Distant Travelers

Contributor: Jenne Lee

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The sun was just peaking over the horizon of the Baltic Sea, glistening off the necklace Anna wore around her neck as her and Paul stepped out from the dark alley. The early morning breeze had the Swedish fishermen bundled up in winter clothing, yet the pair was dressed in thin material with bare arms revealing their pale grayish skin as they walked in the direction of the sea.

Anna’s large dark eyes shifted from person to person as they hurried down the dock, her high heeled boots clanking against the wood. All eyes were on them as her brittle fingers pushed an errant strand of wig hair out of her face. The annoying material aggravated her, but removing it would only cause more suspicion. She smiled at the fishermen while her free hand clutched a charm that hung from the gold chain.

Paul tugged on her arm forcing her to lean down toward the short slender man. “Stop fidgeting,” he said.

“But the humans are staring. They know we are different.”

“They look at you because you don’t stay still,” replied Paul. “Now stop.”

She obeyed, standing up straight and released the charm before continuing their way to the end of the dock where a man was waiting.

“Mr. and Mrs. Avari,” said the man. He was dressed in warm clothing, his round face hidden by a pale beard. “I was afraid you weren’t going to make it.”

“I’m sorry for our tardiness,” Anna replied. It was obvious that English was not her first language. “Our flight was, delayed. I’m Anna and this is my husband, Paul.”

The captain held out his hand. “Odin,” he said. He gave the two a once over, noticing their choice of clothing. “Are you going to be warm enough? It gets a bit chilly down there.”

“We’ll be fine,” Paul said. He spoke slower than his wife and in a thicker accent that was more difficult to understand.

“That’s a lovely accent you have. Where did you say you were from again?”

Paul replied, “We didn’t.”

Odin nodded and gestured towards his submarine. “Right this way.”

Anna stared at the tiny contraption while her fingers tangled in the small charm around her neck. The vessel was smaller than other ships she had traveled in. The material looked weak. The craftsmanship seemed amateur. The portholes appeared to be too thin. Humans had built it after all.

“Everything alright, Anna?” Odin asked.

She replied, “Are those windows strong enough to withstand the pressure?”

Odin nodded. “Of course. Please don’t be afraid. I’ve done this many times, Anna. You’re in good hands.”

Anna smiled and allowed him to help her into the vessel. As she climbed down the ladder, she looked around in amazement. It was much larger on the inside. There were several seats lined up along the many portholes. She took a seat gazing through the thick glass tinted blue by the sea. A school of fish swam by in a swirl of color. She smiled at Paul who took a seat beside her. She pointed out a particularly bright yellow fish. Paul grunted, but showed no emotion as he sat back crossing his arms over his chest.

Odin sealed the hatch and climbed down the ladder. He asked, “Are you two treasure hunters? Adventure seekers? UFO enthusiast?”

Anna’s fingers found her charm. “Why do you ask?”

“Always curious about the people who pay for a private tour of the shipwrecks,” Odin replied. He noticed her necklace. “That symbol. I’ve seen it before.”

Anna stopped fidgeting and dropped the charm down the front of her shirt. “It’s just a silly design.”

Odin opened up a cabinet overhead and took out a book. “It looks like an Egyptian hieroglyph,” he said. He flipped through the pages to show her a black and white photo of symbols that resembled her charm. To anyone else they would look like gibberish, but to Anna they were like reading a piece of history. She bit her lip as her eyes scanned the ancient symbols. “In fact,” Odin continued, “I’ve seen these same symbols on the mystery shipwreck that everyone’s calling a UFO. You two are UFO enthusiasts aren’t you?”

Anna’s hand reached for the charm again, but Paul’s hand stopped her. “Yes we are,” said Paul. “We like UFOs. You take us to see underwater UFO?”

Odin’s eyes lit up with excitement. He jumped into his captain’s seat and fired up the submarine. Its engine purred to life as bubbles blanketed the windows.

Time passed as Anna stared in wonder at the unknown world hidden beneath the alien planet. It was far more beautiful than the surface world and untouched by human hands. She felt as if she were traveling home through space, only the stars were these remarkable creatures she had never seen before. Tears welled up in her eyes as she recalled the real reason her and Paul were making this journey.

Anna’s eyes widen as Odin directed the floodlights towards a massive object that loomed in the distance. With a slight jerk, the engines cut off and the vessel came to a slow stop a few feet from the object.

Odin sat down beside her. “There she is.”

Anna clutched her necklace tighter to her chest, pressing her nose to the glass while Paul sat staring in awe at the sunken craft.

Odin smirked. His eyes traveled from the craft to Anna, the golden charm glimmering from the few lights overhead. “That symbol,” he said pointing to the charm. “It’s the same as the one on the craft.”

Anna closed her eyes unable to hide the truth any longer. “It’s the name of the ship,” she answered. “It was my son’s. This is his grave.”

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Jenne is currently a creative writing major at Full Sail University where she hopes to gain the skills and tools necessary for reaching her goals of becoming a published author. When she is not writing, she is usually lost between the pages of a book, far beyond the reaches of reality.
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