06 Feb

The next two moons that passed were uneventful to say the least. 

The numbness that’d set in over various parts of my body after the big shock had finally gone away. Finally, I could feel how stiff the body gets when not allowed to roam around or move much.


I sighed. 

“I hate boats,” I mumbled, squinting at the wake behind the boat in the harsh afternoon sun. The only waves out on the open water were the tiny ripples the boat made. There was no wind, no clouds, no birds in the sky. Nothing. 

The eerie stillness put me on edge. 

“Why aren’t we moving? We were moving before,” I asked Rak-Li, who sat underneath the roofed part of the boat. 

“We don't have any wind to catch in the sail,” he explained. “Get out of the sun. You’ll get burned.”

“So we’re just stuck here? There’s nothing we can do?”

“Aku, I’m tired,” he said exasperatedly. “Can’t I take a break?”I groaned uneasily. He, of course, was referring to his powers. He’d been propelling us forward with the sea for a while now. 

I climbed up underneath the sunshade next to him and handed him a hard-shelled fruit. “Just, make it quick. Something doesn’t feel right.”

He nodded, delicately cutting into the shell with his clawed fingers. 

He handed it back to me and grabbed another for himself. I raised it to him briefly in thanks and drank the refreshing nectar within. 

I side-eyed him as he laughed. 


“Sorry, sorry. It just came to mind how difficult this would be for you if I wasn’t here. It’s crazy to think your species has survived as long as it has without, well. Without some of the advantages other species have.”

“It wouldn’t be so bad if I hadn’t lost all of my tools when the raft went down,” I said self-consciously. “And I’m not some kid that needs to be protected either. Humans are stronger than you think.”

“But your teeth are so… dull, and your fingernails- well they don’t look like they’d be useful for anything, not cutting or ripping, nothing.”

I gritted my teeth slightly in annoyance. “Tell me, would you have thought to ever build a boat in your lifetime?”

“Well, no, if it was just me I wouldn’t have needed to,” Rak said. 

“Okay. Well what about housing, where do your people sleep at night?”

“In caves, or on shelves in the reef.”

“My people didn’t have that luxury of just moving into a space that’s already sheltered. My people used these… dull fingernails to craft tools,” I held up the simple wooden spear I’d made, as well as the three rocks I’d taken with us. “Things like sharp rocks for cutting, and we built shelters out of the things around us. We don’t have sharp teeth because we do not need them; we use tools to pull apart our food, and fire to break it down so that it's easier to eat. I might not have claws like you, but I guarantee you that I am just as good at surviving in this world as you are.”

Rak-Li nodded slowly, silently pondering what I'd said.

“Next time we’re back on land, we’ll get you better tools then,” Rak said. “It’s… unfair of me to compare myself to you when you’re not at your best.”

“Hmph.” I said, crossing my arms. 

“Well I should get back to moving us forward,” Rak said eventually, ducking to leave the sunshade. 

The boat lurched forward as we continued across the vast sea. 

I rested for a moment, staring off at the horizon. At the edge of the once clear skies, a wall of dark clouds was moving in our direction. 

I walked out of the sunshade to the back of the boat, waving at Rak to stop. “Hey, we got a storm incoming.” I pointed to the horizon.

“Really?” Rak-li got back up onto the boat so he could get a look. His eyes widened, and his dark blue markings grew pale. 

“What do we do?”

I tapped my foot anxiously against the palm leaf floor. 

“Change course. We’ll try and skirt around it,” I commanded. 

“Which way?” Rak looked at me.

“I don’t fuckin know,” I said abruptly. My heart was racing. “I knew something was up. It didn’t feel right.”

As I mumbled my anxieties, Rak had hopped back off the boat and started us moving again. We turned sharply south-south west, running parallel to the impending doom. I sat next to him in the back, gripping the side so tightly my knuckles went white. 

“We aren’t going to make it,” I said after a while. The storm was less than an island length away. The sail flapped furiously in the intense winds, and I rushed to take it down and hide it under the sunshade. 

For a split second, the line between the clear skies and the storm was so stark and on top of us it felt like sitting between two different worlds. We crossed over the line and a torrent of rain barreled upon us with the force of a hurricane. Freezing cold, like tiny knives hitting us with each drop. 

I dove under the sunshade with Rak and we hid underneath the sail for protection. The surge from the storm rocked us all over the place. Rak-Li used his power to manipulate the waves and keep us upright, but exhaustion was written clear as day across his face. The blue glow emanating from the symbols that stretched across his chest flickered as his control began to slip. 

“Just a little longer!” I had to shout to be heard over the bombardment of rain and wind. 

“I can’t,” he said, defeated. He collapsed to the floor, rain water pooling in and assaulting his face. The waves slammed us into the side of the boat, as well as a ton of water. Both of us coughed and struggled as we slammed to the other side. As I reached for an empty husk of fruit, something to scoop the water out, the boat tumbled over and capsized leaving the two of us in the salty waves. 

I fought my way to the surface and gasped, just in time for another wave to knock me back under, twirling me and spinning me in a vortex of waves. 

I saw Rak under there, limp but regaining consciousness. I waved to him frantically and finally caught his attention. I pointed to the surface and started swimming.

I surfaced again right next to the boat and clung to the underside for dear life, coughing and squinting the salt water away from my face. Rak came up soon after and did the same, breathing heavily as he pressed himself against the palm hull of the boat. 

We tossed and turned for what felt like hours. Everytime I felt like I could finally relax and catch my breath, another wave would rip me away and pull me under. Rak had to fish me out and put me back against the boat more than once.

I hated that I was such a burden on him. He was already running on nothing, yet he couldn’t catch a break because he had to watch over my ass. 

I pounded against the hull, gritting my teeth. 

Thunder crackled overhead, and my attention darted to a looming dark mass illuminated by the many bursts of lightning. 


“Rak. RAK.” 

I watched his back and chest heaving with the effort it took to keep breathing. 


He slipped off of the boat and back into consciousness, looking around in a dazed manner. 

“Help me flip the boat!” I told him as I let go and braced the side of the boat up on my shoulder. Rak did the same, coming up next to me. We both kicked at the waves as hard as we could. Rak’s tattoos stuttered alight once more as he mustered what strength he could to right the boat. 

“We need to go this way!” I shouted as I clung to the edge of the boat from behind, propelling it forward with legs and feet ill-equipped for the job.

Lightning arced once more overhead, and I was sure that Rak saw it too this time. 

“There’s an island!” He said over the sound of thunder and hailing rain. He swam around next to me, grabbing onto the boat as well. I felt our speed pick up; nearly three times as fast as I was moving alone. 

We bumped into the shore, and Rak mustered up the last of his strength in his tattoo to push us far up onto it. I’d never been more relieved to feel solid ground beneath my feet, but the storm had left my body so numb I could barely make heads or tails of what I was touching. 

That wasn’t the only reason why the shore didn’t make sense.

When I stood up and got a better look, I realized that the shore was not made of what you’d expect. There was no sand, no rocks. It was a tangled mess of vine-like protrusions, toughened by the rough salty sea but very much alive. 

“Help me,” Rak said, pulling me back to reality. Rak was pulling the boat into the tall brush and away from the waves. I rushed up next to him, and we tugged it to safety. 

Under the dense canopy of leafy green, the sounds of the storm faded away, if only a little. The rain that trickled in was much sparser, and it actually felt warm.

Rak collapsed to the ground, and I joined him. 

I closed my eyes, and the world drifted away.

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