Anih and the Ship
Thank you to my friend Sharyn for editing this.
Jellyfish image from: http://maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com/Jellyfish-Fluorescent-Glow-Aquatic-Fish-Aquarium-1645450
Disclaimer: All my knowledge of diving comes from ill-fated adventures in videogames, so this story takes place at a point in the future where this is possible.
The first thing Anih noticed as she landed beside the rotten, sunken ship, was that the jellyfish were acting oddly.
A jellyfish, you see, has no organs. It has no brain. How it’s an animal at all is a question for a lot of people. But these jellyfish were frolicking around Anih like kittens.
That was another thing, jellyfish didn’t really have much in the way of active locomotion.
Since they couldn’t sting her through her wetsuit, Anih ignored them and went forward. The ship had sunk sometime in the 1500s and was in amazing condition. The cold water had preserved it beautifully. Anih had found it on one of her geological surveys of the area and had vowed to be the first to explore it. Her sister manned the boat up on the surface. Their secret, since they didn’t intend to report the boat to the authorities until Anih had her look around.
She was careful not to actually step on the wood as she went inside a hole in the hull – the idea that it might collapse and trap her at any moment was a thrill, but there was no reason to tempt fate by being incautious.
She swam forward, eyes darting at all the preserved treasures. Old furniture, bottles of ancient wine and rum, possessions of sailors long dead. Even coins in one alcove. She had no intention of keeping anything she found, she just wanted to be the first inside. She pulled out her camera and flashlight to make a record.
To her surprise she didn’t need her flashlight once she was inside. Somehow there was enough light to see everything clearly. Furniture and equipment had tossed and turned inside the ship during the sinking and the years, but she could almost picture how it once was. A bustling crew, captain calling out orders, the ocean wind blowing in their hair. She snapped a few photos of the room, capturing what it looked like.
A jellyfish darted – yes, darted – past her line of vision. Glowing.
These, Anih thought to herself, were not a species she was familiar with.
The frolicking jellyfish swam up a stairwell and she followed.
Through the ship she swam after them, taking her photos and radioing signals to her sister that she was okay down below. When her camera’s memory card was nearly full she found herself up on deck, having gone through every nook and cranny of the ship.
She swam up to the crow’s nest, still there after all these centuries. She looked at the ancient, rotten ship and took a long shot with her camera.
Then she swam back up to her boat.
Anih got caught back into work immediately. She reported her find and got back into the rhythm of running tests and results. Which meant she had little time to attend to her hobbies. She’d put off so much to prepare for her dive in the first place.
“Have you uploaded your photos yet?” Anih’s sister asked over the phone a week later.
“I will! I’ve just been busy!” said Anih, wondering where her camera had gotten to. The memories were so fresh in her mind she hadn’t felt the need to grab her camera. If she closed her eyes she could still picture the rooms, dancing jellyfish illuminating the details for her.
“Well, I want to see! Hurry up!” said her sister and after a bit more nagging she hung up to go do whatever it was younger sisters do when they aren’t pestering older sisters.
The first photo was the hole to the ship she’d gone in through. She fixed the colour levels and moved onto the next one.
This one should have been the jellyfish swimming around a turned over table. Instead three burly men played cards at a table sitting right-side up, see through and laughing. They were dressed in mariner’s clothing.
Photo after photo where she’d tried to capture the glowing jellyfish in her exploration of the ship showed these men. Fixing things. Eating. Talking. Playing games. And when she got to her last photo from the crow’s nest…
The three men floated over the deck, waving goodbye to her.