The Jellyfish

by Adriana Alarco de Zadra


I’m dissolving in terror. The water continues to rise with incredible force. My cells are getting thinner and more transparent.

I must find a place to take refuge. The blows come, and I don’t know how long I’ll be able to resist. I feel so bad that if anybody told me I have died, I wouldn’t be surprised.

Humans have found a way to survive. They have special suits, spherical caves with oxygen and light that filters through the cracks, through the water. The air ball is full of people, who are attacked when they try to enter the enclosure. I try to stay away. From my aquatic space, I observe how they fight among each other. They are fierce, arrogant, and with disproportionate bodies. Not even slightly like me, one of the most intelligent beings. They call me Jellyfish! As if I were floating jelly, which is absolutely not true. I am transparent, elastic; I move in the water with agility; I choose the form that best suits me to move, and, when I have an appetite, I join another being similar to me and absorb it.

Human beings who have inhabited the ball for a long time have studied us and refer to my species as cannibals. Nothing could be further from the truth. We give life to our fellow similars within ourselves. Thus, we think with their same thoughts; we grow with their same genes; we enjoy their same happiness. What more do they want!

Humans do not comprehend.

I have seen that they wear special suits, which they can use, both, inside and outside the water.

Water is covering the planet, and there is less and less land. This is why, they are desperately looking for places to survive: on ships that float, that fly, or that descend to the submarine depths. This is how they have found the underwater secret refuge, the sphere of the depths.

But they don’t take off their suits completely even in those oxygenated caves. They move slowly and clumsily. They are not delicate and harmonious like us. They circumvent the easiest obstacles with the greatest difficulty.

I see that their suits are experimental because they don’t understand their use very well. I float in the surrounding waters and observe them. I approach the transparent walls that cover the enclosure and see how some of them strip their torso and stop under such a strong light that it makes me flee from the underwater sphere with its heat, which I hate because it disfigures me. They probably want to get desinfected from bacteria and “water bugs” as they call us.

In the midst of the blow of the waters that at times drives me away from the human group that flocks to the depths, I see how new people cannot enter the sphere. There are too many of them inside. They push each other, they get angry. Terror is contagious.

They are more protected than we are from the sea currents. The intelligent suit that covers them inflates and helps them to float on the water, to swim and move, and, perhaps, also to fly through the air. When I look at their boots, I see that they are supplemented with hooks to collect substances from the ground. They probably analyze them. Their gloves also investigate the components of the algae and corals that rub against them. The knives they carry on different parts of their bodies are impressive. It is wise to stay away from these humans. They can be aggressive, violent, destructive. I don’t think they use their weapons only for their defense because they cut anything with them if it bothers them or is in their path.

I’m not saying that they will become like us, harmonic and simple. I don’t have that hope, and I don’t believe they are superior enough beings to do that, but, maybe, they could imitate our customs as soon as their habitable territory becomes smaller. The submarine sphere has limits, and they cannot exist under the waters without their suits that cover them, protect them, help them to think with their greater capacity . Who could have invented them? Possibly, some aquatic being. Some “jellyfish” from the depths.

I see that, already, some humans decide to leave the refuge and explore the new coral territory that unfolds before their eyes. I watch them from afar, but I don’t escape. I have come nearby and can have the pleasure of leaving at will. They can’t do that. The earth is almost non-existent. The ocean takes over their dry territories little by little. They must be attentive to the careful consumption of each resource they possess because their survival depends on it. How do they want to achieve their goals when so fragile and clumsy?

Now, I see them moving towards the surface of the waters. When they swim near me, I discover that, in the shoulders, the intelligent suit carries needles, which inject vitamins and energizing liquids if the vibrations of the human body signal that this is necessary because of weakness or an external attacks. That keeps them active.

Through the waters, I realize that they flush and fly over the surface like certain seabirds. Are they looking for another sphere of the depths? Or do they want to escape their inescapable destiny?

Chaos and devastation begin in the submarine ball. I said it before. They are the imitators. The inhabitants who remain in the sphere can no longer move for lack of space. They push each other and hit each other. They break each other’s suits with sharp knives. The red liquid in them squirts out and they bite each other with fury and hate. They also want to survive with the absorbed virtues of others of the same species.

That is how they will think the same thoughts; they will grow up with the same genes; they will enjoy the same happiness. The fierce capacity of beings who fight for their lives leads them all along the same path. Some disappear to feed others. There is nothing new under the waters. Let us leave the novelties for the elderly who wish to rejuvenate.

Adriana Alarco de Zadra was born in Lima, Perú, in 1937. During her life she has travelled a lot for studies and for her husband’s work. She has published six books for adults, works on geography and literature, eleven booklets for children and one science fiction ebook. She won prizes for children dramas, worked as a teacher, secretary and translator and presided the Ricardo Palma Foundation in Lima for ten years. Now as a widow she lives in Italy near her daughters and grandchildren, paints with oil colors and writes stories.