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Written by Woody :: [Saturday, 04 April 2020 00:43] Last updated by :: [Saturday, 04 April 2020 17:26]

Two sisters arrived for spring break at the lovely Broadhaven Island Resort. They were from interstate and were escaping the cold for two weeks of sunshine.

Ashley and Belle were identical twins save for the eyes; Ashley had pools of iridescent blue eyes staring back at you. Belle on the other hand had emerald green eyes that drew you in.

Although they were identical twins you wouldn’t know it. Apart from the height and the same blonde hair they groomed themselves completely differently. Ashley was confident in her figure and personality and let everyone know about it; having a side career as an influencer didn’t hurt matters. She arrived in a tied up tank top with her mid-drift showing and daisy dukes. Oversize sunnies and a sunhat completed her resort entry look. Belle on the other hand was the conservative type.  She had an oversized top on and comfortable fitting shorts that went to her knees. Her hair was in a loose ponytail and she had a baseball cap on.

The girls checked in and headed up to the room. Belle noticed that Ashley was copping plenty of looks from wanting suitors on the way up. They arrived at their 3rd floor room and whilst Belle struggled to lift the bags on the bed, Ashley opened the blinds.

“Wow, check out this view Belle” squealed Ashley.

“In a minute. I don’t remember my bag being this heavy?” Asked Belle as she struggled to lift and open her case. She opened it to see a barrage of hairdryers, straighteners and curling irons. “That’s why, this is your case.” she sighed as she started to take the gear out.

“No it’s yours. I needed the room.” Ashley said

“Well can you ask next time?” Belle said seeing her clothes crushed under barrage of appliances. She looked up only to see Ashley motioning towards her.

Belle rolled her eyes and reluctantly joined her sister on the Balcony. What greeted her was a postcard view. For the last 3 months all Belle and Ashley were used to seeing was snow, lots and lots of snow. Today she was greeted by blue sky, palm trees, a white sandy beach and a resort pool. The only downside she noticed was the hundreds of other people there for spring break.  She turned around to see Ashley snapping a shot of herself. It was a typical overhead shot showing off to her followers.

“Loving life, what a room #springbreak!!!!” she dictated as she posted.

“Do you really think they care about you?” Belle asked Ashley as she unpacked her case.

“See for yourself!” she gloated and handed Belle here phone. 1500 likes in 4 mintues.

“And besides, it helped get us this room Belle.” Ashley chimed in.

“Oh” Belle sighed realising now how they ended up in this commercial paradise. It was all part of a barter system. Her thought process was then interrupted by Ashley’s next question.

“Hey Belle. Pink or blue?” said Ashley. She turned around and Ashley was holding up two barely there bikinis.

“Can that actually cover your, you know?” encircling her chest. “You know they come in different sizes right.”

“This is what gets me the views, sis. How many followers do you have?”

“I don’t know, 25.” she replied

“And that’s why you won’t get it. Blue it is.” said Ashley undoing her top then squeezing herself into her selection. “Are you coming down?” She asked why tying up the back of the bikini top.

“You know what. I’m going to sit back with my book.” Belle pointed at The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

“Well you know where to find Me.” said Ashley as she walked out the door. Her hips swaying in her sarong and her prominent cleavage on display.

“Just use” Belle yelled out and the door closed “Sunscreen.” she said defeated. She grabbed her book and sat out on the balcony.

Ashley flippantly ignored Belles advice and posted story after story that afternoon. That night she sauntered in about 8. Belle was eating room service.

“Hang on; I don’t remember ordering Lobster” she said as her burnt sister walked through the door.

“Shut up” Ashley scowled “and get me the aloe vera gel.”

“Guess you not going out to the pool tomorrow.” Belle giggled

“Nope, Beach tomorrow. What are you doing?” Ashley confidently replied.

“I’m going exploring. See what else is around this place. It’s got to be better than the pool” Belle said.

“Belle, its spring break. Get some sun, enjoy yourself”

“I will Ash”

After lunch the next day Belle walked down the south edge of the beach, it was slightly less crowded then the northern end near the resort. She found a trail and started up admiring the scenery. Just off the path Belle spotted a cave. It piqued her interest and cut through the scrub to have a look. Belle noticed the mouth of the cave opened out at the sides and tapered back in near the base.

