Qanat - An Underground Valley

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Chapter 11

11. The Swim

He was confidently swimming underwater through the corals, towards the entrance of Qanat. The whale wasn’t anywhere to be seen, everything seemed good and he found the way in. He swam forward until he saw the limestone ceiling. The dolphins were there to show him the way; he swam until he started seeing more and more lights and finally saw the mountains of gold. He swam to the shore and he dragged himself up to the limestone floor, the floor was slippery yet he walked ahead looking for Isha, all of a sudden, an arrow came from a distance and hit his leg.

“Aaaaaahhhh!?!?!” he screamed and got up. He realized all that was happening in his dream. Isra was standing with her hands crossed against her breast outside the hut, looking at the sun rising; the color of the sky was changing slowly. The view was breathtakingly beautiful.

She walked up to him and sat beside him “What did you dream about?? Isra asked Faham.

“I swam to that land and while I got out of the river somebody put an arrow through my leg,” he said, she looked at his face again, he was waiting for her to say something but the smile was gone from her face. She looked strange, her face hinted fear.

“You didn’t see those whales???” she asked. “No, I just saw the dolphins,” he said.

Hearing that, she got a bit relaxed. That smile of her came back, slowly. “So, do you want to come to the sea today?” she asked him. He gestured, NO “I want to learn swimming before I go in the sea again”, she smiled and said ok.

“Come with me then...” she took held his hand and walked towards the pool “You can start learning how to swim, from here”, saying that she pushed him into the pool and burst out laughing.

He stared at her in anger and stood up in the water, “How can you learn to swim in this much water?” he shouted, “Walk forward” Isra said and moved her head indicating to walk forward. He started to walk forward and the water level kept rising. She threw a wooden log into the pool.

“Hold on to it, you won’t drown.”, Isra said pointing to the log.

He held on to the log and it went down along with him. “Not like that...” saying this, she jumped in to pool and swam towards him. She took the log and told him to hold on to it, she then further stretched her hands out and told him to lie on her hand. He lay on her hands with a log in his hands.

“Now move your legs slowly, don’t worry I am holding you and the log will help you keep floating.

He started to move his legs as she held him and started to move around with him. They continued for some time, after a while he got exhausted. Slowly she settled him, he got on his feet, and they came out of the pool and walked to the hut and slept.

She wasn’t around, while Faham woke up. He looked for her near the shore; saw her coming from the sea rowing the boat. Faham walked up to the boat, Isra smiled at him as he took her bucket out from the boat.

“Why do you collect these pebbles every day?” Faham asked.

Isra replied, “I am stocking it up for the future, so how was your swimming and your sleep?”

“It was ok,” said Faham and walked along with her…

In the morning Isra woke him up and told him to get ready for a swim, he got up, got ready and walked towards the beach. He was walked into the sea, she stopped him “Wait.” she took a rope which had two coconuts tied at one end and tied the other end of the rope to his waist. “Now go, take that log for further support,” she said pointing at a bigger log.

She was gone, he didn’t dare to try to swim alone, but he wanted to try. He held the log, lay down and started moving his legs, slowly started to move. As days passed he started to swim alone and she kept on collecting the pebbles and shells. Slowly he was confident to swim further ahead through the pool.

You’re coming with me, to the sea?” Isra asked him, he nodded his head gesturing yes, they both pushed the boat together into the sea, he was happy and confident this time to sit on the boat. After rowing for a while, she stopped the boat, put the small anchor down tightened the anchor’s rope and she jumped into the sea. After some time, she came up and asked him if he’s coming along? He happily said yes and jumped into the seagoing deep within. He opened his eyes, it hurt, he couldn’t hold the breath for a long time so he came back up to the boat. His eyes had a burning sensation, he was rapidly inhaling and exhaling air, he extremely exhausted so laid down in the boat. She came back up in some time, saw him lying in the boat, and laughed “You thought it’s easy? This is saltwater things are different here”

Then he realized it’s not enough for him to get back to Qanat. All of a sudden, the diamond-studded dolphin jumped across the boat and disappeared. They returned to the shore, he was disappointed, he became hopeless and he sat there in the boat until the dark clouds started to fill in the sky. Isra didn’t say anything to him; she walked away to her hut with her bucket.

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