Klaus and the Seaweed Baby
I was found by the lighthouse and grew up atop the vast ocean, amongst the sea folk and under the stars. Our home was an odd structure with winding stairs and tunnels, striped red on the outside like a barbers shop sign. I would dwell inside the highest tower, mother and father looking over me as I gazed out through circular windows into the velvet blue forever. I longed for dark storms, to plunge deep into the unknown, beyond the starry reflections which dotted onto never-ending blankets. I eyed in wonder the mysterious ships which passed so silently in the night, dreamily surfing upon the waves of time, wild and frothy, longing for adventure.
As I grew out of my nautical baby grow, salty tear tantrums and shell bonnets, I was soon given a taste of the water. Splashing deliciously into the wading pool at the ocean’s edge, my thirst now delightfully satisfied as wet droplets of heaven fell onto my body. At that moment, my true nature was revealed or rather, confirmed. I was now a duckling at home in the water. This was all I felt and all I knew. They called me the seaweed baby.
As I grew even more, I would be set loose from the confines of the pool. I would hunt for treasure amongst the deep sea beds, gathering speckled shells and nuggets of gold whilst paddling amongst the emerald starfish.
Soon I could swim as fast as a black marlin yet I could not walk. My hair grew dense and noodly, my arms like flippers. I would gather seaweed like wool and weave great baskets, soft hammocks, and glistening rafts. Now a young girl, or so I believed, I was placid and resourceful yet I still yearned for something more, something beyond the lighthouse. Mother and father marvelled in my strange feats, looking on with silent curiosity. They must have known I was not of their ilk yet they loved me and cared for me, giving me freedom to grow.
One day, just as the twilight had descended upon the starlit creases of the sea, a sudden wave from the depths revealed a green coloured creature of monstrous proportions bounding towards me from the ocean’s edge. As I lay, humming a song and polishing my precious shells, I suddenly froze as the towering, wet beast cast itself upon me. I fell back, aghast and frightened as this was a sight I had never before seen.
The sea monster peered down with big googly eyes and slime oozing from its jaws.
I screamed out in fear and began cowering away but then hesitated as I noticed upon its face a kind expression.
“Please do not be afraid” the monster spoke in a deep and soothing voice. “I will not hurt you child. I have come to bring you home.”
“H-h-home? What do you m-mean?” I asked nervously, twiddling back my curly hair which drooped over my face.
“You are not a human child. You are from the ocean. Your mother is Silky. Silky of the Sea.”
“Whatever do you mean?” I squeaked.
The monster continued “You were but an egg when you were lost from Pearl Palace, many years ago. When you hatched you were rescued above the shore by a human and kept inside that strange building“, he pointed with his huge bumpy tail to the lighthouse “and you have resided there ever since.“
He then looked sadder than a lonely ship sinking in the dark. “Your mother, Silky, has sadly perished but I did not give up searching for you.” the creature sighed, a gust of breath hurling my body into a somersault then smiled. “Forgive me for not introducing myself. I am Klaus. Chief guardian of Oyster City.”
I was stunned. Thoughts raced like wild waves around my mind. It was as if the broken pieces of a puzzle had begun slotting together and everything was suddenly becoming clear.
“Well I always knew I was different. “ I whispered, gazing over at the lighthouse in fear that mother or father would overhear.
Klaus looked on sympathetically, liquid dripping from his huge hairy nostrils. “You have adapted terribly well, but Elphins have always been known for their ability to re-form within new environments”
“An…Elphin?” I asked
“Why yes, that’s what you are dear, an Elphin of the sea”
“Oh” my mind was racing with all these new revelations “well mostly they just call me the seaweed baby”
Klaus laughed again and I had to hold on to the edge of a rock to stop myself from flying away. He spun his slimy head around, observing my seaweed creations “yes, you’re an Elphin alright! But seaweed baby kind of…fits.” He said, grinning.
I began to feel warm inside, as if I had just found a missing part of myself. I looked at Klaus with continued curiosity.
“I’m sorry I was afraid of you, it’s just you-you, well you look just like a monster” I hung my head down in shame.
