Overboard

19 Nov

sea night

 

The trip was one year in the making. It was not even paid off. There were two more installments to go. That was all forgotten at the present moment. While walking around the bow of the ship there was a great explosion that threw Mark, Rachel and Laura, their three year old daughter, off the deck they were on and onto a lower deck that was not for cruise passengers but for maintenance personnel only. Mark looked around frantically for anything that could float. He knew that normal evacuation protocol would not apply to him as there was a growing fire between him and the deck where staff was trying to get more passengers onto life boats. More explosions went off. More fires raged. People were plunging into the sea in flames.

Mark found two round life saver floats with about two meters of rope attached to them. He tied the ropes together and instructed his estranged girl friend of ten years to jump over board.

“What about Laura?” she cried.

“I´ll jump with her. Go!” he commanded.

She usually didn´t heed a word he said but in this instance, she jumped. From the deck to the sea was about two and a half meters. In normal circumstances Rachel would have been afraid to take such a plunge but given these circumstances her survival instincts kicked in and she just went for it. Mark threw the life saver down to her and she immediately grabbed it. Laura was screaming uncontrollably and Mark made a promise to her that everything would be ok and made the jump. Though he was not sure what the outcome would be, he meant his promise.

Mark was first surprised by how cold the water was. The weather had been so hot to this point. When he came up for air he held Laura over his head. He was an excellent swimmer. He was one of the top players on his water polo team in high school and never lost the love he had for the water. While treading water with his baby over his head he spotted Rachel. He made his way to the other life saver tethered to the one Rachel was clinging onto to with all her might.

Mark put Laura into the life saver. She was no longer crying. She thought they were playing now. “Let´s get away from the ship! We can risk getting hit by debris if it keeps exploding” Mark said.

Rachel was impressed. Mark was never one to take charge of anything. Not even the bank account. It was one of the things that annoyed her about him. And the fact that she, on occasion, would let him know that she did not think he was a real man was one of the things that most annoyed him about her. She saw this man taking charge of the situation and could not help, despite the dire situation, but to feel a spark of attraction to Mark. A spark from the fire that was long extinguished made a faint temporary flash in a dark corner of her heart.

With a lot of work, they made their way about 300 meters from the ship. It was far enough for the ship to look smaller in the distant horizon. There were emergency flares going off and there were explosions and they were both happening with enough frequency to the point that they were indistinguishable from one another. The ship started to sink. Slowly at first, then more rapidly. In a few hours, which to the trio, seemed like an eternity, the ship was completely gone. It was sucked in by the black eternity that surrounded them. Blackness was their reality. Liquid black that they were suspended on the surface of that went to infinity below their feet. In the vertical horizon 360 degrees around them the blackness went until the end of time. Looking up was the most magnificent thing that any of them has ever behold in their very brief time on this finite planet.

A treasure chest of diamonds that would have made any king throughout history dispatch an army to seize, yet was unattainable by man. The blackness dripped from them. In the blackness, the water was like crude oil.

There was no speaking among them. They all knew what the other was thinking which was exactly what they were thinking. They were going to die here. What was supposed to be a respite from the dreary day to day doldrums of a life they were stuck in was going to kill them. Mark even chuckled at the thought that this was probably the ultimate escape. Vacations are just that, right? An escape from life, he thought. If your life was great, you would not need to spend a lot of money to make believe for a week you lived a different way. But now he would not have to go back to a life that he pretended was not his, just to get through the day.

These thoughts were clouded by fear. When Mark thought about the leagues of water underneath him and how this was the universe of a completely different ecosystem which he had no idea about, fear overwhelmed every emotion. Laura was sleeping as they were able to position her in a way where she was barely in the water. Rachel was in a state of shock. Mark envied this state. He was fully aware. His senses were keen and the fear was so strong it hurt. He started to feel creatures, not even of natural science, but sea monsters and demons, swimming towards them. Little did he know there was nothing in the surrounding few kilometer radius around them but that did not stop his mind from creating monsters. Every once in a while he would jerk his legs up as he felt something grab his ankles.

This lasted for hours. All of a sudden, as if God himself appeared in front of him, the first rays of the sun peaked over the eastern horizon. He started to scream. “DAY! DAY! We’re gonna live!”

Rachel came to enough to ask “What makes you so sure?”

“We made it through the night. The sea told me that if we kept it together through the night we´d make it”

This provoked many questions for Rachel but she decided to let it go. She had not the strength nor the wherewithal to propose such questions.

In what felt like a much longer time than truly transpired the sun finally rose above the horizon. The black turned to blue. From death to life. Mark felt revitalized. He was now able to see a few of the life boats in the distance. How could he get their attention he thought. Then he realized. He was wearing his expensive watch which he only wore on special occasions and vacations. Because there were few special occasions, it really was reserved only for vacations.

He waited for the sun to rise a little more and he started to try to reflect its light off the watch´s crystal. It worked but the beam was not reaching the life boats. He gathered the energy from the deep blue sea he was floating in to slowly swim towards the boats, every once in a while trying to shine the light from the sun off his swatch to get the boats attention. He noticed that the light was making its way to the side of the boat! This gave him hope.

Than as if it were an illusion, one of the boats looked as if it turned towards them and started coming closer. He shined the reflection frantically. It was coming towards them! They would be saved after all. As if all the fear he felt the night before turned into hope he too started towards the boats with a renewed fervor.

Before long the boat was close enough that he heard the voices of the passengers. He was far from a religious man but he screamed louder than he ever screamed before “Hallelujah!”

As he helped hoist Laura up into the arms of the rescuers, then Rachel, then himself he thought to himself “The next forever starts now.”

 

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7 Responses to “Overboard”

  1. Bruce Goodman November 19, 2014 at 2:09 am #

    O the relief. As a writer you could’ve drowned them, and I would’ve killed you! I was so relieved when they were saved. Well done!

    • Ryan November 19, 2014 at 2:51 am #

      Interesting! You wanted them to live. Thanks as always for taking the time, Bruce! Hugs

  2. Eric Tonningsen November 19, 2014 at 3:07 am #

    I had him pegged as sinister and anticipated his ploy to materialize — however. And then Ryan veered (well, at least from my plot line). You do keep your readers wondering in which direction they’ll be strung. Good story!

    • Ryan November 19, 2014 at 9:34 am #

      Thanks Eric! I almost made it a point to not go dark on this one. For some reason I had a notion to write a story about overcoming fear. At no point did I feel the urge to go down that dark road. I should write a few happy endings every once in a while! 🙂 Thanks for taking the time, my friend. You are too kind to me. Really.

  3. Priceless Joy December 13, 2014 at 7:47 pm #

    Excellent! Kept me on the edge of my seat (literally). I loved the happy ending!

    • Ryan December 14, 2014 at 7:19 pm #

      Thank you very much for taking the time to read and comment. I am glad you liked it. I have a tendency to go dark so the happy ending was something I am not used to. But it felt good! 🙂 Again, thank you very much!

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