Flash Fiction: Unforgiving is Their Game

I curse at my gods when I awaken.

I lay on a lonely strip of sand barely high enough to emerge out of the low tidal waves. Sand and salt coat my burning throat. The sun is harsh on my swollen eyes, the sea lapping at my legs is ice cold. I rise painfully and look across the horizon; I have no idea where north and south are- all around me is gray sky and black ballooning waves. As far as my eyes can see, the ocean surrounds me. I could have ended up anywhere else…I would have drowned while unconscious, passed on in blissful ignorance. Some cruel destiny has pushed me on this strip of sand, that I know very well, will disappear once the tides eventually rise.

I curse because I cannot, now that I find myself alive, simply give up and allow myself to die.

A frustrating hope keeps my gaze moving across the horizon, looking for anything other than the blank, gray sky. A fog starts to roll in, making the task of searching for a passing ship more and more difficult. Light gets caught in the haze around me, making my surroundings unbearably bright and practically opaque.

Every now and again, a single black spot seems to be dancing in the corner of my eye. I try to discern what it could be, but my damaged sight toys with my hopeless mind, sometimes making me certain I can see a small shadow in the distance, and sometimes making it disappear. I want to stop looking altogether. I close my eyes and bend my head over my wet knees, but in not time at all again I find myself staring again at my possibly imaginary dark spot on the horizon. Was I merely kept alive to be thus tormented?

I should have died, but here I am, breathing, and within me the will to continue to live burns vividly. The immense, cold sea cannot extinguish it. My mind has clearly drawn out the line that separates this world and the next- I stand very close to it, but cannot cross it. So long as my lungs have not filled with salt water, that my heart beats, even if weakly, that my brain has not dissolved from dehydration, I cannot help but live. My nature makes me incapable of throwing myself back to the devices of the waves, my body could not help but swim, could not help but struggle to breathe. How cruel the flow of events is, and if puppeteers drive the stream of lives, how unforgiving is their game. Life, in this case, is an insult, cognizance, a tool of torture.

The fog becomes thinner as the sun seems to be getting lower behind the heavy overlay of clouds. The tides reach my knees and the sand, that has until now supported me, become fluid and impossible to rely on. As the sea reaches my elbows, my tired muscles start, by instinct, to tread water. I breathe slowly as I try to take control of my mind, and force my arms to stop. I want to be thankful that my agonizing dilemma has finally reached an end, I want to accept the final and obvious end to my, so far, evaded demise, but then…

I curse, seeing that my mysterious spot in the distance has gotten definitely bigger…and is definitely a ship.

 

 

 

Image CC0 Public Domain ; Unsplash https://pixabay.com/en/users/Unsplash-242387/

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