We left sad Coral City behind and set out to find Margot.
I felt great. The ocean was bright, the water excellent and the air above the surface fresh.
“What will we call him?” Atli smiled at me. I immediately thought of Lintyn, my dad’s name.
“Well, Atli, I actually don’t know anything about your parents. What were their names and what were they like?
“Mom was the most beautiful female Blue Whale in the ocean, both inside and outside. She’d sacrifice herself for her family. She loved us and we her. Her name was Alvi.
“My dad, Tory, was brave, strong and big. He did everything for us. I didn’t tell you ... They caught him when he was protecting my mom and me. He was a brave Blue Whale.”
I caressed Atli with my fin and pressed against her.
“Our son will be Tory. And if it’s a daughter, she’ll be Alvi.”
Several days had passed, but Margot didn’t return.
It was a calm morning and drops of fresh water landed on the surface. I swam ahead and was watchful.
I thought of Margot. She’d be a great nanny for our baby, although she’d be hardly bigger than its fin.
Where had she gone?
The unpleasant noise of a vessel interrupted my thoughts. It was far in front of us and looked as if it would pass us by.
We cautiously continued. It was time to take a breath. We were approaching the surface, smiling at each other.
I felt something strange; something brushed against me. I looked at my loved one in confusion and my heart stopped beating.
There were pieces of nets, ropes and other trash passing by me. But Atli was swimming right among them.
It started to rain.
A loud cry resounded in the ocean.
And the cry was mine.
It couldn’t be true. I recalled my dad’s death.
“No!” I shouted. “This can’t be happening!”
But she was just groaning and trying to escape.
I did everything I could to set her free, so she could breathe.
It was useless.
She got even more stuck.
“Atli!” I sobbed.
She stopped, completely exhausted. She tried to be brave, but she was also crying.
I was with her.
“I’ll never leave you, do you hear me? I’ll never leave you, Atli!”
She looked at me.
“Promise me that you’ll continue to live, Lupin,” she said.
“What are ...“
“Promise me to be strong.”
I was crying.
“Promise me, Lupin.”
“I won’t let you go, Atli! Please don’t leave me! Don’t ...”
We heard a familiar sound and a dark spot emerged above us.
Another net wrapped around Atli. They slowly dragged her up.
“Noo! Don’t take her from me!” I screamed.
“Don’t take my family!”
“Please, stop it!”
Atli slowly disappeared above the surface.
We looked at each other for the last time.
I remained underwater, frozen. My other half was gone.
I recalled our entire journey. My whole life. All the suffering, my loved ones that I’d lost and other animals that would never taste the saltiness of our ocean again.
Hatred overwhelmed me.
I collected myself and followed the ship. I was prepared to do anything to take my revenge.
I quickly caught up with the spot and, collecting all my strength, was about to attack it.
When suddenly ...
Another shadow appeared next to the ship. The noise ceased as the ship stopped.
A big body cut through the surface, supported by a belt from below.
It was Atli. The net had been removed from her head.
She was moving.
And then, when she was already underwater, she darted forward.
She swam around me a few times, looked up, speeded up and leapt above the surface, full of life.
I didn’t know what’d happened, but I was filled with an unfamiliar feeling. As if more happiness than my body could bear was flooding over me.
With wide eyes and bright face, I followed my loved one.