Black Pearl

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The Great Chase

As each day passed, Ally and Freddy grew more and more fearful and anxious. First, hundreds of dead fish popped up everyday on the surface of the sea, filling the air with the obnoxious stench of rotten fish. Following that ominous event was the disappearance of men that occurred every night. Everyone who lived near the coast either moved out or made sure to lock their doors after sundown. What was even more creepier was that anyone who’d open their doors would either be showered in a rain of poop- a curtesy of the seagulls-or be greeted with an army of sea-crabs at their door. It was clear what was up: Alima wanted her pearl back.

On the second week that had passed after their encounter with Alima, Freddy was getting ready to leave for another day of work. Freddy opened the front door and was greeted by the aggressive crabs as usual, except for this time, the largest crab of the group was carrying a note in one of its meaty claws. The crab dropped the note at Freddy’s feet and the group left. Freddy picked up the note and read it.

Dear Lovely Thieves,

Both of you meet me at the dock at dawn (you know which one) and bring my pearl with you. There, the exchange of possessions shall commence. However, if you try to pull any tricks, clever boy, you’ll regret it.

Sincerely, your dear,

Alima.

Freddy scratched the side of his face. He dreaded that he would have to meet her again. She was certainly intriguing but she brought so much drama with her. Freddy texted his sister Ally and went to work as usual.


At dawn, Freddy and Ally went to the dock. The sun had peaked its bright orange head over the blue horizons. Rays of its bright light skewered the puffy clouds. Ally yawned often as they walked, she wasn’t a morning person. As expected, Alima was waiting for them at the edge of the dock. She was wearing a white sundress which complimented her golden complexion and her long black hair. Freddy noticed Ally had slowed down her pace. Freddy knew that she was fearful that Alima would push her into the sea again.

“I won’t let her touch you.” Freddy said to her reassuringly.

“Thanks.” She said, still keeping her eyes on Alima. When they were of a reasonable distance, Freddy found it safe to converse with her.

“Alima!” He cupped his hands around his mouth and shouted. “We have your pearl!” Alima shrugged her shoulders and tucked a piece of hair behind her ear, signing that she couldn’t hear him. Ally took a step forward but Freddy stopped her from getting near Alima. “It’s a trick,” he said.

“I’m willing to play fairly if you are!” She said and this time, she went to them first. Ally made sure to distance herself from Alima. “I have your possession, Ally.” Alima reached into the pocket of her dress and took out a small shard of purple Amethyst. “Let’s switch.”

“No,” Ally said and shook her head. “If we do, you’ll be free to roam further and slaughter more men!”

Alima jerked, offended by Ally’s accusation. “I haven’t slaughtered any human since the eighteenth century!”

“And what was so special about the eighteenth century?” Ally crossed her sun-tanned arms. Her freckled shifted.

Alima paused for a moment and said, “I’ll show you where I've been hiding them.” Alima stepped off the dock and back onto the sandy coast. She looked side to side to see if there was anyone watching and she began to dig. It didn’t take long until Freddy and Ally saw something brown. And with more digging, a hidden door was revealed. Muffled sounds were coming from it. Ally and Freddy held in their breath when Alima opened the door which exposed a large vacant underground chamber with disco-lights. There were at least eighty men down there that were dancing to booming music, drinking, and watching sports.

“Heyyy! What’s up Alima!” said one man from below. He had moppy brown hair of a surfer’s and seemed to be in his mid-twenties. He craned his head to look at them. He seemed happy and uninjured and was drinking from a brown bottle.

“Hey Edwin!” Alima waved to him.

Edwin grinned. Each side of his cheeks reddened in a bright hue. The man was clearly drunk. “Alima, I don’t want to trouble you after you’d went through so much trouble to throw this awesome party for us but...there are no more drinks left.”

Alima dismissed the problem casually. “There should be plenty of more root-beer in the other fridge which is located in the fifth man-cave.”

The man flashed Alima with a cheesy smile and said, “You’re the best Alima!” The other men joined in and said, “All hail the party-goddess!”

They cheered raised up their drinks. Alima winked at them and said, “Have fun, boys,” and closed the door. “Believe me now?” Alima said. She was greeted with mixed looks from Ally and Freddy.

“So...you didn’t eat them?” Ally said in disbelief. A part of her wanted to think that what she had saw was just an illusion. An underground man-cave was really hard to accept. “I’m a full-time pescitarian, I swear,” Alima said, and raised her right hand.

“How about the dead fish?” Freddy asked. They received another shrug from her.

