This is the thirteenth part of a fiction serial, in 790 words.
Everything went black on screen. Glen and Anita could be heard breathing fast. Mel presumed they were swimming hard back to the beach, and that was confirmed after he fast-forwarded the video. Glen was on camera, Anita still breathing hard as she filmed him.
“So, you will see something on this footage. I’m here to tell you I have no idea what it was, but it was like nothing I have ever seen before in my life. At least eight feet tall, floating in the water right behind me. I felt its presence, which made me turn around. We didn’t hang around after that, although it made no aggressive moves even as we swum right past it. Phew! I need to sit down”.
The view changed to Glen filming Anita, who was sitting on the beach still wearing her air tanks.
“I went past it so close, I could have touched it. It was floating upright in the water, and it looked at me as I went by. Tall, well-built, definitely covered in fur, with a face like a dog, but much larger eyes. The nearest thing I can equate it to is a sea otter, though huge by comparison to those. It had arms and hands, and large canine teeth. But you’re right to say it was not aggressive. It could easily have grabbed me or bitten me, but didn’t move. In a way, it seemed curious”.
That was the end of that card, so Mel put the next one in. Glen was drinking a hot drink from a tin mug, giving a talk to the camera in his presenter style.
“What we saw down there was defnitely a farm. An undersea farm for crustaceans and fish. That is undeniable to me. Whatever built those cages and fed the livestock had some skill, obvious intelligence, manual dexterity, and considerable strength. It can also breathe underwater, for how long I don’t know. I am in no doubt that the creature we saw was one of those who built this, and also in no doubt that they have been collecting and storing the old artifacts, and also exchanging them for things taken from our camp. This is huge!”
Pausing the video, Mel sat back, taking in what had been said so far. A new species, perviously unknown and undiscovered. Large Otter-like creatures, capable of complicated thought processes, farming their food, and realising that stuff from shipwrecks might have value for barter. It seemed incomprehensible that they could have gone undetected for so long. Never caught in trawler nets, never mentioned in folklore. Could they be all over the world, or was this the last colony remaining? Glen had been right about how huge this was.
The discovery had taken the film project to a new level.
This could be something like the missing link. A sea mammal larger than humans that had not transferred onto dry land. It could even be the origin of the mermaid myth. Mel was almost afraid to start the footage again, in case that had been the only sighting. But he knew Glen, and if he had spotted that once, he would be back to get better film of it, of that he was sure. When he resumed play, Glen was still being a presenter.
“Anita has had a wonderful idea. She’s sure that the noises in the sea cave were these Otter-type creatures, chattering to each other, and feeding. As they were harmless as far as we could tell, the plan is to go back into the sea cave tomorrow, and carry on inside until it opens out. If there are any creatures there, we will show them we are friendly. We won’t have any SCUBA gear on, so they can see our faces properly. If not, we may well find some clues as to their habits. This is very exciting indeed, perhaps the most important job we have ever done. If we can find a new species and interact with it, who knows where this could go?”
There was a jump-cut to Anita loading some items into a net bag, Glen was still speaking off camera.
“As you can see, we intend to take a bag of offerings with us. Some tinned food that we can show them how to open, and other things in jars that they may never have tried to eat. ‘Nita is also taking the digital voice recorder, in the hope of recording the sounds they make for experts to decide later if it is a structured language. I don’t think I am going to sleep much tonight, my brain is buzzing!”
Reaching across the desk, Mel was also thinking he wouldn’t get much sleep. He put the next card in.