After the Water Came

By Mark Jackson, Ireland.

Many years after the water came, our small tribe turned our grey rock into a living, breathing organism. This is that story. I was fifteen. Rain, my cousin, was two years older. Bad luck and inexperience found us lost at sea during a storm.

We were fishing when the clouds grew heavy and the sea began to swell. We tried turning our raft around, but the water’s power proved too great.

‘What should we do?’

Rain sat beside me, her red hair a mane in the wind. ‘Sit and wait it out, what else?’

So that’s what we did, we sat and waited it out. The only problem was that it didn’t abate. By sunset, I was getting sick and both of us feared death.

‘Do you feel that?’ Rain asked.

‘What?’

Her hand grasped mine and guided it from the raft. I could feel the ocean floor beneath my palm.

‘What the-,’ I said as we came to a grinding standstill.

By this time, it was pitch black and neither of us could see a thing.

‘Must be another island,’ Rain said by way of excuse.

We had been told there were other rubble islands with their own tribes, but I never believed in them until that night.

We went inland, away from the storm. When morning came, we discovered we weren’t on another tribe’s island, but at the foot of Jagged Rock, believed to be the home of all evil. And the storm wasn’t easing.

‘We’ll have to climb it,’ said Rain.

‘What? Why?’

‘We’ll die unless we find somewhere drier.’

So, we began to climb, even though we knew it was the wrong and shameful thing to do.

Some way up the mountain, I tripped and fell into a crevice Rain had jumped seconds earlier. A narrow ledge broke my fall. From where I lay, I could see an enormous cavern below, filled with clusters of spiky green.

‘Sunny?’

I turned to look up at her.

‘I’m okay, come down here a second.’

Rain clambered down and looked where I was pointing.

‘What’re those?’ she asked.

‘They’re as green as seaweed but on land.’

We gazed on in amazement.

‘The elders said things like this covered the ocean-bed before the water came.’

‘That . . . that’s myth,’ said Rain.

‘I don’t think so . . . I think we found . . .’

‘What?’

‘Life.’

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