Out of the Depths


This week, my father and I decided to use the following prompt:

“Write about a natural disaster but write in a calm and peaceful tone.”

My dad wrote about a personal experience he had living in Almaty with all the tremors and quakes we sometimes get. You can read his story here.

My idea was to write about someone who is in the middle of a natural disaster but doesn’t realize the danger. Because of recent news events, I have seen several images and videos of floods, so I decided to use a flood as my natural disaster.

I would like to take this moment to say that the following story is in no way meant to trivialize natural disasters, floods, or the tsunami that hit Japan recently. What happened in Japan is truly terrible and heartbreaking, and my heart goes out to them.

What I wanted to do with this story was to, as I have said, to explore the idea of a person in danger who doesn’t realize the danger. In dangerous situations, our bodies often struggle to survive even when our minds are confused. What would it be like to be in a situation where you are unable to help yourself and are at the mercy of nature? Or even at the mercy of your rescuers?

This prompt was found at the blog Yeah Write!

    Out of the Depths

    I hear the noise first. Its dull but hard, filling my ears. I’m relaxed, completely at ease, my entire body rising and falling with the beat of my heart, the inhaling of my lungs.

    No, I’m wrong. It’s the water. Why am I in the water? I try to think, to remember, but the dull sound fills my mind and shuts everything else out.

    Or is it the water filling my ears?

    I shake my head and try to sit up, but I sink lower beneath the water. There’s no ground, no point of reference. There’s just dark, cool water.

    I once read that astronauts train for space by spending hours in water tanks and pools. It simulates the experience of a space walk, or so the article explained.

    I’m floating. There are no laws of gravity to hold me down, no laws at all. There is only peaceful anarchy and dark, cool water.

    It’s quiet here. I like the quiet. There was so much noise before, so many sad noises and angry noises. It’s quiet here. Quiet’s nice. Quiet is soothing after the noise.

    If there is no ground nor gravity, what is this division of water and sky? They are the same color, and now I can’t tell the difference between the two. Am I floating in the water, or have I been released and am floating in the air?

    As if in answer, the clouds break above me. The sun is faint, as if he’s not sure he’s welcome at the moment. He highlights the dark grey clouds, and it’s beautiful.

    The rise of the waves lifts me up close to the sky, and I think of what it would be like to touch a fluffy cloud. Like cotton candy, I bet, prickly and itchy – condensing into a hard, sticky mess as a I squeeze a bite off with my fingers. I reach for the cloud, absent-mindedly – my arm acting of its own accord, responding to the orders of my brain left without its captain as my mind fades in and out in hazy understanding.

    Suddenly but gently the water pulls me back down – away from the sky. The waves are teasing me, pushing me away and pulling me back. It’s an adolescent romance, full of excitement and thrills of new discovery.

    It’s cool in the wave, cool and soothing. It’s nice on my flush and scratched skin.

    My arm is still raised but falling when something grabs it.

    The Something is pulling my arm. It hurts, and the water is fighting back. It doesn’t want the Something to take the arm, to take me.

    And I don’t want to leave the water. It’s dark and cool here. Out of the water is just sad and angry noise.

    The Something is insistent. The pull is succeeding; I’m rising.

    The dullness falls out of my ears and is replaced with loud, chaotic spikes of volume.

    It hurts, it hurts. There are hands all over me. They pull and tug and scratch my body. The Hands shout at me, at each other, and suddenly I’m on solid ground again, my knees scraping against hard dirt.

    The water is angry. I can hear it.

    The rude dirt clings to me. It’s in my nose, my eyes, my ears – it fills my mouth.

    The water is dark and cool. I was happy there.

    The Hands sit me up, and my body struggles against gravity. I’ve forgotten the rules that I am forced to obey.

    “You’re safe now,” the Hands say. They shout at each other, the noise sharp and grating despite the dirt that lines my eardrums.

    It’s too much.

    They’ve pulled me from the flood, but my body rebels. I pitch forward back to the earth and let the floods of my darkened conscious wash over me.

    I hear the noise first. It’s steady and firm, and as it beats out, I can feel my heart striving to match it. My lungs fill deeply, trying to keep up. There is no more dirt, no hard ground cutting my knees.

    Something is holding my hand. It’s soft and comforting, firm and strong. It’s a hand, its fingers interlocked with mine.

    There’s a face with the hand – one that I remember, and it smiles as I wake up.

    And when the voice speaks, it’s soothing and calm like dark, cool water.

    “You’re safe now,” the Voice says softly.

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