Six weeks out and still we have yet to fill the freezers even a quarter full. The fish are gone. It is like they have been scared away by something.
My Papa showed me how to use the fish finder last week and when I told him I saw nothing he thought I was not working it correctly or that I wasn’t working hard enough. The thing does not require that much work! Why should I not use it to its fullest? I like twiddling with machines anyway. It beats swabbing the deck down.
We had given up on the tuna out in the Atlantic fishing runs and had come back in through the Straights of Gibraltar to fish in the ‘Med’ for a time. We figured we might as well scoop anchovies since the bigger fish were not biting. But, no anchovies or sardines either!
My Papa looked at the fish finder and was amazed and appalled! He, in his near 45 years of fishing, had never been to sea and not seen schools of anchovies and sardines in schools as wide as the surrounding sea. For miles there would be so many schools together that they became one giant school! This would attract the bigger game fish like the Blue Fin Tuna and various sail-fins and swordfish, etc.
But, no fish! Not even the small ones!
“The sea has gone cursed! Have the Poseidon Eyes peeled off from the bow?” My father asked as he went to check on his special ‘lucky charm’ paint job. The two ‘Eyes of Osiris’ he painted on the front of our boat were a superstitious tradition going back 3000 years, at least.
It was believed that this was to show respect to the ocean gods and that this gave the boat living eyes with which to ‘see’ where fish were and where rocks were not. The boat was considered living once it had its eyes and would work much like a horse, using its instincts to help the sailors through tough situations and to find good fishing.
Something that seemed attached to my ‘missing time’ from the cove tells me that there is a lot of truth to the old practice. Something ‘appreciated’ my Papa keeping this old tradition alive. This is yet another very strange deja vu feeling I have been getting lately. I seem to be half remembering things from the ‘missing time’. Perhaps my working out on the sea has helped. Perhaps my Great-grandfather was right about what I am doing. That it is ‘bringing me to where the Siren is calling me’.
I detest hope, though. When there is none it only works as the worst mental torture on a lost soul such as mine.
In any case, per my Papa, the Osiris Eyes were still bright and cheery. Our boat is ‘seeing’ just fine. But, still no fish! With luck, perhaps the eyes will fail to catch the rock upon which we can dash ourselves and sink. Then, at least, this terrible empty feeling in my heart will be gone.
What a dark mood I have been in lately.
The endless days of doldrums, chill winds in August, and fishless fishing nets are wearing on me worse than it is upon the crew or my Papa. They just carry the burden of not coming home with fish to sell. I carry the burden of my particular madness AND that we could go poor this winter not having money from a good catch.
My Papa might loose the boat if he has to sell it so that we have enough money to eat and continue to pay the taxes and insurance on our home. Papa owns the home back in Arizona, but still there are many expenses.
I am contemplating all of this when I feel the boat list and bob from a stray wave moving in the wrong direction against the current. The strange ripple looks like a bulge on the sea’s surface and it makes a wake like a gigantic Δ (delta). The wake must be close to a mile wide and it moves so fast!
“Ah. That might explain a thing or two.” My father says behind me and comes to my side looking at the Δ with his binoculars.
“What does it explain, Papa? What could it be?” I am fascinated by the phenomenon as I have never seen anything like it before that I can recall.
“It is a tsunami. A strong one too. It heads for Corsica or Sardinia. Poor bastards. The fish have gone into hiding because they must have sensed its coming. Somewhere somebody has had a very bad day I am afraid. May God have mercy upon them, whoever they are.” Papa crosses himself in the Orthodox way with his Greek cross around his neck. He kisses it and puts it back under his shirt.
“You think maybe it was an earthquake somewhere? Somewhere close?” I suddenly become worried about the family back on Crete! What if another horrible earthquake has struck there! We’d be too far off to help!
“Would our family be in danger, Papa?” I say with a bit of panic in my voice.
“They are on higher ground like most sensible places built on the island. This will not trouble them much. It was angled in the wrong direction anyway. It is going north. Crete is due east of here.” My Papa says with the masterful dead reckoning of an ancient mariner.
“What of an earthquake?” I am still worried about that on Crete! They are all too common and always a great danger.
“Well, the wave was coming from the south so it probably didn’t originate from east of here. I’d say something shook in Tunisia or even out in the Atlantic somewhere. These tidal waves travel for thousands of miles so it could be hard to say. Only that it would have had to be thousands of miles to the south or west. Not east.” My respect for my Papa grows at that moment. He is so very knowledgeable about these things!
