope that her family is out there, flying with the other Freedom clans even if she can hear the beep that seemed like the heartbeat of her family’s ship.
She checked her fuel and she calculated that she just has enough to fly back to the warmer climate of Krakatoa. There she will be able to think and plan.
As the ship Arya headed back to the warmer waters, Piscine did not notice a certain long necked creature following her from below, mesmerized by the faint light of her ship. It meeped and it followed.
After a day, she arrived at the Warmer Waters, she landed back to the water, almost immediately. She did not want to completely run out of fuel and crash into the water. That happened once with one of the people of the clans. He was nervous as derp when he got his own ship that he completely forgot about having to refill it and he crashed his first boat on his first day. She took a hose from the side of the deck and immediately refilled the tank with sea water. She has to be quick. It’s going to take a while and she did not want to be floating around at night nor did she want to encounter Jupiter. Piscine suddenly had a flashback. She remembered how her brothers used to tell her how machines, boats, ships, basic transportation needed diesel fuel. She smiled at the thought. She remembered never hearing the word before and when she asked her brothers what it was, they told her they weren’t actually sure either which made her mad because she thought that they were just teasing her, which they basically always did. It was their mother that explained that it was found deep in the earths when the waters were much, much lower and mankind consumed it without any thought for the eco system or themselves. It actually harmed them but even armed with this knowledge, that did not stop them from continuing to use it and it slowly killed them by using it in an almost abusive way. Every time she refilled their cargo or any ships of their ships, she wondered why they didn’t just use the water that is there – right in front of them. You use it as fuel and it evaporates and it goes back to the waters, all clean.
Right after she finished filling up her tank, she ran to the navigation deck quickly and pulled the lever down and the ship went up with a balloon once again. She felt a little nervous suddenly, she was unsure of that little panic attack. She shook it off. She thought that she probably needs to extend her morning preps, maybe making it more a little intense. It slowly ascended and she went outside and watched her surroundings carefully, then she started checking the boat’s exterior. She was afraid Arya might have sustained some injuries during that little incident back in the Other Waters. Just as she was checking her boat, a shadow loomed oh so quietly behind her and when she turned around to check the ropes behind her, it disappeared just as quickly. Piscine is completely unaware of the long neck creature that followed her to Krakatoa and is now watching her every move. If Piscine wasn’t distracted from her current circumstances, she would have noticed it. It took all her will to pay attention to every nook and cranny in her boat.
She checked the radio aerial, the radar unit that her three older brothers worked on, the radio, the radar screen, the compass, the barometer, the engines, the rudder, the engine exhaust pipe, the handrails, the storage, the upper deck, the pulleys, the kitchen, her room, the navigation deck; everything is in order.
So far, so good.
Finally, she checked her surroundings again. She knows no one would spot the boat because the exterior looks like a large cloud. One of the few neat tricks of the Freedom clan. They are tricky indeed. Piscine adjusted her goggles and jumps off her boat, going in smoothly into the water. As heavy as her heart is, she knows that seeing Alder and Oak will make her feel better. If the long neck creature moved, Piscine would have seen it. Piscine would detect even the slightest movement in the water, not because Piscine is that good; it’s because one move from the creature will make quite a movement in the water. But this creature is as tricky as any person from the Freedom clans. It did not move and it can’t be seen because it is in silhouette. But if it was day time, it would stick out like a sore thumb but let’s not forget, it really does believe that it’s tricky. Piscine, like the rest of the Freedom clans, can see in the dark, in colour but they’re not as good as you would think. But enough to see everything that is needed to see. It waited for Piscine to be as far from it as possible. Very tricky indeed. It finally moved its gigantic body and swam towards the direction of Piscine’s new found home.
Not far from where the creature swam, the Jupiter floated still with no Sigurs on, behind a large rock that went up years ago after a sea earthquake. Captain Nay was watching from his periscope.
‘What do we do, Captain?’ Brick asked Captain Nay as he finished looking at what just transpired before them.
