c.a. davis

// filmmaker | editor | storyteller \\

Flash #4: When the Sea and He Met One Last Time

William Trubridge laid upon the water as if it were his bed.

The sunlight glistened over his sweaty brow and it illuminated the lids over his eyes and created a red hue which appeared to him as if it were hovering in front of his face. It was familiar, like the lullabies his mother sung to him decades ago.

"Will," a voice echoed from the darkness beyond the warmth above his eyes, "Will? You ready?"

William opened his eyes and looked at the man treading water next to him. The man was breathing heavily and appeared to have trouble keeping his buoyancy. Behind the man were several other people -- volunteers, divers, and a small hard-looking woman holding a clipboard and presumably in charge of keeping track of the particulars. They all looked afraid. William, however, breathed deeply and slowly. Like a whale.

"Hey, it's alright if you've change your mind. Y'know. We'd understand," said the man treading water.

William smiled at him in return and he closed his eyes and his stomach collapsed as he pushed all of the air out of his lungs and then began to rapidly inhale small gulps of oxygen. The others looked on with peculiarity as William's lean muscular abdomen inflated to twice, three, and four times its normal size. He glanced at the man and then the woman and then he flipped backwards into the ocean.

The water seemed to gel around his body. With every push of his feet and each pull of his hands, William lost his sense of the terrestrial layer now above his feet. The darkness below his head beckoned him and William then stilled his frame into a stance and the sea began to swallow him.

The sun peering up to William's eyes offered him a limited view into the coral towards which he now flew. The red glow from before now seemed aeons old, long-forgotten by a new body engaged in a completely new life. What was just five seconds prior a cold sea had condensed so tightly around William's laxed frame that he felt warm once again. He felt safe and enveloped by the womb of the Earth.

One hundred meters above William's free dive the others grew anxious. The woman holding the clipboard watched unblinkingly at device that actively portrayed his approximate distance from the surface. The speed of the measurement increased at a rapid pace and beeped alarmingly.

"What is that?" asked the man treading next to Will's safety line. The woman did not respond. She closed her eyes and breathed a deep, calming breath.

Below, William was enclosed by the reef and darkness overtook what little sunlight pierced through the filmy water. He was releasing droplets of air at this point, which allowed him to drop even further into the planet's belly. He noticed then a glimmer in the distance which glittered its way closer to his sinking vessel. It was a school of small glowing fish, a species he had never encountered. As they approached, a buzzer on William's speedo reminded him of his life awaiting him above.

But only briefly.

The fish surrounded and circled him. The speed with which he fell then coincided with the speed at which the fish swam and soon William saw vibrant streaks of light that caged him in an oceanic cocoon. And as William sunk past the weight of his safety line he thought of what it would be like to breath air again, to walk on land again, to hear his mother's coos again.

And then he was no longer William Trubridge. He was the fish that led him elsewhere.