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Of the Sea
Once more it was Valentines Day and I was sitting at home watching TV. Most everyone else was out for a night on the town with their girlfriend, fiancee or wife. I had no one. This was the one day of the year that drove home the fact that I was lonely. I really did believe that I needed no one, that I was OK on my own. This sucks. I decided then and there to do something different to take my mind off that subject.
I decided to take up Scuba Diving. It was something that I had always wanted to do, but somehow never found the time. I got signed up for classes at the local dive shop and got started. The classes were held at a local hotel that had a large pool. We went through classroom instruction and then went into the pool to try it out for the first time.
That was the beginning for me. I spent all of my time and effort diving, after I had gotten my certification. I took trips to the Bahamas and Florida just to go diving. I went overboard with the newness of the thing and Spent virtually all of my time in the water. I had met several people in the classes and had gone diving with them lots of times. They liked it also, although not as much as I did. I couldn't find anyone that loved it like I did. Therefore, when I proposed a trip to California, there were no other takers.
I couldn't entice anyone into going. It was too far some said and most others claimed not to have the money. Well, I'm rather stubborn and I won't be put off by this set back. I made plans to go alone.
Yes, I know that you never dive alone, but when you want something so bad, you forget safety to get what you want. I arrived in California and rented a car, then found a place to stay that was not far from the ocean.
I had decided not to carry my equipment on the plane, so I found the nearest dive shop and rented equipment for a couple of weeks and went back to my room to rest. Tomorrow, I would try a rocky shoreline that the guy at the dive shop had told me about. I had to lie to him, when he asked if I had a partner. I wanted to do this alone. I got up early and went down the cliff path to come out on a rocky beach. I suited up checked out my equipment and waded out into the surf. As I reached deeper water and went under, I descended into another world entirely. The world had changed and become this land of shimmering beauty. Below me, there stretched blue that seemed to go into infinity and above shimmered the surface world that I had left behind. This is one place, that although I knew I really didn't truly belong, I felt at home. I swam toward a kelp bed that I could see in the distance and hovered around the edge of it. There were many creatures there and I just watched them go about their business. They seem not the least disturbed by me. Later I descended toward the bottom. My depth gauge told me I was in less that fifty feet of water as I neared the bottom and I hovered there for a while. There was a small shark feeding along the bottom and I could just make out the beginnings of a shellfish bed. I looked at my watch and found that I had only 20 minutes of air left. Too soon, I had to return to the surface. As I started up, a large dark shape suddenly rushed toward me out of the murk. I didn't know what this was, and it scared the devil out of me. My first thought was of a shark attack. Too much TV I think. While I know that this is possible, I also know how rare it really is. The shape glided quickly towards me and I could see it better. It was a seal. She glided up to me and was very inquisitive. Se checked me out from top to bottom. Then she bumped me and swam around and around me. I had seem this on The Nature Channel and knew that she wanted to play. I was able to pet her on the head and she felt so sleek. We traded bumps and flipped over and over as we played. I remembered my air supply and once more started toward the surface. She followed me up and continue to try to get me into another game of tag, but I couldn't. I got to the surface and swam to the beach. As I stood up in shallow water and looked back, the seal head showed above the water. Was it just my imagination, or was she sad at loosing her playmate? It was amazing. For the last two days, she met me when I entered the water and stayed with me the whole time I was under. This kind of got to be a pain. She tended to scare off all of the other life that I wanted to look at, especially the fish. Well, playing with her was fun and I really came to look forward to it. We made up several new games. I would drop a shellfish, that I had picked up, to the bottom and she would bring it back every time. These were two of the best days that I've had. I almost forgot my loneliness for a while, but well, a seal wasn't human companionship was it? The fourth day, she didn't show up. There were other seals around as I looked, but not the one that I was looking for. Well, what the hell. It was a wild animal and even though I had gotten used to her, she apparently found something more interesting.
