by Larry Legg and Vanessa Summers  
Christmas 1998  


Our darling child... Obelia... was different. I looked at those tiny hands and the strange webbed skin between her fingers. Even as I stood there, shocked and stunned - breathless from the Etna smoke - I sensed she was not my child at all.

Vanessa lay next to her. She had fainted through exhaustion and fallen into a tired sleep. As I looked at her motionless on the sand, my mind reeled with memory and sudden painful  imagery... back... back... 9 months to that terrible moment in the ocean, when I thought I had lost her...

She had nearly drowned in the sea at Renesse. How distant that moment seems now - the cold and deafening quiet of the ocean in stark contrast to the hot anger of Etna. 

Something happened back then... a thing which cast our destinies along a road towards this day. 

The ocean was here with us again in the shadow of the volcano. 

I sensed purpose and design here... a meaning... a growing awareness of truth beyond our mortal thoughts. 
As the waves lapped the beach around us , I could hear Etna in the distance, still roaring... and then suddenly, all was quiet and I drifted back to that distant moment in the sea at Renesse... 
I remember now clearly. Vanessa was drowning, her life's breath gone from her... and with it my soul. Then mysteriously, the jellyfish that had stung her, came and caressed her. Editor's note: Please see Vandam to re-live Larry's memories 9 months ago! 
I had thought the strange creature was somehow breathing life into her but now I realise it was doing something even stranger! 

The rush of the Sea behind me seemed to grow louder as I stooped down to pick up my beloved child. I dare not show you her image - lest you despise me for what I knew I must do. 

She was in my arms... her breathing was laboured. She could not live long this way: she was just too different from normal babies.

As I turned and walked towards the Sea... I cried hopelessly... my tears falling like welcome food upon the naked and wrinkled child in my arms...
Copyright Mic-UK, Lightscape Magazine, Larry Legg & Vanessa Summers 1998

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