A Sea of Memory

I stand fists clenched and legs rigid; staring into the eyes of my captor.

The waters churn and spray, white caps foaming like rabid dogs to my mind. The icy wind bites my cheeks, weaves tendrils of cool air around my bare knees and through my loose hair, delighting in my shiver. The cliff beneath my feet crumbles away into jagged rocks and death. I fight the panic rising in my chest, a demon determined to run.

I will overcome the sea

I chant the prayer in my head, a constant mantra to smother all thought. Far above me seagulls squawk and cry, mocking my attempt at bravery. My dress whips around my legs, flapping violently in the wind. I watch the long grasses on the coastline ripple, a thread binding rock to shore. In the distance lies the village, tucked in safe and sound for the storm. I can feel the glow of lanterns at my back; imagine small windows looking into rooms of safety and warmth.

My house is dark. Empty of life. This I know without looking back, without turning in defeat to run home.

The air above me crackles, the sky dissolving into black. I watch the waves gain height and rise, every swell another heartbeat. My nails dig into my palm, and I clench my teeth. My fear of the water taunts me, a gust of cold air in my face.

The waves launch at the rocks with vigor, salt spray splashing up, vengefully stinging my eyes.

My stomach clenches, and I stumble back a step, trembling. Again and again they crash, hollering my name, daring me to jump, daring me to win. It rejoices in my loss, a memory I fight to overcome. I fall back another step, tripping over my leaden feet, shuddering so hard my teeth rattle. Sensing my defeat, the water roars, dark green and glittering, rearing back its ugly head. I fall back farther, the blood in my mouth metallic. My heart is crashing into my chest, my arms held so tight they shake. I want to run, I want to scream, I want to wail till the tears run dry. Thunder booms, an ear-splitting crack that sends me to my knees. The shriek escapes my lips without warning, burning through the misty air like fire.

will overcome the sea

The sky splits suddenly and water gushes down. It hits me like a slap across the face, drenching me to the bone, drowning my soul. There is a noise that won't stop, even louder then the rain, even louder then the sea. My mind remembers instantly. My father's face, pale and terrified, sinking beneath the waves. Water washes over his flailing arms until finally, he disappears, swallowed whole.

I recognize the noise. It's my voice, screaming. It wants me. Every night since that day, it's whispered through my dreams, beckoned me to fight back. Anger and tears mix together in a stream that drips down my face. I have lost.

I squeeze my eyes shut, blocking it out. Icy fingers have gripped me, the haunting wail of the water stirring my mind. Past the fear is a burning desire to follow the wild melody, the call of the untamed wind. Without warning, I rise. My feet drag me forward, my eyes on the horizon. My father's voice calls me from a watery paradise far beyond. The thunder has become a drum beat, urging me forward.

My toes curl around the cliff edge, my body swaying, arms spread wide. The mist seeps into my mind and clouds over. What am I fighting? I don't know the answer. I tense, ready to leap, wet face turned toward the sky. The demon within me rages, beating the walls of its heavy cage.

overcome the sea

The thought sings, carving itself on my lids.

the sea

Only water. Only nature.

I struggle for an eternity, longing for life, scared to end it.

My gasps for air slow, as something warm touches my face. My body stills, inhaling the calm. The wind ruffles my tangled hair gently, caresses my tear-stained cheek. My eyes open to the rising sun, arms still spread wide. Gold melts into pink, colors flickering across a sea of glass.

I'm flying, the cage empty, my chest light. My father's voice calls once more, not from the water but from above. The wind whispers a melody that is sweet, and holds only promise in my ear. I smile, and answer I have won.

A/N: Comments appreciated.