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