Sea of Trees
“Walk into the mist and die.” (Dichos 7:3)
Monster swam through the water as quickly as he could. He reached the ravine wall and looked up. He could barely see anything. The amber crystal on his chest projected a holographic image that would guide him. Without the holographic overlay, he would not have been able to see Taav at all. Taav Iron was not very high up on the ravine wall but with the tsunami waters returning and raining debris down the ravine it was complicated. The large root system Taav Iron was laying on was also not secure. It might snap at any second. Monster ran the numbers again and created a logic matrix for scaling up the ravine and down. He had only seconds.
As he swam, his fins began to morph back into feet. His legs separated. His back fin retracted back into his skin. He left his gills open.
Monster shot out of the water with arms and leg outstretched. His feet and hands landed directly where the amber crystal had been casting its holographic hands and feet. As soon as his body matched the image it shifted. Showing Monster the next positions for his arms, legs, hands, and feet. He moved like a lizard quickly, mathematically.
Masses of dark objects hurled themselves past Monster but he consciously ignored them. His full attention was on his body and the images in front and above him. His gills screamed for water but he knew he would have to suffer the pain. He had to keep this part of his body in water form or he would not have enough time to get back to the floodgate before Taav drowned. He needed the speed of the drop.
A couple of variables flashed red in his vision. He needed to pay attention to them but scaling the wall was more important. Finally, the holographic images flashed one of the red variables. He needed to tie Taav to him somehow while he morphed back to his water form. His arms needed to be empty so that he could keep swimming. He could not take his attention from the hand and feet images flashing ever faster in front of him. He couldn’t even stop to sweep away the warning hologram. Suddenly the green holographic light overlaid on Taav Iron’s body started flashing so he could see his target.
Monster leaped over the holographic projections of his arms and legs ignoring them and landing next to Taav Iron. Taav Iron was unconscious. The jump exhausted his leg muscles but he bought himself and an extra second. The amber lights and holographic images flashed over the shirt. Remove his shirt. Monster ripped Taav Iron shirt straight down his chest. Taav Iron moaned. Monster ripped the shirt again and used ripped fabric as a piece of cloth. Monster immediately connected their arms by tying Taav Iron’s left hand with the cloth to his own right hand. The holographic images showed him exactly how to jump with Taav Iron in his arms.
Monster scooped up Taav Iron on his shoulder and followed the hologram. He did not have time to hesitate. He jumped from the roof into the darkness below. The only light was the holographic images being projected by Monster’s amber crystal. It was shining below Monster showing him how to position himself to break the water without seriously hurting Taav Iron or himself. Taav Iron would probably suffer a broken arm. It couldn’t be helped.
Monster did not stop to question the logic matrix. He was analyzing the swim and engaging the morph back into his water form as he fell. He would be about halfway done with the morph when he hit the water.
A piece of log flew past them very quickly and landed in the water. The hologram did not have time to overlay light on the water. They hit the water without warning. The log that hit the water first rushed into Taav Iron as it floated back up. They were tangled with the log. Monster had to struggle with Taav Iron until they were free. Monster kept swimming madly towards the bottom of the sea and ignored the red warnings. He had fully morphed back into his water form. However, he had lost the extra second he had gained from the jump. In fact, he was now in the red completely.
The logic matrix blinked failure over and over. Monster swam ignoring the warnings and dodging the debris floating in the water. The holographic images below him showed a limp Taav Iron. Monster focused on the Taav Iron’s image and noticed its chest glowing red. Taav Iron had several broken ribs from where the log hit him. Monster focused on the swim. His lower body was aching beyond exhaustion. He was swimming as fast as he could while pulling Taav Iron’s weight.
In the distance, Monster saw the floodgate lights. The doors were open. They were waiting for Monster. He activated the gates. The heavy iron floodgates started rising from the ground up. That bought him an extra second. But he was still in the red. He pushed his body harder.
He was at the floodgate pushing Taav Iron between the small gap left at the entrance. The gates closed. Taav Iron went through. Monster remained on the other side of the floodgate. He heard the whirring on the motors pumping out the water. There would be others in there already working on Taav Iron. Monster shut off all the warnings and the holographic images.
At the last second, Monster had recalculated to see if using his own body as a sling to push Taav Iron in by himself would be quicker. It was. It still left Taav Iron two seconds in the red.
Monster let himself float to the sea floor and lay on the sand. He realized that one of the red light in his visions was a personal alert. He started gasping. Monster had not completed his morph into the water form. He had left his lungs open while swimming and in the chaos had gulped water. He took a big gulp through his gills and completed the morph. It was extremely painful but his lungs collapsed to eject the water he had breathed into his lungs. His hard nails crawled at the rock as his lungs inflated again. The pain was excruciating. Monster’s lungs began to work correctly again. He looked at the rocks he had been scratching. They were marked up by his sharp nails. His lungs were working normally again. His gills were removing oxygen from the water and letting carbon dioxide seep away. The lungs received oxygen and expelled the carbon dioxide through his auxiliary trachea. The red lights faded from his sight.
The floodgate began to open again. The noise of water flooding it brought a smile to his face.