The sand was shifting beneath me, slowly warming as the warm red light of the twin suns flooded my eyelids. Wait, twin suns?! I scrambled myself up until I was leaning my elbows into the sand. I blinked, my eyelashes sticking, then releasing. I still saw two blazing orbs. I must have fallen down the stairs, knocked my head, and am now seeing double. Yes, that’s it. I brought my hand up to examine my head, and noticed the sand sticking to my palms. Black sand. I’m in...Hawaii? No, that’s not logical, what did I do, teleport, then get knocked out? hesitantly, I glance back up. There are still two suns. And one of them is red. There must be a logical explanation. I search for the last thing I remember. Everything feels heaving, grainy, like the sand. And dark, sinking. I see myself falling to my knees, hands flying to my face to hide it. From what? My face was wet with tears. It slams into me again, the weight, as if the entire planet had turned to iron and crashed onto my head. Monarque! His name carries the weight of a planet, of all the world’s evil, danger, death, turned against his shining self. Orange mixed with charcoal until the gray absorbs all color, all light, all life.
Yet somehow, I do see color, a bit of red bobbing on the waves, which I just now realize I am floating atop. I lurch back, afraid this has all been a rapid fire hallucination and I am about to drown. Then I look down. There is the black sand, digging divots into my forearms. But not in a undulating hillscape, as at beaches. The sand seems compressed into polygons. Diamonds, octagons, pentagons, and others, all into locking to form the mass I lean on. The entire formation is about the size of a large living room.
Cautiously, I scoot towards the edge. The color I saw in the water early has taken on the distinct form of...fruit? Yes, an apple seems to be floating in the sea. It doesn’t make sense that after all the strange phenomenon I’ve just witnessed, heterochromic suns etc, I should be so surprised by this. Yet, the familiarity amid all this confusion, stands out, reminding me of home. Monarque and I would eat apples in the backyard. We’d attempt to consume them cores and all, holding the seeds in our mouths until we had, then spit them like those of watermelons, not trying for distance, but to create a straight row, which we ardently believed would grow into apple trees “in 2 days!”. Our parents stood behind us, hands intertwined, laughing. All around us, the city wound in and out through all it’s troubles and complexities, flashing lights, warnings, and dangers. But in that yard, the apple juice bubbling down our chins with our laughter, everything was simple and sweet.
“Wewe ni nani?”
“I’m Tamasha, Monar’s sister.” I replied, realizing that the questioner likely did not know my brother by this name, then, with I start, that the question had been asked in Swahili. And that I had replied in the same language. I darted my eyes across the black mosaic of sand. Empty. Then over the clear water, where my eyes found...a dolphin? He was about the size and length of a dolphin, nine feet or so, yet something was different about... him? I realized that I had begun thinking of this creature as a person, and male, based off of voice tone and pitch. Besides the generally danger of assumptions, that couldn’t be right.
“You’re a porpoise!” somehow, my confusion had slipped out, a muddled mix of Swahili and English.
“Actually, I’m a pomboo!” The creature replied brightly, with a name, that did, in fact, mean porpoise