Friday, April 2, 2021

Microstory 1595: Monster of the Depths

This is my chance to escape. I want to get away from my problems, and the best way to do that is to fake my death. My SCUBA buddy is distracted by a pretty fish. We’re supposed to stay together, but he’s a flake, so it’ll be a long time before he realizes he can’t find me. I swim away as fast as I can...

...and think. This is a stupid idea. I can’t just hide. I should have confessed my plan when my family left for Europe and told them my mom made me go to rehab. I’m in trouble. The medics are looking for me. I’m alone, and don’t know where I’m going. I hate swimming. I hate diving. I hate being alone. I hate swimming back up to the surface. I lie here in the water, thinking. I’m still alone. I can’t escape. I have to swim back, but I’m not brave. Maybe swimming around for hours is the stupidest thing ever, but I have no choice. I swim for hours and hours and hours, and finally I can swim no more. I’m exhausted. The medics are waiting for me. I swim back to shore. As I climb out of the water, a monster rises out of the sky. It’s gigantic, and scary. It jumps out of the sky. I scream, and it closes in, and grabs me, and I’m underwater. I’m alone. I try to escape, but I can’t. I am crushed by the monster.

I’m crushed under the pressure. Finally, I reach land. It’s this tiny little island in the middle of nowhere. I didn’t know it was going to be here, but I figured there had to be something. I take a look around, and find no sign that anyone else knows about this place, except for the monster. It hovers over me, and overwhelms me, and won’t let me find happiness. The first thing I do is lie in the sun to get dry. Yes, it’s burning my skin, but I don’t feel I can do anything if I’m soaking wet, and it just feels good. I feel free. I don’t know what I’m going to do with all this scuba gear, it’s not like I can fill the cylinder back up with air, but perhaps it will become useful one day. The snorkel and mask will certainly help with the fishing. Fish, I need food. I need water first. I need fire first. I build the fire pretty quickly, using the skills I picked up in scouts, and from watching a certain survival show on TV. I get the fire going, and then I head out to look for fresh water. The monster follows me there, and follows me back hours later when I finally stumble upon a meager trickle stream. I’m sure there’s something better—that’s probably where this is coming from—but it will do for now. I scoop some up in my aluminum bottle, which was what should have alerted the other divers that I was planning to leave. You can’t drink while you’re underwater. The medics are waiting for me. I stay on my island for over a week, always hoping that the monster will leave me alone, but I guess that would be ironic. I am alone, which is why the monster is here, and it grows larger every day. Like I said, the cylinder is empty, so I could never get back to civilization, even though I’m regretting my decision. Fortunately, my whole plan eventually fails. The helicopter comes, and retrieves me. I’m going to have a hard time explaining how I could have possibly made it as far out as I did, on what air I must have had left, if I hadn’t been trying to get away on purpose. And yet I smile, because I’m going back home, and the monster can’t come with me. But it does. Months pass, years, and it’s still here. I’m surrounded by people, but I still feel alone, trapped in the depths, without enough air to swim out. The monster has become my everything. Not even the medics are waiting for me now.

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