Preview: Cornish Fantasy

Tale of a Sea Creature

Andy sailed out of the bay, as he had done so many times before, on motor power, switching to sail when he reached deeper water.  Off to the open sea, his mind as always felt exhilarated and his heart pounded.  Soon he would be beyond the sight of land and out into a world where no-one could influence him, far less disturb his peace.

No rocks in sight, his boat suddenly lurched, rolled, pitched.  He glanced at his depth monitor - plenty of clear water beneath.  What was happening?  The erratic movements of the boat increased; he was thrown from port to starboard; waves from previously calm water crashed over the sides of his boat.  But beyond a few metres, the sea kept its flat, quiet surface.  Then the boat pitched some more and finally rolled onto its side.  Its ok, he thought, I am not far from shore; I am wearing my life jacket; the boat will float and I can hold on until I am rescued.  I will be easily seen by the coastguard and the lifeboats will be here soon.  I will be ok.

Yes, the boat floated but, despite his life jacket, he did not.  Down beneath the water surface, he felt in endless descent, eyes closed, tumbling in a whirl, surrounded by a constant cascade of bubbles that filled him with a sense of being enveloped in warm foam.  Fear consumed his mind; he knew he was powerless; his heart pounded.  Down further he went, now seemingly deeper than the sea could possibly be at that distance from land.  Drowning seemed inevitable.  But slowly, very slowly, the initial shock subsided as he realised that he was not dying because somehow he was still able to breathe.  He opened his eyes.

He was in air, not water.  Looking around, he could see the boundaries of a huge bubble enclosing him on all sides like a glistening glass sphere and beneath supporting his reclined posture like a concave, transparent lounger. Through the limits of his new world, the fish continued to swim, oblivious to any change in their watery world - the ultimate aquarium, enclosing him on all sides.  What should he do now?  

He lay still and pondered, probably for some time.  As the minutes passed, he felt increasingly safe for he was still alive and still breathing.  But what would happen next and what would be his ultimate means of escape from the ocean’s depths?  All he could do, he decided with deliberation, was to live for the moment; as long as he was seemingly safe and breathing and there was no prospect of doing much else, he should cherish what he had.  But, as time passed, it moved increasingly rapidly.  In one minute, his thoughts cascaded in a way that would normally take an hour.  So much passed through his brain.  Problems were for the future, immediate or later; it was obvious what they would be: yes, escape from his watery containment but also, even if its safety continued for ever, how would life’s needs be provided within this bubble?  The tsunami of thoughts gradually drew to a stilling close.  What nonsense - where was he; how had he got here; and why was he not yet dead?

And then - the ultimate climax (if that is what it was) - that which no fantasist, novelist or playwright could imagine as a truth.  An abstract shape in glowing white appeared behind one of the glassy limits of his new underwater world.  Not a fish, not a seal, not any living creature that his mind or possibly any human could imagine grew closer to his bubbly sphere.  And more remarkable yet, without disruption to its integrity, the wall of his submarine enclosure was transgressed by the being, now yet more luminescent.  

Its image was now clear.  Its abstract form took on detailed shape and its ghostly whiteness changed to colour.  He scanned its form from top to bottom but with difficulty despite his urge to understand, if indeed he could.  His mind absorbed with anguish and uncertainty and the staring, penetrating and magnetic eyes of the creature disrupted any conscious analysis.  Eventually, in the space of just a moment, everything became suddenly still again and he began to think clearly.  He looked again but now with undisturbed vision.

    C    © Harvey Sagar 2013