Sunday, December 07, 2008

Ammonites


“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

14 comments:

Rick said...

What a wonderful excerpt, Vesper. Has this been published yet, or is it something you're still crafting? In any event, I look foward some day to reading it in its entirety.

Catvibe said...

This is wonderful and magical. I love the images you put up with this slice.

Aine said...

I love this!! I'm a bio geek at heart... science mysteries (even fictional) fascinate me. I'd love to hear more of this story!

And the pictures are wonderful!

laughingwolf said...

more, please :D

nudder gooder, v!

BernardL said...

I liked this descriptive interlude. It makes me want to know who 'I' is, and whether they're on a boat, sub, or at a Marine world looking glass.

Charles Gramlich said...

This is pretty weird. I had a dream about ammonites last night. I dreamt that they had a civilization in the oceans long before human kind came on the scene.

Sarah Hina said...

I love that feeling of having seen something miraculous, and then questioning its truth a moment later. It makes me want to seek it again! :)

Very intriguing snippet, Vesper. I, too, feel plunged into a wonderful, watery mystery.

the walking man said...

Flabbergasted is a wonderful word, by using it you set up so much emotional pacing in a solitary sentence.

You do know that sailors who go below the sea in submarines are very twisted individuals, don't you?

Vesper said...

Rick, thank you. I'm still working on it. I thought it was finished but I realised I needed to change a few thing. I hope you can read it someday... :-)

Thank you, Catvibe. Yes, I loved them too, that's why I couldn't choose just one. :-)

Thank you, Aine! A bio geek at heart... yes, me too, mainly if there's the sea involved... :-)

Huge thanks, Laughingwolf!
:-)

Thank you, Bernard! The fragment is a bit too short... they're on a sub... :-)

Maybe they did, Charles. There's a novella by Robert Silverberg, "Homefaring", one million years in the future, where intelligent lobsters and octopuses have inherited the Earth...

Thank you, Sarah! I will always fall for a water mystery... :-)

Mark, thank you. "Flabbergasted" - yes, it fills my mouth and my mind...
Twisted, are they? :-)

L.A. Mitchell said...

Such vivid detail. I love the word "ochre", too :) Lovely.

jason evans said...

A haunting image. Those creatures moving through the open water.

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

What a wonderful piece of writing, Vesper - so very vivid and alive!

I'm reminded of snorkelling amongst some squid earlier this year, so strange how they follow you backwards, beadily watching your every move, yet so shy when you try to approach.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

(I don't know what happens to my comments - they simply disappear sometimes.)

The undersea is so graceful and serene, but also frightening.

What a captivating excerpt, to what I am sure is an even more absorbing short story. I loved the image here. The writing and the image work so well together.

Vesper said...

Thank you, L.A.! I'm glad you liked it. :-)

Jason, yes, fantastic as the seas always are for me, those ancient seas must have been... well, out of this world...

Vanilla, thank you so much! Snorkelling amongst squid - wow, what an experience! :-)

K., blogger does strange things sometimes... Thank you for your very nice comment. It is very much appreciated.