“Last night’s leftovers I assume.” They still weren’t sure on whether they should trust her.

“Please give me my possession back.” Ally begged. Alima sighed and rubbed her shoulder.

“Sure, I’ll give it back.” A wide hopeful smile grew on Ally’s face. “On one condition,” Alima added in and Ally’s smile dropped. “You have to catch me first,” Alima swan dived into sea with a loud splash.

“Awwww!” Ally whined and looked to her brother for a solution. After all, it was always Freddy who was the smart one. But this time, Freddy didn’t really have a stable answer.

“I guess we can use the boat but I can’t assure you that we’d be able to track her down underwater.” Ally swallowed her fear and stood at the very edge of the dock, looking down into the blue water, staring at her reflection. She felt her stomach tie into knots and she had a feeling she was going to puke.

“You’re not going to actually chase after her, are you?” Freddy said with his jaw dropped. Ally gave her brother a brave smile and said, “Make sure dinner’s ready for me,” and she fell backwards into the water with a splash.

~~~

Ally wasn’t sure what had happened to her clothes. She wasn’t sure whether they slipped off when she transformed or they just right out disappeared. Ally wasn’t sure why she wasn’t afraid. But she was sure of one thing: she was going to find Alima and get her possession back. Ally squinted her eyes, trying to make out the scenery around her. She saw that the rocks beside her were disappearing in a blurr which meant she was swimming pretty darn fast. Ahead of her, she could make out the silhouette of a black tail. She forced herself to propel even harder. Her tail began to ache and and her abdomen was sore but she pushed herself to keep on swimming. Ally saw that the tail had stopped and she flicked her tail with a more efficient force and tackled Alima down onto the sandy ocean floor.

“I got you!” she tried to say but all that came out was air-bubbles. Alima recovered from Ally’s smackdown and pointed up towards the surface of the ocean. Together, they swam up and gasped at the surface.

“You’re...good!” Alima smiled and breathed heavily. “Same...back at you,” Ally breathed heavily also. “I’m amazed...you’re so fast. And also that you’re not tired.”

“Why should I be tired?” Ally said and grinned. It was the first time in a long time that she felt this good. “It was just a quick little race.”

“Quick?” Alima gave Ally a strange look. Alima looked up at the sky and Ally saw that the sun was beginning to set.

“You’ve got to be kidding me! The sun had just came out a few moments ago!” Ally said and rubbed her eyes to make sure that she wasn’t just seeing things. But sure enough, it was still there. The sun was disappearing from under the horizons.

“I’d hate to break it to you, but we’re in a different timezone.” Alima said this dove back under the water and gestured to her surroundings. Ally spun a full 360 and saw colorful coral reefs around her. Schools of little rainbow fish swam by and sea turtles too. “Welcome to the Great Barrier Reef.” Alima said this and swam around and Ally followed her. It was as if they were in some undersea wonderland. It was magical, something Ally had never imagined. There were fish of all different sizes and colors. Ally got to pet an enormous blue-fish with pouty big lips. Alima tickled a giant clam and convinced it to let her hold its pearl, she gave it back of course. Ally and Alima explored every crevice of the reefs. They even played hide-and go seek (which so happened to be a thousand times better under the sea). It was all great until Alima found something stuck in a purple coral reef: a mirror.

The mirror was rimmed with blue aquamarine, and it had ancient writing on the back of it. Alima’s face turned serious. “This was the princess’s. This was her most valued object. She’d never lose something like this.” Alima kicked her tail and and searched some more but couldn’t find any more evidence of the princess. Alima shook her head. “It’s fine. I can deal with it tomorrow. Anyway, I should probably take you home, your brother will think I’d eaten you.” Alima gently took Ally’s hand and placed the Amethyst shard into her palm. “Here, you need it back.”

Ally said with gratitude, “Thank you.”

Together, they swam home. But while they were drying off on the shore, hidden behind a large sea rock, Alima said, “Listen, the reason why I took you there was that I wanted you to get to know your birthplace. The Great Barrier Reef is your home. And the ocean is nothing to fear, as you saw, it was an amazing sight, don’t you think?” Ally nodded and she looked down at her tail to see her old pair of legs. Alima dug under the sand and gave Ally a blanket to cover herself. “Go home.” Ally got up and began to walk home. Ally couldn’t believe her day was so magical. She wanted to thank Alima for showing her the beauty of the ocean but when she turned around, Alima was gone. And in her place were the splashing waves that sang in the quiet night.

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