The terror of being alone subsides when seeing the amano overrides everything. You stand your ground and show that you aren’t fazed, but fear lingers right below the surface. The bad feeling you had in your gut last night was right all along. You summon up your courage to throw him a warning.
“Give me one reason why I shouldn’t turn and swim back right now.”
“Please! Ya don’t have to come in if ya don’t want to. Stay far from me if ya’d like, but hear me out. That’s all I’m asking.” Gart retreats into the forest just enough to be somewhat hidden. “Forgive me,” she says, “I’ve gotten used to being cautious as well.”
Surprised by her timidness, you decide to entertain whatever she has to say.
“I came all this way, so I won’t leave just yet. But whatever you want to tell me, get straight to the point, and make it quick.” You are already poised to swim away in case the ambush you picture in your head turns out to be true.
Gart hesitates at first, and decides to choose her words in compliance your instructions. “In Myrio, there exists an unknown leader that indirectly convinces people to stay in the aquarium and become permanently transformed. The entire community is a cult driven by emotional influence.”
Her words leave you dumbfounded. The audacity of what she’s suggesting makes you unsure whether to laugh or to get angry.
“No wonder they said you were an enemy,” you blurt. “All this nonsense that you spout must have driven them crazy.”
“I’m an enemy of Myrio because I tried to fight back!” Gart screams. She emerges from the forest and disregards her fear of being seen. “I figured out the truth and tried to spread the word! Some considered killing me, but because I had a lot of friends, they compromised by banning me.” She whimpers when she reveals her own truth. “Kieran was my best friend… they all were… that’s why I chose to tell ya out of anyone else. My friends vouched to spare me...”
“B-but that can’t be right,” you stutter. You rack your brain for any loopholes. “I’m not being influenced. I’m here because I want to be here. I make my own decisions, I can leave whenever I wa--”
“Exactly! Haven’t ya noticed how easy and nice it is to live in Myrio?” she interrupts. “Up until now, when was the last time ya thought about transforming? Ya been here for more than two weeks now. Do ya notice how ya daily routine makes ya happy, even though ya only done what fish are generally expected to do? Have ya even made any plans to leave before ya form becomes permanent?” Her antennae twitch wildly as she gets riled up.
Gart’s questions make your mind spin. You don’t want to admit it, but her pleas sound too urgent to be lies.
“Listen,” she starts as she begins to calm, “the siphon will be turning on in an hour. I know that ya been taught to stay in your hide every week that it comes, but that’s our ticket out of here.”
The truth appears to be clear. Everything makes sense and the stories seem to connect. The information has now been passed on to you. What will you do with it?
Written by iAteTheRamen on 17 June 2019
Warn others in Myrio Ridge