“Off all the people, I end up with HER!” Throwing the ball more angrily, she knocked over the cans again and again.
“Stop being so dramatic,” Erin stated, with a slight smirk on her face. It was hilarious to see the annoyance on Naia’s face. Normally Naia wouldn’t even second think about an assignment like that but she was just so incredibly annoyed to have been teamed up with Marisol Lister.
“I really don’t see what your problem with her is. Didn’t you guys used to be friends?”
Another hit, the cans fell to the ground rattling angrily. They weren’t really used to being knocked over so many times and their rattling suggested that they had been tempered with, to make sure they kept standing.
“Well… yeah… I mean we used to hang out,” Naia admitted, unhappy about it, while picking up one of the carnival-rifles. She shouldered the crooked thing as she aimed towards the target. “But she changed so much after the first couple of years. She’s all into this activist thing now, she barely had time to hang out with me and we just grew apart.” There had always been a part of her that was a tad sad about it. During the course of just one summer she lost a close friend to causes she couldn’t really understand. Erin rolled her eyes again.
“Don’t act like such a baby,” she said. “Just do the assignment, use that big brain of hers to score yourself a good grade and move on.” Naia couldn’t say that her friend didn’t have a fair point, Marisol did score the best grades in class after all. Her next exhalation of breath was therefore a sigh of acceptance as well as needed to steady the terrible fake gun. Another direct hit, another score. She was on a roll tonight, even despite her bad mood.
“And after you get that out of the way, use that aim for the team!”
“So how was summer?” Naia looked up from her book as Erin dropped in the seat next to her. She frowned, being absolutely sure that Erin had heard everything about her summer. Everyone seemed to have and it annoyed Naia to no end that everyone looked at her funny. This was university for heaven’s sake, not high school where everyone gossiped! But reality seemed different, as she’s been hearing other rumours as well.
Before Naia could answer she saw Marisol walking into class, sitting down in the front row as she always did. They used to be friends during high school but live decided otherwise and they grew apart, bringing them suddenly together when they walked into the same class even though Marisol did a completely different master. Naia heard Marisol spent most of her summer in the hospital, after she collapsed during field work. She seemed to have woken up from her heat induced coma on the same day Naia woke up from hers. The doctors had decided that she must have had too much nitrogen still in her body after she went down for her night dive. Even though none of the tests showed any signs of nitrogen in her system. But Naia had realised quickly that doctors don’t like it when you point out extremely obvious things that they cannot explain.
“So?” Erin poked her so hard that a bruise would certainly form quickly. Naia sighed. “Well, what I remember was great fun, I saw this amazing octopus from up close.” Of course this would grab her nerdy friend’s attention more than her mysterious coma that lasted for three straight weeks.
“Wauw! You got pictures?”
Of course she got pictures, but that was where things had become really strange. The pictures were all really dark, Naia was only able to see those beautiful rings on the octopus’ skin after she altered every bit of lighting in the picture. Did she not remember correctly how bright the moon shone that night? She was sure she didn’t, but the subconscious gnawing started as soon as she showed the pictures on her phone to her friend. Maybe she did remember incorrectly, just as she remembered a female voice speaking to her in Greek as soon as the light of the moon enveloped her. Right before she remembered nothing until she woke up again weeks later.
The burning sun was too much, its rays beating the earth without mercy, not the slightest breeze bringing the smallest bit of comfort to the people down on earth. Standing under the earth, technically speaking. Marisol had always prided herself a little because of her coloured skin protecting her from the blasting sunrays, where her colleagues in the field just slowly roasted. However, today even her natural affection of the warmth wasn’t enough. As she looked up from the trench she was in Marisol wiped the sweat from her forehead. She couldn’t believe how blue the sky was. Had it been this radiating when they got in the trenches, digging for the remains of ancient Romans? She couldn’t remember, all Marisol could think off was the heat that seemed to sink into her skin. Into her mind. Again she wiped her forehead, but she didn’t feel any sweat. It made her frown. How could she feel so overheated and not sweat?
“Hey Sol, you okay?” Marisol looked up to Sarah, grinning as she gave her friend a thumbs up. It was a second before her eyes rolled and she felt her knees give in. The sun still blasting overheat, the last thing Marisol fully registered was that incredibly bright blue sky.
She had always wanted to dive and ever since she got her license there was nothing that could keep Naia away from the ocean for more than a couple of days. Or in this case, a couple of nights. The night dive had been planned for so long but had been postponed almost as much times now. The sea was too rough, too cold, the lighting sucked, or she dove too deep and long during the day to be allowed under again. Maybe it was the peace and quiet around her or that her partner was only able to communicate with very basic gestures that made diving so attractive to her. Under water there was no fuzz or social obligations. There were deadlines, of course, being set up by the amount of oxygen her tank still carried and the amount of nitrogen that built up in her body. But those were easy limitations, clear rules she couldn’t forget if she wanted to live. It was all so easy down here, so peaceful, and so clear.
Naia had been examining a curious octopus for a while when she suddenly realised how well she could see the creature. It was a full moon, she had noticed that when she put on her gear earlier, but to have so much natural light under water was uncommon. She could see all the spots on the creatures skin, shifting as he was trying to make up his mind whether she was a threat or just a menace. Naia frowned as she looked up. The moon was beaming, the rays of light penetrating the water showing her the entire underwater world and it seemed as if the light just got more intense by each passing second. Was she absolutely sure that her partner wasn’t getting closer with the lamp? But the blinding light did seem to come from above her, as the last thing Naia registered was the incredibly blue sea around her.