The horizontal gill on Suflare’s bosom just above her breasts, was inhaling the marsh gas briskly, while her bulging belly glowed in a greenish light as the fetus inside sucked in the gas that its mother in-breathed through her gill. Suflare moved as fast as her aching feet could carry her, the marshland around wasn’t something that’d have held her back for her kind was born to live amidst marshes, but it was in fact holding her back because she was pregnant and she was running. Suflare was an Arnasian, the kind that inhabited the planet Arnasia, which was a marshy planet with more than sixty five percent of its area being a wetland. Suflare had to get to the bog chamber before the second sun went down, because after that the bog chamber would shut down and won’t start until the first sun rises again.
Suflare rushed down the narrow lane and then ambling carefully through the Moras marshland, which was the deepest wetland on entire Arnasia, reached the Bog Chamber. The Bog chamber was the place where Arnasians deposited forty percent of their inhaled methane, which was collected and stored in flasks; this collected gas was then used to grow food.
“You can’t have that baby, Suflare,” said a sturdy male Arnasian; he was employed to collect methane.
“I can look after my child,” said Suflare; there was a hint of disgust in her voice.
“Law’s law, it’s for everyone. If you couldn’t retain 236 cubic centimeters of methane after depositing forty percent of your inhale, you’re not allowed to have a child,” said the sturdy Arnasian in a stern voice.
“I’m sure my husband and I can manage that volume together,” insisted Suflare.
“You’d both have to retain 236 cubic centimeters of methane in your lungs individually,” the male Arnasian didn’t stop for further argument, he left.
Suflare touched her belly gently as a tear rolled down her cheek; she didn’t want to abort the fetus for the child inside her had the right to be loved…had the right to breathe.
Amandla held Suflare’s shoulders with tender hands, while he held two cups of hot haxix syrup in his other two hands. Suflare turned her teary gaze towards Amandla; he wiped her tears and made her hold a cup of haxix syrup, then sat next to her with his cup, still holding her hand. Amandla was considered a cursed child when he was born because he had four limbs; he also had two gills placed diagonally as opposed to the natural one gill, below his collar bones; no one ever accepted him but Suflare did, with all her heart. Amandla was to be the father of Suflare’s child and he too wanted to save the baby as much as she did.
“Why were we born with weaker lungs Amandla?” asked Suflare.
“Look Suflare most species do not have the ability to retain what they inhale, we do; but that doesn’t mean each one of us has the same capacity…some are stronger others not so much, It’s only natural…” explained Amandla calmly.
“I’ve heard that the bog chambers across the planet have been unsuccessful in collecting enough methane to grow ample food,” said Suflare.
“Yeah that’s right, they’re using Miyrs to help them meet the needs,” said Amandla, touching Suflare’s chin with one of his hands; she smiled mildly.
“They almost look like big insects, don’t they? The Miyrs?” proposed Suflare.
“Yeah, they don’t need methane to stay alive they simply inhale methane and then carry them to the bog chambers,” said Amandla.
All of a sudden Amandla’s face went blank, then he said, “Why can’t we store methane like bog chambers do, we’d get a Miyr to bring us the needed volume of gas and that’s it our baby could live.”
“Yeah actually, anyways an Arnasian child just need its parents’ breath for the first six years, we could do that,” agreed Suflare excitedly.
Amandla walked beside Suflare, holding in his four hands, four plants, which were dangling because their glowing heads were too heavy to carry for their weak stems. They had been walking through the ‘marshy’ lanes for so long that it was almost time for the first sun to rise again. The plants Amandla was holding were called, Chirimawas, these plants were used to attract Miyrs; Miyrs couldn’t resist the fragrance of Chirimawa and hence came driven towards it. Swimming through the Nedves marshland, Amandla and Suflare reached a brownish patch of barren land.
“This is it, here we shall find a Miyr,” said Amandla.
“I’ll be ready,” Suflare assured him.
A rapid buzzing noise, announced the arrival of a Miyr; Amandla tensed his body while Suflare clenched her fists; this was their only chance, if at all they had any.
A bipedal insect-like creature landed before them, quivering its wings; it stared at Amandala who was holding four Chirimawas, with its compound eyes.
Before Suflare could use the tranquillizer she’d been holding, hidden from the Miyr’s gaze; it attacked Amandla with its sharp pincers.
It flew away, leaving behind a dying Amandla.
Suflare sat by Amandla crying as she said, “You knew you won’t make it, you lied to me.”
Amandla spoke with some effort, “This was the only way,” he touched Suflare’s belly with tender hands.
“What are you doing?” asked Suflare crying.
“I wasn’t just born with four limbs and two odd-looking gills, Suflare; I was born with a special gift, too,” said Amandla.
“What gift?” Suflare wept.
“The gift that I can give away my breath to any person I want to,” said Amandla with a tender smile.
“And that will kill you,” cried Suflare.
“Look at me love, I’m dying already. The baby will live…come take my breath,” said Amandla.
And as the two kissed, Amandla’s breath reached the baby; it whispered life into its heart.
Two months from then Suflare would give birth to a baby girl. She would name her Amandalia. Soon the Arnasian society would know that little Amandalia is born with a special gift.
The gift to, breathe life, into the decaying vegetation that produced marsh gas. In the coming days the marshy planet of Arnasia would turn into a green planet.
The Arnasians, who for so long had inhaled nothing but methane would henceforth live by breathing in a new gas called, Oxygen.