The octopus reached out one arm towards her, its eyes large and soulful. Kneeling, she touched a single finger to the same spot, separated from the meek little creature only by a thin sheet of glass. A shared moment. A glimmer of understanding. A decision made. She glanced away. In the bustle of the fish market, no one was looking her way. Not that she was paying them any heed. Her eyes were finding other things. A door here. A lock there.

At midnight, she returned, carrying a lockpick and a bucket. It didn't take her long to find her way inside. A lock here. A door there. Quietly, swiftly, she made her way past water-filled glass lit by sickly blueish fluorescent tubes. Her small friend was huddled up in the corner of its tank, eyes large and soulful, waiting for her return. It crawled forward at her approach, happy to see her. Happy to climb into the bucket she'd brought. Happy to be carried to the shore, and the sweet embrace of the waves. Enveloped by the breaking surf, it turned back to her ever so briefly. A parting glance of farewell, amid the sea foam. Then it was gone.

She slept soundly that night, her dreams filled with ocean waves and salt spray. The following morning, a shiny abalone shell was sitting on her doorstep, waiting for her. Tucked inside was a damp piece of fabric, adorned with scruffy writing.

“Thank you. We will remember ♡”

Xan Indigo is a rogue astrophysicist with an overactive imagination and a mixed-up ethnic background. They mostly spend their spare time drinking too much tea, cooking spicy things, mixing cocktails, and attempting to turn their apartment into a tiny rainforest.

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