the journey home -- © 1996, 2000 ruth pettis

by ruth pettis

© 1996, 2000
ruth pettis


Yubash waited just offshore, saving her strength for what was to come.

All night the sea had flowed outward, and although Yubash could swim against it she knew it was best to wait until its force was spent, for she had many miles ahead of her. So she faced into the motion of the sea and let it flow around her.

When the sky began to turn light the current's force abated, and soon it ceased to move at all. Yubash stretched, flexed the muscles along her spine, and set her mind on what she had to do. She started swimming toward land and as she did so she felt the sea behind her begin its shoreward flow. The current was still gentle at this hour, but that would change soon and she knew she had to be in just the right place when its power was greatest.

She saw the marsh grass at the edge of the sea bending slightly toward the land, as if inviting her closer. To avoid getting trapped in it she swam cross-wise to the current and looked for an opening. The current was strong enough now that she had to fight it a little, and still she could not find the passage.

She felt the opening before she saw it. The water was suddenly warmer against her sides. Its scent and color were familiar, and it flowed with a motion different from the sea. Then the taste of the water across her lips ignited a flash of memory. She leaped and raced ahead, excited beyond all reason or caution and there before her was the channel through the marsh that the sea was rushing to fill. She let the incoming sea carry her forward. She was able to catch her breath as she rode the tide, and it was good that she did so for then she remembered that she had enemies here.

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