Black Petals Issue #72 Summer, 2015

Ocean Life

Mars-News, Views and Commentary
Brutal-Fiction by A. M. Stickel, Editor
Chaos in Corollary-Fiction by A. M. Stickel, Editor
In Dreams, There Is No Time-Fiction by George Gad Economou
Nuncapisco-Fiction by A. M. Stickel, Editor
Ocean Life-Fiction by Lael Braday
Onward Traveler-Fiction by Kathleen Wolak
The Beach House-Fiction by Roy Dorman
The Weeping Man-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Poetry & Prose by Alexis Child
Poetry by John Frazee
Poetry by Denny Marshall
Poetry by Jeffrey Park
Poetry by Dr. Mel Waldman


Ocean Life

By Lael Braday

A spirited exploration (Editor’s Favorite!)



Every night I walk into the ocean. It smells of dead fish. My breathing is suspended as I enter the briny realm with open eyes. My feet carry me through the to and fro of the endless waves. I descend farther each night, encountering new and amazing creatures of the sea. I look for a sea spider, but they are much deeper, and many nights from now.

On the seventeenth night, I stop to watch a humpback whale pass, its left eye peering back at me as it glides by. Although the deep sea is darker than a human eye can penetrate normally, I have no problem seeing all before me as I move down the ocean floor. Every so often, a drop-off preempts my next step and I float down gently to the next level. On my return, I push off the bottom to gain a higher level. It’s relatively effortless: simply bend my knees and push to float gracefully upward. On these nocturnal visits into earth’s life force, my arms never move. They fail to swing, as ordinarily they would simulate pendulums while walking above on terra firma. My arms remain rigidly straight by my sides for the entire descent and return.

Upon my arrival on land, I immediately revert to human land-walking mode and swing my arms, smiling at land creatures on my way back into the house. Smiling becomes necessary without the buffer of a marine atmosphere. Sea animals find it superfluous. None of them smile; few move their arms. Most don’t even have arms.


Before my transversal, I was not kind to my partner. He showed his love in ways I didn’t understand, causing my anger to fly at him without thought. I would argue with him about the silliest things. One of our ongoing fights was about the use of a geometric term for the transition of life beyond death. Transversal means the crossing of a line over two parallel lines. His explanation eluded my grasp. The crossing of the parallel lines of life and death are distinctly clear to me now, for I am still here to observe him, although he cannot see me. There are times that my desire to pet him overrides my understanding that this action startles him. My relief at touching him crashes against the incomplete sorrow that is always in my heart. Sorrow brings one closer to death, out of the limbo that is transversal. As long as my sorrow is incomplete, transversal’s power to touch both lines of life and death keeps me in my spirit form. I wait for him.

In my oblivious life, the only thing that got through to me was death. I never understood why certain creatures succumbed and others did not. My thought was that they were not in the right place at the right time, or they were not in the right state of mind. I made sure to notice any death around me, even that of the tiniest insect. My research led me nowhere. Nobody really knew enough about it. Scholars speculated. Psychics fabricated contact with the transversed. Surprisingly, doctors remained silent.

Perhaps I could lift the fledgling who failed to fly back into its nest for a proper transversal. At first, I thought I was successful, but moments later, realized that it was only the typical death aura that surrounds young beings as they cross over. When our beloved pet of two decades grew sicker, day by day, the veterinarian told us there was nothing he could do. I focused completely on Tarjeen as he lay slowly fading. We bathed him carefully, with love for him in our hands, holding him so gently in the water. Of course, this must be the right state of mind for a proper transversal, a feeling of love directly from one who cares for you. I kept this hope to myself, to avoid more arguments on my “morbid obsession.” The secret did not matter after all, for when Tarjeen died, he was purring softly, yet his aura indicated a successful completion to his long life. At this point, I could only look forward to my own personal transversal.


The fauna of terra firma approached me willingly, given that transversal removes all obstacles of receptivity of the essence of God. All creatures, including what humans naively refer to as flora, receive Her love. Deer? Deer! They come lick the salt of my brackish adventure, beautiful lavender coats with pink freckles on the fawns. Transversal allows one to see true colors of nature, colors that would advertise vulnerability otherwise. Animals cannot, of course, see these colors, as they are a delight of human and plant life alone. Ambulant creatures are not as soulfully intellectual as those unable to move around on their own, creatures we call plants.

Flora, as ignorant humans call them, are creatures as well, and take joy in the same senses as their human vessels. I call humans vessels, as plants use them to explore the environment. Contrary to popular human belief, flowers love to be cut and brought inside. This offers the opportunity to witness, beyond their scope of senses, through human vessels. As an extension of plant self, pollen rides humans to obtain a reading of their surroundings through the humans’ senses. They then relay the information telekinetically to the base flower, cut in the vase, affording each flower a vicarious life of adventure.

Epiphany immediately precedes the transversal of the flower. Some take longer than others to transverse. This is their prerogative. Flowers, above all plants, contain the most transversals available to any living being.


Again, into the sea I go, leaving my smile to the land animals, presenting an appropriate countenance to the sea creatures. My twenty-seventh visit to the deep layers of the fascinating world of deep-sea creatures leads me nearly to the depth of the coveted sea spiders. I swear I can see them in the distance, but my transversed heart accepts what I know for Truth, that they are still in my future.





Lael Braday,, who contributed BP #72’s editor’s favorite tale, “Ocean Life,” has a fantasy/sci-fi ghost story published in New Realm online magazine.

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