I was floating behind Ben, his arm pulling me. But it didn't look like a human arm anymore. It wasn't its usual unbelievebly tan self. It was metallic silver from fingertip to shoulder, almost like it had been spray-painted. His legs were the same way. Silver from toe to when his shorts began. His back, though, looked as if the silver had been rubbed away. Metallic at his waist, but at his neck tan. I kicked my legs, pushing me up next to him, and I saw his stomach was the same as his back. Thankfully, his face (even more gorgeous in the water) was still tan also.
Ben must have noticed I was looking at him from odd angles, because he turned his face to mine. I noticed drops falling from his eyes, mixing with the water. He was crying. I also noticed the change in his hair color. Dark blue, just about the same color as the water.
I searched his unbelievebly green eyes for some answers. Why is he crying? Is this what he looks like? That's not so bad. Does everyone look this way? And then some more general questions ran through my head; How is the water down here so beautiful? Where are we going? This is amazing!
Amidst my wondering, the realization of oxygen slowly crept front and center. I was almost out of air. I pulled on Ben's arm, making him stop and turn around to face me. The tears stopped, but he must have known what I was worried about for his face now mimicked mine. He spoke out clear as a bell in the flowing water.
"I know. I'm so sorry for, well, what I did back there. But you must understand, it is supposed to allow you to breathe underwater." His eyes were earnest. "I hope you don't hate me for it." Hate him? I thought between my struggles. How could I hate him? I tried to compose my face, but I knew I didn't have much time left. So I just shook my head, and he seemed to understand.
"Good. Now, you have to trust me. Do you trust me?" he asked me, seeming somewhat confident. Good, because I'm not. I nodded my head up and down, and the movement made me aware of how my throat burned. I couldn't even imagine that I would be able to breathe in the water. I would drown, and I knew it. I was sure of it. I couldn't swim. My only hope was that Ben would save me, like a hero in a comic book. And I was the damsel in distress. Ben's eyes never left mine in all my flailing about.
"Now!" he exclaimed. "Breathe!" His eyes were wide as I opened my mouth. The last bit of air left my lungs and I sucked in a gulp of the salty, icy water.
My eyes were shut tight as I examined the situation. As the water entered my body, it felt like at first I was taking a big sip of water. The taste wasn't very good, but at least the salt didn't scratch at my throat. It was almost as if there was a coating of wax on my lungs. The water settled in my stomach, but I still held my breath. Breath! I had breath! I carefully breathed in through my nose, and it too almost had a coating of wax. It was easy to breathe now, and the water felt like air. I took a few more "breaths" before my eyes snapped open.
"Ben!" I shrieked, flailing forward to throw my arms around him. He looked just as surprised as I did. When I pulled back, his eyes were speculative.
"Did I do it right?" I almost laughed. He was still nervous.
"Absolutely right! I can breathe and talk underwater! I'm almost just like you!" I leaned back in to hug him. I was so happy, for once I was at peace with water. I had never expected to see the day. This time it was him who pulled back.
"Well almost," he said with a frown. He peeled my body off of his and let me out of his grip. I felt myself falling down. I kicked with all my strength and threw my arms around. I stared in horror at the darkness below me. Then I looked back up, and Ben wasn't there anymore. Terror struck me.
"What is this?" I screamed. "Ben? Ben!" I looked around frantically, when, out of nowhere, strong hands clasped around my shoulders and were pulling me up. I looked at their owner, and he grinned smugly at my horrified face.
"Next time you're going to let me drown, please warn me first." I was angry and annoyed and wasn't going to hide it. Then I saw how fast we were going. I couldn't see the shore at which we had entered anymore. Nothing was below us, behind us, or in front of us. The colorful fish were a blur as we blew through the lake to the ocean, which was noticeably colder than the chilly lake had been. Ben said nothing to me so I had to insist.
"Ben! Seriously! Now you know I can't swim, so please don't go dropping me!" I stared at him furiously. Then I felt the grip of my shoulders loosen, and I started to fall. "Hey!!!" I screamed before iron hands silenced me. Ben was laughing like a madman. I was about to react, when I saw our obvious destination.
In the depths of the black sea, there was a wide glass dome sitting on a sand bank. It looked like Atlantis or some form of underwater civilization. I stared in awe, then glanced at Ben, who had become quiet.
"Yes," he smiled, "that's my world."