A.J. Walker


What Lies Beneath

What Lies Benath Lilies
Mid Week Flash Challenge: Week 279

What Lies Beneath

Daniel stood on the pebble beach looking out across the mirror water. There was not a breath of air moving the sea. He wasn’t sure if he should breathe lest he caused the water to move. He felt a euphoria at last making it to see The Lilies. Casey shook her head, Daniel’s insistent demands to come to the middle of nowhere on Cassia6 was insane. She couldn’t understand why he didn’t just look on the Cybernet for features on them.

‘Can we go now?’ Casey asked.

Daniel didn’t hear or chose to ignore her.

‘I said…’

‘Sometimes I wonder if you have a soul, Casey.’’ Daniel said.

‘Whoever they were they didn’t die for me. They probably died for salt or something. Anyway how come you don’t know, I thought you were obsessed with the Cassia6 Wars.’

‘Fuck’s sake, I know.’ He wondered why she’d not stayed at the resort relaxing, drinking fine wines and eating exquisite foods; instead of having two uncomfortable days to get across a desert with him.

Casey knew the numbers. He’d told her countless times.

‘There isn’t even a memorial here.’ She said. ‘If the people here are not interested why should I? When we going back?’ How was a bloody boundary drawn up anyway through a big fat nothing. Probably randomly sketched by some politician on a faulty map. A line through a desert. How did anyone ever know whose country they were in?

Daniel sat on the shore, toying with throwing a pebble into the water. But decided against it. If breathing could cause a ripple what would a stone landing in the water do? Especially when he knew what lay beneath.

The guide and driver brought over some lunch. It was going to be a long afternoon if this didn’t placate Casey. Cheese and wine though usually did the trick.

‘Come here, love. We have some of your favourites. We both deserve it after two days in that vehicle.’ It was incredible that it was the only way to get to there. He’d been told flying and sailing was outlawed so close to sea boundary. Afternoon came and went with a procession of food – and not a little wine - and Casey mellowed; even cuddling up as it cooled when the sun went down.

She looked at the twin lines of lilies. So perfect. It was a wonder of nature she thought.

As the sun fell over the far island the two of them stared out across the water. It was a spectacle so few had seen. A few politicians and defence ministers knew the reality: as did Daniel. This place was never to be a tourist destination. Daniel had paid so much geld for this.

‘Casey, I’m glad you’re here. But you must never speak of this. The consequences to us both could be dire.’

Casey looked at him like he was mad. ‘It was just a few morsels of meat and fish wasn’t it? Are you saying we broke the law with those nibbles?’

‘Not the food. This…’ He nodded towards the water and she saw things were markedly changing. As the darkness thickened the lilies were getting hard to see. But there was something else..

‘Keep looking either side of the lilies.’

She couldn’t fail to see it: multitudes of lights beneath the water that went on for hundreds of meters in both directions. The suddenness of nightfall meant the lights quickly took over the view. There was a black line between the lights corresponding to the line of the lilies. It was an incredible sight.

‘What is this?’

‘True history. The battles back in antiquity here were fought by two races of a species we’ll never see. This was no fight over salt or fresh water. These are sea creatures who live in a distinct belt around this world. Evidently there were two distinct sides who fell out and fought such a war. There are no memorials on the land to the dead because all the dead – and the living – are beneath the water. The lilies are both a memorial and a demarcation zone for the two sides. They are metal. Possibly made on old earth. Maybe one day there will be a peace and the lilies will go?’

They watched masses of movements in lights and shade on both sides. Towns or cities. Casey was gobsmacked. It was exciting and beautiful. She quickly kissed Daniel. It was going to be a hard secret to keep.