Aquifer 0 - Onset, p.1Eduard Meinema & Jeske Meinema / Fantasy / Actions & Adventure
AQUIFER ~ 0 / ONSET – Jeske & Eduard Meinema
‘Onset’ is a short story. An introduction to the AQUIFER series: A mysterious diary confuses marine biologist Jerry Allen. The meeting with strange sea creatures which Priscilla Blextone describes in her ancient diary looks lifelike. Her drawings and description agree with beings that are also known as mermaids. As a scientist Jerry Allen knows that's not possible. Mermaids do not exist. Or…?
Then Allen’s leave is interrupted. The Navy urgently needs his help. At a location close to the Great Barrier Reef Allen watches secret images of unknown beings filmed by the Navy. Unknown creatures that look suspiciously like the mermaids Priscilla Blextone had described two centuries earlier. Could it be...? →Start reading!
About the authors
websites: www.jeskemeinema.nl and www.eduardmeinema.nl
AQUIFER 0 / ONSET
Time has come.
I already undressed and neatly folded and placed my dress on the bench of the boat. A dinghy. The boat, I mean; the dress is of Beau Brummel, the designer of 1815. In fact, a designer of men’s clothing, but I am far ahead of my time. And I just know that everyone in London will be jealous of me. But out here; in Australia there are hardly any women that I can compare myself with. Or women who can keep up with me. Though, considering my length, I could quite go on for an aborigine.
No, there are no envious looks of other women around here. And today, out here on the high seas, no looks at all. Finally I succeeded to go out on my own. And believe me; I am all on my own out here on the Great Barrier Reef. All I have to do is take off my corset. Bloody misshapen thing. Great to hide my love handles. But the way it oppresses me! My waist is totally gone, completely squeezed. Constricted so bad that my breasts are just about to be pushed up to my ears. No, women do not look at me; the men will. But I’m already married. To the tallest man on the island. Governor Patrick Blextone is one of the most important men of the fifth continent. Or the sixth. Arithmetic is not my thing. Well, at least it is the largest island in the world. A beautiful country, but hot! And dry... At times it is unbearable. In the summer frogs, even lung fish, dig deep in the ground to survive the heat. But today I’m on the water. I'm going to have a look at something completely else; on my own. I have succeeded in avoiding the guards and now I am ready to see the beautiful underwater reef.
First, I have to take off that wretched corset. Subconsciously I have a quick look around me to make sure that no one can see me here. No sign of a boat. A clear blue horizon with a sweltering sun high in the sky. I must be careful I do not get burned or tanned; white is the beauty ideal. Convinced that I’m all alone, I dive into the ocean, all naked. The water is lovely warm and clear. I have never had such a clear view in Holland. Yes, hubby may be a perfect English gentleman; this lady really comes from Holland. Priscilla de With, daughter of a wealthy patrician. Ah that was in the good old days. The Golden Age my parents call it. But since then the famous VOC, the “Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie got bankrupt… Guess you didn’t get that name, did you? The VOC or Dutch East India Company got bankrupt and we were overruled by the English. All over the world our colonies were conquered. Freed said the English. Australia; Cape Town ... even some hamlet that we bought from the Native American Indians. New Amsterdam we had named it. How do those Englishmen call it again? New York or something like that. Shitty, little town, absolutely no charisma; totally no shops... I digress, huh? Yep, Priscilla de With, sorry, Blextone is sometimes chaotic. Family habit, I inherited it from my mother. My head is always full of important questions such as "How on Earth do I get the latest designs of Beau Brummel all the way over here?" I often have to wait months before the latest fashion finally arrives here. Yes, well; and by that time it is not hot anymore. Crazy stuff.
I hold my breath and go under. The colored fish are breathtaking. Corals friendly wave with their hand fan polyps. I feel like the queen of the reef. Until... A gray-green shade shoots along behind me. Hiding behind the immense staghorn coral branches. I have no idea if it is really called staghorn, but I think that calcareous skeletons resemble antlers. I can feel my heart beating in my throat. A shark? Oh my god. And Patrick had warned me so many times. I see my life flashing by. Priscilla Blextone, born in Holland, Haarlem to be exact, died down under. Ha! Down under, literally under water here. My gravestone will soon tell anybody: ‘the victim of a shark attack.’ All that remains of me are a few gnawed bones. And my collection of designer clothes, of course. Closets filled with clothes. OMG! Who is going to wear all those pretty things? Not that bitch Stefani Germanotta? My neighbor? Cute woman, but she has a strange taste of dressing.
