4개월 전

I love this time of the year when they visit. Large billowing domes with intricate entrails exiting behind them, tapering in delicate transparent veil like jelly. I believe you call them Barrel jelly fish. It is dawn. The water is dark outside my window, but the hint of light is seeping in and gradually growing stronger. On land, the clouds in the sky would have a pink shade. I float out of my bunk and stretch. I need to swim to the hill that overlooks the deep valley, where I will see the jelly fish migration. Last year, they passed there in their thousands, for days. The mass of pulsating bellows with long entrails moving in gyrating motion mesmerized me. I remember my sisters joining me for several hours but they lost interest and went back home. It is my mother who came out and pulled me away from the hill and back to the house at dusk. I swim out into the yard. My fin feels stiff after a good night’s rest. A dash to the hill, about a kilometer away, will stretch me out. Suddenly, I shudder as Moka, my octopus, gropes and starts wrapping his many limbs around my midriff in his endearing good morning hug. I draw in water and jet it at him out of my gills, hitting him with a steady jet of warm water. He loves that. I pat his rubbery head and with a gentle shove, I disentangle myself from his grip. I swim off at speed to my outpost at the hill. Moka follows eagerly, sucking in and billowing out copious amounts of water to swim after me, his limbs trailing after him. It takes about four minutes to swim out to the hill. The usual creatures are out and about. In the faint light of dawn, I make out an Orca which swims away from us. They know not to think of merfolk as food but mom would scold me if she knew I was out here and the big fish was lurking nearby. They are known to harass lone merfolk by herding them out into the open sea. They would then play around the unfortunate fish-man, nudging and bumping him dangerously. The poor guy would die from exhaustion trying to swim away from the pod or from collapsed gills as a result of the bumping and rough play of the animals. This one is passing by and swimming on to catch up with its pod mates. I’m out of breath when I get to the ledge overlooking the valley. My rib cage is heaving as water gushes out of my gills which open and close rhythmically. Unlike land men, I have gills which are located in what you call the lung cavity. The gill slits are located between the ribs. Moka catches up and melts into camouflage on a rock as his dome heaves up and down. He too is catching his breath.  We settle down and peer into the abyss. There is nothing to see in the dark except the distant flashes of the fluorescent eels as they retreat into the deep, away from the light of dawn. The current is gentle. The sea weeds sway gently to and fro. Moka’s eyes scan the environment. I love his impersonal gaze which seems unseeing, yet seems to look right through whatever he is looking at. He is my guardian out here so I don’t need to keep looking around. He has my 360. He is to me what a dog is to land men. The sun is up. I can make out the boulders that dot the lip of the drop. The resident fish are swimming out to revel in the new day. I look up and down the length of the valley expectantly. The jelly fish must be nearby. I’m not sure which way they will appear. Suddenly, a large figure looms out of the deep. The spherical tawny coloured membrane stretches and squeezes in gentle rhythm as ropes of frilled beautifully woven cords trail out beneath it. These ropes are thick and turgid. They taper off into transparent delicate veils that trail along, undulating in rhythm to the giant dome. The sight is so breath taking and astounding. More of the giants float into view, moving like an army, each pulsating and moving individually but seeming to be in concert as a group. I want to swim up to the closest one, to take a closer look, to touch and feel the smooth membranes of their domes, the thick cords and delicate veil like membranes trailing behind them. My dad told me they are harmless. They don’t sting or attack merfolk. I take a moment to take in the beautiful sight before swimming off to join one giant. Moka stirs on the rock and flashes a crimson shimmer. I stiffen and look in the direction of his gaze. The warning shimmer cautions me to the presence of land men. We are forbidden from making contact with them. I crouch behind the rock on which Moka is wrapped and peer at the jelly fish. Moka is back into hiding in plain sight. The shimmer was brief, just intended for me. I spot the land man. The clouds of bubbles coming from the air canisters on his back are the first give away. His dive suit is black with luminous stripes of yellow. He is swimming alongside one giant, obviously lost in concentration. Moka gazes on, invisible on the rock. The land man swims past, alongside the gentle giant. I should swim back home. There could be more land men in the midst of the jelly fish. I’ll have to come out again after some hours. Just then, I pick up mom’s ping. She is calling out to me. I ping back. The pings are out of the hearing range of land men. Even their sonar cannot pick it. As the human figure fades into the gloom, I nudge Moka. We swim back home. I can’t wait to tell my father about my encounter with the giants and the land man. 

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