“How did you come by all this knowledge, Papa?” I expect a pat answer like ‘experience’ or something, per usual, but . . .
“National Geographic Channel. You should watch more. Very interesting.” My father says as he turns away to possibly radio in and get a report on the tsunami.
But, that is when something incredibly strange happens.
The great tsunami wave turns and makes an about face . . . right back at us! My jaw drops as I see the waves thrash and crest against the rapidly turning tidal wave. Can tsunamis do that?
“Um . . . Papa?” I call with more than a little fear in my voice.
“What now?” He answers me gruffly, but then gasps as he sees what I am seeing!
“Mother of God! EVERYONE HOLD FAST! BRACE FOR IMPACT!” My Papa, with a speed and strength I did not know he still has, throws me to the deck and lashes a rope around me while again the boat lists as the turning tidal wave bunches up to crest along our port flank!
Suddenly the boat is tossed about as if caught in a sudden hurricane! It tosses and tilts and yaws violently from the power of the water! The top of the cresting wave breaks over the side and crashes down on Papa and I! I hold fast to the rope as my body is jounced and bounced off of the rolling deck beneath me!
I think for sure I will drown! But I don’t! It is like I can suck the water in and have it pass right out of me! My legs feel funny for a second like I can’t pull them apart but then, as the chaotic wave clears its wash, I feel ok again. Well, maybe not ok, but not with ‘stuck legs’.
As my vision clears my first thought is of Papa! I look around . . . but cannot find him! Had he not lashed himself to the deck as he had done for me?
“PAPA!” I call frantically! No answer!
“PAPA! WHERE ARE YOU? PAPA!” I manage to untangle myself from the rope and get on my feet a bit, though unsteadily, to see if I can find him. But I cannot! He is . . . gone!
“Zorba! Apollo! Quickly! The captain is missing! I fear he may have been washed overboard and . . .” and I never get a chance to finish the sentence.
As Zorba and Apollo surface from the hold to begin searching the boat for Papa, two HUGE slithery things reach out over the side of the boat and grab both men! They scream horrifically as toothed suckers bite into their flesh bloodily and then they are gone, pulled over the side and into the now churning waters.
I fall to my knees and then prostrate myself with my face pressed to the deck! I do not want to see what I have just seen! I do not want to believe what my own eyes have just told me they’ve seen.
Those had been two giant tentacles that reached up out of the sea to grab my two good friends and drag them into the sea to their deaths!
“Aaaaalexxxis!” I hear a far off calling! Is it the maddening sea calling me again or is this a real call?
“Aaaaalexxis, HELP meeee!” It is Papa’s voice!
I scrambled up again and attempt to get my footing though the boat is being tossed about again even more violently and by what I cannot . . . WILL not imagine!
I see my Papa some yards off trying to tread the frothing, turbulent water of a sea gone mad! I quickly grab a life vest and by some instinct born of something inside I didn’t know I had, I dive head first into the water to get to him.
Just as I do I hear a great crash behind me! I hit the water and slip right in under the waves like a dagger. Upon surfacing I spare a look back and see that where I had just been standing on the deck is where an even more monstrous tentacle has smashed through the boat . . . cutting it completely in half!
Other tentacles, it seems like hundreds of them, reach up and out of the water and take the two halves of the boat. They then proceed to rip the two halves to pieces like someone ripping up and crumpling paper!
“Al-exi-s. Can’t . . . stay afloat m-much longer!” I hear the panic in my father’s voice! He is drowning!
I turn away from the wreckage of our lost boat and with a speed and dexterity I never knew I had in the water I reach my Papa and quickly inflate the life vest around him!
“Ohhh! Thank you my son! That is much better! But . . . where is yours? Oh my God? You did not get one for you too?” Papa starts to try to take the vest off himself to put it on me, but, for some reason, I neither need it or want it so I push it back on him.
I am quite comfortably buoyant in the water despite its churnings.
“By God! Alexis! What is wrong with your neck and . . . and how are you staying afloat? Why do you have that ghastly greenish pallor? Whatever is the matter with you?” My father looks at me aghast!
I feel my neck and there . . . I feel three large gashes on either side! I think for a moment that I have been injured grievously, but . . . as I pull and push on the ridges I feel my breath stop and start! It is like holding and releasing my nose!
