I dug my toes into the soft white sand and refused to move. My knees trembled and knocked, locking in fear and isolation as I stared out at the rushing waves. They were cackling and taunting as their fingers groped at the sand, wishing desperately that they could inch forward and reach me, consume me.
It wasn't that I couldn't swim; I just didn't want to. Not with these memories still fresh in my mind. Not with these bruises still fresh on my heart. The wind changed and picked up a quickening beat, turning the sky dark as clouds shouldered their way into place. Danger pricked at my spine and I raised my eyes to scan the water. Something was wrong. There! That person shouldn't be so far out. They should not be struggling so. An epic battle raged inside. I could feel it hammering on my ribs, yelling in my ears, breaking down my previous resolution.
With practiced precision my legs picked me up and carried me into the water. Minutes passed in a dreadfully slow haze. I grasped the victim and held my breath. Sand was underfoot, a cheer met my ear.
You're welcome, stranger.
You're welcome, self.
Kourtney Mittelstadt [Edmonton, Alberta, Canada] is a small town girl who likes writing in her spare time.
© 2009 Kourtney Mittelstadt. Original for CCF. Mittelstadt grants CCF first electronic rights for one month; CCF may archive the material indefinitely and include it in an eBook anthology.