The City Below

“The ocean is a desert with its life underground
And the perfect disguise above.”
-America, A Horse With No Name

Looking down the beach, seeing nothing but a handful of silver gulls and sandy burrows of ghost grabs, it seemed America was right.

Just weeks beforehand I had stood on the cliff above the Kiama Blowhole, transfixed by the black water swirling around the rocks. I stood there for an hour, unable to think of any reason not to throw myself in. Only the dark water was mesmerising, and in time I felt the cold, and shaking violently I made the long walk back to light, and civilisation.

Now here I was on the beach in Thirroul on a bright, sunny late afternoon with the spray rolling in a low fog along the sand and long, lazy waves washing over green rocks. Alive.

Something about the water is transfixing. Wading amongst the rock pools, my problems were far away. Peering into pink algae-fringed bowls ignited a sense of mystery and adventure. Fish darted between patches of sea grass. Snails in brilliant blues and silvers and greens proliferated on the rocks. A tiny limpet with a head like a hippopotamus’s made a paw from its foot and stuffed its mouth with algae.

I was in love. With the limpets, the snails, the fish, the busy water, the endless, reliable crash of wave on rocks, with the hazy distances and the resplendent colours of the sealife. With the salt and the spray and the tiny battles taking place beneath the smooth cloak of the ocean’s surface. I was reborn: I wanted to stay here forever. I wanted to know the city of the ocean better than I knew the streets of my hometown.

And that’s why I started this blog.




Author: Anneque Machelle

Anneque Machelle finds the best in indie sci-fi - so you don't have to. Her background in biology, engineering and fiction writing give her a Geiger counter to find the most radioactive underground hits this side of Pripyat.

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