These are . . . GILLS? What the hell!?
In my excitement I fall backwards into the water and try to kick my legs, but they feel stuck together again or that they have become one piece! That’s when a great beautiful tail fluke rises out of the water in front of me as I lift what I think are going to be my legs!
“Ahhh!” I yell with a start! I have a tail? I kick down and my tail fluke slaps the churning sea just like a porpoise might do!
“By all that is holy!” My Papa looks on my tail and its shimmering blue and green scales, so much like a fish’s, and he does so with such horror! I will never be able to get that expression out of my memory!
“My poor Alexis has been bewitched! This is the Devil’s work! Something terrible happened to you that day on that cove! Curse me for ever bringing you to that island of abominations! Now you are . . . a monster!” My Papa’s eyes flutter and then he passes out.
In fear I reach out to him to feel a pulse. He still has one, but for how long I do not know! What am I to do?
Then, I feel a weight on my brow and my eyes go out of focus and in my mind I see something! I see something huge under the water . . . coming for us!
The TRUE monster is now hard upon us! It is coming at us from underneath many fathoms under the waves.
By instinct I grab my Papa who is still unconscious. With impossible strength I slap my tail down into the water and speed away like the porpoise I have come to resemble. We move fast away from where the terrible sea beast is about to breach!
Not too far away behind us I look back and see wriggling tendrils reach up where we had just been. They are searching for us, but we are not there to be found!
I feel the weight on my brow again and reach up to feel what is there and my hands touch metal and stone. A second after I’ve touched the stone I get a distinct urge to swim westward as fast as possible! I see, in my mind, a small island where I can land my Papa and perhaps get help!
I swim and I leap out of the water and splash down over and over, carrying my poor father beneath me! The thing on my head has me jerk sideways really quickly and when I look to where I had just jerked away from I see a huge tentacle swat the air!
The monster is right behind us!
Back and forth I turn and duck all the while trying to keep my father from going under the waves while skipping off their surfaces.
Unfortunately, even at my speed and with my unbelievable strength in the water I am tiring fast! I had hoped that the island my head stone was showing me would be close. But, I despair that I will not reach it before the beast wears me down and then have us. I am so mortally afraid! The panic brings new surges of strength to my aquatic limbs, but even those frantic surges are dying away rapidly!
The slight laps in my speed is all the terrible beast behind me needs and I feel the suckered paw of the creature hit and take hold! I stop short, nearly breaking my back! The pain of the wrenching stop to my flight is enough to cause me to scream and let go of my poor Papa who is thrown from my grasp a few yards away! Fortunately his life vest holds and he remains afloat.
The tentacle pulls upon me relentlessly and irresistibly. I am caught and I can’t get away! I start to wail in terror and my wails can even be heard underwater! Under the water they sound like strange echoing peels of song!
My sounds seem to have an effect on the hideous giant squid-like creature. For that is what this thing looks like! Some colossal squid as big as an Aircraft Carrier!
Upon hearing my cries underwater it lets me go!
Stunned and submerged I find that I can see better underwater than above the water! I can breathe more easily also! All of this I take with familiarity like I’ve experienced all of this before somehow!
Before me looms the great squid! It has drifted away from me by several hundred yards. It has turned it’s enormous bulk around slowly to face a huge glowing yellow eye at me and it blinks! The blink . . . seems so familiar! I’d seen that before somewhere! But how? This thing shouldn’t even exist! How can I have remembered it at all?
It raises two of it’s longer tentacles on either side of it’s head as if in some kind of greeting. These are the very ones with which it had managed to capture me.
It then lets go a flurry of lights and color changes that completely dazzle me! The colors are a chaotic but beautiful jumble of pinks, purples, light blues, and light greens. They are all ‘happy’ colors! I am sure I am going mad! Then . . .
“Allleeeexiiiis!!!!” I hear from the surface! Papa!
I manage to pull my eyes away from the hypnotic sea beast just in time to attend to my Papa’s call. I look back warily at the creature but it makes no move to follow me.
Satisfied that its pursuit seems to be inexplicably over, I dart off back to where I hear my father calling. I surface and see that he seems to be in a bad way! He can’t seem to stay afloat again and I see why: his inflatable vest did NOT hold. It has been punctured and is losing air quickly! Maybe one of the creature’s tentacle teeth managed to tear it open? Whatever the cause, my Papa is again in danger of drowning in the rolling sea.