Above the cave were some random markings. Belle turned on her phone light and headed inside. On the walls were plenty of markings, almost cave paintings. They depicted people fighting sea creatures and then some pictures of two people fighting. Belle then circled the corner and saw a huge picture of a manta ray. It had two blue gems as eyes. She went to take a picture, and her phone died. “Funny” she thought, “it was 80 percent charged just before”. She turned and spied a light source, it was the exit. She followed it out and exited the cave.

That night at the hotel Ashley and Belle compared their days.

“What did you get up to?” Ashley asked

“I found something cool” Belle replied

“You know nothing you think is cool actually is.” Ashley said

“Come and see it anyway.” Belle pleaded “It’s at the south end of the beach, and you can sunbake afterwards”

“Hopefully there’s better boys down that end” Ashley said, “Yeah I’m in”

The next morning Belle threw on some hiking gear, walking out of the bathroom she saw Ashley in a red bikini top and white shorts.

“We’re going hiking Sis” Belle said

“and I’m going sunbaking after” Ashley retorted. Belle rolled her eyes

“And stop doing that, I’m coming aren’t I” Ashley sighed

The girls made their way to the south end of the beach and Belle led them up to the cave. Ashley opened her flashlight on her phone. “How much battery you got” Belle asked

“75%” said Ashley. She then turned the phone on herself. “Hi, look what I found on #springbreak”

“Damn no reception.”  Ashley said looking at her phone, “oh well. I’ll upload it later”

Belle had given up by this stage and said nothing as the girls walked into the cave.

Ashley shined a light on the paintings. “you know Belle this is pretty interesting” she quipped.

“I told you” said Belle.  The girls kept walking then Ashley stopped in her tracks.

“WHAT IS THAT” she yelled.

Ashley and Belle looked at the creature on the wall of the cave that Belle saw the previous day. In Its eye sockets were two brilliant shining iridescent gems. Transcribed underneath was the phrase

Virtute Oceanum, in Manta Radii

“What language is this” Ashley asked Belle.

“Beats me, I didn’t see it yesterday. But if I had to guess it was Latin” replied Belle

“Whatever it is those eyes are captivating” Ashley said as she peered into the eyes. Tranfixed, almost in a trance she said aloud

“Virtute Oceanum, in Manta Radii”

That instant two blue lights darted from the gems and started to encircle Ashley. Belle watched as her twins arm pulled to the side. Belle looked in detail. The lights were actually thin streams of water with the same iridescent glow. Suddenly she saw a something start to materialise. It started from the ground with black boots. Next Ashley’s shapely legs were covered in a figure hugging black fabric. It rose and covered lower body replacing her white shorts. A white belt materialised on her shapely waist as the streams continued up. Ashley’s bikini morphed as the streams covered her bust with a white emblem of an animal appearing as the fabric stretched over her immaculate chest. As the suit formed around her body, a black cape materialised with wings and a tail. The two streams came to rest and reformed as gems on her wrists. Ashley’s eye’s opened and had turned the same blue as the stone and emitted the same glow.“OH MY GOD” she screamed. Belle could only stand mouth agape.

Ashley turned around and spun in her new costume.

“WOW, look at me Belle” Ashley said excitedly

Belle couldn’t look away. Her sister was now a black clad goddess. The suit seemed to make her even more attractive then she already was.

“Woah” was all Belle could muster.

Ashley pointed out her arms and saw the blue gems. She pointed her arms and all of a sudden a blue stream passed out past Belle.

“I can shoot water” Ashley said. “Awesome”

“And that’s not all” Belle pointed

Ashley looked down, she had floated 3 feet off the ground

“I CAN FLY TOO” She squealed with delight. She then gracefully landed on the ground.

“I need a mirror, do you have one?”  Ashley asked Belle

“Yeah, let me just get it out of my hiking bag” Belle said sarcastically

“Well, where is it” Ashley put her hand out

“So you still don’t understand sarcasm then. Why the hell would I carry a mirror on a hike?” Belle said a tad frustrated

“I’ll just go back to the hotel, see you there” Ashley said and she flew out of the cave.

“Wait” said Belle but Ashley was gone. Belle started out of the cave after Ashley.

Half an hour later Belle walked into her room. Ashley was there in her black ensemble in front of the mirror.

“I look good. I need to put this on the gram” Ashley said. “My followers are going to LOVE this”

Ashley threw Belle her phone. “Can you be my photographer?”

Belle caught the phone and went to take a photo. Ashley posed with her arms over her head. The blue gems on her costume touched and two blue streams shot out of the gems and encircled Ashley. Soon they had disappeared and Ashley was back in her bikini top and white shorts.

