Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Chapter 4: The Blanket Octopus

I looked down at the water below me. It was clear and blue and poorly lit. I sighed and tapped my flippers against the cement I was standing on. I was feeling a bit nervous this evening, which really wasn’t like me…

It was night and the zoo was closed, but there was still a guard lurking around. He didn’t usually come down this way, but I was still feeling on edge. Once I jumped into that water, I was out in the open with no hiding place. I took a deep breath, said a short prayer, then dove in.
I swam down through the tank, being sure to keep my breathing steady. I had a full tank of oxygen on my back, but I didn’t want to use it all up right away because I was breathing poorly. I glided along slowly, glancing out of the tank as I passed. The only lights on in the room outside were small wall lights. None of them were shining on the tank, but a light from above shone down and illuminated the water with an eerie glow. I swam farther down, my muscles tensing.

I peered through the water and shivered. I wasn’t a fan of the dark, and the water just kept getting darker and darker the farther down I went. Where are you, my pet? I wondered as I took another breath.

As if to answer me, a dark shadow suddenly shot up through the water. I flapped my arms and legs madly, completely surprised by the creature’s appearance. My heart beat loud enough for me to hear it, and I put a hand on my chest to try to calm it down. I realized I was inhaling quickly and began to slow down my breathing. Once I had calmed down again, I closed my eyes and sighed. I opened my eyes again when I felt something touch my arm. The giant creature had come down to ask if I was all right.

You scared me. I said, turning to face the beast. She just swam past me, as if to say that she knew that all ready. She came back quickly and rubbed her head against my abdomen. I reached my hand out and pet her as she went past me.

Why were you so on edge? She asked, floating a few feet away from me. I shrugged.

I had an…interesting day… I replied. I tried to seem nonchalant, but I knew she wouldn’t buy it.

Riiight… Well, I scared the living daylights out of at least forty people today. She beamed, twirling through the water.

I’m glad that makes you happy. I said dryly, rolling my eyes. She giggled and I realized again how much of a child she was. I have some really good news, though. I continued as I swam towards her. She stopped spinning and looked at me.

What is it?

I’ve found someone who might help us. I replied with a smile. She stared at me quizzically for a moment. I might finally be able to get you out of here!

I dunno… I kind of like it here… She said softly. I stared at her, shocked.

You only like it here because you can scare people. Think beyond that! I can take you back to your home, back to where you came from. I said, swimming around her. Think about it--open spaces, more food, maybe you’d meet a nice guy… I continued, smiling. She sighed.

I just… I don’t know how I would do out there…

You’d do fine. I’d be there to help you. You know I wouldn’t just leave you to fend for yourself.

Yeah, I know… I just…

You’re just what?

I’m scared.

I stared at her, taken off guard. My eyes filled with pity as I swam towards her again. You’re completely healed now, I said. There’s no reason why they should be keeping you here, and you don’t have any reason to be scared. She looked down at her long tentacles.

I know… But I’m still scared… Just like you were scared when you dove into the water. You didn’t have any reason to be scared, you just were. She said, looking up at me again. My eyes met hers and I felt my heart breaking for her. She didn’t deserve to be in this box… She deserved to be in the ocean, off the coast of New Zealand… And she didn’t even realize it.

We’re going to help you, and it’s going to be okay. I promise. I assured her, placing my forehead against hers. She sighed and looked up at my pitifully.

Okay… She said softly. I smiled. Just then, the beam of a flashlight caught my eye. I gasped and she turned to look. The guard was coming.

I’ve got to go! I said, swimming upwards hastily. She spread out her tentacles to try to hide me from view as she swam along with me.

Okay, don’t get caught! She called when I reached the top of the tank. I poked my head out of the water and began crawling onto the cement outside the tank. Once I was out, I turned around and waved to my friend.

I’ll talk to you later, but I’m not sure when… My schedule just got a little busier. I said with a sigh.

That’s all right. Just don’t get caught! She called, turning up to look at me. I smiled then jumped up. I removed my flippers then dashed off to put my diving gear away. I was feeling much better after a talk with my little sister, even though I had almost been caught…

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