THE OCEAN’S END
CHAPTER 2: BIRTH OF THE KAJWEN
A current guided him throughout the red ocean, keeping him afloat as if angels carried him.
The dwellers of the surface breathed the toxic air and ate rotten food touched by the storm; their thin, pale bodies shriveled like raisins under the crimson sun; all water sources either dried-up or contained too much sulfur for human consumption, which some didn’t believe until it poisoned them to death. The world Jamie knew has crumbled, and the ocean offered a new home; a place where the inhabitants created a metropolis out of everything that died in the storm. Through the goggles that became his eyes, he gazed in awe at the homes carved out of titan-sized human carcasses, the groups of half-fish, half-human creatures swimming together in harmony; skinless scavengers eating the bodies on the ocean floor—a plethora of qualities foreign to human society, yet nothing resembled him. As strange and obscure as some creatures were, his snorkel-mask face and porous skin were unique but somehow allowed him to thrive in the new ecosystem.
Deeper into the ocean where the red turns black, tiny organisms swam up to him and squirmed into the holes of his skin. The sensation nauseated him as they crawled in his veins. He writhed to get them out, clawed his skin, but to no avail. The critters kept coming in hordes, and unable to fight them off, they invaded every orifice. The intrusion left him unconscious, drifting in the water like debris, and he traveled further into the ocean’s vastness by the force of their energy moving his body. While he ascended back into the crimson glow of the ocean, he dreamt of black worms in his skin that morphed into clusters of transparent, veiny, pink eggs, which glowed in sync with his breathing pattern. His reflection stared down at the eggs, perplexed about its origin and why the alien substance chose his body as its home. He thought to touch one, and they burst in unison; the blood splashed his goggles, and when he brought his hand up to wipe it off, an agonizing pain in his chest awoke him from the peculiar dream. An arm, bloodied and covered in bits of flesh, ridden with holes likewise to his skin, protruded out of his sternum. The rest of the body crawled out; a sentient being equal to his appearance stood before him, then swam away into the dark red water.
The excruciating pain took his voice. He thought himself dead, but it became his wish as thousands of them tore out of his chest and belly. They swam at great speed in different directions. It caused a disturbance in the ocean’s flow, mixed societies and ecosystems of the various groups of creatures, creating an environment of their own that comprised everything Jamie saw in the ocean.
He lay there on a pile of bones, unable to speak or move, and watched the construction, hoping to die soon to end the pain. But as time went on, he became one with the ocean; his clothes melted away, his veins and nerves sprouted out of his skin, his intestines became vines and made a garden out of the other organs, the flesh on his legs softened and developed fungi, which allowed the broken bones to pierce his skin, and yet he still breathed, his eyes unwavering from the akin beings.
An ineffable urge to provide for the creatures gave him purpose. Nourishment and vital resources and materials were provided through his senses. They approached him with their needs and desires, and through his senses, he connected with the ocean; if it were food they required, the requesting inhabitant’s hunger was satisfied, and as for materials, Jamie’s veins and nerves built them out of tiny organisms that floated in the water. He watched them flourish and age, educated them about his old world and all knowledge he obtained from the red ocean.
Jamie’s connection to them and the ocean grew. As he learned, his veins and nerves grew longer, allowing more information to process and deliver in a quicker fashion, and eventually attached to the brains of every soul that lived under his influence.
Other dwellers swam to the colony from the deepest and far away parts of the ocean to speak with Jamie. It was through a telepathic conversation with a serpent he learned the other inhabitants of the ocean referred to Jamie and his people as “Kajwen” and claimed he was their god. His acceptance of the name created harmony among every species, and so the Kajwen expanded their home. Dissimilar ocean creatures mingled with the Kajwen; they danced and built together, took care of each other when sick or injured, and kept Kajwen genetics flourishing with frequent mating.
A telepathic message from an anonymous source threatened their peace. It described war between the Kajwen and the true descendants of the ocean. Evil deeds from Jamie’s past erupted and introduced emotions of anger, hatred, and rage; human emotions he thought to have died with his normal human body. An uproar commenced, and the Kajwen were ready to seek whatever mysterious foe dared to initiate conflict. Jamie calmed them and insisted on conducting a strategy once he figured out the body behind the voice.
His energy searched the ocean for weeks, and after frequent messages back and forth and nonstop use of his energy, he came across the serpent. The beast opened its eyes and stared into the distance as if it could feel someone was there. Jamie stared too, trying to get a good look at the war-hungry beast, but the dark red ocean was murky at its dwelling place. It said Jamie’s name, then laughed as it disappeared under the ocean floor, and once it was no longer in view, hundreds of yellow eyes appeared and the silhouettes of giant serpent tails.