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
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 breathe properly.
“What is going on?” I cried, turning round in Zeth’s grip.
He smiled at me. “The wall you destroyed was holding up Atlantis.”
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
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 water.
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 angrily.
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 tight hug.
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.
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