At first there was nothing terrifying in the ocean for Alex. He went with God, carrying Him like a lantern, His blind, marble eyes looking this way and that, a slight smile creasing His marmoreal dignity. This was by choice, not by necessity; God moved. It was some time before Alex even realized he was underwater — it seemed he moved through an atmosphere all of light, through mansions treasured with the strange and the wonderful, rare delights, such as he had never seen before — but such things were, by this time, fairly regular, and Alex accepted them calmly.

Then God left, and Alex was alone for a time in the mansion under the sea, again, without knowing where he was.

A voice cried out, “Tethys comes!” It was like putting a candle in front of a mirror — the light brightened, and its quality changed, and he was afraid. He wondered if Tethys could come into the mansion, without keys or doors.

Tethys was like a flower, and like an octopus, and like a skull, and like none of these things; huge and terrifying, such that Alex hid under a table. She brushed past him, even there, and then he knew where he was, and saw the barnacles and the corals as though for the first time, saw the hunger and the feeding that is the constant life of the sea, and he cried out.

But God was gone, and Tethys paid no attention. Where the sea was, she was; no voices stirred her patient progress, no barriers arrested her swaying. Time she had, and all.