Check Mate

As the dolphin swam away, I felt another “ping”—this one much larger, swimming up to my left. This ping was familiar, from Willy’s memories. “Ro’shalla,” I murmured. Willy’s mate.

“Willy?” she asked. (Actually, she used his whalespeak name, but “Willy” is how I “heard” it in English.) “What is wrong? You swim oddly.”

“I’m…not Willy,” I told her. “I’m a land-dweller. Willy ate me—but I ended up in his mind.”

Her body language showed anger. “Give him back!” she squawked. “Give my mate back to me!”

I felt a pang of sympathy, but anger drowned it out. “I wouldn’t if I could. He tricked me! He ate me!.”

Ro’shalla turned headlong, and hit me with a blast of sound. Suddenly, she was inside my head along with Willy. GET OUT ! she blasted me. I pushed back, and she was out of my head again.

“So,” she sang coldly. “You have taken my mate. Very well. But I know where to find yours.” She kicked her fluke and swam away.

For a moment I didn’t understand. Then it hit me: she was going after my wife.

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