When it is late and everyone in your household is asleep, leave and go outside. Do not put on any shoes. You will need to be able to feel the ground, where you are going.
Walk as far as you can, until you reach a body of water. It doesn’t have to be natural, though that works the best. You don’t have to go in a straight line. Some people say it’s better if you don’t, but ultimately, what’s important is that you find water and you are alone. If you see anyone at all along the way, even if it is in passing, then turn around and go straight home. It will not work otherwise. People in cars are all right sometimes, but sometimes they’re not. You’re safer if you just avoid seeing everyone along the way.
When you reach the water, walk into it. Don’t let gates or waves or anything stop you. Walk until you are at least up to your knees. If you can’t go that deep, that’s all right. You can still succeed. But if you can, go that far. Just don’t go any further; you never know what will happen if you do.
Once you are in the water, bleed. It doesn’t matter how you do it. You can cut yourself, you can bite yourself, you can scrape your toes against rough stone until you have a blister that bursts. But it must be blood and it must be fresh. It must come from your veins. You cannot use someone else’s blood, and someone else cannot do the bleeding for you. If you want to reach this, then you will have to be the one who does the work and who offers what you can.
Then you have to wait. The amount of time it takes varies. It’s been said anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours, but again, if you see someone, or someone calls out to you, then the effect is lost. You’ll have to try again another day.
But if you’re patient and you’re careful, then when you are done waiting, it will come.
They never look the same twice. Some people say that they look almost human, with their high cheekbones and their large white eyes, and their webbed fingers and long thin arms. But some people say they look more like fish, with their skin laid close and tight like elegant scales. There are gills where their ribs might be, which are slashes of dark red against their bleached flesh. They have mouths full of rows and rows of angled teeth and their voices are wet and thick.
They will call you by name. Don’t be scared by this. They have learned it from the blood you have offered them; this is your contract. Embrace it! They will have no time for the faint of heart or the cowardly. What they need is someone who is solid, who can step forward and not fear the depths under their feet. If you falter at all, they will know it, and you had best hope they feel merciful when they do. Tearing your flesh apart is the kindest favor they could do; there is so much more that could be done.
Still, if you call to them and they answer, and if they make their offer and you take it, then you will change yourself. You will not become like them — that’s just a lie, told by people who don’t truly understand what they are. It’s just a small little change. It varies from person to person, but it’s usually a single gil on your left side, close to your heart. It only hurts when it first appears, like a knife sliding through your flesh, but once it’s done, it will be fine.
Once you have accepted their offer, that is when everything will change for you. Your wishes will slowly begin to come true. This is what you wished for, isn’t it? The world is so full of water and not all of it is clean. They remember a time when it was — when it was safe for their kind, when it was safe for everyone. When you become one of theirs, you will have a little piece of that memory, too. Treasure it. It will be what guides you from hereon.
You will have taken their power, and any time you stand within the water, it will be yours to control. Oh, not to the same degree and finesse that they use — it’s a crude sort of comparison, like using a paper fan to make waves versus the great tsunami that nature can whip up when properly enticed. But you will have that control and that will put you above everyone else. The water will welcome you; it will whisper to you; it will draw you in and hold you close. It is your mother; it is your lover; it is your _friend_.
And you will know that the time is coming when the waters will rise, and all the pathetic parched creatures of the world will be swept away. There is a deep, deep thirst that is rising in the gut of the universe. It is coming. There is no way to stop it.
But you can be ready for it. If you search for their hand, and if they offer it to you, and if you take it, then you will rise up and up and up, and you will see what the world becomes. Don’t worry about those things that you once called your family or your friends; unless they are willing to take the oath as well, they are just debris that will be cleared away later. Flotsam and jetsam. Foam on the waves.
Cherish your gift. Take it with you and keep it safe in your breast.
If you dream of water, don’t worry. That just means that you are chosen.
If you dream of waves, don’t worry. That just means they are getting closer.
If you dream of the cool dark depths, don’t worry. That just means you’re almost home.