‘Nothing,’ he smiled at his first mate and laughed. ‘It’s obvious that girl is the one of the Freedom clans but she is harmless. She’s probably a runaway – what spunk!’ he says as he clasps his hands together.
‘What about the creature?’ Brick asked worried. Brick is Captain Nay’s first mate, a giant of a man with a large white Mohawk and stern brown eyes.
‘Sebleng has not given any word about it, perhaps it’s harmless but ask some of the men to follow them, just in case,’ he ordered as he made his way to the radio room.
‘I do not like this man, Sebleng. I will keep saying it until it gets into your head,’ Brick says, disapproving of their association with the Freedom clan leader.
‘He told us about these creatures, surely he means no harm. Tales is doing well protecting Pelee with his aid on incoming creatures as well. There should not be any of this negativity,’ Captain Nay tells his disapproving first mate.
‘I don’t like his voice. It sounds like he inhaled something,’ Brick says, shaking his head.
Captain Nay laughs out loud at his first mate’s reasoning. ‘Surely you can’t be serious. Look old friend, if he did not tell us about the creatures, we would not be able to defend our home,’ he turns a button on and a faint radio frequency could be heard. He tapped on of the smaller bottle of Sigurs next to him and the light flooded the dark radio room.
‘He told us that he will tell us where they came from but until now, he has not offered an explanation. There are too many questions, Captain. We have been very lucky not to have lost any men – ,’
‘Thanks to you and Nickets and the crew,’ Captain Nay interrupts, ‘At best, we are safe. We are lowly smugglers to the eyes of many people and whatever we do; we do not need to be hailed anything more than that. We are here to protect the only lands left. And then, we can go on with our lives. At least, for once, we are doing something for everyone and not just ourselves. Now, let’s see what Tales is up to in Pelee besides killing creatures and womanizing!’
‘I still find it odd that Vesuvius is not being pestered by these creatures,’ Brick says as he looks outside the unusually calm waters.
‘That’s because Vesuvius is filthy and always drunk with people! It’s too loud! Nobody wants to live there, not even those creatures, there’s your proof!’ Captain Nay laughed wholeheartedly. Brick grinned as the Captain because he was right.
‘What about the girl?’ Brick asked, ‘We’ve been watching her for years now.’
‘Aye. She’s harmless. She just likes those twins from Krakatoa. Sons of Wilnoix,’ he says as he turns the knob to get the right radio frequency.
‘Everything doesn’t make sense,’ Brick says, shaking his head.
‘Nothing makes sense, especially when it comes to lurvveee,’ Captain Nay answered, one of his eyebrows up, listening intently to the radio frequency.
Piscine arrived at the rocks, humming to the tune of a hum that her brothers used to whistle or hum, whatever they feel like. In the beginning, it annoyed her but it finally grew on her and now, humming it makes her feel closer to her lost family. If she was to travel back to the old times, she’ll find out that this certain song that makes the family happy is called, ‘Mmbop’ by the Hansons. If you asked any of her brothers what is the name of the song that makes them happy, they will tell you that it’s called Bop by The Crash Test Dummies.
She heard footprints and she already knew it was Alder and Oak; they have a different way of walking. She’s sure there’s something about that, how you can tell who is coming from the stairs or through the door or wading by the waters by the sounds of their mannerisms. She looks behind her and when she sees the brothers and held up her triangle. She will sing something that Cinq usually sing, something that she has grown to like as well. It was one of the songs that she taught them years back.
‘Let’s dance…put on your red shoes and dance the blues…’ she sang, hitting the triangle.
‘Let‘s dance to the song they’re playing on the radio,’ Piscine knows that Oak seems more like who is shy but that all disappears when he starts to sing a tune. This thought actually makes her happy because she does believe that singing is a universal language.
‘Oak, Alder!’ she calls out happily.
