Sunday, December 07, 2008
“Wait,” Jude said mysteriously.
Puzzled, I pressed my nose to the porthole. Without apparent reason, the water was clearer now, and brighter, as if sunshine penetrated the upper layers. There were immense algae around us – brown sargassum - their wide serpentine bodies undulating with the current. The corner of my eye caught a glimpse of a darker shadow. A fish, I thought, but had no time to ascertain this before it disappeared.
And then I saw them, a group of them, six or seven, passing right in front of the porthole, their coiled shells huge, striped in vivid ochres. A live diorama, I thought flabbergasted, for a second having the weird feeling I was at the museum. They swam backwards, their spotted mantles wavering with the small jets that propelled them. I saw their eyes, eyes of squids, inquisitive, and half-scaredly clutched the medallion at my neck. No Nautilus lived in sweet waters, and not in our lake; none was two feet big.
Short of breath, I turned to Uncle Jude, only to see him stare at me with an exuberant gaze, which seemed to be bursting with the question “So, what do you say?” or something like that. But my mind couldn’t form coherent words, not yet, only the buzz of excitement in a hollow of disbelief.
I pressed my nose to the glass again, but they were gone already, their tentacles disappearing swiftly at the edge of my field of vision.
excerpt from "Time of a Dive", a short story