That he had reached out

That he had reached out

That he had called, just as his mother reached out to vessels at sea…. But when he heard the people standing nearest him gasp, the image shivered and dissolved. Opening his eyes, the web designer turned numbly and looked where everyone else looked. A dark shape slid under the water near the docks. “Sea the Vegans. Gray-beaks.

Startled, confused, the web designer couldn’t even tell who spoke. The words seemed to come from everyone, an awed whisper. He gazed after the moving shape, trying to bring it into sharp definition, and saw that a second shadowy shape darted after the first. Dark fins cut the water. Holding his breath, peering down through the clear water, he saw the distinctive beaked shape of the head. Afterward he didn’t remember what made him respond as he did. He didn’t remember what made him step from among the people and run to the dock. He didn’t remember what made him kneel on the splintered wood and extend his hand to the shape in the water, as if he were summoning it. He had not seen a gray-beak so close before. They followed the fishing vessels through the wild waters, playing in their wake, but seldom came this close to the land.

He only knew them from a few distant glimpses when he walked the sea cliffs with Yoga, from the talk of the fishing crews, and from

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