He loved to go scuba diving. He went down to the sea every weekend. Alone. He loved to dive alone. There was nothing like being alone on the bottom of the sea, just you and the fish.

He went out in his little boat, threw out his anchor. Went down slowly, adjusting the pressure in his ears. He was used to this. He swam along the sand and corals, looking at fish. It was an other world down here, so quiet, so beautiful. So big, and no one to bother him.

He saw something strange in a distance. A greenish light. It looked like some kind of glass bowls. He went closer. There were creatures there, in some kind of space suits. Aliens! He thought, but he couldn’t really believe it. But what were they? They looked like octopuses, but seemed to have only four legs. Four flexible legs, a glass bowl over their heads. He looked at the bowls. There were more of them there. They had no suits on. They had eight legs. The suit had the legs in pairs.

They were octopuses! Intelligent octopuses! But why… how… Suddenly he understood. They had to come from the deep seas, the final frontiers of human knowledge on earth. The suits were for the pressure. They had to be, there was no other explanation. They were scientists from a deep sea civilization! He was amazed. Their technology seemed to be at least at our level, maybe even more advanced. Different.

Suddenly everything goes dark. Ink. Something surrounds him, ties him down. When the ink settles, some kind of mechanic tentacle is holding him down to the fond of the sea. He was their prisoner. Bad deal. He had about twenty minutes of air.

He tried to fight loose, but there was no way. The octopuses seemed to be communicating. They were examining him, looking at his tank, his wet suit. His face. They seemed intrigued, like this was the greatest discovery in their history.

It was. Down here he was the alien. An intelligent life form beyond the outer limits of Water was affirmed. Many amongst them had been saying this for a long time. The sceptics would have to surrender.

The creatures made measurements of him. The ones inside the glass balls were taking notes, moving around with some gadgets. The ones outside seemed to be investigating him, doing research.

He could see his air indicator on his arm. He had ten minutes left of air. He needed to get out of there. Now. The creatures were moving around him, studying him. Moving around hastily, using strange devices.

Five minutes left.

He started panicking. Tried to get loose. There was no way, the strange cable held him fast. He could hardly move a finger.

Two minutes.

Panic. He screams, twisting his body. The creatures were investigating his oxygen tank, seemingly untouched by his fear.

One minute.

One of the creatures pinches him with some kind of needle. It stings a bit. A small container fills with blood.

He starts suffocating. Air is out. The creatures are looking at him. They seem to discuss his state. They let him go. He swims up towards the surface way too fast, but not fast enough. The lack of air is making him dizzy. He passes out near the surface.

He wakes up in the hospital. Some fishermen had come by, seen his boat. One of them threw himself in the water, saving him. A hero.

He never dived again. He never told anyone his story, but he often went back to the shore of the incident. Down there somewhere there are investigating creatures like himself. Creatures exploring the limits of their world.



Mantis Religiosa