I manage to get the useless life-vest off of him and get him to wrap his arms around my neck as tightly as he can. Satisfied that he is positioned on my back securely, I smack my tail down and we move forward yet again. I remain submerged in the water, this time, so my Papa can keep his head up to breath.
I look up and I see the island in the distance. Finally, it is in range!
But, alas, my strength was already faltering when I was being chased by the giant squid. Now my Papa’s added weight is slowing me tremendously and we seem to be fighting mighty swells as we try to swim toward the island. After an hour of fighting the sea I find that I’ve made very little progress in reaching the island in the frustratingly short distance.
Determined, I struggle forth and I fight and fight to get ahead, but the sea relentlessly pushes us back. I can only get there if I submerge and get under the windblown movements of the sea, but then my Papa would surely drown.
Matters worsen as I notice the night is fast approaching. It will be much more difficult to get to the island if I can’t see it. What is more, the sharks may come. They often like to hunt by night and we will be easy prey for them.
I feel that time is running out for the both of us!
“Let me go, my son. Save yourself! You cannot make that island with my weight holding you back. As miraculously strong as you are now within the sea, you are not strong enough to tack the tide when it is against you. A ship of size would be hard pressed to tack against these swells (cough-gag). I am . . . swallowing too much sea water anyway. I may not drown but I will be sickened unto death soon anyway. You must leave me!” My father councils me weakly.
“No! There must be a way! There MUST be!” I will not lose him! I must try harder and so I do. But, it is to no avail. Papa is right, I cannot brook this tide. It is set against me and now . . . now night falls and the sea is going dark. My eyes, though enhanced underwater, cannot see great distances through the murk. I will now have no way of knowing if I am getting closer or farther from our salvation.
What is more, the tide will push us far away from the island if we do nothing. This too will doom my Papa.
Then, as I feared would happen, the sharks do come! I see them hunting for us and they begin to circle. I push on toward where I think our last heading was. I have no choice! The more we stall, the closer to death both of us come.
But, again, with my father’s weight I am no match for the speed of the sharks. They pursue and I know they will be on us in minutes if not moments! I feel panic strike me and the horrible thought of my actually abandoning my Papa crosses my mind!
“No! Never! You will not take us! We WILL survive this! I must have faith that we are guided!” I say to myself as much as to my father.
But then, my father makes the decision for me now knowing what danger we are in. I feel his arms slip from around my neck and he uses his remaining strength to cast himself away from me.
“PAPA! NO!!” I scream underwater. He does not make a move he merely allows himself to bob and sink as if he is already dead and then I see him no more! The shadows of the sea consume him and hide him from my sight.
“NOOOOO! PAAAPAAA!” I dart back in the direction I saw him drift away and I catch sight of him again. He is moving away fast! The tide we are in is indeed powerful! But I feel that I can get to him more quickly since I can go with the tide to get him.
That is when the shark comes between us and snaps at me! I deftly dodge the vicious creature with the speed of a schooling minnow, my headband again assisting me. But the shark is fast too and determined. It gives chase and I have no choice but to swim from it as fast as possible which takes me farther away from my doomed Papa! If only I could discourage the shark!
It comes close and snaps at my tail! I manage to thwack him in the head with my tail fluke hoping that will knock him off the chase. But, it only seems to make the shark angry!
It manages to match my speed and then pushes itself against my flank and I can feel the sandpaper of its skin cut into my skin. Blood enters the water! My blood!
I holler in terror and pain from the scrape as the shark comes around to broadside me with its serrated teeth! It is big enough and determined enough to bite me in half!
I try to dodge its snapping jaws but with each snap it gets closer to my midsection! Just when I am sure that I must be bitten in half and eaten alive, a vast tentacle ‘paw’ reaches up and yanks the shark away from me and down into the depths with lightning speed!
But, my bleeding has attracted the rest of the pack and I can feel now the fatigue fully setting in. I will soon be unable to breath through my gills and I will drown as surely as my poor Papa must have done by now . . . if he hadn’t already become a meal himself.
I shudder in absolute horror at that thought and try to push away the vision of my father being bitten and eaten alive by this pack of vicious predators.
This pause should have proven deadly to me as another shark comes in fast and I hear its jaws snap where my head would have been a second ago if not for the power of my headband causing me to duck. But then this shark too is nabbed by a tentacle from below!
