A/N: Thank you so much to
HollyJaye for tweeting a link to this story- I appreciate it a
LOT! Thank you so much for your support!
I didn't realise we were hurtling to the surface until we broke
through it, bursting into fresh air. I gasped gratefully, my
lungs revelling in the tangy taste of oxygen that hadn't grown
stale and unpleasant underwater.
While my body adjusted to being able to breathe properly, I took
in my surroundings. We were out in the open sea, fifty merpeople
heads poking out of the depths, all staring at something with
eager, hungry eyes and mocking grins.
I followed their gaze, and choked.
Atlantis… my home! I buried my face in my hands, but unable to
bear not knowing what was happening, I looked up again. The
entire island was sinking, at a sickening rate into the consuming
sea, which swallowed it impatiently. As it lurched forward, I saw
goats running to the other end, desperate to escape. I could not
"What is going on?" I cried, turning round in Zeth's grip.
He smiled at me. "The wall you destroyed was holding up
Before I could take this in, he carried on, his tone so
malicious, so spiteful that it seemed toburn me inside. "We had
been trying for years to soften that wall, to break down the
supporting pillars of Atlantis, but to no avail. Until I met you-
the final piece of our plan. I knew you were different from the
beginning, but I didn't realise that you had quite those powers
inside you. And I also didn't expect you to actually make your
way to the wall and destroy it with so little effort on my part."
I choked, struggling to comprehend quite what I had done. Already
I could hear the screams of people crying out in fear, and it
tore at my soul. I, Airla, an Atlantean had played a huge part in
bringing aboutt the destruction of my own country.
Zeth looked at me, watching my despair, and no doubt revelling in
it. However, I thought, or perhaps I imagined, a small hint of
dismay in his murky eyes.
I turned to look at Atlantis. "Why?" I whispered, hoarsely, not
expecting him to answer.
"Because merpeople always hated Atlantis," he replied. "Always.
Do you know how wonderful it is to live in sunlight? No, you
don't. Humans take it for granted, they ignore the warm rays
which they can bask in, ignore the sweet smell of grass, the
colour of the sky."
I stared at him in disbelief. The merpeople were jealous?
"We can't stand back and just watch you enjoy all this. We want
Atlantis for our own use. So we decided to sink the island, so it
would sit on the ocean floor for us to live on," he continued,
his eyes never leaving my face. Other merpeople were nodding in
agreement around us, I realised.
"But… what about the people who live on Atlantis?" I queried
tremulously, on the brink of dissolving into tears.
"Ha. Do you think they really matter to us? Weak little children
who cannot thrive in water? We will let them die in the water."
As Zeth spoke these words, he clicked his fingers, and I noticed
sleek, shiny fins rising up from the water, dark shapes roaming
around under the water. Sharks.
Zeth reached down to pet one, and it snaked around his fish tail.
"We've always been friends of the sharks," he smiled, slowly.
"Have the Atlanteans?"
"NO!" I screamed. "Please, no! Don't do this!"
Zeth seemed to enjoy my horror and repulsion, and held me as I
thrashed against him.
"Now, now Airla," he said, patronizing me by using a tone I'd
often heard harassed parents use with their children. "I wouldn't
want to accidentally let you slip now, would I?"
He loosened his grip around me, letting me fall a little. My
heart flew into my mouth, my fear not helped by the sharks, who
werethrashing their tails menacingly.
I screamed again, and he laughed, motioning for the sharks to
back off, which they obeyed, silent as the grave.
"What are you going to do with me?" I asked timidly, when my
heartbeat had slowed a little,though I still trembled.
Zeth grinned, obviously he had been waiting for me to ask that
question. "I'm going to deliver you back to the island, back
home. You've done what we needed you to, I now have no further
use for you."
I gulped, and fixed my eyes upon the Atlanteans, racing around
the island desperately. They grew closer as Zeth swam me towards
them, and as he deposited me on the fast sinking edge, he patted
my back. "Enjoy this." he said sweetly, and slipped into the
I ran up the grass, it was sinking slowly, and the gradient was
tiny, but my legs were so tired from all I had been through that
it took me longer than I thought it should have done. Atlantis
slipped toa watery grave with afrightening speed. The sharks
beyond me were no doubt licking their lips. If they had lips.
This is not the time to debate if sharks have lips! I told myself
The other Atlanteans saw me, and though most of them stared
indisbelief,someone ran out to meet me. Solo.
He reached me, pulling me up to the highest point of the island
where the others had gathered, and immediately pulled me into a
Everybody clustered around us, asking incoherent questions,
confused and terrified.
I pulled reluctantly away from Solo's embrace, though he held my
arm, as if to make sure I was staying there.
This was going to be hard- I had always hated being the centre of
attention, but I had to explain.
"As you can probably see, Atlantis is sinking," I began, and
carried on to explain the whole story, as briefly as I could.
When I mentioned how I had destroyed the wall, I received a lot
of surprised looks, and people began muttering.
I looked desperately at the Spirit leader, hoping he would help
me out. He strode forward, and described what we were. Some
people didn't look as surprised as I had expected, but Solo
gasped, and looked at me for confirmation. I smiled weakly, and
Atlantis lurched as more of the island became submerged.
I carried on with my story, more urgently now, and when I had
finished I had got into the swing of it. "Atlantis is going to
sink," I stated, "and there is very little we can do to stop
that. But we must save ourselves, from the sharks, from the
merpeople, and get to land somewhere else. There is nothing else
we can do, or else Atlantis will become the stuff of legend, like
the tale of Rapunzel, the story of Rubin and Tari and the
horse-men, or the other myths we have been told. Let the
Atlanteans live on!"
Everyone cheered, enthused by my speech, and Solo beamed at me.
Strangely, though I had explained my part fully, detailing how I
had foolishly trusted Zeth, nobody pointed the finger of blame at
me. I was surrounded by the warm love of my friends and family,
and it was better than any blanket or camp fire.
"Then let us fight back!" I yelled, and as I looked at them all,
faces buoyed up with enthusiasm, I felt a tiny spark of hope
flicker inside my chest.