Chapter 30 Getting Wet

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Dahl —Monday, 12:48 PM

She winks —then pushes me. It's like I jumped off the back of a speed boat doing 200 klicks. My feet catch the rocky border and I splash onto the water to skim along its surface before the waterline rises above my head. Wavy blurs confuse my vision. Bubbles stretch and narrow along shimmering shapes like magnifying glasses. I panic and kick, following the rising bubbles.

My hands reach for the mirror surface. It disappears into silty silver soil as my hands dig in. Upside down... My lungs are squeezing themselves like twisting balloons. Something solid brushes against my leg and I push the water with both hands to flip around towards it. Only the giant lily could have roots this big. They flow in the water, swaying like octopus arms caught in an invisible current.

Beads of gassy orbs stream down its roots as silvery trails stream around my head. A bowl of air fizzes like an old-school dive helmet around my head while roots snake around my ankles. Green vines grip my wrists. The sphere around my head's like a glass dome. I see only blackness beyond its curved surface. A green petal, with blood-red striations, wraps along the globe's watery side then penetrates inches from my eyes. It wrings and twists like a towel, spawning red drops along its lowest edges. They pool together and fall as a single drop. It hits the water beneath my head and dissolves into a red puff of gas.

I try to hold my breath but fail, and tiny, stolen breaths draw the red spray closer. My body convulses as I struggle not to inhale. My vision dims. Pinpoints of light dance everywhere. Despite conscious effort, my lungs revolt and suck in the air. My legs kick.

Sunshine blinds me. I float above water, somewhere. Hands wrap around my chest from below.Roots!?

Mercy's hug and slow kicks propel me towards the water's edge. Deep coughs strain the water from my lungs as the sandy shores appears under my back. She leans over, blocking the sun.

"Did I get you wet?"

"I got," another coughing fit hijacks me, "wrapped in roots, like they were having their way with me."

Her body raindrops onto me as she leans closer, "They let you go? Good. Now you can watch it bloom with me during the full moon tomorrow."

My hands sink into the soft surface as I lean up, "You don't understand..."

Her fingers comb through my hair, "Shh... I do, John." She lands a sucking kiss on my lips like they're jujubes. "I know you'll be back tomorrow. There's no denying it."

Time to get the fuck out of here. My legs buckle a bit as I stand. She pulls me up by my hands. It's like yesterday was leg day and she's the one who's stronger for it.

"Listen Mercy, that booze is hitting me hard, I gotta bounce before I embarrass myself."

This isn't my first walk of shame —like a pro I've already spotted all my clothes.

"Aw, I was hoping you'd be hungry and stick around for a snack." She calls from behind me with a dripping tone.

I mustn't have captured what I was trying to explain. It's for the best, I don't want to freak her out 'cuz I'm tripping.

"I'ma take a rain check on that." I dress as fast as the damp clothes allows, "thanks for the dip."

Looking at the lily I consider offering to come back with enough pesticide to wipe out the whole pond. She seems to adore it, so I don't.

"See you tomorrow." She says it like I've clicked yes on the invitation. I'm not gonna fault her —she drank more than I did.

"Thanks again," I carry what I'm not wearing in a pile, "see you soon," and force myself to walk, not run, "take care, girl!"

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