Fragment from "Aquatika", first draft
Instantly, three pairs of bare feet began running with all their might towards the foamy waves. They crossed quickly the narrow sandy beach and disappeared under the tepid waters of Zefiria. The lean backs were popping once in a while above the surface, propelled by skinny hands and arms. Soon, they were already quite far from the shore.
The Iron Rock, with its unusually regular shape, was the target of their race. And the girl was winning, being already several meters ahead. Kolin was the first to give up. He turned his body upwards and began floating on his back, still propelling himself slowly towards the destination. Solis persisted almost all the way, trying stubbornly to catch up. However, in the end, Lila won. She always did.
The girl smiled, grabbed a narrow metal rail mounted at the edge of the rock and got out of the water. Solis came a few moments later. They waited patiently another two minutes to see Kolin join them.
It was a beautiful afternoon, right before the monsoon season. The white buildings from Akonit could be seen to the east while in the west the fringes of Lavend were almost hidden by the rays of the Sun. To the south, the peak of Erol was standing out, marking the highest local point of the Centrian Mountains chain.
“Well?” said Lila. “I’ve won the bet.”
“Yes, you did,” responded Kolin with a resigned expression.
“Now you have to show me the place,” continued the girl.
With a sigh, Solis stood up and motioned the other two teenagers to follow him.
The Iron Rock was a strange place. Its regular shape wasn’t natural. People said it had been part of a large building from an older civilization. A place used to launch people into space. However, it’s been so long since then that most locals took it only as a legend. The rock looked more like a large, slightly convex circular platform about fifty meters in diameter and perhaps three or four meters above the sea at high tide. There was a place with stone steps and rails that allowed everyone’s access to it. The ground was rough and not exactly regular. However, the tiny island was made of a very hard type of stone, as hard as iron. No wonder it had survived the sea’s abrasion for so many centuries. Few patches of moss could grow here, and ever fewer blades of grass.
Solis took them to the other side of the platform. He bent down over the edge, searching for something. Immediately, he stood up straight, went several more meters to the left and bent down again.
“Here it is,” he said. I’ve marked the spot. “However, it’s still too early to see it now, we need to wait for the sunset.”
“That’s at least thirty more minutes,” retorted Kolin. “What are we going to do until then?”
“What about diving into the water right now?” suggested Lila. “If the sign is marked well, we might still see something.”
“I don’t know,” hesitated Solis. “We know nothing about it. Could be dangerous.”
“You said it hasn’t moved from that spot for at least a week. Can’t be radioactive, because you said fish were swimming about all the time and no one died. We have our swimming goggles, should be enough to take a peak, the water is less than ten meters deep here.”
“I’d rather wait to see the light first,” mumbled Kolin.
“Suit yourself,” snorted Lila. “I’ll check it right now.”
With decided steps, she came to the edge of the platform, jumped in the air, and dived head-down into the dark-blue waves.
(to be continued...)
Image source: pixabay.com
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