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TITLE: Above the Surface
By Kara Dunham

Trey was determined to go as far as he possibly could. He was already far below the city, a distant light with a mass of water separating him. A shiver ran through him. Donít look up he reassured himself. People had tried going below before but no one had made it. They were too afraid to swim further than view of the lights. Trey knew if he swam only a bit further the lights would disappear. He braced himself and continued to swim downwards. He wondered how far he would have to swim before something happened. He tried to envision what he would find. He couldnít imagine it. His whole life he had been surrounded by the darkness of water continuing endlessly.

He seemed the only one curious about below. Most people didnít believe there was anything. Trey felt alone with his ideas. He spent most of his free time outside in the water studying fish. Fish were designed so curiously. Their bodies were structured, designed for swimming. All the people in his city could swim from a young age, but it was tiring and not efficient. Inside the city they were able to stand upright and walk around. That was natural. He always felt his clumsy limbs inept compared to the smooth fins of the fish, but that almost seemed trivial to other fascinations he had with fish.

When he was young he used to imagine he was a fish. He would straiten his body and try to wriggle from side to side, imitating the movements. He even once removed his mouth piece and tried to swallow in the water just as a fish. That was the most painful experience he had ever known. The water trapped his mouth and suffocated him. He tried to put the mouth piece back in but there was no where for the water to go. He had passed out and woke up inside with plenty of air to breathe and a massive headache. His friends had luckily been able to get him back inside and drained the water from his lungs. Since then he had been plagued with the mystery of why people had to use the mouth piece to breathe and had to live in the dome which had machines constantly working to provide air and light which was unnatural to the creatures all around.
Curiosity had plagued his entire life. None of these pieces made sense and he was determined to understand the mysteries of his life. The answer seemed to be down. He figured if he swam far enough below he would find something, what he didnít know.

His body was beginning to ache because of the distance he had swum. Pressure in his head had intensified; he pressed on. The city was far gone by now and he suddenly was overwhelmed. He stopped swimming for a moment and pondered this powerful feeling. What if he was wrong? What if there is nothing and he continues swimming forever? What if he finally decides to give up and is unable to return home?

For a moment he contemplated returning. No, there is something. There has to be, he pressed on.
He began to see some changes. The water was becoming slightly warmer and not as dark. At first a strange thought occurred to him that he was coming back to the city and had just completed a circle but he began seeing fish that were very unfamiliar.

He had to stop. He had a never swam so far. He had a headache and had to continuously depressurize his ears by clenching his teeth and swallowing. He felt the need to yawn, but due to the mouthpiece was unable to. Then for some reason he began to swim harder. He felt something pulling at him and knew he was close.

He could never have expected what happened next. The water stopped suddenly and he was halfway surfaced unable to move further. He had to close his eyes for the brightness was painfully dazzling. Closing his eyes hardly helped. He opened them again; his vision was blurred with black. He swam back up to recuperate. After several minutes his eyes had adjusted. He closed them again and swam back down, this time fully prepared. He opened his eyes slowly.

He let out a gasp, completely in awe of the sights before him. It was as if he had swum into another dome, only a one of much grandeur size. The dome seemed to enclose below and around for as far as he could see. The source of the light was coming from the edge, but it was still too powerful to look at directly. An arrangement of brilliantly radiant colors surrounded the edge of the dome near the light source. Trey suddenly felt small. His head swam with vertigo. He looked around trying to find the source which held the water back. It was as if he had penetrated an invisible wall.

He tried to gain some understanding of his surroundings. He tried to re-orientate himself so his home was now below him and the top of the water was the middle covered by a dome larger than he thought was humanly possible. As long as he thought of his feet pointing down he could control the sick feeling that was overwhelming him. Once he had established that, he began looking around. It was difficult to stay above the water, and if he didnít remember to kick his legs he would find himself underneath. It was becoming exhausting. All around as far as he could see was water rippling from a curious current of air. He again wondered where the source must be for such a great current, whereas in his own dome the air was circulated by ventilation.

Being unsure where to go now he decided to follow the light source. He wasnít sure how to swim properly above the water, so he swam not too far below occasionally coming up to check his direction. It was not long until he realized the light was getting dimmer and the surrounding colors were becoming more vivid, and more beautiful. He had not noticed before, because of the extreme lighting but the top of the dome was not empty. There was nothing comparable to what he saw, and no words to properly describe it other than white. White was a rare color, and these massive things above were very white. He gaped at the beauty of the entire surrounding. He did not believe anything could match such a glorious sight. He knew at that moment, no matter what happened to him now that this adventure had been worth every second. He had lived his entire life in such a small part of a much bigger and more beautiful piece.

The light continued to fade and quite unexpectedly he found himself in a similar darkness to that in which he had been raised. It was similar but also very different. The lights in his dome were constantly on for safety. Even with the constant light, the darkness of outside remained unchanged. What would be the purpose of a light that faded? His quest for answers had led him into a pool filled with many more questions.

As the darkness became stronger, the dome filled with the most amazing sight yet. Thousands of smaller, glittering lights covered the top of the dome. There also came another light illuminating his surroundings with a soft gentleness. He had no problem gazing directly at this light, which he found to be a rather odd shape. The lights were calming and soothing. Everything seemed at peace. That was until some of the smaller lights, it seemed, started to move. Move? No, they were falling; hundreds of them, falling fast. He was filled with wonder, then fear. They were massive, and coming directly at him, and then upon him. If it had been familiar, if he had known what it was he saw, he would have known why it was he had lived his life in the safe dwellings under the sea.
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