Marigold leaned back, depending on the railing to keep her from landing flat on her arse. The night breeze off the ocean landed wonderfully on her senses, exhilarating the high she was already feeling.“Poor Midas, poor Midas,” she whispered to herself. He refused to smoke grass, said he liked his feet on the ground. His disgusted look loomed in front of her eyes. She swatted it away; he wasn’t there to see.Her legs wobbled as her balance shifted. She lurched forward clumsily, returning both hands to the banister. Her eyes caught the water lapping against the boat’s side, caressing the wooden boards. Red hair flew in her face and the deck rocked under her feet but nothing could shift her focus.Arm stretched out, she reached toward the ocean, thinking she could touch it. She attempted it again and again but her fingers always fell shy of the water.Jump, the wind whispered in her ear.She was hesitant, fried instincts whispering ‘no’.Jump!And why shouldn’t she? She wanted to feel the water incase her, touching her softly, reminding her of Midas. She wanted to feel safe, to be safe.Marigold repositioned her hands on the metal bar, flexing her fingers. She lifted her body up, graceful, and flipped her legs over, tucking her knees toward her chin then straightening. Her grip was tight as she wiggled; it was an uncomfortable seat.Spray reached up and flicked her dangling legs. She shivered and grinned, pleased. Her lungs expanded, held, and she slipped off, letting go.Air whipped around her, for a second, a millisecond, then her body sliced through the water, going down and down. Under, it was cold but not cold, wet but not wet. A giggle stuck in her throat as ever-so-slowly she moved. She did nothing to keep herself afloat; the current dragged her along, carrying her like a baby. And she was happy.For all of one minute. And then the spell shattered.Her nose burned as she inhaled the salty water. Limbs started twisting, flaying, fighting for survival, no longer calm and tranquil. A dark cloud descended on her mind and she couldn’t figure out which way was up, which way was down. There was no piercing sunlight to distinguish by.Another minute passed and her muscles didn’t have enough oxygen to move anymore. Two bubbles escaped from between her lips. Marigold watched as they floated away, surrounded by black dots. She closed her eyes, not able to keep them open.A new whisper entered her mind, Sleep.And she would have, if something hadn’t hit her cheek. She forced her eyes open. Only the endless water stretched before her but a strange sensation traveled up her body. Her mind tried to muddle it over but she was too tired.Yes, sleep.Eyelids came down like shutters…Her head broke water and her lips parted to take a breath. Instead, galloons seemed to pour from her mouth and she retched over and over until she thought her insides were turning inside out. Finally, her throat raw, a breath filled her lungs. And another and another.A soft tug on her foot. Her whole body seized. Again, something pulled on her foot. Weak and scared senseless, she managed to look down. A beautiful, contorted face smiled up at her. She blinked, not believing what she saw. The mermaid waved. After a moment, Marigold waved slowly back. The mermaid extended her hand. She is the reason I’m alive. Marigold took it.Her savior flapped her exotic tail, the scales flashing a rainbow of colors. She kept a firm grip on Marigold’s hand as she swam, being sure to keep her passenger above the surface. Marigold couldn’t help staring at her, and the mermaid would look up at her often, wink or soundlessly laugh.Despite almost drowning and her unbelievable form of transport, Marigold didn’t stay awake long. She tried to remain conscious, but she was so weary, she could have slept anywhere, and it felt so good...“Ma’am?” a voice broke through her dream. She resisted it, wanting to stay on the beach with Midas, but it insisted. “Ma’am, can you hear me? Are you alright?”Marigold opened her eyes, the salt encrusted on her eyelashes cracking. A sigh of relief to her right. She turned her head, her neck stiff, and saw a young boy, fifteen or so, kneeling by her side.“Where am I?” just those three soft words hurt her throat.“The dolphins must have brought you in,” he didn’t hear her. “Look, they’re just leaving. They were waiting to make sure someone found you. Happens all the time.”She struggled to sit up and was just in time to see a slim gray body leap up from the water.Grabbing his arm, she made sure he was listening, “Never, ever, smoke.”
Saturday, April 02, 2011
Prompt #13: Fall into the ocean. Revel in it.
This week's story is a companion to Prompt #9.