Anemone woke suddenly. She wasn’t sure what had awakened her, but she thought that it had to do with a sound. It was an unfamiliar sound though. It sounded like a voice, but in a language she couldn’t understand.
She sat up and looked around, wondering if the voice was somewhere in the open tent she and her sisters shared. However instead of seeing a person, she saw a pale silver-pink chord leading from her out of the tent. Curious, Anemone silently got out of bed. The chord moved with her body.
A small smile on her face, she wrapped her fingers around the chord. It was warm, like liquid sunlight. The smile on her face grew bigger. She pulled on the chord softly, and was suddenly jerked forward a step. She pulled on it again, and stumbled forward another step, nearly falling on top of Calypso.
Anemone froze for a few moments, hoping her sister wouldn’t wake up. After what seemed like a small lifetime, Anemone finally felt it was safe to move again. Silently, she stepped around Calypso’s pallet and followed the chord outside into the warm night.
The almost full moon shone brightly, its twin dancing in the mirror-like ocean. A soft, balmy breeze blew in off the water and ruffled Anemone’s unbraided hair and tugged on the loose edges of her sea-silk nightgown.
She looked at the chord, which pointed out toward the water. Anemone pulled her nightgown halfway up her thighs and tied it in a tight knot around her waist, then waded out into the water. The farther out she got, the harder the chord tugged on her. Anemone gave up on walking and dove beneath the waves. Between the currents and the chord’s pull, she hardly had to move at all, she just floated with the movement.
After being pulled by the chord far out into the ocean, Anemone found it finally pointed up instead of ahead. Her curiosity piqued even farther, she kicked hard and followed the chord upward to the surface.
The moon was shining even brighter out in the middle of the ocean, and the water was completely smooth, save for around a large shadow a couple feet in front of her. Slowly, Anemone swam toward it, being dragged on by the chord’s strong pull.
Instead of the large shadow being an injured sea creature, like she’d originally thought, it was a boy. And not just any boy,theboy, the one from her dream, lying on the strange boat without sails or oars. Anemone laughed at him. Who would journey into deep water without means of movement?
Her laughter woke him, and she dove back beneath the water when he sat up. From beneath the surface, she watched him look around and call out in his strange language. His eyes glinted in the moonlight as he turned his head.
Cautiously, Anemone surfaced again and watched him. He called out again, then turned and froze when he saw her. Anemone smiled shyly as he looked at her, taking in her strange eyes.
“Who are you?” she asked as she swam closer.
He shook his head and said something else that she couldn’t understand. Wanting badly to know what he was saying, she put her hands on his strange boat and pulled herself upward to him and pressed her lips against his for a brief second, then slid back into the water.
“Who are you?” she asked again, the strange words having a harsh taste in her mouth.
“Did you just kiss me?” he asked.
“Who are you?” she asked again. “And why did you come out here without sails or oars? Tis foolish to think you can control the ocean to move you where you will it. The ocean is controlled by no man.”
“I’m Devin,” he said quickly. “And I didn’t want to come out here. I was surfing, and I got knocked out.”
“Surfing?” she asked. “What is ‘surfing?’”
Devin stared at her. “What’s surfing? Well, it’s…I really must have hit my head hard on a rock or something. I’m out in the middle of the ocean having a conversation with a girl. But you can’t be real, because no girl is going to be out swimming in the middle of the ocean.”
Anemone smiled. “But I am a girl and I am out swimming in the middle of the ocean. And I am real.”
“So then land must be close by?” he asked hopefully.
Anemone shook her head. “The nearest land is my home, which is many leagues that way,” she said as she pointed to her right.
“Leagues? And if it’s so far, then what are you doing out here?”
“You woke me up. I heard you calling, and I came,” she answered.
Devin stared at her for a long moment. “Who are you?”
“Anemone,” she answered.
“Anemone,” he repeated. “That’s…interesting.”
She tilted her head. “How so?”
“Never mind,” he said with a shake of his head. “Can you take me to your home?”
Anemone smiled, and Devin could’ve sworn the night got brighter. “Of course. You can stay with me and rest.”
“Rest, okay. But not too long, because I’ll have to get back soon. Everyone’s probably looking for me.”
“Okay,” Anemone repeated, trying to fit the new word into her mouth. “Hold on tight,” she said as she dove back underwater. She grabbed the fin at the back of Devin’s strange boat and pushed it back toward her island.