“Are you truly him? Are you….” What is the name? I heard it long ago but has it been so long that I have completely forgotten the name. I know many ancient cultures had a name for this creature…..”Ah!” “Are you Aspidochelone?”
“Looooney, pleease calllll me Looooney, ” sighed Aspidochelone as though responding any faster might have cause him to rush the day.
“You really are him then?!” I sputter as if I can’t get the words out of my mouth fast enough.
“Mmmmmm,” replied Loney
“So have you really killed as many stranded sailors as legends suggest?”
“Fiiiiire, I doooon’t like fiiiire,” he mumbled
Loney slowly shifted his front flipper as if he got barnacle bumps just thinking about fire. I heard a story once from a grey whale about how Aspidochelone’s shell looked like an island to the land walkers. The parts I can remember of the story say that his shell even had sand and trees on it. But once a sailor was stranded on his back and built a fire, Aspidochelone would sink lower into the ocean to make the burning stop. Thus, causing the sailor to drown. Centuries later Aspidochelone was re-named Jasconius. Humans thought of him as an evil monster in the water for he would for sure kill you if given the chance. But judging by the looks of him, the only thing that scares me is his slow speech. I might end up wasting one hundred years just trying to have a short conversation with him.
“Loney, may I ask you a question? Where are we?” I eagerly responded unable to believe I have met the giant sea turtle of legends passed.
“Neeeew,” asked Loney with a very slow sideways glance at me. If I hadn’t know better I would have said he was staring at me but it seems he operates on a different speed than most creatures.
“Yes, I am new to this water,” I replied.
“Nooooo, neeeeew,” Loney sighed asking once again staring intently into my eyes this time.
“No, I am not new to water. I stopped counting my age once I reached one thousand.”
“Ahhhhh, soooo neeeeew.” He stated, making it clear he was no longer asking it as a question.
“Well how old are you? Most would think living past one thousand years is very old,” I respond feeling a little offended that he thinks of me as a fish of the sea.
“Tiiiimmmme, veeery looong,” he said.
“Loney, could you please tell me where we are?”
“Hiiiiddden, extreeeeeeamlyyyy hiiiiiddden.”
“How is it you came to be here Loney?”
He looked at me long and hard before responding, it was almost as if I had asked him a trick question. Finally, after what felt like three moons coming and going, his sapphire blue eye stopped staring at me and he looked at the bottom of me and replied, “Swaaaaam.”
With that he slowly closed his eyes and started to rise to the surface. I had a feeling that Loney was ready to sleep and that anymore questions I might have for him would have to wait until another time. That’s if I could suffer through such a slow and vague conversation again. He may have been the first creature I have seen in these waters, but there must be more around and preferably someone who wasn’t so slow of speech.
Swimming half a league away, I paused to turn around and fully take in the image of my first acquaintance in this sea. Giant wasn’t a word large enough to describe Loney. The very tip of his shell that I could see from underwater almost shimmered the color of gold while his flippers were spotted in different shades of cream, tan and brown. His head had now disappeared into his shell and only his turquoise nose was left poking out from inside. His nose was not smooth but had a few scars on it. I imagine a ship or two might have tried to set anchor there only find there was no bottom as Loney’s nose also looked very slick. Loney is nothing short of extraordinary! To imagine such a creature of this size still alive in this world is amazing, even for me.