The gems landed back in Ashley’s hand and morphed into two dangling earrings. Ashley looked down. “WHAT HAPPENED!” she screamed in disbelief that she was no longer in her black bodysuit. “Belle did you see what happened”

“I think that the gems touched and must have changed you back.”

“And why are they like his now?” Ashley pointed

“I’m not an expert on gems turning people into superheroes Ash. If I had to guess, camouflage?”

 “What do you mean camouflage?”

“Well they look like earrings now, maybe that’s how they are meant to be when you aren’t…. well whatever that was”

“Did you at least get a photo of the outfit?”

Belle handed Ashley back the camera. It was dead flat. “Your phone died sorry.”

“But I swear it had power earlier” Ashley replied

Belle then had a thought, she wondered if this was the same as the phone outage she had yesterday. She decided Ashley didn’t need to know about it though.

Ashley looked at the earrings “hey I said something before I changed, what was it”

“I wasn’t really paying attention to the specifics, something about the ocean and”

Ashley interrupted her “Virtute Oceanum, in Manta Radii”

Suddenly Ashley vanished in a bright light that made Belle shield her eyes. When the light faded, Ashley was back in her black costume.

“You can barely speak English and yet you remember that” Belle gaped open mouthed.

“I can’t explain it. I just remember it” Ashley said. “Does your phone have power? I want this photo.”

“Hang on it’s in my bag” Belle said as she went to grab it. She ruffled though the bag she took

“Shit it must have fallen out in the cave” Belle said.

“Back in a sec” said Ashley and she flew out of the room

Half an hour later Belle was still waiting. Outside she heard cheering. She walked out to the Balcony and saw Ashley in her costume showing off with various tricks to the enthralled crowd. She’d shoot water in the air and fly around it before it splashed back into the ocean. She also did various loops and dips flying. The crowd absolutely loved it. Belle walked back inside. 15 minutes later Ashley flew in the room.

“Did you find my phone” Belle asked Ashley when she landed.

“Oh that” Ashley replied, “I got a little side-tracked.”

“With the stunt show you were putting on?” Belle pointed

“So you saw it. Belle, they LOVED me! You don’t understand what this will do for my profile. I’ll be up in the Kardashian sphere” Ashley then clicked her gems together and changed back into her bikini and shorts. She put her earrings down

“Well I charged your phone at least” said Belle. Ashley snatched it and looked at it

“Look at this. I’m everywhere” She showed Belle. Every post from Broadhaven was Ashley in her costume.

“Hey look at this caption, a Black Manta in the skies, I like that name; I think I might steal it”

Belle sat her sister down

“Ash, I have no idea what you’re doing I’m pretty sure that whatever those gems allow you to do is not based solely for party tricks. I’m thinking there’s probably a bigger purpose for these.” She said holding the earrings.

Ashley snatched them back “No they’re mine Belle”

“I don’t want any of that” said Belle. “You can have them Ash, you can have the attention.”

“Good. What are you going to do tomorrow Belle.”

“Try and find my phone – You?”

“Put on a show for my adoring fans and taking some photos.”

“Just promise me one thing Ash.”

“What is it sis?”

“This… gift. Do what you want in your costume just don’t tell anybody who you really are.”

“But why?”

“Because I don’t want Mum caught up in anything because people know YOU can do certain things.”

“Ok Ash. I won’t for Mum.”

“Thank you.”

The next day Belle got dressed in her hiking gear and went back to the cave looking for her phone.  She walked back in and pondered the pictures on the walls. She was sure now that the pictures were of her a hero with her sister’s new found abilities. She went in and found the picture of the manta ray. She surveyed where the gems went in the eyes. She looked down and saw her phone. As she bent down to pick it up she heard a supernatural voice. “Belle”

She turned around and screamed. Behind her was a spectre of a woman.

“It’s ok. I didn’t mean to frighten you. My name is Manta and I was the original guardian of the stones.

Belle cautiously replied. “Did you say Manta?”

“Yes. Your instincts are correct that the Manta is meant to be a hero for their people. However in their current custodianship that will not be used for benefit and I fear that they may cause harm.”

“You mean my sister.”