Before long, a forest of tentacles attack and kill all the sharks in the pack. To my horror, I see that we were being hunted by no less than twelve sharks in this pack! It would have proven to be my certain death if not for . . . the Kraken! Finally, its name comes to my mind!
My nemesis has now become an ally. It has saved me from being devoured! Far below I see its colorful display and then I see it spread all of its many tentacles in a great wheel and collapse them. This thunderous clap causes the great squid to shoot off at unbelievable speed. I am reminded of a starship from science fiction movies as it enters light speed!
The wake the Kraken makes swells up from the deep waters and I feel the cold chill of the icy depths envelop me. The wake then pulls me strongly and irresistibly with it! I find myself surfacing. I panic that I will be lead so far away that I will never be able to find my Papa again.
But, such worries are irrelevant. I cannot fight the Kraken’s wake. It is just like the tidal waves my father had talked to me about. It carries everything with it, even against ocean currents.
It is then that I see something which does bring hope back to my heart for at least my own salvation if not my poor Papa’s. I see the dark shadows of the island loom above me. I smell the herbal richness of the land and can hear the sounds of teeming wildlife even above the rush of the tidal wave.
The wake’s swell has brought me right to the island at record speed. The Kraken has saved me yet again!
But, just as I feel I must reach the island and beach, my body suddenly gives out. The adrenaline rush that had kept me going all through this ordeal fades and I feel myself falling into unconsciousness from exhaustion. But just before blacking out entirely I feel hands take my arms and they gently pull me along. I hear voices that sound like women’s voices.
“By Poseidon! It IS him! Quickly! His gills no longer move! He may drown! Quickly sisters . . .!” the voices call frantically about the crashing of the cresting waves on a shoreline.
Then . . . peaceful oblivion!
But, alas, oblivion brings no true peace to me because I then find myself in a lucid dream.
Actually, rather than a dream I feel I experience a vision out of time. A vision that speaks to me as if a living being has come to guide me through my dreams to deliver a message.
So, my dream-self attends and I open myself to the message.
In this dream I have slipped again into a world of madness and the most maddening part of it all is that it is completely familiar.
So it is that I find myself back out to sea swimming effortlessly with my ‘Merboy’ body. I pass through schools of anchovies that tickle me as I swim along with them in their school.
A friendly whale comes by and does a vast pirouette beneath me in greeting. It then brings itself up close along side me and offers a flipper. I swim over and take hold and I ride along with him for a while with his vast tail propelling me faster than my little one can.
The whale moans something and it seems to be saying something. Somehow, in his deep music, I come to understand what he is trying to say.
“Nerites! He, it is that for thee, seeks. Thou, it is him, must thee find. Oceans, upset. Shores, beset. Shipmen, under threat!” The whale says in his strange way of speaking.
“His, it is wrath, he giveth.” The whale intones with deep sadness.
“Of him, knowing the danger he bringeth, none did!” He continues with fear.
“He, the Kraken, doeth control! None upon the sea, safe, are!” The whale says. Then I feel the weight of the stone and the headband again and I see things. Terrible things!
Ships of every size and shape have been destroyed all throughout the Mediterannean. Shipping has been stopped entirely through the great Sea and trade is suffering making the economies of the world falter. The news calls them terrorist attacks, but the seamen know that it is being done by a beast of legend all thought a myth: a giant squid known as a Kraken! Nothing seems to be able to stop it, not even heavy naval ordinance!
In other places, gigantic snow crabs attack oil drilling sites in the North Sea and smaller crabs engulf coastal towns, plaguing them with gnashing, pinching crustaceans that attack all they came near!
In the Great Barrier Reef, venomous cone shell snails creep slowly and insidiously into house boats and kill their residents in their sleep with poison packed jabs under the sheets!
Octopi in aquariums kill all the other fish in their exhibits and then attack their keepers!
Humbolt squid in Mexico tear swimmers to pieces worse than piranha!
It is like every seashelled creature and mollusk in the world has gone mad and gone on the attack.
The vision clears from my mind but I am still enmeshed in this dream-state. I find myself swimming into a rushing underwater current that quickly sweeps me away. The panic falls upon me, again, thinking that I cannot escape the current’s drag and that it is taking me farther and farther away from my Papa! It will be as if I have abandoned him.
“Do not fear. This is only a dream. I am with you.” A soft and mellow voice echoes through my surroundings. It has the effect of quelling my panic to a point of mere distress.
