The Plateau of the Endless – Page 56


Plateau (56)

Why not, Jack thinks. 

After all she is very beautiful, and what harm can there be in a kiss?

“Very well,” Jack says, and draws nearer. The Mermaid wraps one slender and shapely arm around his shoulders and pulls him tight against her body. He is amazed at how warm she is even in this cool water. Her lips lock on his and melt into a tender kiss. Around him, the Caribes draw nearer.

Their kiss lingers, and Jack can feel the effects of the Oxyale beginning to wear off. He will not be able to breathe water much longer. He moves to break the kiss, but the Mermaid presses him tighter against her. Just as he is beginning to fear the Mermaid intends to drown him, she suddenly exhales heavily into his lungs. He can feel the magic of her breath subtly altering him. She breaks away and he gasps reflexively, taking water into his lungs. After the initial, instinctive wave of panic subsides, he realizes he can breathe.

“That was a fine and memorable kiss,” the Mermaid says. “Thank you, surface man. It gets lonely down here sometimes. My name is Aluna. The gift I have given you will last a year at most. Return and perhaps I will trade you for another kiss. You will find the exit open behind me.”

“My thanks,” says Jack. He swims into the GreenShaft and through a Warp Portal.


Add the following to Jack’s Journal: the Mermaid Aluna has given me a rare gift: the ability to breathe water as if it were air. The gift will last a year; if I return for another kiss, she promises to renew the gift.


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