“Yes Belle. Your sister activated the gems when she said the phrase on the wall. You’ve seen their great power but they can also lead to great destruction of property and oneself. Belle I need you to step in and save your sister”

“She’s not going to give me those earrings” Said Belle. “This power thing has gone to her head. And I don’t really want to do any of that stuff”

“What are earrings?” the spirit asked

Belle pointed at her own ears. “They are a thing called jewellery that you attach to your ears for decoration, like this.”

“Then they must have selected a camouflage for todays times. Belle, I know you’re reluctant too but will you help me?”

“Do I have a choice?” asked Belle

“You always have a choice which is why I’m asking you. But I can see the love you have for your sister”

“Is Ash really in danger?”

“More than you realise?”

“Then I’ll help.” Said Belle

 Manta then produced a pair of items from her back.

“Will these suffice as earrings?” Manta enquired

Belle looked at the most lustrous pearls she had ever seen. They had a coral barb at the back.

“They are beautiful; they will be very nice earrings, thank you.” Belle confirmed as she removed her earrings and inserted the pearls into her ears. She then felt a clasp appear on their back locking them in place.

“Now raise your hands like this” Manta said as she crossed her arms over her chest, left arm over right

“Ok” said Belle as she crossed her arms.

“Now pull your arms down beside your body”

Belle pulled her arms down. The pearls flashed a blue hue and twin streams shot out of them. Belle saw the same two streams that she had seen when Ashley first changed. As they circled her she felt herself being infused with incredible power. Suddenly there was a bright light and Belle recoiled. “What just happened?” she replied startled

“You now have the spirit on the Manta inside you.” Manta said. She waved her hand and a pool of water sprout up and turned into a flowing mirror.

Belle could not believe her eyes. Her loose fitting hiking clothes had disappeared. Her conservative mind raced as she took in the outfit she was bestowed with. She had the same boots as her sister that was it. Her immaculate but normally hidden figure was encased in a figure hugging white bodysuit. The definition of her legs and calves was on full display. A Black belt snuggly hugged her defined waist. There was a black manta ray in a circle emblazoned on her envious bust. Her Blonde hair was full of volume and cascaded down a black cape. The Cape sprung out on the sides and tapered to a tail. It was black however the underside was the same white as her costume. Her Green eye’s glistened and two blue gems had appeared on her wrists attached to the suit. Her pearl earrings were the same radiant blue as the gems.

Her first reaction was to cover up but then the sense of power eased her. Manta Looked at Belle.

“Perfect, you embody the spirit of Manta, You are a wise choice.”

“Now to change back click your gems together”

Belle clicked the gems and saw the two streams being emitted. She saw the twin streams encircle her once again. Seconds later the streams had entered her earrings and they had turned back white. The flowing mirror showed her in her hiking top and pants, her hair back tied in a loose ponytail. Her figure back concealed behind her clothing.

Belle felt a change in her mindset. She felt more confident, more purposeful, but at the same time she was back to who she was.

Manta motioned and the mirror of water splashed to the ground, hitting Belle on her shoes.

“You now have the power to save your sister.”

 “You do know she’s my twin right, She’ll know this is me, this won’t end well”

“As long as you don’t transform in front of her then she will not know. The gems provide a camouflage so your identity is protected. If your sister had not transformed in front of you, you would not know it was her.”

“Guess I’ll take your word for it. I’ll look out for her Manta.” Belle said as she grabbed her phone and headed out.

The next week was quiet, Ashley in her guise as Black Manta would enthral the crowds and Belle watched from a distance. Then on the second last day it all changed.

It was mid-afternoon and Ashley and Belle were in their room. They had just got back from the pool. As Belle headed for the shower Ashley was putting in her earrings.

“Time for my adoring public” Ashley said “Virtute Oceanum, in Manta Radii”

Belle shielded her eyes as Ashley became Black Manta.

Belle looked at the horizon filled with some dark clouds “Hey take care Ash, the weather looks like it could be a bit rough.”

Ashley scoffed “Belle, I am Black Manta, I am Invincible!” and with that she flew out the balcony.

Belle watched as Ashley took to the skies and gorged on the rambunctious cheers from the crowd. She had become the latest attraction and she loved it. Belle also noticed that the clouds were getting closer, and they didn’t look like they were going to play nice. Soon after Belle heard thunder and looked out. A storm was definitely on the horizon.

The crowd though didn’t seem to care. They were captivated by Black Manta’s exploits. Then everything came to a crashing halt with a clap.

On the beach the thunder was deafening. A simultaneous bolt of lightning forked out and hit the lifeguard tower. The crowds started running and Blank manta stopped. She hovered mid air when then the unthinkable happened.

