Dark. So dark. One black seeps into another. Frail sliver of moon blinks between massing thunderheads. Trembles on heaving folds and furrows. On the iridescent slick that swirls around her.
And so quiet. On the shore the sea roars out its passion, warns against its treachery. Here, only insidious whispering of wind; stealthy slap of the deep, dark waters. Brutal tranquility.
Cold. So cold. Bitter tentacles strangle sensation. Her legs dangle in the nightmare realms of the deep. She wonders what weaves through the water-forests below; what rises from before time. Closes that mind-door as madness knocks.
She is so thirsty. Runs her tongue over lips caked with salt. ‘Water, water, everywhere…’ Could laugh at the irony but laughter needs dry ground beneath its feet. Would cry but there is already enough salt water.
Flesh shreds, salt water bites as her fingers rub back and forth, back and forth over the straps and notches of the lifebuoy. The only solid thing in all this watery world; all she could snatch as the boat listed, as the black waves swarmed over the gunwales.
No time. To prepare. To radio. To reach out for the others. Where are they?
Alone. More alone than she had ever thought it possible to be. A speck in the vastness. All she is, all she was, all she will be dissolved.
In the deep, dark water her skin is brushed. Breath stops. Heart pounds. Fin? Or worse? Tastes the blood of a bitten lip as she resists the temptation to thrash.
She stares in the thin moonlight; tries to pierce the dark swell of the surface. Sees, dim and shadowy, a pale shape rising.
Swallows a scream as the body rises to the surface beside her. Her love. And yet not her love. Washed alien. Transmuted.
Reaches out; grasps his hand. Fingers wrinkled and cold beyond cold. Pulls him close. Smooths the hair that streams like kelp.
Megan is a long term member of Hunter Writers Centre. She spent thirty years teaching English in Secondary schools and has also taught in the School of Education at the University of Newcastle. An avid crime reader, she is also president of the HWC board.
Megan works as an editor and is contactable through HWC:
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