When I was going up, I had a dangerously over active imagination. This really isn't too terribly unusual in and of itself. Every child is creative at ten years old to some degree. Unfortunately for my family, I was armed with two things that most unusually imaginitive child lacked. A large library of fantasy novels and a younger brother who was willing to go along with pretty much whatever I wanted to do. This is a very dangerous combination.
One those very dangerous novels was called Water: Ascension. It was about a mermaid who finds out she's half human (I mean, half of the amount of human that mermaids normally are, I suppose) and goes on to bond with a Farworlder and become an Avatar, just in time for Atlantis to sort of die.
It's not a very far stretch from half human mermaid who looks like a mermaid to half mermaid human who looks like a human. Within the course of a morning, I managed to convince myself that I was actually adopted and one of my real parents was an Atlantean. If I found a magical-talking-squid-Farworlder of my very own, I could find my real family and go live in the sea.
My lack of gills never seemed like a big problem to me. Farworlders were magic, right? All I had to do was find a baby Farworlder.
I also conveniently forgot how much I hated seafood.
I don't really remember how I convinced James to help me in this quest. Possibly he was still grumpy about my fake Hogwarts letter and wanted me to drown. Or maybe not. He was a little young for revenge. I hadn't really gotten around to teaching him that yet.
Between the two of us, we decided that pools were kind of like the sea, and maybe we'd find a Farworlder infant in our pool. I seized upon the idea with the same singleminded determination that had me trying to acquire our cockapoo, thats's a dog, you pervert, every night so that I could morph into her. There really is a fine line between creative and crazy. I would know. Probably.
So that's how an eccentric ten year old and her six year old brother wound up scouring every inch of a kidney-shaped swimming pool looking for a magical squid.
We searched for hours. By the time we'd gone over the entire pool four times, I was convinced that I was Serai, a kidnapped mermaid princess from the Dolphin clan of Atlantis, and my brother (who really was adopted, and so could be anyone) was probably my best friend before we were kidnapped by these cruel, terrible humans. Shortly after deciding that I'd already bonded with a Farworlder (who totally had a name - Thi'ev) who had been stolen from me, and that I loved him more than pie and was totally a tragic heroine, we did actually find something. Or at least, James did.
Well, it had a whole bunch of legs, all right. Which is kind of what we were looking for. Unfortunately, the exact number of legs was eight.
I don't have any memories before this of being afraid of spiders. Maybe this was the first. He was a whopper, all right. We call them Banana Spiders. God knows why, because they look nothing like fruit, science. They're about the size of a man's hand. This one was dead, which didn't make him significantly less frightening. He floated in a corner of the pool like a war casualty. I don't know where he came from. He wasn't there before. (Actually, it was probably a she, but I didn't know that at the time. All scary animals were male to me, god knows why.)
My eyes bugged from my head, and I utilized my most terrible weapon against the evil spider. I screamed at the top of my lungs, and while it was recovering from my brutal attack, I swam for it.
It was an epic battle for survival. In the end, I made it, a slightly baffled younger brother trailing behind me as I yanked open the sliding glass door and ran inside. I can't imagine my mother was thrilled about all of the water. I don't remember.
The terror wore off pretty quickly, because honestly, fear was much less interesting than the pizza the cruel, terrible humans were offering, and by the time we'd both wolfed down three pieces of pepperoni-covered-glory, I'd forgotten all about Thi'ev.
Which just goes to show, really, that sometimes when you search for Atlantis you find magic, and sometimes you wind up running away from dead spiders in a swimming pool. Sometimes, if you have parents like mine, you have both. Or at least pizza.
Pizza makes everything better.