“The Aijan Codes, 2: Murky Waters”

I shook my head at the thought, allowing bubbles to flutter around me before rising to the surface. Eyes wide and heart pounding like a ritual drum, I propelled myself far away from the spot. The lively coral neighborhood now stood at an arm’s length. A school of small, silvery fish swam through my hair as I was clearly providing an obstacle course with my presence. One tickled my neck with its slick scales. I wanted to laugh, but I couldn’t risk giving away my position again. Those three could likely be hovering close by in the air, planning their trap.

Disadvantages screamed in my mind. Then, the coral pricked my hand. I recoiled immediately, almost losing a breath of sweet air. An idea took form. Slowly, my hand and back slid onto the coral, ignoring the discomfort while allowing my skin to take on the appearance of the limestone-covered reef. Medium tan skin was replaced by vibrant reds, browns, and colors in-between which seemed as though a sponge created the colors. My black clothes stood out from my multi-colored body, but I quickly recalled that they could be mistaken for shadows. At least, that was the best I could hope for.

I gazed toward the surface, where shadows stood. Just shadows. No one breached the ocean surface, both comforting and alarming me. Surely they did not give up. All Qi Merovan databases spoke of their ruthlessness, their determination, and tendency to exhaust all possibilities despite their likelihoods of success. There was chance that this was their plan. Likely benefits were clouded from me. That is, until pressure in my chest began to feel uncomfortable. My skin may be able to adapt fairly easily, but the rest of my being was left as fragile as it was on the land. Every passing second, my lungs begged for air and took revenge on me by making even less tolerable pain than before. Details of reef life blurred, even the salty sensation that had taken residence in my nose and mouth.

The surface seemed to be my only option. The road to safety and utter destruction lay at my fingertips.

Turning over my arm, I tried to convince myself of the better choice. Three symbols were embedded there, each one defining Qi Merovan traits I embodied and had to protect. If I were to be lost now, they would be protected, but never see the light of day again. Was it worth the guarantee?

CONTENT BY BRIANNA G HARTE

Copyright © 2015 BGH. All rights reserved.

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