Avi stood on the shore and watched, hypnotized by the waves as they relentlessly crashed against the rocky beach. With a lilting rhythm, the ocean swelled out slowly before hurling itself back in again. He timed his breath with the water’s movement. Inhaling while the waves went out, exhaling as they came in. He felt that he and the ocean were breathing in tune with each other.
In. The salty cool air filling his lungs
Out. He exhaled while a briny mist blew into his face.
He loved watching the frothy sea foam churn itself around the smooth glossy pebbles at his feet. This was his favorite place to visit yet he hadn’t been here for several years. His parents lived up the cliff overlooking the beach. Their home, safe from the sea and its destructive forces sat overlooking the water. You could see it well from their kitchen window. Avi would eat breakfast while staring at the mysterious currents that traced lines across the surface. Sometimes calm, other times choppy. And always there were ships. Big cruise ships, small sail boats, tankers and kayaks alike, passing back and forth while he gazed out at their crisscrossing wakes.
This day, standing on the shore, he felt a closer connection to this environment than ever before. He had been watching a lot of super hero movies lately, and found himself daydreaming about Aquaman, the hero of the sea. What would it be like to dive beneath the waves and not have to come up for air? To swim at ultra-high speeds ripping through the marine environment with no fear or difficulty? To communicate with all the creatures and fish, using only his mind? His pulse quickened as he imagined having these powers, losing himself in the fantasy.
“I wish I was just like Aquaman” He said out loud, to no one but the wind.
He was roused back to reality when a particularly sneaky wave came in farther than the rest and flooded up around his ankles, soaking his socks and shoes.
“Shit” he swore, stepping back from the waves icy reach, shaking as much water off his feet as he could. As the water receded, he saw a curious round piece of white coral, left behind amid the usual black and grey rocks. It was quite shiny, with iridescent sparks glinting through it. Avi bent down and picked it up. Holding it tightly in his hand he felt a surge of adrenaline pulse through his body, almost as if the coral was filling him with electricity. He sensed a strong pull coming from the ocean. As if it was begging him to wade out into it. Avi bent down to remove his wet shoes and socks. As he slipped off his pants, the cool sea air whipped at his legs. Quickly he tore off his jacket and shirt and began to walk into the water. As the first wave reached his toes, he stopped. The water felt warm! Warmer than the outside air, almost like a nice bath! He quickened his pace and was amazed by how little resistance his legs had in the water, almost like he was still walking through the air on dry land.
“This is nuts!” He proclaimed. The water was past his waist now. He looked back at the shore and saw his pile of clothes, his bright yellow coat against the dark backdrop. They seemed so far away now.
A surging wave came through and lifted him up off the ocean floor, he lay back and let it carry him further from land. Turning over onto his stomach, Avi took a deep breath and dove under the surface.
The world below the waves was lit up bright like a bustling City. He could see every detail, every fish and crab for miles. Kicking his legs, he felt like he was wearing flippers, speeding through the water faster than he had ever swam. And best of all, he didn’t feel the need to go back up for air anytime soon. Almost like he had grown gills and could breathe under water! His wish had come true. From his spot on the beach, the sea had heard him and granted him these powers. This was a dream come true.
Avi spent the next hour exploring underwater. He saw all manner of marine life, coral, ancient structures and sunken ships. He never felt tired or the need to surface, not once at all. Swimming deeper, he spotted some whales, a small pod of humpbacks moving gracefully beneath the waves. Coming up along side them, he looked over and smiled as the largest of the group peered at him with one enormous, wise eye.
“Hello Avi” a voice appeared in his mind. Startling him as he looked around for the source. He realized that the voice came from the wale beside him. It looked at him, almost smiling.
“Yes, you can hear me, you can hear all of us down here” the whale explained.
“Awesome! This is the best day of my life. I am so pleased to meet you, all of you” Avi replied with his mind.
“My name is Elor and this is my family” the whale pointed a fin to the rest of the pod. There was a female and three calves swimming next to Elor.
