O is for octopi clinging to jetty-as
This is a sister piece with N is for Nereid
In all of the beautiful, clean city of Scheffenon, the Scheif Harbor was known as its jewel. The city was in a prime position, trains running day and night out to the rest of the continent, boats criss-crossing the Northern Sea to bring goods and people in. Tourists would come just to look at it, to bathe in the cold, clear blue waters. They were said – like the city itself – to have healing properties.
Torschi Contvallen went to Scheffenon after a riding accident left her with a bum hip. She found within a day that she could walk more steadily, within two that she could walk with less pain, and within three that she could move well enough to risk swimming. Anything to get away from the fountains, she told herself, as she boarded the quaint little rickshaw. Anything to get away from the murals, with their fish with the creepy eyes that seemed to follow one. Anything to get away from the innkeeper, who was so cheerful and so determined that Torschi should visit every fountain, every objet d’art, every folksy quaint museum in this bright, shining town.
She slipped into the water, her bathing costume the one provided by the so-helpful innkeeper. Back home, it would have been considered quaintly old-fashioned and miserably out of style. In the cold waters of Scheif Harbor, Torschi found that she appreciated the extra coverage – and almost every other bather was dressed similarly.
She had been a championship swimmer in her youth, and even with the bum hip, found she could still pull a decent stroke. She swam away from the doggie-paddling, gossiping crowds, out to where the tiny fish would tickle her toes.
It was lovely out here, far enough away that the noise of the city was quieted, far enough that the sea creatures were braver. Torschi found herself relaxing, even as she found the pain in her hip beginning to return. She looked back to the piers, gauging how long it would take her to swim back.
There were octopi clinging to the piers, climbing them. On every jetty she could see, stacked so thick they looked like walls of moving tentacles, the octopi reached for shore.
Torschi had never swum faster and she had never cared less if she hurt. She rolled out of the water like a gymnast and stopped only long enough to grab her clothing before grabbing the first rickshaw to her inn. And there, she stopped only long enough to dress before catching a train.
The octopi in the water had reached for shore as if their lives depended on it. But – and this is what had sent Torschi running for the train – the statues, every one of them she had seen on the way home, the murals, the friezes – they were all reaching for the sea.
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