Silent Serpent Under Sea

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Digital drawing. A sea serpent, facing forward, floating in water. At right, near bottom, the head is directed downward. A crown of spiny fins extend from the back of the head and around the face. The serpent’s body extends up and then arcs down and loops to the left. The end of the tail is directed up to upper left corner and ends in spiny fins. Fins also arc along the top third of the serpent’s back, and one set closer to the tail. Some of the scales bear glowing marks that appear like characters or letters of an unreadable language.

“Some of the tunnels in other regions have been closed.  Some even filled in.  We’re lucky that the ones in our region have not.”

“The magic shoring up these walls is ancient, Gramps.  Are you sure it’s safe for us to be down here?”

“You’re the one who wanted me to bring you,” my grandfather said.  “Anyway, I thought young eyes would be sharper.”  My grandfather banged his fist against a seam of enchantment.  It glowed a bright turquoise in response.  New magic.  The afterglow softened to a whisper of pink that signified the ancient magic that I had just doubted.

My young eyes traveled up to the low arched ceiling of the tunnel, the transparent ceiling past which I saw nothing but darkness, and the occasional shadow flitting by, belonging to the strange and hardy creatures that somehow lived at the bottom of the deepest ocean.

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The Vessel Vespertilian

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Digital drawing. A bat mostly resembling the pygmy round-eared bat, three-quarters view of head with mouth slightly open, seen from bent legs up. The bat has two arms bent over his legs with a smooth membrane connecting the arms to his side. Behind these arms rise four pairs of membranous wings. They extend off frame. The bottom pair is watery and translucent. Next is a pair with rough earthen texture. Next is a flaming pair. And the last is luminous and wispy.

“Raccoons or orphans, whatever is back there, chase them away.  Or chase this away.  It’s your choice.”

I didn’t want to look at the glinting silver coin that he held up, but I couldn’t help it.  This was not the coin I needed today, or ten days from now, or even ten years from now.  I was prudent with my coin.  No, this was the coin I would need when I was an old woman, assuming I wanted to be the type of old woman who spent her days sitting by a sunlit window, sipping on fruit nectar, listening to a happy dog bark as I read a book of my choosing for as long as I so pleased.

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