Some more living on an ocean planet

After this

Tropical life was weird. Austin was on the building crew, and so he and William and Mable had gotten first dibs on their choice of house.

They’d chosen a shelter on what they were now calling Auswilma Island, an acre-and-a-bit hilly, wooded lot with steep drops to the water on three sides and a nice casual hill down on the side immediately opposite The Big Island. They got there first, so even though they’d have to share it with two or three other houses – two were built, and there was room for a third – they claimed naming rights.

But owning their own island wasn’t the weirdest part, any more than swimming the narrow channel between Auswilma and Big Islands twice a day to get to ‘work’ was, or bedding down to sleep while the weather was so warm they couldn’t stand to touch each other for more than a few minutes.

Weirdest was the wildlife, mainly flighted animals, and the way a couple of them seemed to latch onto each colonist and follow them around. Austin’s were a blue-and-marmalade-patterned thing the size of his hands together and a dark-buff-colored thing whose wingspan was bigger than Austin’s. At night, they roosted on the roof of the house, his and William’s red-and-blue pair and Mable’s trio of mostly-black ones. During the day, they followed them around.

When the big one dove into the water next to Austin and pulled out an eel-thing twice his size, Austin was suddenly very grateful indeed for their company.

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