Where the Water Flows – Chapter 4

Chapter 4: The Ocean Grave

Water is everywhere…

Samudra’s mind becomes flooded by this single thought, as he is staring at the vastness of the ocean all around him. He was named after this vastness.

People would normally come to the graves of their ancestors. Samudra has come to the grave of his ancestors’ land – the entire island chain of what was once called the Maldives and now lies buried underwater. Samudra’s nation became one of the first climate migrants in modern human history. By the 2100s, the rising sea level made his people flee and seek refuge with other world nations. Yet, even a hundred years later, the new generations still come here on the last day of the year.

Samudra stands in his boat, moved by the scene but not the ocean. His motorless catamaran is not touching the holy water’s surface. It is gliding on thin air above, powered by ether – the long-banned element now reintroduced to the Mendeleev table. According to the Convention of Non-Interference signed by all world leaders in 2101, human transportation means are supposed to leave a minimal ecological footprint. That’s where humans now stand. That’s where Samudra is standing right now, in his air floating boat.

The man bends overboard and touches the ocean. Even though water took away everything his people had had – his homeland – he is not mad. He worships water, like most of the people of the twenty-second century. There are almost no atheists left. Like there is no polytheism left. Everyone believes in one and the same Goddess that gives life and takes it…

As he touches the water fabric and attunes himself via a meditation humming prayer, the man becomes one with the entire ocean. He can see and remember what this ocean remembers, since the dawn of life in it. Samudra retrieves the chapter of the water library dating back a century or so, when the islands of the Maldives were still standing. He opens his eyes, while still maintaining contact with the water surface, and sees them, like a chrono-mirage.

Long minutes pass in retrospection.

Yet, while there is a time to look back, there is also a time to look forward. Samudra turns around to face the future of his nation. He has to squint and shield his eyes from the reflections of the setting sun in the facets of the enormous glass bubble. By three-quarters, the bubble is submerged into the ocean, with only the top visible above the surface. This sphere, made with hexagonal faceted glass panels and surrounded by the floating islands, is his nation’s new home. The New Maldives. Artificial. Recreated. Reimagined.

Such floating city spheres now substitute many sunken islands in the world ocean.

Thirsty under the merciless sun, Samudra reaches out for the cooler. He grabs one of the transparent water blobs, peels off the biodegradable shell made of seaweed, and teases the gelatinous bulb in his palm for a long second. Then, before putting it into his mouth, he holds it before his eyes, at the exact level that it becomes superimposed with the floating city on the horizon. Right now, he feels like he is holding the entire planet in his two fingers.

The buoyant ocean city would be the safest place on Earth in case the new phase of global cataclysms strikes. Notwithstanding, Samudra has another place in mind for the celebration of tomorrow – the historical moment that will either be the end of human civilization or the reclamation of the human right to inhabit this planet.

“Goodbye, great-grands,” whispers Samudra to the water grave. “Tomorrow, I may join you in the great beyond, if Mother Gaia wishes so.”

With eyes watery from memories and sun glitter, Samudra steers his boat towards the nearest Hyperloop port.

©️ 2024 Iryna Dihtiarova-Deslypper.  All rights reserved.

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