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If you're here for this week's installment of Tentacles and Chain, read on...
Trellen finished the last of the tender muscles Master had brought him. They were something new and tasted nothing like anything he’d ever had before. The meat was sweet and savory at the same time, salty, but not overpoweringly so. The last bite gone, he leaned against his Master’s shoulder feeling contented. Happy. The feeling only increased when Master laid his one arm around his shoulders and with the other hand, tilted he Trellen’s chin up, coaxing him into a soft, sweet kiss. When they separated, he laid his head on Master’s shoulder and closed his eyes.
“You’re not going to go back to sleep, I hope,” Master said, his tone full of warmth. “There’s something I wanted to show you.”
“Show me?” What could he possibly hope to show Trellen in the dark?
Master ran his hand over Trellen’s cheek, then slipped from the bed, letting his fingertips trail down Trellen’s arm, until he came to Trellen’s hand. He grasped hold of it, so their fingers intertwined. “Come, my sweet little Pretty and see for yourself.” He gave a gentle tug.
Trellen let himself be pulled up and guided from the safety of the chamber. He knew the way to the chamber where Master liked to “torture” him—although Trellen really couldn’t call it that—so when they veered a different way, he moved closer to the safety of his Master’s body and only relaxed when he felt a strong tentacle slip around his waist. There was little Cetaceans feared more than travelling blindly through the darkness. Unlike the dolphins and orca they called cousins, Cetaceans were not gifted with the ability to bounce sound off objects in the water. It made Trellen wonder how Master saw so easily in the pitch blackness of Below. He didn’t use echolocation; Trellen would have heard it if he did. But he must have something.
“Where are we going?” Trellen asked.
“Patience, my sweet.”
But Trellen knew that tone. Master used it when he was excited about something, like when he’d brought Trellen the urchins wrapped in kelp for the first time. Or when he has some new game to play.
What game could Master be playing now?
The water’s scent changed and Trellen’s heart skipped a beat. “We’ve left the cavern.” He could feel the current, fresh and clear against his skin. It wasn’t the Blue, but it was still the open sea and for a moment he longed for nothing more than to tear away from his Master’s embrace and swim free, if only for a few minutes—but if he did that, he would be easy prey for predators lurking in the dark. Trellen shivered and held Master tighter.
“Easy, my sweet.” Master soothed, tightening his grip on Trellen’s waist. “These waters are safe.”
Trellen nodded but didn’t let go. When he felt Master taking them upward, however, his heart began to race anew. How far were they from the Blue? Surely once they were in the sunlight, Master wouldn’t restrain him—would he? It would be pure torture if he did.
But he said he wouldn’t play mind games with me.
He also said I couldn’t see him until I told him what I fear. Perhaps Master had changed his mind? Oh please let that be true. Trellen had tried so many times to imagine what Master looked like, but the picture refused to paint itself in his mind.
Would Master allow him to breach the surface, smell the air, and feel the sun on his face? Goddess, it had been so long! He would give anything for just a few moments in the sunlight.
Will he breach the waves with me? Did Cephalopoda leap above the waves like Cetaceans, Trellen wondered. He’d certainly never seen an octopus do it. But Master must be able to. He was so strong. What would it be like to swim together through the Blue?
To sit together in the sun.
Trellen gazed upward, hoping for a glimpse of light, but even as the pressure began to decrease, the waters remained dark. It must be nighttime. Still. It was the Blue whether sunlight filtered through the waves or not. This was home and his heart ached to be so close and yet so far away from everything he had ever known and loved. “Are we near the colony?”
Relief and disappointment waged war within his heart. It was better this way, better not risk being seen with the Unspeakable One. Better not to risk losing his Master and be taken back to a place he could never call home again anyway. Better my family thinks me dead than for them to know how tainted my soul has become. It would break his mother’s heart to see him like this. His sisters would weep. His brother….He looked up to me. Pain made Trellen’s heart heavy. He used to become so annoyed at his younger brother for always wanting to follow him. Now I would give anything just to see him one more time. But it was better that it never happened. Because if they knew what I was, they would forever hate me.
Trellen was so engrossed in his own thoughts that he didn’t realize the sea around them was suddenly teaming with bright specs of blue light, like tiny stars in the darkness. “What…what is this?”
Master feathered a soft kiss to his temple and loosened his grip. Trellen panicked and held on tighter.
“Easy, my sweet. We’re near the surface. There’s no moon out tonight, but you should still be able to see well enough to make your way.”
“Please don’t go too far.”
“Never.” But then he released Trellen.
For a moment he faltered—the he flipped his tail and swam. It felt good to have the current rushing past after having been confined for so long. But then he doubled back toward his Master. He let the current carry him amid the tiny, swirling stars. They were beautiful—magical. With a flip of the tail, Trellen breached the surface and breathed in the cool night air, salty and sweet. His heart soared. The sky above was as black as the black waters of Below and as filled with stars as the water. Like swimming in the sea of heaven.
Trellen floated on his back for a long while, gazing up into the moonless night—then he heard a splash and turned. Master. His features were obscured in the shadowy dark, but Trellen knew his presence. “This is…it’s incredible.”
“I thought you would like it.” Master’s voice was pure music in the open air, not at all like the strange timber it had below the surface.
Trellen swam to him and thrust both arms around his neck; he pressed his lips to his Master’s mouth and Master returned the kiss with ardent fervor. “Thank you for bringing me here,” Trellen said when he broke the kiss.
Master smiled; Trellen couldn’t see it, but he felt it. “You are welcome, Pretty. Come. There is an island near. When the water hits the shore, it glows blue for as far as the eye can see.”