My Sweet Velouria

Once upon a time, a scuba diver discovered an extraordinary ocean cave. Yet as he emerged from eerily calm waters into the cave, a wiry little man approached him carrying a pad and pen and looking quite bothered. The man promptly thrust the pad in the diver’s face.

“Stop, thief!” it read.

“Where?” said the diver. Aghast, the man scribbled something else and thrust again.

“You’re the thief! I demand you stop now!”

“Stop what?” the diver said. “Can you not speak?”

Beside himself, the wiry man scribbled something more but soon gave up and exploded with indignation.

“STOP BREATHING MY AIR ! You’re stealing it and I demand you stop now!” Distraught but seemingly relieved, the wiry man stared intently at the diver.

“You…live here?” was all the diver could manage.

“Yes I live here, and I’ll die here—a lot sooner if you don’t stop stealing my air! That world up there holds nothing for me anymore…not since Velouria left me.”

The wiry man’s mood changed to despair. “Oh, Velouria!” he cried. “WHY?!”

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