The wiser, older Atlanteans always gave the 'young ones' endless
pieces of advice, clasping our hands and nodding sagely at every
Mostly, we disregarded the scraps of sayings and mumbled phrases
as out dated, out of fashion nonsense, but occasionally, a small
pearl of wisdom found its way into their speech and we all found
ourselves listening intently, and treasuring it.
One of those sayings that was often repeated had come from an
elderly women, as wrinkled as a dried piece of fruit, with pale
clouded eyes. She told a group of giggling girls about my age,
rejoicing over the latest engagement that true love should not be
thought out or tried too hard to gain. It should sparkle in the
air like cobwebs in the early morning dew, and glitter like the
sea dancing in the sun rays. It should not be a game to play,
where one person always wins.
This piece of advice won the hearts of most of the girls (and
probably the boys too, yet most of them claimed it was feminine
wishful thinking that needed to be disregarded- except for Solo,
who I noticed ducked his head and smiled to himself, as if
holding a secret to his chest like a baby, and when I quizzed him
later, he refused to answer, his cheeks flushing a shade similar
to that of a tomato.)
It was quoted too often to count, by the girls who thought of
little else but clothing and romance, and by the worried mothers,
alarmed at their daughter or sons choice in partner. I had never
had reason to have it quoted at me, or to quote it at anyone
else, but it came to me as I got up four days later.
Zeth's conversation had been on my mind ever since I had left
him, and thinking back, I was appalled at how brazen and over
confident I had been. The initial awkwardness I usually
experienced with strangers hadn't seemed to have been there.
Hm. Is that normal?
I sighed, pulling my clothes on wearily. The chilly morning
seemed to have worked its way into my bones, and I was as stiff
as a rag doll. I stretched my arms up uncomfortably and blinked
sleep away from my eyes. My head was aching with thoughts, and I
felt strangely out of place, as if I should be somewhere else,
I sat down on my mattress with a thump as this stupid feeling
overwhelmed me. Why couldn't I be normal and happy like the rest
of the Atlanteans? Why was it I alone who had these disturbing
feelings that something was amiss, that misplacement trembled
beneath the foundations of the island like earthquakes. I rubbed
my temples, trying to think through my emotions. They were
irrational- Atlantis would always be here, always. Nothing could
change that, we were safe. But as I told myself this, I could not
help but think that I was lying to myself. Something didn't feel
right, but I couldn't place the feeling, or justify it, so I kept
it to myself and suffered in silence.
I desperately wanted to be as carefree as the others my age, to
have such joy in life, and though I acted as though I was, inside
I ached with the burden of this feeling. It could not be ignored.
I turned my thoughts to Solo, in hope of release, and though a
smile flashed across my face, it was a sad smile, for I could not
help but think about how short a time I had to be with him.
So I thought of Zeth. He could have no worries, he could swim
away from danger as soon as he had feelings of worry. I rested my
head in one hand, and looked down at the neatly swept floor,
every tiny speck of dirt catching my attention. I frowned.
My heart seemed to be yearning for the freedom Zeth had, the
safety he could experience, the knowledge that he could escape
Now I was being stupid. Of course he didn't feel completely safe.
There must be hundreds of fearsome creatures in the sea ravenous
for a Zeth sized snack. I shuddered at the thought.
Perhaps I would go and ask him. Yes, I decided, and before I
could change my mind, made my way to the bay where I had met him
only four days before.
He rose up from the waves as soon as I got there, a wide grin
plastered boyishly on his face.
"Airla! You came back!" he pushed himself up on a rock, and
My feelings of discomfort shrunk down into non existence. I
beamed back at him.
"I was waiting for you, all this time." he murmured, as I came
I blushed, not being able to think of a response.
"How are you?" he asked, smiling still.
I nodded, still unable to form words.
"Where's your voice, kyria?" he asked curiously, "You certainly
weren't this quiet last time we met."
I opened my mouth and tried. "Well, erm," I cleared my throat.
This was just silly. "I… Zeth, do you ever feel scared of… this
whole place? Don't you ever want to swim away? Is it just me that
thinks one day the whole of Atlantis will sink or something? Is
He broke into my string of questions with a shocked look.
"Arketa! Where did those thoughts break out from?"
He still looked horror struck. Oh great, I thought, miserably,
now he thinks I'm a complete freak.
"Atlantis is completely safe," he told me, "I'm sure of it. Trust
He reached out and grabbed my hand in a firm clasp, and my
worries soaked through me, into him like I was a sponge being
I looked at his emerald eyes wearily, and sighed. "I'm sorry,
Zeth. I'll shut up now."
"No! you've got to let it out sometimes, kyria," he squeezed my
hand in a comforting way, and I smiled at him.
"Why do you worry?" he asked, and slowly I found myself
describing my life, teling him all about what I did on a daily
basis (omitting the fact that I was a spirit of course) and
detailing how happy everyone else was, so stupidly happy that it
seemed to be naivety.
He frowned at the appropriat moments, smiled at others and when I
was through, he gave me a warm hug and departed in a hurry.
His abrupt exit surprised me, but I was glad of it. I was close
to telling him thast I was a spirit, which couldn't have been
I sat there, holding back tears for another silent minute, until
I decided I had better be going. Zeth was gone, and my life must
revert back to what it had been before.
I got up, shook out my skirts, and walked to the top of the
beach. I turned the corner before I reached the house I lived in,
when Solo flung himself at me for a hug.
"Whoa!" I took a step back as I caught his weight.
"I was so worried where you were," Solo stood back up, looking
uncomfortable. "Where do you keep disappearing off to?"
I looked away from his honest face, feeling like a liar, an
"Nowhere. Just by the sea, you know."
He frowned, and reached out for my hand. I snatched ine away,
remembering how Zeth had held it.
He gasped. "What's happened to you? Where is my elfa under this?"
His elfa? I could not meet his eyes, and shuffled away awkwardly.
I could not bear to argue with him, but I could not tell him. He
would not understand.
If I told him, he would think Zeth was evil, I just knew he
would. And I couldn't bear to be separated from seeing Zeth- he
made me feel so wanted and loved inside.
I turned back slightly, to see a sight which made me ache inside
Silver tears streaked down Solo's face as he watched me go with
sorrowful eyes. I had made him cry.
Suddenly I was overwhelmed, and I ran, far away from the pain I
had caused with my deception. Tears spilled down my own face, and
they would not stop. Oh what had I done to him?