I finished my dive and went back to the hotel, after getting my tanks refilled, for a nap. I woke up near dusk and considered getting something to eat, but I really wanted to be alone, not around a bunch of people. I found myself wandering back to the beach where I dived. I don't know why. As I sat on the rocks, with by back against the cliff, I watched the sun set. The sight was pretty, but didn't bring much joy for me. I was purposely isolating my self from people. I knew that this was not supposed to be healthy for a person, but damn it, almost every one managed to irritate me if I stayed around them too long. I don't know how long I sat there wallowing in self pity. I fell asleep for a while. I awoke sore, and decided to go for a swim. I had no swim trunks so I would just skinny dip. I went into the water, which was kind of cold, but it was exhilarating . I was swimming back to shore, when I was caught in an undertow. It was slowly dragging me out to sea. Following advice that I suddenly remembered, I swam parallel to the shoreline to try to get out of the undertow. I finally got free and had almost gotten to shore, when an especially large wave picked me up and slammed me into the rocks. Bright flashes of light popped before my eyes and pain like I had never felt before pounded my head. I couldn't make my arms or legs work. I knew that I was going to drown, but there was nothing I could do. I drifted down, blackness shutting out all light, and knew no more.
Was I dead? I started to come to. Pain was a thing etched in my memory and was even now gaining in intensity, as I groggily shook my head. Several things were obvious immediately. I wasn't dead after all. Death couldn't hurt like this. I was also freezing, and what is that smell? A sort of fishy smell. I raised my head and looked around. I was on a rock at the edge of the ocean. The surf was breaking on the rock on which I lay. Water was not quite making it all the way to me. The reason that I was cold, was that I was still naked! I remembered going for a swim and things sort of blurred out. I woke up here, freezing. I pulled myself farther up on the rock. What was I going to do? I was on a rock facing the ocean, with a huge cliff at my back. I was freezing and I knew that I couldn't go back in the water and the cliff was too steep to climb. Maybe I was alive, but I wouldn't be for long unless something changed and fast. I yelled for help. Frustrated when I got no answer, I screamed! HELP!!! Still no answer. Then I noticed the mound against the cliff, that I hadn't seen before. I crawled over and took it in my hands. It was a fur. I had seen its like only once before, when I petted the seal. I wasn't about to look a gift horse in the mouth. I picked up the skin and draped it across my back. I put the bottom part between by butt and the rock. The skin seemed quite large and I pulled the rest over my shoulders and around the front, overlapping it to completely cover most of my body. My shaking seemed to slow and I could think more clearly. I gained back some of the warmth that I had lost. I leaned back against the rock face and for the first time began to believe that I might survive. I got drowsy, as I steadily grew warmer. I slipped into a light sleep. Again I woke and didn't feel the slightest bit cold. I started to get up and as I did I had to release my hand hold on the skin. It didn't fall off the way I had expected. The thing was stuck to my back! I pulled on it from the edge that I could reach and felt pain as I pulled on my own skin. The warmth began to spread. The skin was creeping over my shoulders and around my ribs. It met and connected as I watched, on my stomach. As I watched in fascinated horror, more and more of my body was being taken over. It covered both of my legs at the same time, down to and including my feet. I felt the bones of my legs and feet begin to move. My feet would no longer support my weight and I fell to the rocks. The outline of my legs under the skin disappeared and my feet flowed out to become flippers. The skin continued to swallow me, coming up my back and onto my head. My neck was lengthening and getting larger. My face pushed out into a short muzzle and the teeth in my mouth had become pointed. The last of my humanity slipped away as my arms shortened, the fingers fusing to become flippers. I was a seal.
What was I doing so far up on the rocks, when the safety of the sea was so close? The thoughts of the seal were becoming superimposed on my thoughts. New instincts that I couldn't overcome took over and I moved toward the water. Plunging into the water brought no fear and I was no longer cold. As I swam, I realized that I was now more comfortable than ever in my life. Why had I changed? Could I ever be human again? I let the seal part of me take over as I thought over these things. I wasn't happy as a human, was I better off now? My seal was hungry and dived and caught a fish. I had never really cared for fish before, but now it was great. My human mind merged even more as I became immersed in the meal. A shadow glided up to me out of the murky water. It was the female. My female: mate. Together we flowed through the water, diving and flipping, only seldom did we have to come up for air. I was no longer alone. Life was good.
Of the Sea copyright 1997 by Tekwolf.
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