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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Review Chain
school essay/short story

Submitted: August 19, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: August 19, 2017

A A A

A A A


“Scared?” My brother prodded, as he waddled past me, his fins kicking up sand.

I shook my head— nervous energy crawled through my veins but I felt no fear.

 

Dense, charcoal-colored clouds hung low on the horizon speaking an ominous crackle into the humid air. My forehead collected perspiration— feet dragging like last night’s luggage— shoulders curved to carry the hours lost in jet lag.

 

I couldn’t wait to get in the water, to feel my exhaustion and body heat dissolve into the turbulence of the waves, to let my mind unravel between the sea and sky—  one undulating expanse of cool-grey stretching to the end of my vision.

 

I could navigate the water with no problem— years of chlorine bleached hair and swimmer’s ear had prepared me well— it was the uncertainty of what lurked beneath that sent panic fluttering in my chest: jagged obsidian peaks climbing from the floor— like talons and teeth of the sea— hungry for the crack of broken bones.

.

When water tugged at my waist I was deep enough to slip on my fins and snorkel. I plunged under— momentarily breathless as my lungs adjusted to the pressure of breathing through a tube and my eyes attempted to see through the water— goggles of little aid. Waves churned up the sand like blades on a blender— a murky beige soup obscuring vision and masking obstacles into indistinguishable shadow.

 

My limbs moved awkwardly through the water like spider’s legs— drinking straws being pushed and pulled with the current, bending themselves into concerning angles to avoid rock and whitewashed coral. Rough edges cut misguided arms, sand pelleted skin like BB’s— lodging into my scalp, ears, nails, suit....Waves danced me down onto the reef leaving purple bruises for souvenirs.

 

After thirty minutes of steady, calm and controlled, muscle memory breaststroke, I finally made it past the break— disorientated but now with clear enough vision to see tiny wisps of blood escaping from my skin and snaking through the gray-green water. My throbbing bones and scratched limbs did not hurt for long— my heartbeat plummeted and my mind dropped all thoughts besides a single word.

 

Turtles.

 

Dozens of green sea turtles hovered in the delicate space between the light strewn surface and the city of coral extending beneath; gliding gentle and serene— blissfully unaware of the storm above— clouds now sizzling with electricity and peppering down rain that made the water’s surface vibrate and splash like EKG’s on a heart monitor. The coral, no longer dead and dull like near the break, swayed in the tide— like sheets of fabric dyed in luminous colors: flamingo pink, wine red, marigold orange...Fish with shimmering silver scales wove between layers of life.

 

My dad tugged at my foot— ‘lightning hazard.’ I turned to go— but not before reaching out softly to plant a sand worn palm against a turtle’s quilted shell. It turned to face me— the soft tissue of it’s head and neck a mosaic of ancient tile, scales carved from discolored stone, wide marbled eyes reaching out to mine, five hundred pounds of prehistoric curiosity. A single sinew of connection that spanned lifetimes, that crawled beneath skin and identity.

 

I pulled away, shattering time like glass, snipping a fateful thread, and whispering a quick goodbye— as if a concrete word could seal a surreal encounter.  

I turned to chase the dayglow yellow tips of my brother’s fins back into the sand storm.

 


© Copyright 2018 J. KATE. All rights reserved.

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