Silence. Absolute silence. Save for the sound vibrations of my movements, there is nothing. I cannot find anything in sight. All I see before me is the open blue water. I attempt to sense any other living presence, but I receive no response. After much deliberation and feelings of denial, realization heavily sits on my already tired self: I am all alone.

I desperately push my body to stay afloat, constantly pumping air into my weary tube and into my hardened shell. With as much strength as I can muster, I expel water with great speed, propelling myself forward enough to keep moving without sinking. My shell feels heavier than normal, my muscles are as stiff as coral. It hurts to move so much. Hunger ravages my insides. The need to find food is inevitable. And speaking of food, I happen to spot a small squid just a few yards away. Ah, this will be my lifesaver. Using all my power, I quickly swim towards it, my tentacles desperately reaching for my prey. However, my weakened body only got me so far, and the squid noticing my presence, quickly darted away. I floated completely still, knowing my efforts were futile. The feeling of failure was quickly brought upon me, followed by the feeling of dread that was soon to come.

We were once the top predators in the sea. Fantastic swimmers, we can swiftly glide through the waters with ease. Spiral shells floated gracefully and with beauty, but also carried a great amount of life. My shell was no different. I could not possibly survive without my home; the comfort of safety it brought me made me feel at peace. Sometimes, it glittered so beautifully, the light reflecting various colors against the blue waters. I wonder if anyone on the surface ever saw me in this state. Perhaps it was better not—it could lead to me being plunged out of the water by an unknown creature. Or perhaps, that would have been a better outcome for me compared to where I am now. I cannot remember or understand what happened, but a lot of us began to disappear. Families slowly diminished and eventually I woke up to see no one. Loneliness, such a terrible feeling indeed.

There is no point in me trying to go on if I am the only one, and yet that desperate urge to live bellows deep inside me. I swim slowly to nowhere; there is no place left to go. I still feel hunger but I have no strength to find prey. I fear this is the end for me. My tentacles still, unable to propel anywhere. I can hardly suck air into me now, allowing my buoyancy to fail. My body sinks down, down to however deep the waters can go. Rather than discovering what was down below, I take refuge inside my shell, my home, the only place left to feel safe. I curl inwards, away from the cold that starts to overcome my body. I let gravity do as it pleases. Eventually, my shell touches some sort of surface and I stay still.

I am left with my precious cargo, and my thoughts. I wonder if I am the only one who is suffering this, if any other creature out there is experiencing my situation. Ah well, what does it matter. My weary body can take no more. Soon I will be dead, and maybe some other dweller here will try to feast on me. Yet, I still remain here, curled up in my shell, to feel safe one last time. My sensors start to go numb. My mind is quieter, my heart slows down. I think to myself, maybe one day someone will see my dead self. My precious shell would be the only evidence of my existence. I wonder how long it can last, under the constant movement of the seas. I fall into a deep sleep, deeper than any ocean, deeper than any mind.

Grace Jo is a senior Animation major at SVA.