Onyx shows Sebastian her mesmerising underwater world in the final part of my sci-fi/fantasy short story
As Onyx opened her mouth to speak, the gaping pothole above their heads began to close up the way a flower does when it snows.
“NO!” the man cried out lifting his arms in the air while trying to hoist his body above the water. He crashed back down into the inky waves as the vacuum completely vanished from sight.
For a few minutes the pair bobbed upon the ocean’s surface in silence. The man shook his head in dismay while Onyx looked on sympathetically. She then reached out her hand and offered him a warm smile.
“My name is Onyx,” she said softly. “And to answer your question, I’m an aquan.”
As the girl spoke, Sebastian noticed thin slits running down the sides of her neck that moved as she breathed. He gasped, realising what they were.
“Are you some sort of mermaid or something?” he asked, bewildered.
Onyx shook her head.
“No. Mermaids are from fairytales, which is exactly where I thought humans were from…”
Before the pair could continue, the bionic dolphin that Onyx had been chasing a day earlier burst out from the water’s surface and began to float. A large section of its metallic flesh was missing and a thick black substance oozed out of it like pus from a wound.
Onyx’s cold blood ran even colder as she realised her mechanical friend was no longer functioning. Tears poured down her cheeks the way a waterfall crashes against the side of a cliff.
The sensitive girl reached for the dismantled dolphin but was stopped by Sebastian.
“Don’t touch it!” he yelled, “that stuff is poisonous!” Onyx pulled her hands away and turned towards the handsome stranger.
“You know what this stuff is?” she asked, her eyes narrowing.
Sebastian turned back to the dolphin, which sparked a little and made a whirring noise where the oily substance was coming from, before falling silent and sinking back into the ocean.
“The Waste,” he said simply. “The toxic leftovers from our world.”
A chill ran down Onyx’s spine as she realised the human was connected to the mysterious darkness that had spilled out of the sky.
“I’m sorry,” he continued, “I didn’t realise…” Onyx stopped Sebastian mid-sentence by lunging forwards and landing her mouth on his. It wasn’t exactly the response he had expected, but he wasn’t complaining…
Sebastian quickly realised however that it was not a kiss he was being treated to by the mesmerising sea dweller. He flinched in terror as he felt a slimy, worm-like form being passed from Onyx’s mouth into his. The thick shape slid down his throat and into his lungs where it broke into two smaller slugs.
“There,” she said softly, “now you’ll be able to breathe.” Onyx took Sebastian’s hand and pulled him beneath the crashing waves.
The pair shot through the water like an arrow, passing the kaleidoscope of neon pastel shades that made up Onyx’s world. Sebastian held on to the girl’s grasp tightly, amazed that he was breathing the ocean in and out rapidly without drowning.
By the time the duo reached the seafloor, Sebastian was in complete awe of his surroundings. A beautiful, fluorescent palace stared back at him. Its walls were made of thousands of tiny crystals, glimmering the way pearls do when set free from their oysters.
“Where… where are we?” he asked in wonder. Onyx stared back smiling with an enigmatic glimmer in her eye.
“Welcome to AQUATICA,” she said, “my beautiful home.”
As Sebastian walked upon the seafloor beside his new-found friend, he stared up in amazement at the glistening fortress. Its towers twisted and intertwined the way tree branches do in an overgrown forest.
The beauty was so astounding that it took Sebastian’s breath away. In fact, the very fact he could even breathe underwater was blowing his mind. It truly felt like he had died and was entering the gates of Heaven. Perhaps he was?
“So you see,” Onyx said suddenly as she turned to him, “all of this beauty will be destroyed unless you take the darkness away.” Before Sebastian had a chance to respond Onyx continued by saying:
“Come on. There’s one more thing I’ve got to show you.” With that, the beautiful aquan took the human’s hand and swam upwards with him, out of AQUATICA and into the inky abyss of the ocean.
Eventually the pair reached the surface of the sea once more to greet the night’s sky. The milky moon shone down on them radiating mystical beams of light that lit up the ocean’s skin like a glistening canopy.
“Shh,” Onyx said holding her finger towards Sebastian’s soft lips, “can you hear them?”
A faint humming in the distance rapidly got louder and louder until the sound of the whale’s song was undeniable. Onyx helped Sebastian climb up onto a large rock the size of a small house that stuck out of the water. Neon algae covered the boulder like luminous slime wrapped around a gigantic stone.
“Here, look…” Onyx pointed towards half a dozen whales that were bobbing along the water, singing in unison. Their song an electronic whine that managed to mix natural beauty with auto-tuned perfection.
The pastels of the daytime were replaced by an illuminated blend of toxic greens and vivid cobalt as the enormous robotic mammals glided beside one another. As they swam, fountains of glitter shot from their blowholes like steam from geysers.
As Onyx took Sebastian’s hand in hers, he looked up to the stars and shut his eyes listening to the peaceful electronic murmurs. In this moment he felt what true happiness feels like.
Suddenly, the sky opened up once again to reveal an enormous levitating cave hole. This time though, The Waste was nowhere to be seen.
“I knew it,” Sebastian said, “they’re coming back for me.”
He pulled his hand away from Onyx’s and turned towards the vortex.
“ I need to go and put things right.” He reached forward to kiss Onyx softly on the lips. She threw her arms around him to not only prove that the feelings were mutual, but to prove he would not be going alone.
“I’m coming with you,” she said indisputably.
“No,” Sebastian replied pulling away, “it’s too dangerous for you there. I need to go back to make sure they don’t destroy your beautiful world. And to make sure they don’t destroy mine.”
He reached up towards the hole in the sky and began to lift himself up.
“Don’t worry; I’ll be back for you soon!”
As Sebastian pulled himself up into the beckoning entrance of the wormhole, Onyx grabbed hold of his foot and pulled herself out of the water. The pair were both sucked up into the hole before its mouth shut abruptly.
Then the night was still once more, with nothing but the sound of mechanical mantras echoing out from the circling whales.