Arms trembling, stippled at the touch of air, I claw my way out of the dirt. As my head breaks the surface, the warm weight of sunlight causes the membranes to flick across my eyes. I see, through a dragonfly’s wing, the hazy faces of my sister Lera, my hyber-mate Rol. It is time for our days in the sun.
I pull my body upward. Flop onto the hard packed sides of the den, exhausted. The way out has taken us several hours, though our hands are strong and our bodies accustomed to the work, even after such long sleep.
Weak, thirsty, I long for the cool rush of water but know I must resist. A day will pass before my body can cope with sustenance. In that time I will learn what changes have taken place in me, what changes have overtaken our world. It will be hard, adjustment of the mind is not so swift as that of the body.
Rol reaches over and takes my hand. I count new fingers, webbing that last time was soft and now is rubbery to the touch. The waters have risen, I suppose. My other hand rises to my neck, traces the slits that may next time have become gills, or perhaps blow holes. We do not know what we are becoming only that we must become. As the earth’s skin changes, so must ours.
We are the second generation. After two years of surface life, when the changes cycle round again, when our skin tingles, our bones burn, we will return here. We will again burrow deep beneath the caressing shelter of the loam, into the arms of the earth, to sleep and, in our sleep, to transform.
© Ren Warom 2010