“Nice to meet you Avi” the children and wife said in unison.
“Nice to meet you too!” Avi replied enthusiastically. This was amazing.
Suddenly, Avi felt a tingle race up the back of his neck. A sensation that screamed DANGER! He looked around, thinking some shark or other deadly sea creature may be lurking, waiting to attack.
“Look up” Elor said grimly as he and his family began to dive deeper.
There above them was a large looming shadow cast by a boat on the surface.
“It’s a whaling ship, they have been tracking us for a while now. We must head deeper to avoid them. Good bye Avi”
Elor and his family began to sink away in to the dark depths. They would have to come up for air soon, and the whaling ship would see them surface for sure. Avi felt so much anger and hatred towards the boat, he turned and charged for the hull, hoping he was strong enough to sink the ship and put them out of business. He braced for impact as he neared the hull, putting both his arms straight out in front with tightly balled fists, like Superman flying through the air. He felt no pain as he pierced the ships bottom and flew up through the boat into the air above it. The ship’s crew looked up at him with shocked faces as he floated in midair above their sinking vessel. Avi decided to punch a few more holes in the ship, just to be sure and plunged himself back through the deck, tearing it apart.
When he was finished, Avi floated a few feet from the boat, watching as it fell to the ocean floor. He could hear the men calling for help, treading water above him, but he had no sympathy for them.
“Murderers. You can drown for all I care” he thought. In the distance he saw Elor and his family surfacing for air, happy that they were free of their pursuers. Avi smiled. He was Aquaman now. He would protect the sea and all its wonderful creatures.
The water began to grow darker, as the sun started its descent for the day. Realizing that it was getting late, Avi sped for shore. His family would be wondering about him and he didn’t want to cause a panic.
Nearing the shore, he saw his wife and mother pacing back and forth around his pile of clothes. They were searching the horizon and calling his name frantically. He popped up above the surface and waved, calling back to them.
“I’m over here! I’m OK!” He smiled and started in towards them. He felt odd using his vocal cords again.
“Avi!” his wife shouted. “What the hell are you doing, it’s freezing, you’ll drown!”
When he was in shallower water, Avi stood up and began walking. It seemed like he was moving so slowly now. He trudged towards his mother and wife, smiling and waving.
“I’m ok, it’s alright” he said. The look that came appeared on their faces stopped him in his tracks.
“What are you saying? Are you delirious, those aren’t even words? Get out of there you must have hypothermia!” His wife started wading in to retrieve him. Avi didn’t understand, he was speaking perfectly wasn’t he? Gradually, he felt a pain tighten in his chest. He wasn’t breathing. He needed air. Gasping, he quickly dropped to his knees and plunged his face below the surface. His breath came flooding back.
“Oh no! What is happening? I can’t breathe out of the water?!” Avi stood back up, testing his lungs. He sucked in air through his mouth, but nothing happened. He dropped back into the water to catch his breath, heart and mind racing. His wife and mother were rushing out into the waves, very panicked thinking he was drowning.
“This isn’t good, what do I do, how do I get my lungs back?!”
He felt his body being lifted from the water, an arm under each of his. His mother and wife had pulled him up and were carrying him to shore. He tried to fight them, but they had already dragged him onto dry land and he had become very weak.
“No, please, leave me in the water” he wailed, but his words came out like gibberish, bubbling and warbling out of his lips like a creek gurgling across jagged rocks. They had him on the shore now, his wife attempting CPR. He was getting weaker, thrashing hopelessly around under his mother’s forceful grip. They tried to get him breathing again, but no air seemed to be getting to his lungs. Avi clawed towards the sea, desperate to get back in the water, but they kept pulling him back.
As the darkness closed in around him, Avi wept in a language they couldn’t understand. His wife screamed at him to breathe, his mother stroked his forehead, tears falling from her eyes. The waves reached desperately towards him, trying to offer their help, but each time they fell short.
Before his eyes closed for the last time, Avi saw Elor, breaching through the air on the horizon, his family shooting spouts from their blowholes into the air around him.