“Wh-Who are you? Why am I here?” I call into the watery void surrounding the swirling current taking me deeper and deeper into the sea.
“I am Morpheus. I need to show you something.” The voice says with the same even tone.
“What could you show me down here in this dark depth? Are you causing me to dream of my own death? I have heard that in dreams if you die then you die for real!” The feeling of panic creeps back into my voice.
“No. There is no death here. Only knowledge. Be at peace, Alexis. I am a friend. To you and to Him.” Before me what seems like the rippling reflection of a great man appears. He has long golden hair and penetrating gentle blue eyes. His raiment seems to be all dark colors that trail off into the darkness of the sea about us. His white face smiles and then he gestures with his long-fingered and ringed hand. He points toward a mound in the distance. It is more a solitary hill than a mound. It is the tallest feature on the sea bottom which is where the current has led me.
Being a dream I don’t feel the weight and pressure of the water on me. I only feel the coldness. It is so very cold down here. It is also incredibly lonely! I feel a great sadness settle on my heart suddenly.
I draw closer to the mound as it grows bigger and taller in size. As the murk of the sea clears I start to see definition in the mound. What I see holds me revolted and fearful all at once. Why this should bother me I don’t know. It just seems so . . . unnatural.
The hill sized mound is actually moving all around like flowing mud or even lava since it is predominantly red in color. The closer I come the more I can see and the more I see the more disturbed I become by the sight.
The mound is made of millions or possibly billions of crabs, lobsters, shrimp and other shelled creatures. All move about slowly so as not to disturb the critical stability of the living hill.
At the hill’s top I finally see perhaps the ‘him’ that Morpheus is talking about.
“AAAALEXXXIIIIIIS! AAAALEXXXIIIIIIS!” The person yells in a voice so much bigger than his body. It rings through the Sea as it vibrates through my soul. It is a voice filled with such heartbreak! I will never forget it.
It is the essence of the call I’ve been hearing every time I look at the sea. It is that very sound of someone crying out my name that I couldn’t answer!
Below me I look down on the sea floor and in greek letters I see my name forming in the sand there. This is written in the bodies of sea snails and slugs, creatures that can create calligraphic letters just with their bodies.
I find myself drifting closer to the man on the mountain of seashells and shellfish. As I draw nearer still I feel a tug at my heart of painful recognition. Something inside me cries but it’s like something that I cannot find.
He stands so beautifully against the deep sea behind him. He looks like a glowing star. His eyes shine particularly with green and gold diamonds that sparkle with electric tears. His hands are outstretched almost like some pantomime of the crucifixion while his long blond locks spread into the currents of the cold deep waters that swirl around him.
I look down his statuesque torso to find his legs and instead I see writhing tentacles that grip onto the shells beneath him. I cannot help but gasp in horror and wonder. He is half octopus himself, this being that I’ve longed for.
He does not see me as I approach his ‘throne’. I see the absolute anguish on his face as he grieves and my heart is moved to tears for him. I do not know who he is or why I respond to him, but his heartbreak breaks my heart too.
Then, behind him, something looms out of the shadows. Something huge! I draw back in terror as the twisted tentacled terror of the Kraken manifests itself behind the Octoman. Rather than fear the creature the Octoman turns and reaches a hand out to the thing as if he is asking for a hand to hold.
The Kraken obliges and reaches one of its many smaller tentacles toward the Octoman and then gently wraps it around his hand and arm tenderly. The Kraken flourishes with a network of gentle colors and soothing patterns. The man puts his cheek lovingly against the slimy appendage, but then looks up sharply into the eye of the great sea beast.
“Where? ALEXIS? He is where?” Excitement and hope bloom from . . .
. . . “Nerites!” I find myself say aloud.
The god’s head turns to face me, finally seeing me! An expression of transcendent joy transforms His once anguished face. As quick as thought He leaps from His mountain of shells and reaches to take me!
In His arms I feel complete.
But then my eyes open and I find myself on bare sand with a gentle and refreshing sea breeze blowing across my naked flesh. There also, rather than two sparkling diamond eyes filled with joy, I see a pair of aqua blue ones staring back into mine with suspicion.
“Wakey, wakey, my young friend. I would have you explain why you are here polluting my once pristine beach.” Pink lips curl into a smile. But if it is a kindly smile or a wicked smile I do not know.
“I am Pan. Welcome to my Floating Island.”