Alice Kelley ~ Lake Ice

Shadowdancer Chapter 33

part of: Shadowdancer

by Carrie Radna

The white and bright orange-colored vessel bobbed in the underground water hatch like a killer whale waiting to be fed. The smooth, non-angular shape of the MD-SAV effortlessly floated; resembling a cross between a porpoise and a fat Cuban cigar. It even had a free moving tail and flippers fashioned from a distant relative of iron and steel. Its size resembled a small rectangular house.

Zwuiasach took out a remote control mechanism from the front breast pocket of his brightly striped jumpsuit. The clear top hatch opened instantly.

“Well, jump in and get settled. We can’t afford to wait much longer,” he told Frieda.

“Okay,” she answered hesitantly.

She climbed up the stairs towards the MD-SAV 1’s roof, carefully positioning herself as she tried to crawl into the hollow tunnel under the hatch. Zwuiasach followed, offering his assistance. Slowly they made their way inside without difficulty. Frieda felt that she was entering into a tomb that was both air and watertight. It was wide enough for the both of them to roam around. All the doors fastened inward like a tub stopper in a bathtub, so it was a chore in itself to open them without aid. She had never been in a submarine before. The thought of actually traveling underwater made her nervous. But she resolved to not let her fears show. She did not want to disappoint Zwuiasach, the one responsible for her safety and well being while in transit.

Soon they reached the front deck, which was the navigation room. Frieda noticed something very peculiar: the passenger seats were fitted close together compared to the overall space of the room itself.

“Why are the seats close together?” she wondered aloud.

“It isn’t because I’m trying to get fresh with you, so don’t worry…”

“It’s not that…what’s your name again?” Frieda faced him.

“It’s Zwuiasach,” he answered as he sat down in front of the controls.

“Zoo-ee-ah-sach?”

“Excellent. By the way, I love your accent. I can actually speak English, so you can turn off your translator,” he informed her.

Frieda sat down in her seat, mystified. Shaking her head she gently twisted the switch to the translator that was implanted in her head by Kenjaon counterclockwise until the buzzing of the transistor subsided to nothing. As the lights of the panel started to light up in front of them, Zwuiasach turned to her and said, “See, I told you I can speak English!” he laughed. Strangely, his accent sounded distinctly Southern.

“Wait, hold on! You have a drawl,” she commented as he turned on the big magnet spinning gyro motor, the main power, which increased the water pressure within the inner core then checked the level of the available Salfa Warp fuel, which was full.

“Yes, ma’am,” he laughed again.

“Where did you get it?”

“From my mother,” he answered matter-of-factly. The air pressure decreased as the water pressure continued to increase, causing the MD-SAV 1 to sink deeper into the Wýl sea. However, the pressure within the cabins and the navigation room remained stable. Lifting a latch, the outside propellers under the tail started to spin rapidly after the vessel was successfully lowered down into the open ocean. As if he was hearing her next question, which rattled her, he turned and said, “She is a human from Oklahoma.” With that fact soberly explained, the MD-SAV 1 shot forward in the water, dotting the floor of the ocean with its circle of lights. The outer fins and tail flapped naturally as the ship glided through the deep waves.

Slowly Zwuiasach told Frieda about his mother. Numerous varieties of qwayo darted across the windows facing them as he spoke, “My mom, Hermine, was named Frances Brown when she was born in Moore, Oklahoma.”

“When?” she asked, knowing that was a stupid question as the words left her mouth.

“Time doesn’t compute here. Didn’t the De’aiîo’ inhabitants already teach you that?”

“Yes they did. I’m sorry; it was just a slip of the tongue…” she answered nervously. Now he must think that I’m a total moronic imbecile, she thought. To her relief, he smiled widely.

“Don’t worry about it. My mom still does it, and she’s been living in Thíä-ei’r since before I was born. She told me once that she was born in 1961, if that helps you out,” he offered.

“Thanks. How did she get to Thíä-ei’r?”

“Perhaps the same way you did – through a portal.”

“Okay. Why?”

“Well…she was chosen, like you, but for an entirely different purpose. You see, she was a teenage runaway, and just before she found herself in a mess of trouble on Earth, living in the street with drug sellers, she discovered a door hanging in an alleyway, and decided to walk on through. She must have been high on something…what was your excuse?”

“What do you mean?” she asked him.

“What was your portal like?”

“Oh! It was snowing outside…”

“I have no idea what ‘snow’ is,” Zwuiasach replied, clearly confused.

“It’s soft, frozen water that falls from the sky and accumulates on the ground, when the temperature is cold,” Frieda explained.

“That’s wild,” he answered.

“Anyway, I was getting cold, and I was following these tracks in the ice – solid water – into the woods when I saw a green tree with leaves and flowers. It had two transparent doors at the base of its trunk. As I approached the tree I suddenly became warm, and I took off my heavy coat.”

“Whoh,” he breathed. “Go on.”

“So I followed the footprints through the right door, and ZOOM! I ended up in Thíä-ei’r.”

“That’s amazing,” he commented. “Now you got me curious…who was the person whose footprints you followed in the…um,”

“Snow?”

“That’s right, sn-o-wah.”

“He’s a friend of mine called Mr. Gardenier,” she answered him.

Zwuiasach’s right eyebrow lifted, forming a spiral as a secret grin formed in his lips. He did not speak as he watched the action in the water as the MD-SAV 1 swam on.

“What is it?” Frieda wondered, growing suspicious.

“Nothing,” he told her. “Just watch the qwayo.”

Frieda humphed to herself as she settled down into her seat. He was clearly trying to hide something.