Lorcan pushed the dead doctor under the lab bench and turned toward the shaking Faye.
“Are you okay?” he asked.
Faye shook her head. “We killed… No one has the right to kill…”
“It’s not we. It’s me. Killing isn’t okay, but if I hadn’t done it, he would have fed us to the sharks. We have to get out of here in one piece.”
Faye nodded and wiped her tears away. The room shook whenever a shark hit the glass wall. Lorcan wasn’t sure how many more body slams the room could take before the glass cracked, and the walls gave in.
He had no intention of being the sharks’ lunch. His weakened legs were wobbly, and he wasn’t confident he’d win a swimming competition with the sharks, but if he could hold them back, Faye might be able to get away.
He stood and limped toward the glass wall.
“What are you doing? The door is that way.” Faye pointed toward a door in the opposite direction.
“One of us has to stay, Faye. The sharks are here because of me. You need to get away while I hold them back. It’s the least I can do for you.”
“And you plan to hold them back with your bare hands?”
Lorcan slipped his hands into his pockets, finding the artifact but none of his weapons. He sighed. “I’ve got no choice.”
“You do. Run with me!” She pointed toward the door. “Hurry!”
“I bet you can swim like a fish. But I can’t.”
She rushed over to him and pulled at his elbow. “Let’s go. The sharks are stupid. It’ll be a while before they figure out we’ve gotten away.”
Lorcan was reluctant. “Just one flick of their tails, and they’ll get from the window to the door of the room. If we open that door now without me standing here as bait, we’ll both be shark meat.”
“That’s what you’re worried about, you silly? The door and the window lead to two different and unconnected sections. The sharks can cross, but it will take time. But they’ll certainly have a quick lunch if you keep standing here and they break the window.”
Lorcan scrambled toward the door with Faye, his legs moving a bit faster now. He was almost a hundred percent recovered. “Why didn’t you say so before?”
“I didn’t know how limited your knowledge was about our world.”
Faye pushed the door open. Not only were they in a giant fish tank, they were at the bottom of it. Astonishingly, the water stopped at the door’s opening as if banking against a solid wall. Faye’s body penetrated the invisible wall and entered the water as if there were no barrier. She walked right into the water.
He pulled her back into the room, and once back inside, her body felt completely dry.
She saw the expression on his face. “All right, I guess I should explain. The water beyond the glass and the air in this room are two separate dimensions. The elements of water and air, in two different dimensions, don’t mix. But the citizens of our world can cross between the two . We live in the air and travel via the water. Does that make sense?”
“No. I mean, not yet. But for now, do you think I can cross into the water dimension?”
“I’m sorry, but you can’t.” She whistled, and two sleek, dark shapes swam toward them, seemingly from nowhere.
Lorcan yelped in fright before realizing they were dolphins, not sharks. Both were equipped with saddles, and they had pouches hanging down along their sides, not so obtrusive that they would impede the animals from swimming. Behind them was a glass cabin, looking strangely like a carriage.
The dolphins swung around quickly, dropping the round glass carriage into the air dimension. The door of the carriage slid open. Faye pushed Lorcan inside. As soon as he had settled and the door had closed and sealed, the dolphins pulled the carriage out into the water. Faye dashed outside and closed the door to the room.
Through the crack in the closing door, Lorcan could see that the sharks had broken the glass window and entered the room.
As Faye had said, the room was a different dimension. Thus, the water didn’t flow in from the broken window. The sharks flopped into the room and wriggled on the floor. In an instant, they stood up as sea creatures with human-like limbs, smooth sharkskin, and lizard-like faces.
Lorcan couldn’t help but gasp. “Walking sharks!”
Faye entered the carriage after giving the dolphins instructions. She smiled at Lorcan. “We call them shark-elves. They’re bad news.”
She pointed to the dolphins to their left. One had a sparkling seashell on the middle of its head just above and between its eyes. “That’s Miracle.” Miracle turned around and winked at Lorcan.
The other had a pink seashell dangling from its tail, which it wiggled when Faye pointed at it. “That’s Flipper.”
Lorcan glanced back toward the hospital room to be sure the sharks weren’t breaking out. “And where are we going?” he asked Faye.
“Nepolymbus. And before you ask, it’s a dimension, not an undersea city on Earth.”
“It’s certainly not Atlantis!” Lorcan said.
They heard a bang, and a loud noise reverberated throughout the water, pushing the carriage slightly askew.
Faye glanced outside. “They’re faster than I thought.” She opened a window of the carriage, this one with a real glass barrier to stop the water from getting inside. “Miracle and Flipper, let’s go now.”
The dolphins wagged their tails, emitted some cheerful whistles, and then dove deeper into the endless sea of water. Lorcan closed his eyes and promised himself if he could get back to the surface alive, he would never again accept a job with water involved.
“Do you see that?” Faye asked.
Faye pointed upward. It felt like they were in the bottom of a deep well, looking up into a wedge of light shining down from above. It was the light of hope. But that wasn’t what Faye was talking about. Lorcan was sure of that.
Lorcan squinted. Beneath the light’s surface, he saw a round object hovering in the deep water. He knew it was the submarine he’d been in when it exploded.
He wasn’t sure whether he should tell Faye but cleared his throat and asked, “Is the light the water’s surface?”
“Yes, that’s the shallowest spot in the area. Sometimes I can see human boats. But don’t think about swimming up there yourself. Vision is only one aspect of reality. The surface and the human world is another dimension. You can see it, but crossing it is a totally different matter.”
Lorcan shrugged. “All right then. I won’t swim up there. Not without your help. The floating object there, I think it’s the same as the carriage we’re using now.”
She shook her head. “Not possible. The transport dolphins only release their carriages if they’re dead. I haven’t seen a report of an accident.”
He felt guilty for lying to her, but he pressed on. “So nurses at the hospital process traffic information as well?”
She smiled. The sadness in her smile intensified his pangs of guilt. He looked again and asked no more questions.