Come on Priscilla, get yourself together. Why would anyone who has seen the world, like I did, be afraid of a little shark? It’s only a fish. Like a guppy. When I surface, I look straight into the cold eyes of a horrible big shark. Some kind of rag; a big white bitch. The same time it squeezes its eyes, its mouth opens wider. “Shit!” I think, “Seems Stefani Germanotta is going to get my clothes after all.” It all goes very fast. In a final attempt to survive this attack, I take a big, deep breath of air. Ready to go under water and avoid the big mouth, I feel how something suddenly pulls me at my feet. Another shark? I am dragged down and rapidly pulled away from the shark. Terrified I let all the air escape from my lungs. Bubbles of air are swarming and dancing into the sunlight at the surface. I see a few gray-green shadows chasing the shark. They are jabbing it with pieces of coral. The large, white lout who wanted to eat me as a starter, or perhaps as an appetizer, I’m just not that big you know, goes away. It swims into the unknown ocean with an empty stomach. I gasp for breath. Foolish of course. My lungs fill with seawater. Yikes, salt water! Then two soggy lips are pressed against mine. Yuck! Something, or someone, I cannot think clearly anymore, is blowing air into my lungs. Stuck closely together, like two kissing fish, we slowly rise. Just below the surface the gray-green shade lets go of me. I look around. The shark is gone and I’m back at my little boat.
“Priscilla,” I hear someone on the other side of the dinghy screaming upset. Yes, women can be hysterical, but men in panic can be worse!
Carefully I swim, still naked, around my boat; to starboard. Or is it larboard? Who cares; I’m not on board which is currently the most important thing. On, um... the other side of the jolly-boat is another larger boat with my screaming husband and some bodyguards on board.
‘Priscilla, are you out of your mind? There are deadly sharks around these waters. You have to come out right away!”
Yeah, yeah. I am floating naked in the water, you know. “Let the men turn around,” I say while I hide my breasts with my arms. The clear water is wonderful, but a little uncomfortable at the moment.
“Men, turn around. Other side. Now!” commands my tall husband who suddenly regained his bravery.
Abruptly the six men turn around, get to the other side of the rickety boat so they almost fall overboard themselves. Just in time they manage to restore the balance. Satisfied Patrick looks at me.
“Yes, hello-oh,” I say. “Turn around! You too!”
“But, sweetheart... I’ve seen you like this a thousand times.”
“You’ve never seen me bobbing in the water like this, you pervert. Turn around and make sure your men are not watching me!”
While I hear Patrick’s men snigger, my long bodied husband turns around with not too flattering, cumbersome swinging movements to the other side of the boat. In an inexplicable way I suddenly remember a ballet version of the dying swan. I can’t help myself from laughing.
“What is it?” Patrick asks.
“Don’t look around,” I almost bark at him. I scramble on board. Quickly get myself into my corset and pull on the cords of torture in the hope of restoring my waist. “Oh fuck it,” I say just a little too loud. “Let’s just hang it; much more comfortable.”
When I finally have dressed, in my Special Brummel, I hear a screeching and squeaking sound. I look up. Far from the boat a gray-green tail slips slowly into the ocean.
I know what I saw.
But how do I convince my husband without being declared insane?
Jerry Allen roams about the flea market in the center of Amsterdam. Not something he does every day; walking around. Usually he swims. Or rather: he dives. But not in the famous canals of Amsterdam. It is close to impossible in 2042. Since the world is afflicted by the Great Drought the canals are almost empty. Fresh water is becoming increasingly scarce.
Jerry Allen is a marine biologist; he studies the oceans and the species living in it. A young, attractive tough guy, just about thirty years old. As he once again has been under water for several