How do we get across the sea? We have to, you know. It’s a desire to progress as a species, or the desire to explore. Or maybe we just need to know what’s there. Or it might be because we think that the grass is greener on the other side.
Look, I don’t know, alright? I’m not one of the thinkers here, I’m happy to sit on the beach and let everybody else work it out. Once we’re across the sea, that’s where I come in. That’s where people like me are important. At least, that’s what they tell me; I’m not a thinker. Did I say that already?
It feels like we’ve been here for ages. Maybe we have been. At first I was drawing patterns in the sand, but then I got bored of that. Now I just watch the waves moving things about at the shoreline, sitting on the sand and soaking up the sun. It’s nice. I don’t even have to pretend to do any thinking, I can just relax. Still, something’s obviously happening in my head because I’m narrating all of this to you. Or me. Again, I don’t know.
Staring out to sea isn’t so bad anyway. I’m not sure why there’s a need to get across the sea, but they say that we have to. It’s something that will define us as a people. My one complaint, and it’s not much of one, is that not quite enough happens out at sea, but then I just turn around and watch the people up and down the beach, or the occasional groups that assemble on the cliffs. Inland is a hive of activity, out to sea, nothing much happens. Maybe that’s why we’ve got to get across it, because we can’t stand it not doing anything. Regardless (that’s a word I hear Shiva using a lot), we’re here now so I have to find something to do, and staring out to sea (and inland sometimes, like I said) is certainly something to do.
The most interesting thing I saw was Samuel. Samuel thought that we could swim across the sea, but other people said that it was too far and we had too much to carry. Samuel didn’t like to be wrong though, so he got together a few people and said that they would swim across, find out what was there and then swim back to show that we could all swim across the sea. They loaded up with provisions and supplies and everything else that they would need across the sea and then they waded out into the water.
The first people to go were those who couldn’t even float with the things they were carrying. They collapsed under the water when it got too deep and now we think they’re pinned there by the equipment, smothered in the wet sand and hidden under the water. None of them have washed up yet but they definitely drowned. That wasn’t very interesting. The ones who did manage to swim were the interesting ones. They got out far enough and then the sharks got them. Those guys have been washing ashore. Bits of them anyway. Little pieces. And the waves turned red for a while, but now that’s all washed away. Nobody else has tried swimming across and it looks like the idea has been abandoned.
Since then I’ve just been watching the birds. Mostly they fly above the water and occasionally dive in. Sometimes they sit on the water and float. If we could do that then we might be able to get across, but I also saw a bird get eaten by a shark so I don’t think it would be any safer than swimming really.
Shiva is another who has ideas, and he said that we should try to extend this land until it reaches that land, so he’s been getting people to carry and drop big rocks into the sea. The only problem is that they get washed away by the waves. Quite slowly, but I haven’t noticed the beach stretching out into the sea. He keeps going regardless (and uses that word a lot when people say he should stop). He says that it will take a long time but that any progress takes time and people just need to have patience. I think that the people helping him will probably get tired of carrying rocks before we get to the other side, but what do I know?
Alice’s idea is a nice idea, but it seems a bit strange and not much better than Shiva’s. I don’t know if it will work, but I’m not a thinker (I think I’ve already said that) so I just let her get on with it. She wants to make the sea freeze over, which she says definitely won’t happen in summer but might happen in winter. I’ve never seen the sea freeze in winter and I don’t want to be sat on the beach in winter anyway, but when other people told her the sea had never frozen before, she said that she was going to make it colder beforehand by putting lots of ice into it.
Ever since then, her and a group of others have been bringing ice down from the mountains and pushing it into the sea. It floats for a while and then melts away in the sun. I’ve been in the sea a few times since they started and I can’t feel it getting any colder, but she keeps saying that come winter it will have made a real difference. I think that part of the problem is that so much of the ice melts before they get here. The mountains are a long way away. People keep dying of frostbite up there as well, so lots of people are quite annoyed about it.
It’s a bit depressing because we set our greatest minds to the task and so far we still haven’t got across the sea. How do we get across the sea? That’s what everybody is asking each other now. They’ve been asking it for a long time. Some people are even beginning to say maybe we shouldn’t go across the sea, but nobody is listening to them.
The last chance is with Mag. She got asked the question and she went away with a group of people to the north. Nobody followed her and we haven’t heard back from her, but we’re all hopeful she’ll pull something out the bag. Mag’s clever like that. Mag was the one who worked out that you can use fire to cook meat, but then Alice claimed that she’d known that for ages and hadn’t told anybody, and we couldn’t tell if she was lying or not. Mag also made the wheels that the carts roll on which Alice is using to bring ice down from the mountains, but then Shiva says she stole the idea from him and who really knows? There are also the metal tools that Mag made for all of us, melting things in the fires and then shaping them. Samuel used to claim he’d thought of that originally, but I don’t think Samuel is coming back so Mag can have that one.
Mag’s back! She’s done it again! Alice and Shiva are both trying to claim that they were going to think of that next, but nobody believes them and she’s beaten them both to it.
She went north to get wood because she’s seen wood float, and she’s made these funny little pods that she calls boats (they look like big seeds) and we stick these long sticks out of them and we can push ourselves through the water (she explained that because water is denser than air, the force against one of the sticks makes the person pushing move more than the stick, but if you’re secured to one of the “boats” properly or can transfer that force to it somehow, you’ll move the boat. Or something like that. I’m not much of a thinker) so now we can get across the sea!
So, Mag’s boats take us across the sea and I am a bit sad to leave the beach behind because I was getting to like it and the birds had just started flying with their babies and I was wondering if there were shark babies too, but we’re all told we have to get across the sea, so we get into the boats and off we go. I realise I might see shark babies when we’re on the boats but looking over the side makes me feel ill so I doubt that will happen.
We travel and travel, and I am very ill, but eventually we get across the sea! And once we’re there it’s time for me to do what I’m supposed to. So I draw the metal stick that Mag made for all of us and we run at the people across the sea, and all they have are pieces of wood, so we come out on top, triumphant again.
I wonder where we’ll progress to next.