When she opened her mouth to speak she revealed a mouthful of pointed teeth. “It is rude to stare you know.” There was a raspy edge to her voice like her teeth didn’t quite agree with with the language she was speaking.
The man coughed and turned his head. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to. I just didn’t expect to see you down here.”
The woman had set down her basket and had grabbed a towel from one of the conveniently placed racks. “You must be the new guest that I heard had arrived. Are you planning on staying here long?” She asked.
“Ah, yes,” said the man as he rubbed his hand on his pants before holding it out for her to shake, “My name is Clemens. I plan on staying here for the indeterminate future.”
“Un huh…” said the woman who didn’t show any indication of returning the hand shake, “If you are going to stay here a while I guess it wouldn’t hurt to also give you my name. I’m Sarita. I’m living here permanently so expect to see me around for the entirety of your visit. You probably won’t see me too much though, I spend most of my time outside.”
Clemens tilted his head before saying, “Do you not need a diving suit to go into the ocean?”
Sarita had finished removing the most significant portion of the water from her hair so she had dropped the towel into a basket for used towels. She then turned to stare at Clemens, “That is right” although she didn’t provide any additional explanation.
She picked back up her basket turned and began to walk toward the section of the resort that had the rooms, “Now if you will excuse me, I plan on returning to my room for a meal.”
Sarita had about left the room before Clemens called out, “Sorry, but before you go could you point me to someplace. There is supposed to be a sensory deprivation chamber somewhere nearby here? Could you point me in the correct direction?”
She paused and looked back at him, “The sensory deprivation chamber huh? Can’t say that I have ever used the thing but I believe it is down two levels from here.”
“Thanks” said Clemens in reply but she had already turned back around and left.
The room seemed unusually silent now that he was alone again. He looked down at the hand that she had refused to shake. There were a few moment of contemplation before he turned and walked down another one of the passageways.
He wouldn’t have really needed the directions, the Poseidon Resort was pretty clearly labeled and once he had taken the lift down the B2 floor there were more signs to direct him to where he wanted to go.
The facility was mostly white and sterile looking with small individual rooms. Clemens took one of the rooms and following the instructions printed nearby put his watch and his clothing in the locker near the pod.
The long ovular pod was the sensory deprivation chamber in question. He opened it up and slipped the small rebreather mask over his mouth and nose. After laying down at the bottom of the pod he slowly lowered the top down until it clicked shut leaving him in total blackness.
With no sound at all the chamber began to fill with almost perfectly room temperature water. In mere moments the entire chamber was filled and he was left almost completely without sensory input, alone with only his thoughts.
Chapter Two — Family Bonds
It has been nearly three weeks since Clemens first arrived at the Poseidon Resort. Since his one time in the sensory deprivation chamber he hadn’t returned there. The next day he had instead search the resort for some writing tools and then secluded himself in his room where he sketched lines on paper for hours.
Since then the drawing has just laid there on his deck. It depicted the woman Sarita as she exited the portal to the open ocean.
With that complete he then proceed the avoid her and the Deep Sea Diving section of the resort. Instead spending him time on some of the upper floors which contained an observation deck and a large library. A couple of times he had seen her swimming through the ocean from the view in the observation deck. Each time he stopped and watched until she disappeared from view.
Their closest actual interaction was passing each other in ones of the hallways near the rooms. She didn’t speak as the passed and while he opened his mouth nothing came out of it.
They existed in that kind of awkward silence for a couple of weeks.
What finally broke that was the speaker system announcing, “Two new guests are arriving at Poseidon Resort. Please remember to treat other guests kindly and continue to enjoy your stay with us.”
Clemens had been staring aimlessly out of the window on the observation deck when he heard that. He checked his watch and confirm the time before heading down to the main lobby to meet with the new guests. He arrived just before the lift finished arriving and the door to it slid open.
Out of the lift came two people. One older looking man with a white short sleeved button up shirt and the other a short girl wearing a poke-dotted sun dress.
The girl dashed out of the elevator and began spinning around looking at everything. She called back to the older man saying, “Daddy look, isn’t this place amazing!”
The older man stroked his short beard and said, “Yes, yes, quite amazing. However don’t run off alone just yet. You would want to leave your old papa with all these bags by himself would you?”
The daughter stopped and turned back to the man. She nodded understandingly, “Right, of course, one thing at a time.”
The father pulled three couple of large bags out of the lift and into the main room. The daughter was still staring around the room while slowly walking back to him. Once she arrived back he reached out an ruffled her shoulder length hair.
