Atli was the same age as me, but she was more experienced and braver. She had no family left; her mom and dad had been caught by those above the surface and she’d never known her grandma and grandpa. She had to take care of herself.
Sometimes all three of us swam together, and at other times we hid from Dad and dived into the deep. He didn’t mind. He believed that Atli would take care of me in the worst-case scenario. Besides, we Blue Whales enjoy being peaceful and solitary. Dad always said “There’s nothing more beautiful than silence”.
One evening, Atli suggested that we explore an undersea rock formation called Turtle Rock. But we had to take a breath first.
We had almost emerged from underwater, surrounded by the shining, setting sun, when I noticed some colours on the surface. There was a group of strangely shaped jellyfish all around – they were oddly tattered.
Dad used to say “Whoever you meet, greet them politely”, so I said hello to the strange group of jellyfish. They didn’t answer. Meanwhile Atli swam among them as well. As she took a breath, she moaned slightly. I caught up with her and saw the dubious colourful jellyfish stuck on to her head.
“Oh, what’s this? What is it?” she started to toss around. She speeded up and the jellyfish let go of her.
“Lupin, did you see them? What’s got into them?”
I didn’t answer. I looked up and something in my still inexperienced mind told me that the big motionless spot on the surface was not a shoal of jellyfish.
But then we got playful again and darted down to Turtle Rock.
Turtle Rock was inhabited by an ancient and wise Turtle who knew everything.
We carefully swam around when the Turtle emerged. She had tired, yet bright eyes and a very long neck.
“A disaster is about to happen,” she suddenly said.
“Green and blue. Red and yellow. Transparent and insidious. Better not to eat. Not to swim. Not to breathe. Those above the surface. They are not wise. They kill their food and will kill us all and eventually themselves as well.
“Don’t eat!” she said and disappeared in a dark hole under the rock.
“What did she say?” Atli asked anxiously.
“She said not to eat.”
“But that’s impossible. We have to eat.”
“Yes, otherwise we’ll go hungry.”
“She must have gone mad from the rock. Well, at her age. Mom once told me that even Grandma used to know her.”
“Dad said that we should be polite and kind to older animals. They’ve already been through a lot.”
For a while, we stayed at the bottom, when suddenly a tiny grey fish rushed over to us. She stopped right in front of my head. She looked scared, her eyes were popping out. I’d never seen such a fish before, so I wasn’t sure whether she was really scared or whether her eyes were just like that.
“Mr Lupin? Mr Lupin?” she asked, swimming furiously from side to side.
“Is that you, Mr Lupin?”
“Yes, little fish. My name is Lupin and this beauty is Atli.“
“Come with me quickly! Your dad. Your dad. He was having his dinner when ... It’s terrible! Follow me quickly.”
I was scared.
“Let’s swim!” I urged the fish.
I could hear a low wailing from afar. I recognised it. It was Dad. I speeded up and so did Atli. The grey fish stayed far behind us.
The desperate voice was getting clearer and clearer. Dad and I were connected through an invisible bond. I knew exactly where to swim.