‘Piscine! Where have you been?’ Alder asked her as they walk towards her, ‘We actually had a surprise for you this morning and we wanted to introduce you to Re & Mi.’ Oak is blushing right next to Alder but she doesn’t say anything because she’s afraid that if she teases him, he’d stop singing with her. She believes he has trouble breathing when he’s in land but he seems okay when he’s in the water so she’s not very worried. Just worried the air may not be good for him so that’s why he’s red in the face all the time.
‘You were?!’ she was genuinely surprised. ‘I have never thought about meeting them. You both keep mentioning them but honestly, I am afraid that I may smell like food to them,’ she says, feeling a little worried at the thought.
‘No! They like kowfish!’ Oak tells her, shaking his head, ‘they are the sweetest, very calm. A little hyperactive when they smell a certain kind of herb but they’re hot,’ Oak assures Piscine.
‘Why would they be hot?’ Piscine shakes her head, ‘I still don’t understand your language. It’s been three years…’ Piscine shakes her head in amusement.
Oak had always had a little daydream where he would ride Mi with Piscine and he will take her around the island and he will put flowers in her hair and she would giggle at the gesture. This thought made Oak giggle a little bit then he stops with a mortified look on his face.
‘What’s so funny?’ Piscine asks Oak, smiling. Alder is behind Piscine making funny faces at his younger brother.
‘Nothing,’ he says nodding nervously at her, ‘Chutahs are funny. So funny,’ he tells her.
‘Oh I see!’ she says, trying to understand him.
‘Are you alright, Piscine?’ Oak asked, feeling that Piscine seems a little distracted.
Piscine feels uneasy. She doesn’t understand it. She felt alarms buzzing in her mind. ‘Alder, Oak, would you both like to take a midnight swim?’ Piscine adjust her goggles and jumps in the water. ‘Hurry!’ she says, swimming away. The twins look at each other, confused and jump into the water without asking any questions. They swam after her as quickly as they possibly can.
As they dived in the waters to swim faster, that’s when Alder, Oak and Piscine spotted the creature. It was gigantic and it was swimming towards them. Piscine realized that it was the creature she saw that was watching her ship at the Other Waters and she was horrified. She swam faster along with the twins, getting on the nearest current to get away more quickly and get the creature away from Krakatoa as far as they can possibly can.
As the creature swam after them, it got swept up by the same current which made it go as fast as they were going. When Oak looked back, that’s when he realized it and kicked faster towards Alder and Piscine, pointing behind them frantically. Piscine and Alder didn’t need to look back to understand Oak’s frenzied body language, they swam faster than they have ever swam in their lives.
The boat carrying Captain Nay’s men stayed in one spot, witnessing all that just transpired.
‘Well that was weird,’ one of them said after a while.
‘Yep,’ one of the men who sat next to him replied. ‘I guess we row back, someone tell Brick that they might be on their way back to them. Better to hide, somewhere further maybe.’
‘Aye, got it,’ the third man answered. He took out a small box with buttons on it and when he switched it on, it buzzed back to life. ‘Brick, sir, they’re on their way back there.’
‘What? Anything happened?’ Brick says, his voice a little static.
‘They’re being chased by the creature. The gigantic harmless one that you told us of. I would like to respectfully suggest that we move the ship a little further away. There may be a possibility of a fight. I repeat. Suggesting to move the ship further away from original coordinates, possibility of a fight. Please inform us of new coordinates,’ he reports.
‘Thank you. South east, four miles from original coordinates, we’ll meet you there, Moe, Larry and Curly. Over and out,’ Brick transmission ends.
‘And we just got here,’ Moe complains as they start to row back to their ship.
‘Where’s south east again?’ Curly asks and Moe hits him on the head with the map.
‘To the right!’ Larry answered and Moe hits him on the head with the same map.
‘Use the compass!’ Moe tells them both.
‘What compass?’ Larry and Curly both asked.
(Written for 2013 NaNoWriMo.)
(Written for 2013 NaNoWriMo.)