“Stop” she complained, although it was only half hearted, “You are messing up my hair.”
The father only smiled however. But he stopped as he looked across the room and saw Clemens.
“Oh ho, look, another guest has come to greet us. Please, no need to be polite, some over and say hello to you.”
Clemens broke free him his pose and walked closer to the two of them, “Sorry, I didn’t want to disturb you. It was just a picture perfect scene so it felt wrong to intrude.”
“Don’t worry about interrupting us. Esme here will get bored if the only one she has to interact with is me.”
“It’s Esmeralda.” Said the daughter correcting her father who was just quietly laughing.
“I’m afraid I won’t be much good company.” Said Clemens.
Esme puffed up her chest and said, “Do not worry about me, I am here to keep my poor overworked father company while until he finishes.”
The father nodded, “Oh, yes, I’m writing a book. Nothing too fancy but everything was so loud and noisy back home that I decided I wanted to get away for a while. I wanted somewhere quiet so finish the book and heard on the grape vine that the Poseidon Resort was basically nearly abandoned so I though it would be a good place to get away.”
Clemens nodded, “Yeah, I understand. That is basically why I am here too. The two of you just doubled the population so you should be able to find the quiet you need. And Sarita spends most of her time out in the water anyway so you probably won’t see much of her either.”
“Ah, yes, the announcer voice did say there were two other guest. Are you with her?”
Clemens shook his head, “No, she was here when I arrived. Apparently she had made this place her permanent residence.”
“That sounds lonely,” Said Esme with a worried look on her face, “I would probably go crazy if I had to live in a place like this alone.” Then her face brightened, “But I have father here so I’m sure everything will be fine.”
The father said, “You honor me but I’m not that great.” He turned back to Clemens and said, “My name is Hubert by the way.”
“And I am Clemens, sorry for not introducing myself sooner.”
“That isn’t a probably. Now we need to get these bags away so I can let Esme do whatever she wants. Although you will have to forgive me if I am sparse for a while. I need to make sure I get the book finished before I actually get to enjoy the vacation.”
Hubert took two of the bags while Esmeralda took the smaller one and they began the short trip to the rooms section of the resort.
Clemens watched the leave, they had not been the kind of people he had expected to show up. While it was a good quiet place to do some writing it wasn’t really a good place to bring a child. Poseidon Resort was basically in the middle of nowhere, a lost relic of a long gone age.
The next day Clemens found Esmeralda sitting in the library with a giant book which looked even more enormous next to the little girl. He hesitated for a moment wondering if he should disturb her not not.
However she was the one who first spoke, “You can come over. I’m not afraid of you or anything. I consider myself a pretty good judge of character anyways.” She sounded more sophisticated than she had yesterday, not like a child at all.
“I see.” Said Clemens a bit uncertain as he took several steps closer to her and eventually took a seat in a chair a couple down from her.
She lowers the book to get a clearer look at him before saying, “I caught a glimpse of her this morning, the other guest. She didn’t say anything though. I can’t really blame her however. It is tough being a designer child.”
Her knowledgable tone made Clemens put the puzzle pieces together in his head, “Then you are one too? Then your father…” He trailed off.
“Hubert isn’t responsible. He is my adopted father.”
Esme continued to look at Clemens a bit quizzically. “It can be difficult to act like a child sometimes but Hubert keeps me grounded. It was really quite fortuitous that I met him.”
There was a long pause with Clemens not really certain how to respond.
Esme was the one to speak again, “So why are you here?”
Clemens continued to be silent for a long time before finally saying, “I’m not really certain myself. I just wasn’t satisfied with what I was doing with my self and wanted to try something different.”
“So you went to an abandoned underwater resort on a planet in the middle of no-where? Quite the extreme reaction to a mid-life crisis.” Said Esme flatly.
Clemens shrugged, “I’m not certain what it was really. That caused me to come here. I think I just wanted to be alone for a while.”
“Any now?” Asked Esme.
“I guess I’m still trying to find myself.”
“Definitely a mid-life crisis.” She said with some finality before turning back to her book. “If you want help with it I recommend speaking more to Hubert than me, I’m a bit callous about this kind of thing. He has a better way with words than me, something about being a writer.”
Esmeralda had returned to her book and Clemens was deep in though and just sat there thinking as she read. Some time later she set down her book and said, “I need to get back to Hubert. I’m sure we will see each other around.”