At first I thought a rat did it.
I found out one morning that my passport, which I carefully kept in one of my bedroom drawers, was damp. I suspected some rat must have found its way inside and pissed on my passport. Gross. Against my better judgment, however, I took a sniff of the slightly moist passport, well aware that leptospirosis is often transmitted through rat urine. I’ve read in the news of a leptospirosis outbreak after a terrible flood. The survivors likely caught the disease after wading in floodwaters contaminated with rat urine. Not sure if you can acquire leptospirosis through inhalation though but leptospirosis or no, sniffing the still damp passport, I admit, was disgusting. I did it anyway to confirm my suspicion.
The passport smelled fishy. Like a day at the beach long past. Or more precisely, like some seaweed or seahorse you discover in the pocket of your swim shorts after a day at the beach. Odd.
“Once in a few years, a watery planet orbiting around Kullat Nunu would overlap with ours,” my grandma once told me while we were having a dinner of spaghetti bolognese one evening. She spoke as if she was reciting some fact, like the shape of the Earth is an oblate spheroid. Or that a molecule of water has two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen.
“And how, exactly, does that happen?”
“Oh, I don’t know.” She grabbed a table napkin and smeared one of its edges with a drop of tomato sauce. “Suppose this is our world…” She, then, marked the opposite edge. “…and this is that world. A fold in the space-time occurs thus bringing both worlds together,” she explained, folding the napkin in half and bringing both edges together.
I looked at her and smiled. I mean, how would you react to a statement like that? My grandma is well advanced in years and that strange rambling was probably brought about by dementia or somesuch.
I dreamed of a song. It was a beautiful song yet alien. The words, incoherent. It was as if it was both there and not there at the same time. As the song went on, it became more sibilant until I was jolted out of sleep by the sound of water trickling from inside my room. I got out of bed and realized that a puddle was forming on the floor. With haste, I turned the lights on and, to my bewilderment, saw that water was pouring out from one of my drawers. I pulled the drawer open and as I did so, there was a massive gush of cold, dark, briny water. My room was completely submerged in a matter of seconds.
Panic rising, I swam towards the door and tried to yank it open but it wouldn’t budge under the weight of all that water. I grabbed a chair and attempted to break the glass windows but it wasn’t of any use either.
This couldn’t possibly be happening, I thought. This couldn’t possibly be happening! I tried to convince myself that it was a dream. That I would soon wake up, sweating yet safe in my bed. But I was almost out of breath and in desperation, I searched for any way out.
Then, I heard the song once again. That otherworldly song. And this time, for some reasons, I understood. It spoke of a distant world in blue, a world all enveloped in water. It spoke of schools of bioluminescent creatures, both great and small, too strange and splendid for me to imagine. It spoke of civilizations rising and falling in the murky depths.
I closed my eyes as I remained floating, my lungs filling with water, and my mind filling with that siren song…