Lies Beneath the Surface

“A storm is coming” Lani announces

“What are you talking about?” Cosmo snorts “I don’t see anything”

“The Wind is changing. A storm is on the horizon. Do you see the darkness upon the edge of the sea?”

Cosmo grumbles, “Every time I stare out into the ocean I get an awful headache. How do you even see out here?”

“I was made for the sea, my friend, but these also help…” Lani moves a fin and hands Cosmo two violet semi-transparent halves of a sphere. They fit perfectly in his paws.

“What are these?!” He asks the turtle, incredulously.

“These are glass pieces sculpted from the translucent husk of an ocean snail that resides at the depths of the sea we float upon. They were a gift from my mother. All my brothers and sisters have one. It helps with the brightness. Try them on.”

Cosmo moves to place each glass over one eye and secures them with a strap that fits right above his ears. They are surprisingly comfortable.

The sea immediately changes in color, and suddenly Cosmo can see beneath the surface of the water.

“What are THOSE?” The panda shouts, pointing at shapes moving beneath the watery surface.

“What are what?”

“Those giant fins swimming underneath the ocean!” Cosmo continues to shout “How TERRIFYING! Where they here the whole time?”

“Of course they were! Do you think things aren’t there just because you can’t see them?” Lani replies with a terrible smile.

This thought is quite unsettling to Cosmo and he refuses to think about it a moment longer.

“Will we find something to eat, soon? I’m terribly hungry. ”

“You’re changing the subject, my friend. Don’t you want to know what it is that you see?”

“No, not very much.” The panda replies honestly

“Very well”

A minute goes by in excruciating silence, before Cosmo breaks it, “Alright, tell me. What are these monsters under the water.”

“They are not monsters. They want to be left alone, most of the time, and sometimes they are hungry. Just like you.”

“I’m not nearly as frightening…”

“You think your fur and teeth aren’t terrifying to creatures born beneath the water? Most creations want to live in peace and only make war to eat, nest or to mate with another…” Lani continues, “These are Gamma Rays. Be very careful to not touch them. They carry immense energy and touching them may kill you.”

“ARE YOU SERIOUS! You told me they weren’t dangerous!”

“I told you they mean you no harm. Is anything in life without danger?”

Cosmo becomes lost in thought on hearing this until he is brought into a sharp appreciation of the current moment by almost being launched from Lani’s shell.

“WHAT IS HAPPENING?” Cosmo bellows out over the water.

“Hold on, my friend! The storm is coming. We’re going to take a dive.”

“What? Lani, wait! In there?!”

“Beneath the waves is the only safe place to go. You must trust me. Here we go!”

“WHAA-” Cosmo’s shout is lost to a gurgle of sea water as Lani dives and takes him beneath the surface of Light.

Turtles All The Way Down

“I am the son of the great sea,” Lani repeats, patiently. “You see this ocean? The one that washed you up on this beach?”

“I can barely look at it. It’s so bright it gives me a headache,” Cosmo grumbles.

“All sea turtles are children of the great ocean. My grandfather tells me that the ocean itself sits upon the back of a sea turtle. Our great, great-grandfather, so to speak.”

“Well, that makes no sense! What nonsense! Old people are always telling stories.”

“And you can learn from them, if you’re willing to listen,” the strange and colorful turtle replies.

“The old people or the stories,” Cosmo snorts.

“Both, really.”

Cosmo flares his nostrils and stalks off, making an effort to walk briskly, which takes great effort with his full stomach. “Better to be alone than sit with this crazy person who believes in fairy tales,” he mutters to himself. After some strides his pace begins to slow and he gives up in exhaustion, deciding he’ll turn back. Even a crazy person is better company than being alone. He is surprised to find Lani swimming beside him, comfortable in the bright ocean of blinding light.

“I can show you what I mean. Would you like a ride?”

“Excuse me?”

“I’m on a journey. I must be on my way. Would you like to come with me?”

“I don’t know how to swim,” the panda replies, wanting to cry.

“I will let you on my back,” the colorful sea turtle offers.

Cosmo smiles, and climbs onto Lani’s beautiful rainbow colored shell. “Let’s be off, then.”

“Good.” Lani smiles, and rides into the open sea.

Laniakea

“Would you like something to eat?” The panda offers.

The shape is silent again, then speaks, “No thanks.”

“Suit yourself! I’m starving.” Says Cosmo, searching frantically for a rock to crack open the hard fruit. He finds a suitable one and upon successful opening begins to drink greedily as a milky water flows from the hair covering the fruit’s hard shell.

The voice waits patiently while Cosmo finishes his breakfast, biting into the bright delicious interior beneath the shell. When he looks up again he sees that his friend has emerged from the water and has crawled to lie next to him, revealing the form of a very colorful sea turtle.

Cosmo was surprised at the form, unable to see anything previous against the ocean’s light.

“You may call me Lani. What is your name?” The turtle speaks, kindly, seeing that the panda was at a loss of words.

“What are you?” Cosmo demands, incredulously.

“I am Laniakea, son of the great sea, but you can call me Lani. What is your name?”

“Um, my friends call me Cosmo. You can call me Cosmo.” the panda replies, uncertain at how impressive he’s being. “What do you mean you’re a son of the sea?”

A Journey Begins

Cosmo wakes with his face pressed into sand. It feels coarse and unwelcome. He shakes the grain from the black and white hairs of his face and moves to stand, falling back upon the ground.

“Ouch!” He shouts, confused and grabbing his head. In a compromise he decides to sit and looks out to an endless sea.

“Where am I?”

He closes his eyes and listens to the water rushing against the beach. The ocean is too bright to look at and was giving him an awful headache. After what seems like an eternity he opens them.

”Beautiful. Have I never been here before?”

The panda decides to have a look around, and upon moving realizes he is hungry and begins to search for something to eat. In the distance he sees a tree with some promising looking fruit and moves toward it. The tree looks flexible and strong. Strong enough to climb, at least, and Cosmo doesn’t waste another moment.  He scales the full length of the strange tree in less time than it took him to stand.

“No motivation like being hungry,” he thinks.

He knocks all the fruit he can off the flimsy branches until he’s satisfied enough to climb down. As he begins his decent Cosmo sees an unfamiliar dark spot in the distance, blotting out some of the ocean’s light.

”Hey!” He shouts hopefully. “Come over here!” “Please,” he mutters pathetically. “I don’t want to be alone, anymore.” finishing mostly to himself.

The dark spot sails over, becoming a larger blotting of the light. It doesn’t speak a word, and Cosmo is able to make out a large circle of dark on the bright ocean which he still finds difficult to look at for very long.

“Hello,” The dark shape says.

“Hello,” Cosmo replies with a mix of confusion and excitement.

“Where am I?”

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