Written by Colleen Anderson
She had always lived in the nautilus, its pearlescent interior inviting, comforting, but lately she wondered what was around the next spiral and hoped for loveliness other than the same white and green and pink rainbowed together. She explored, going one direction, through tiny doorways, onward until she crawled and her head butted against the resistant shell. Changing course, she moved out, running her hands along the smooth walls, knocking now and then to dull, answering thunks.
Traversing the nautilus’ length, she ended up at a thick and leathery wall, less white and more brown. The unknown hunger tugged at her heart, hollowed her like the corridors of shell, her need for something more propelling her always in restless walking. The translucent light came from all directions, leaving little of shadow or dark. The constant murmuring of water from far away relaxed her. Somehow through the silent chambers, the light, the soft sounds, she realized outside suggested another space, a goal.
Outside was where the other resided, the one that kept her here.
In the long spiral of endless days, she walked the chambered corridors, singing, filling the space with sound. A resonance began to vibrate her thoughts, discordant with the sea’s whisper. Discontent travelled with her, and loneliness started to hum with her.
Each waking minute, she explored the shell walls, the rounded contours, the sound her knocking made.
The need to eat never pulled her, not did time assert itself in any way. This limbo felt wrong, so she searched for a new direction, and punched up through the layers of shell. As water first trickled in, chilling her feet, then increased to swirling runnels and waterfalls, she laughed. Salty seawater filled the nautilus and she kicked up and away, moving into the stream of time, taking in the true raining of colors and sensations.
As she swam free, moving toward the flickering blue light, she remembered. Not everything. It would take time. The nautilus had not always been her home but her beautiful cage.
The ocean undulated, silver sided fish bolted away, anemones waved and power began to flow into her, cool and velvety. Now that she had escaped her shell, she would find out who she was.
If you liked this story a second story by this author in the same setting is available to supporting members.