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The light casts strange shadows underwater. Diving deep into the ocean, you find yourself in a murky world of wonder and mystery. Feeling the soft sand swirling around your legs, you see the groups of colorful fish glide between the still strands of dark green seaweed. Everything is unmoving, and the silence is immense. Life underwater is incredibly peaceful.
The calmness spreading through your body, you find that you are able to breathe in the water. As you easily make your way through, the smooth strands of seaweed brush your body, and you start to adjust to surviving underwater.
As you swim, you notice a faint light, far away. Somehow, deep inside of your mind, you know that you should try to reach the light. It seems like there is something luring you toward the radiance, and you are unable to stop yourself from the pull. You are extraordinarily curious to see where it’s coming from. As you make your way through the salty water, you notice the dim outline of a castle with wide towers rising from the roof, while noticing that the light is coming from the brilliantly white sand around the majestic building, where remains of once beautiful plants are scattered, now lifeless.
The castle seems stark, and the walls are scratched and dark grey, but the stone is smoothed out by the water that swept over the walls throughout the years. Yet, you can’t take you eyes off of the strange castle, because you feel like you had been there before, when you were younger. The memory seems to be covered by a black veil of forgetfulness, like a treasure chest, hidden deep under layers of heavy sand, where it will stay forever, never reaching the light of the sun.
Suddenly, the distant memory becomes clear, and you remember how years ago you swam in this direction toward the castle. That day, the heavy doors opened, and your parents welcomed you home after a trip to a faraway kingdom. Inside of the castle, the water felt quite warm and the lamps glowed luminously.
Your parents pulled you into a hug, and that day had been filled with love and laughter as the chefs and cooks prepared all the delicious dishes that your family feasted on.
The doors don’t open, and the windows are dark. The only light is given off from the unusual glowing sand, making the castle look eerie and gloomy in the strange glow. You push the door open, and it falls toward the ground with a dull thud. Noiselessly, and overwhelmed with panic, you enter the dark, unlit room. Where are the bright lights and smiling faces? This time, nobody welcomes you. The room you enter is untidy and empty. It seems like someone has gone through the area, leaving it cluttered and messy. The floor is covered by papers and paintings that should have been hanging on the wall, and there are heaps of clothes laying on the elegant furniture. On a table, you see a patterned metal box that looks like it had been carefully carved. It’s a beautiful box, one that only magical hands could have carved. You easily pry it open with a kitchen knife that you find in one of the drawers.
Inside, you find an old letter written on a piece of yellowed paper, and a small ruby charm hanging from a sparkling silver necklace. The chain is long and it looks very delicate. You instantly put it on around your neck and the necklace fits perfectly. A comforting feeling washes over you. It’s a feeling you always felt when you were with your family. With shaking hands, you open the letter and carefully read it:
August 27, 1877
This year had been extremely terrible for our family. People from above the water tried to destroy our civilization. Thousands of us were killed, and we had to do something to make sure you’d stay alive and healthy. Because we felt our family was at danger, we decided to keep you safe with another family, until the cruel war stopped. We hope that one day, when the world is peaceful again, you will find us. Hopefully, this day will come soon and our family will be reunited. The enclosed necklace will help you find your way to us. It will guide you through the waters of this deep ocean. Put it on, and we promise that you will find us.
Your Mother and Father
You close your eyes, finally remembering the event from so many years ago. The war started suddenly, interrupting the happiness of the people who lived underwater. Your family was in danger, because they were wealthy people who were still kind to the less fortunate ones despite their richness. The people who lived above water were greedy and wished to take over the kingdom that you and your family lived in. They underestimated the citizens of the country, thinking that they were pacifists who would not act violently no matter what. They were wrong. The people of underwater were kind toward each other and the creatures of the dark ocean, but despised the humans living above, for all the turmoil they had caused in the past. They hated the monsters that walked on land but would not strike, choosing to ignore for the sake of keeping peace between the different worlds. You remember that your family decided to hide you with another family that wasn’t as searched for as your original family. The goodbyes were hard, but your safety was the most important thing to your parents. You know that now you cannot give up searching for your family. They are awaiting you, now that the war ended, the people of the dark ocean victorious.
So you swim. For long, endless days, the hours seem to stretch as you frantically try to find your family. You long for a place to call home, where your family would be with you and you wouldn’t feel lost.
Somehow, you know that your family is still alive. Yet, after days of desperately searching through the darkness, you are still unable to find them, until one day, when you come by a small village. You glance around curiously as the ruby charm in your necklace starts glowing, a color so brightly scarlet that you cover your eyes from the light.
A small house, surrounded by red roses that move lightly in the water, stands out from the rest of the bland village. The windows are bright, and you realize that this is your family’s home. The doors slowly open and your parents come out, smiling, their faces glowing with happiness. They have not changed much since the last time you saw them, because you recognize them instantly. You swim toward your family and they greet you with open, welcoming arms. You have finally found what you had been looking for: your home.