After a sudden run of work, I’ve finally had time to write some more lockdown fiction to the Improbable Press prompt this week!
The ocean floor is made of bones. The earth’s great rocky bones of quartz, mainly, but others too. The calcium of shells and skeletons, the structures of coral and whales and clams and the great ichthyosaurs.
And soon, too soon, my own, down on the deep ocean floor where light is a blue memory high, high above.
Shapes loom back and forth across the distant glow. The salt water above me is my sky, filled with clouds of fish, the floating zeppelins of cetaceans, the arrows of hunting sharks.
Above that deadly drowning sky swells a whole other ocean of air and clouds, traversed by shoals of birds and the hurtling winged ships of the firmament.
I thought I would miss the blue sky more; that I would long for the stars. But the ocean is full of little living lights, worlds of them, twinkling bright, enticing curious fishlings, curious humans too, into danger.
Leaning against an inky shadow made of stone, wedged underneath it in fact, is my own shell, my carapace, the interlinking hexagons of my undersea habitat. A seaquake had thrown it, slow-motion and roaring with sound for the squids to hear, into a whirlpool and onto the rock, and cracked it like a crab shell.
The science that was my excuse to be here spilled out into the silky beach of ocean bed. I spilled too, in my submariner suit, in my helmet, my oxygen tank on my back. A hermit with my borrowed shell.
The air runs low.
My gaze lifts high. To the soft blue glow of that other world above.
I sent my latest readings and reports. I sent a message to that other world.
A farewell message from this alien world. From this heaven.
I am sad only that I will not be here to be in love with everything I see.
But I am at peace, because I will be part of the place that I love. I will be part of the ocean floor: teeth and skull and the phalanges that held delicate instruments and the spine that curled into warm blankets as I slept blissful in the womb of the world.