Moonlight fell in silver shafts onto my bed as I lay wide awake. The night had grown old and weary since I had first attempted to drop off, and now my head was aching with trying to sleep.
I knew it was probably my thoughts that were keeping me awake, but I could do nothing about it. When I began thinking, very little could make me stop.
And what was I thinking about tonight? Gifts. Every spirit was meant to have a Gift- some special, miraculous ability that defied the laws of nature. When I say meant to have a Gift, I mean that
every spirit excepting myself had been born with a Gift. The only Gift I seemed to have was insomnia, I often thought grimly.
The Gifts varied in strength, and in usefulness- the unwritten hierarchy of the group of spirits meant that the stronger the gift, the more influential the spirit. The talents covered
everything, from being able to draw water from bone dry earth, to being able to knit at the speed of lightning. The last of these belonged to my mother, who was often bemoaning the fact that others
could do such amazing things, and she was stuck being the champion knitter twenty seven years in a row.
I just wished I actually had a Gift myself. Sometimes I wondered if I wasn’t a proper spirit at all, but of course I was. Just... disabled or something.
But what exactly was a spirit? The name spirit sounded far too similar to a soul, or brought up pictures of angel like beings for my liking. To be honest, we were not that different to humans, only
Gifted. All of us could glide a little, though it was nothing spectacular. I was one of the better gliders, and I could only manage a couple of metres before I ground to a halt. Another thing that
set us apart was that our blood ran clear, something which had often puzzled those who did not know about us. For example, when I had been younger and had fallen, grazing my knees, only what had
appeared to be water had run from the slight wound, confusing the kindly neighbour who had come to mop me up. It had ended up that our secret had had to be explained to her in hushed tones,
which had irritated those who wished for our identity to be kept a secret to as many as possible.
We also had no shadows, but strangely enough, people didn’t seem to realise this. Perhaps it was because we were so careful in sunlight, or maybe it was simply because the Atlanteans were an
unsuspecting folk, and even if they were suspicious, too considerate to point it out.
I got up from my small mattress on the floor and tiptoed silently across to the closed window shutters, only a few tiny gaps in the wood letting the soft moonlight steal through.
I flung one open and at once a breeze of fresh night chill swept into the tiny room, followed by lustrous moonlight. It poured through and enveloped me in a delicate silver hug.
I stayed there, leaning carefully on the window sill until the sun rose, and I heard the rare click of dolphins dancing in the sea. Ah. Another thing. Spirits could talk to animals too. It wasn’t
as good as it sounded, to be honest. Animals didn’t like the eeriness of talking to us, it made them uneasy and suspicious and they usually shied away like frightened rabbits.
However dolphins were amongst a few animals who weren’t afraid at all, in fact, dolphins in particular were so silly and over excited that they made excuses to chat to us. And right now, I felt
like talking to a few enthusiastic creatures.
I slipped out of the window with ease and ran to the edge of the island through the dewy grass. Clicking my tongue, and stretching my mouth into a wide ‘eeee’ I called to them, and they tumbled
over joyfully, leaping into the early morning sunrise, warm light glinting from their sleek grey backs.
“Airla!” They had their own special whistling sound for my name, and it rang across the smooth surface of the sea. The dolphins, as usual were quite hyperactive and turned somersaults in the
aitr as they came closer. A torrent of dolphin speaker hit my ears like two solid fists, telling me of their latest doings with unnecessary detail, how they had raced, who had won, and when, and
where. I felt drowned.
“The sea is warmer today!” piped up the smallest one, whose name was Leap, “Come and swim!”
“Thank you, but no,” I replied politely; thankful that at last they had quietened a little. “I cannot, I’m afraid.”
“Please!” they all whined as one, their mouths stretching into a wide dolphin pleading smile, tiny triangle teeth glinting.
I scrambled across the rocks, and looked down. The tide was in and the water was deep and dark, The dolphins didn’t seem to care, they were thrashing about like young children in a bath full of
“I would love to,” I lied (the water looked icy and unpleasant, but I couldn’t be so rude about their home) “But unfortunately I can’t.”
The dolphins looked dejected, but soon cheered up when i suggested they showed me their latest flips and tricks. I tumbled back over the rocks, not wanting to be splashed.
The dolphins somersaulted in a white spray of froth which framed against the rising sun looked like a beautiful painting. I clapped, and made what I hoped were approving noises (with animals, you
could never be sure, and it was very easy to get it wrong.) Thankfully, they were even more excited that I was enjoying it, and began doing every trick they could think of. I sat down on the still
dewy grass to watch my own private aerobatics performance.
When the sun had fully risen, I regretfully got up to leave. They were sad to see me go, but when I promised to return soon, they cheered up and danced away, still as hyperactive and crazy as they
always were. My sleepless night was forgotten, blown away by their happiness, and a smile was glued to my face. With a skip in my step, I slipped back into the still awaking village and felt as
happy as the sun shining warmly on my neck.
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