Cold water lapped at her toes while warm sand cradled her back. Although her body was lax, her keen eyes read the stars in the night sky.
Every family had their traditions. Hers was an oral story passed from one generation to the next.
Once a century, a gateway appeared which allowed land dwellers to join an annual bazaar under the sea. For generations, her family had traded at this obscure event, exchanging common items that can only be found on land for rare treasures that were in abundance underwater. Through this centenary transaction, they accumulated the wealth that built up their family.
But of her generation, she was the only one left who believed the gateway was true.
Dismissing the bazaar as a fable, none of her cousins even bothered to turn up. It was just her and her immediate family at the empty beach, and they only came to keep her company.
Even if she was wrong, all she would lose was just one night. But if she was right, she wouldn’t need to work for the rest of her life. She was more than happy to take that chance.
Among the ocean of stars, she found three purple sparks, lined in an arc over the horizon. Their mirror image in the sea completed the circle.
It was the gateway.
She jumped to her feet. Just like in the stories, she stretched her right hand out towards the circle, fingers curved as if she was digging her tips into a sponge wall. She turned her hand clockwise, using her fingers like a key to open a passageway into the heart of the sea.
She turned back to her stunned family, teeth flashing in the dark as she smiled.