Klaus laughed and the whole island shook. “Yes I do, as this is what I am. How else could I scare off enemies and take care of the creatures of Oyster City? Not all monsters are bad”
“Oh. Id never thought of it like that before” I said, smiling back.
The moon suddenly appeared behind a dark cloud and lit the ocean like a birthday cake.
“Where is Oyster City?” I asked, my eyes widening like flowers blossoming for the first time. I could almost taste adventure as the wind whistled through the salty air.
“You can see for yourself, are you ready?” Klaus looked at me and somehow I trusted him. I nodded, my little heart pumping so loud I was afraid it would wake the sun.
“Hold on tight,” said Klaus, and with a large slippery flipper, he delicately swept me up from the surface and onto his scaly heights, as tall as a mountain, where I was placed on his back. With a tender touch, he held my shivering body upon his own before rapidly bounding backwards and with an almighty splash we plunged deep inside the ocean, hanging on as tightly as I could to his slimy flesh.
Further and further I was whisked, winding over corals, weaving through caves, crystals grazing my skin and salt stinging my eyes. Under the ocean was dark, light coming only from the glistening eyes of mysterious creatures darting past as we stormed like lightening to the depths of the underworld.
I watched in amazement as we approached a magnificent city, swooping over the surface like golden eagles before descending, then suddenly coming to a halt. We thudded onto land and I immediately felt myself sliding down the slippery mountain and landing amongst a garden of Lilies. I looked up in a daze.
Large shell shaped houses dotted the surface with quaint gardens and flowerbeds all circling a magnificent palace. Along the pathways hung beautiful lanterns, illuminating the curious city in all of its delightful splendour.
Klaus led me through the city and I gushed in awe at the beautiful little world I had come from. He introduced me to the Elphins, who were indeed like myself but much more scaly and fish-like. They observed how unique and human-like I was, despite being one of them but happily welcoming me into the palace. Each room had pretty hanging blossoms, majestic beds of pink coral, treasure chests and collections of worldly trinkets, which had been found throughout the centuries, cast aboard from sinking ships.
They led me to the wondrous gardens of rainbow where the flowers changed colour and then transformed into glorious sea-butterflies. I could smell dewberry and cinnamon then as I swam along the scents all mingled until I was surrounded in raspberry and lavender and then warm pine.
As we ventured out the gardens through the woodland, I met some funny little creatures called mojos who were awfully like seals but had pink noses and could talk very well.
Klaus finally took me to a quiet area where a beautiful little cottage stood, made of sparkling shells.
“I have saved this house for you. I do hope you will be happy here”
I gasped as I looked at Klaus and then suddenly felt sad.
“Oh, b-but. I’m sorry Klaus but I cannot live here” Klaus frowned and looked confused.
“You see, I already have a home. At the lighthouse. I know I did not really come from there but I have a mother and father who love me dearly. As I love them. And I know they would miss me if I left. I am thankful for all you have done to find me but I just cannot be an Elphin. I am different and that’s what makes me, me. I guess I’m happy just being seaweed baby.”
I looked at Klaus who gazed at me with his big bulging eyes, a giant tear falling down like a waterfall upon the little shell cottage.
“I am disappointed of course but I understand. You are a truly special child. Come, I will take you home”
He pulled me lovingly upon his back again and as I gazed beyond the palace at the pretty Elphins dancing, we were suddenly soaring high above the city. It was a more sombre journey back as we rippled through dark waters of tears until we finally arrived, splashing above the oceans edge. It was still dark and the red stripes of the lighthouse flashed welcomingly under the moonlight. Klaus laid me down upon the island and gently whispered. “No matter what, I will always be your guardian. Whenever you need me, just whistle and I will come.”
I became teary eyed and wrapped my flippers around him but within seconds he had plunged back under the ocean and was gone, leaving merely a ripple on the silent waves. “Goodbye Klaus” I called after him.
I climbed inside my tower and put myself to bed, looking forward to morning and looking forward to showing mother and father my new found shells.
I often think of my adventure to Oyster City and although it was an exciting experience I never doubt that I made the right choice. I know you must all agree that, however strange a place may seem to others, somehow to yourself, it just feels like home. As for Klaus, I’m sure to see him again one day, that is, if I ever learn how to whistle.