The man, if he was a man, was breathing very deeply under water - if it was water. His eyes were open and they had a new snap to them. He grinned, a not altogether fish grin. It was the grin of a tribal deity full of rogue power and eternal youth, one at home in all the elements. Something false about both the power and the youth, though.
Fred Foley scooped water and tasted. It was half salt - brackish, like tide-turning estuary water, or water from the sea very near the mouth of a great river. Or it was like water from an ancient ocean, one with less salt in it than have the oceans now. But why did Fred Foley think of that?
There were minute plants in the water, and small fish. It was not tap water. It was either drawn from a particular source, or carefully mixed. Foley had a sudden belief that there might be an upwelling of that water in that room, even though it was an upper-floor room, just as there was an upwelling of water on Auclaire's mountain, though there were dry caves below.
Well then, this was something that did not explain itself at all. Carmody Overlark had had his head under water for more than five minutes, and the water itself was in constant change or parade. There were schools of small fish that passed through it laterally. They did not follow around the curve of the bowl, they disappeared. And other sorts of fish appeared, all traveling a parade in the same direction, coming out of the glass itself (for all that could be discerned of them), traveling across the bowl in a straight line and disappearing into the glass wall again. There was optical illusion or there was strong current flowing through that bowl.
Was the underwater breathing of Overlark somehow the key to suspended animation? It was a funny key; it didn't seem to fit any of the locks. It was plain that an ordinary man would be dead, as it was now ten, now fifteen minutes that Overlark had his head and breathing below the surface. It was plain that he was not an ordinary man.
Then the water went out of the bowl. It could not be said that it drained out, for there was no drain. Air followed water in the current-parade across the inside of the bowl, and then the inside was dry. Overlark pulled his head out. He was beaming and greatly refreshed.
"Wonderful, Foley, wonderful. You should try it. There's nothing like it to set a man up."
-R. A. Lafferty, Fourth Mansions (1969)