The Waters

Nightmares from the Minds of National English Honor Society Students

By Sophia Sandlin, Guest Contributor

She had been on a grand ship sailing to who knows where with who knows who for reasons unknown. She was troubled though. No, she was calm. Either way she had a purpose she was sailing towards. That purpose though was a secret, even to her.

Perhaps though, the purpose was not for the future, but for the past. Yes, she needed to get away from the past. In the past… No! It must be forgotten.

A soft breeze whispered through her hair, playfully tugging at its locks. Waves joyfully bumped against the helm, slightly rocking it side to side. The air carried in it a scent of salt that tickled her nose and filled her mouth. Rough wood pressed against her feet holding her up, keeping her safe. Everything was peaceful. Everything was right.

No, everything was wrong. The wind was harsh, yanking on her hair, tangling it into knots, slapping her face. The waves bombarded the side of the ship like an attacking army, dangerously tipping the boat towards the frothing waters below. Salt intruded on her senses, suffocating her attempts to breathe. And the wood, that sturdy wood that held her so high above the hungry waves, failed, dropping her into the churning jaws below.

She swam. She swam to free herself from the ocean, thrashing wildly to loosen its hold on her and keep her head above its surface. There was no Moses to part the sea and keep her dry. Or maybe Moses had been there, but she was part of Pharaoh’s army being washed away by the current. A wave crashed over her head, sending her spiraling into the depths. She scrambled in the darkness, her lungs burning, screaming at her to breathe. Darkness engulfed her. Her body went slack. Her heart though, beat defiantly, ever so faintly, even as the rest of her body shut down. She was dead. No, no she was alive, but only just.

Darkness and cold. A girl suspended in the deafening landscape of nothing. Of chaos. Of calm. A grave of thousands. A grave now pulling a girl down into its deep blue depths, claiming her as its own. Welcoming her home.

The darkness receded, leaving nothing, leaving everything. There was no noise, and yet she could hear the roar of the water surging around her. There was nothing to see, but she could see the vast blue devoid of everything but playful bubbles taunting her with what her lungs burned for. The whole ocean pressed in around her, embracing her, trapping her.

Then fire erupted. A cacophony of screams resonated in her skull, jarring every bone in her body. There were shrill terrified screams like a scream one would make when staring at the face of a monster. There were screams of rage and sorrow accompanied by sobs. She trembled and remembered… No! She must forget. Faces floated around her in the water and flames twisted with agony, hatred, and betrayal. Faces she loved. No, faces she hated. Faces she must forget. Faces that were gone. Faces she would soon be joining. No, she wouldn’t join them. They danced around, leering at her. She tried to scream, tried to move, but her body was unresponsive. The faces became twisted and deformed, charred by tongues of fire lashing out around them. She wanted to plead with them. Tell them it wasn’t her fault. She’d been made to do it. She’d been tricked. But no, it had been her fault all along. They were dead at her hand. Surely, she was crying, adding to the saltwater. The fire closed in on her burning bright, singeing her hair and clothes, melting her skin. No, no the fire didn’t harm her, there was no heat. Still, it burned. Then everything vanished. Nothing remained, but the lonely water still pulling the girl down, further down, further down.

Breaking through the wall of water, something grasped the back of the girl’s shirt, heaving her upwards none too gently. The watery currents, angered at their prisoner’s attempt to escape, pulled back hard, grabbing at her hair, clothes, skin. Her rescuer was stronger. The girl’s head broke through the surface to freedom. She coughed, lungs desperately hacking to rid themselves of the devilish water, begging for the heavenly air. She should be dead. No, no she was alive, but in what state who knows. She had been saved. Perhaps in vain but saved none the less. She lay draped over the rough wood that dug into her cheek, assuring her it was there. Her legs trailed behind her in the waters biting at her ankles trying to drag her back down. No, no the water did nothing. It left her alone. It knew she’d be back, and it would wait for her.