Belle was watching her sister when she saw the bolt. It was a direct hit straight through her sister. Black manta went limp and started the 200 foot fall to the ocean below.

Belle immediately grabbed her pearl earrings given to her by Manta that were in her ears. She shut the blinds. She didn’t want to risk anyone seeing what happened next.

She stepped back,

Brought her right arm to her chest,

Crossed over her left arm,

Then pulled her arms down.

The action was instantaneous. Belle felt herself surge with power as the white light engulfed her endowing her with her own powers. The light faded and Belle caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror. She had transformed into her figure hugging white costume.

She didn’t waste another beat and shot out the window shaking the glass. She locked onto her sister and headed like a homing missile. Below her on the beach the crowd were scattered in all directions escaping the storm. Belle found she could anticipate the lightning. Occasionally she would swing to the side as the bolts careened past and hitting her with the concussive force of the thunderclaps. Then she saw black Manta disappear as she hit the water.

She made a beeline and plunged in after her. What the crowd thought was more thunder was actually Belle’s sonic boom. She hit the water and her cape shot out. She saw Ashley 40 feet below her. To her surprise she moved just as fast in the water as in the air and grabbed Ashley. She looked at her lifeless twin and saw the scorch marks from her gems. She grabbed her in her arms and turned skyward. She blasted out of the water and headed to the cave.

“MANTA” Belle yelled as she landed into a run with her sister limp in her arms.

Manta appeared “What is it Belle?” then she saw Ashley

“I told you, you would need to save your sister. Well done on heeding the call.”

Belle was in tears “Can you help her? I can’t feel a pulse, she can’t die!”

“Place her here.” said Manta and Belle Placed her at Manta’s feet

The Gems started to irradiate under Manta guiding hands, and two streams shot out of them. Ashley’s ragdoll body then rose as the streams flew around her. Suddenly there was a bright light and Ashley reverted to wearing a green bikini. She landed back on the ground and the streams shot into Belles earrings.

“Your sister will be alright however she can no longer bear the transformation into her Black Manta form. The power of her gems has been absorbed by you Belle.”

“She’ll be heartbroken, can you do anything to help her?” Belle Pleaded

“Part of this process is that Ashley will never remember she had the power of Manta. She will think she’s had a vacation with you all this time. She will come to know of Manta but you must never tell your sister of your dual identity as Manta. If you do her memories will come back and they will kill her. I’m sorry to put this burden on you Belle. It is the only way to save your sister”

Belle was in tears. She had just saved her sisters life but at the same time had witnessed the best thing to happen to her taken from her.

“Belle, If Ashley was more careful and not playing to the crowd this would not have happened. She has brought this on herself.” Ashley started to stir.

“Get her back to the hotel before she wakes up.”

 “I will, thanks for saving her Manta”

“It is my pleasure. My power is now with you Belle. Let it guide you too be the best you can be” Manta said as her essence trailed off into the ether.

Belle grabbed her sister off the ground and flew back to the hotel room. She laid her down on the bed and walked off to the bathroom. As she turned the corner out of sight Ashley asked “are you there Belle?”

Belle touched the blue gems of the costume together. She emerged in an oversize top and a towel on her head.

“Just got out of the shower Ash.” she said “You fell asleep, missed a cracker of a storm though.”

The next day Ashley and Belle were packing up. They put all the clothes in one bag and Ashley’s hair appliances in the other. “You got everything” said Belle as she put the last of her things in the bag.

Ashley was looking at her phone. “Do you know anything about a Black Manta?” she asked

Belle turned sharply. “Why do you ask?”

“Instagram have like hundreds of pictures of her. She’s gorgeous”

She showed Belle the streams for her unknown exploits over the week. The last shot caught Belle’s attention. It was her carrying Ashley out of the water. It was titled “Black and White Manta”

“Can’t say I saw her” said Belle. “Must have happened when I went exploring”

“Did you find anything?”

Belle turned. A tear forming in her eye at the secret she couldn’t tell her sister

“Not much” her voice was distant “Just some trails. There’s some good trails here”

“Ok, Nice earrings by the way.”

Belle rubbed her new pearl earrings with her fingers. “Thanks. I picked them up at the gift shop. I wanted a souvenir.”

“They look good. Now let’s get out here.” Ashley said putting on her hat.

“Sounds good” said Belle. 

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