by Rayla

I had a dream a while ago and decided I could use the dream to write. Here goes:

One by one we jump into the gaping hole. Our wet suits protect us from the corrosive water. We swim down the abyss, making sure not to veer off course. You could get lost in this place without the right equipment. Exploring new sites is usually dangerous; however, this is a Beta site: it had already been explored and cleared for study classes like mine. The silent darkness surrounds us. Not even the sound of the breaths we take through our oxygen masks can reach our ears. I love this part. This moment of quiet makes me feel like I’m floating through time. I don’t feel or think, just glide through nothingness and hope it never ends.

As we swim further down, I can see the bottom of a large mass of land, holding new life and mysteries. The water becomes a clearer purple and the water pressure eases more and more. Climbing out of the water and onto land is painful for some: your eyes burn, your body aches, and you have to get used to gravity again. Swimming to new sites can take anywhere from five minutes to an hour. The propulsion device on our backs makes the journey easier to handle. Because of the corrosive water, we carry only the things we need most and keep them in a case made out of super-strength propylene plastic.

“OK, everyone,” Mayia pulls the cap of her white wetsuit off her head. All instructors must wear white to make them more visible in the water. “Once you get your gear from the case, make sure you code in the date and the site number into your scanners,” she pulls her red hair up into a bun and unzips a little of the zippers on her wetsuit.

I double tap the watch on my wrist. The watch unfolds and expands to cover my entire forearm. “Scanner login number 547316,” I say to my arm. The screen greets me with a bubble background and a winking smiley face. “Date: September 6, 3075, site number 35,” the screen inputs the date and site number then switches to a blank page for my notes. I finally look up from my arm and see, everything. The sky is a lavender blanket, fluffy, but with no clouds. A forest is ahead of me. The tree trunks are swirls of yellow and purple with orange moss surrounding the base. Their leaves grey and litter the forest ground. The soft grass is blue and grows around my feet with each step I take. The air leaves a sweet taste in my mouth and my fingertips tingle.

“Hey, Raeia,” Kaiyu’s voice drifts into my ears and I’m jolted from my trance. “What is the site number?”

“547316.” I turn away from the forest to look at Kaiyu. His dark blue wetsuit hugs his thin frame, conforming to his muscles. His brown hair is slick back and resting on his shoulders. I didn’t know much about him even though we’ve had classes together before.


“No,” I face the water and walk towards him, “54731…” Looking behind Kaiyu, I see a hand, an unprotected hand, reach out of the water. “Mayia,” I yell as loud as I can and run to the water. I could hear Mayia yelling orders behind me to the other students. Without thinking, I grab the reaching hand with both of my bare hands and start to pull. The hand is slimy and I can barely hold on. I brace myself for the excruciating burning sensation I should feel from the water. Kaiyu grabs my waist and pulls me back. Another hand reaches out of the water and slams onto the ground. Mayia and two students run over with a metal case. They put it down next to me and pull the hose from the middle. A head, torso, legs, and feet come onto land and curls into a ball. Mayia immediately sprays the naked body with the cold alcohol mixture. The mix helps to stop the burning and washes away the corrosive water. I sit motionless on the sandy ground, staring at something that shouldn’t be alive. Her body is slender and twitching. Her black hair is long with pink roots.

“Raeia! Raeia!” Kaiyu grabs my arms and starts to pull them to the stream of alcohol mix. “What the fuck?” Kaiyu gasps staring at my hands. I look down at them and, nothing. No burn, no wound, not even a mark—just my hands.