A pretty broad prompt this week, and a picture that was apropos of nothing. Still, I had fun. Mine went an odd direction but I think it worked. So many entries and such excellent writing. As usual. You guys rock my world.
So read their entries below and vote for your favorite. Starting this week I’ll be (officially, not just accidentally) posting the results in the morning by 9:00am EST. So voting will stay open until 8:30. Send your friends and family and let’s overwhelm the voting program!
The water was already getting darker. Lisa Berkley hated the confined feeling that the blackness brought with it. The experience was frightening She forced herself to relax. She couldn’t use up the air in her tank before she got to the bottom.
The wreck of the Calliope should be right beneath her. The old pirate she’d paid to find her husbands boat told her it would be here. She hated the cold and the claustrophobia. But she had to know. She grabbed her tether life-line to the surface tighter.
At this rate, she’d only have about ten minutes at the bottom to find the wreck, confirm that it’s her husband’s boat and have enough air left for her staged assent. The dive master she hired to take her here—the only one in Puerto Escondido– had explained in graphic detail what would happen if she got the bends. Made her sign a waiver when she insisted on going down alone.
A shape loomed beneath her. Her dive light bounced off the gleaming metal cleats of a freshly sunken boat. About twenty –feet long, the deep-v hulled craft lay on its side. Swimming to the back, she made out a word painted on the stern. A word she’d painstakingly painted only three weeks ago.
Her fears confirmed, she slowly made her way along the ship to see if she could find the cause of the sinking. The hull seamed intact. But there were small holes riddled above the water line…bullet holes.
“Jose, it’s Lisa,” she said into her full mask microphone. “Do you copy?”
“Si, senora. Are you all right?” a static-filled voice came back immediately. “I was getting worried.”
“I’m fine. I found the boat. It looks like it’s been shot up pretty bad.”
“Jose? Did you copy?”
“I’m truly sorry senora. You weren’t supposed to find the boat. Your husband found the treasure, but wasn’t willing to share.”
There was a tug on the line, and Lisa’s tether and communication line went slack.
Lisa remained unusually calm. She realized now what and who her husband had been involved with. She vowed to make it to the surface and make those responsible pay.
That thought alone accompanied her as she made her way slowly to the surface…
Snowflakes drifted, landing, soft cold kisses, on my skin. With my eyes closed I felt each impact, blind to the beauty of this perfect winter’s day.
“Let go, darling.” The voice in my ear held an undercurrent of laughter that echoed the peals of joy dancing through the air. “It’s time.”
I looked back, watched the car pulling down the driveway. “I never thought it would happen,” I whispered, a shiver racing down my spine.
“I know,” she whispered, fingers twining with mine.
“Mom! Come play!”
With a deep breath I let go of the history boxed up and driving away without a backwards glance. I turned and smiled at my daughter who waited, a sled under her arm.
“I’m coming, sweetie,” I replied. Finally accepting the lesson of experience and living the day that waited.
“It’s wild,” Tina said. I could almost hear a wide grin, see her eyes shining.
“Yeah?” I replied, skeptical.
“You have to try it.”
In spite of my best friend’s entuhsiasm, I was sure this was one experience I wouldn’t mind missing.
“Oh come on!” she said, her voice oddly clear over the… connection I suppose. Or something. I mean, I couldn’t see her but I could hear her. So there was no phone or whatever carrying her voice to me. I heard it, clear as day. And I was sure I hadn’t gone crazy. Yet.
“Look, Tina, I don’t know.”
“Don’t chicken out on me now. You promised.”
“I did not! I said I’d think about it. This was your idea. I never wanted to do this.”
“Well you should. Stop being a baby and try it. It’s insane, Jules. Ride of your life!”
“Yeah,” I muttered. “Ride of my life, huh? Litterally.”
“Just do it,” she whispered, excitement pinging in her tone. “Come on. Just do it.”
I looked down at the canyon floor so far below it was hard to make out.
“Do it! Stop thinking. Jump!”
“I must be insane,” I whispered to myself. But I already felt myself tensing for the jump. The bunching of muscles, the bend of my knees. I closed my eyes but then opened them again. If I was going to do this, I was doing it all the way.”
“Ride of my life?” I asked.
And so it would be. No chute. Nothing but me, the wind, and a date the canyon floor. The last great experience.
Her toddler was safe at the day care center. Her husband was distracted at work. The police had long cleared the broken-down house, and any high schoolers that would try to crawl through the window on a dare were trapped at school. It was the perfect time.
Mrs. Gerke pushed her cat carrier through the window, hissing at the yowling Persian inside to be quiet. Hiking up her floral skirt, she clambered in after it, carefully avoiding the glass shards. Not even a scratch. She was made for this.
Tambourine had quieted by the time she got in, though two yellow eyes glared out of the recesses of the carrier when she peeked inside. “This is our chance, Tambs!” she crowed, opening the door and hauling the reluctant feline out. “Our first crime scene! We solve this one, and we’ll be on our way to being experienced amateur crime fighters!”
She placed Tambourine on the floor. The cat looked disgusted by the dirt on the floor (and, Mrs. Gerke hoped, by the stink of spilt blood). She watched her beloved pet, bouncing in her excitement. Tambourine was a smart cat. She’d scent out the clue everyone else had missed, and they would be famous! After all, that is how it always worked in the novels.
Tambourine sneezed from the dust. After a moment’s consideration, he threw himself to the floor and looked at her impassively.
She looked at the cat. The cat looked at her. His tail swished.
“Oh, come on!” She gave him a few more seconds to get into crime-fighting mode. No luck. Defeated, she reached down and scooped him up. His long fur dragged across the floor, revealing a strange marking that had been covered up by the filth. Warily, she poked at it with the toe of her bright pink shoe. The board moved. She hurriedly bent down and pried it loose. Underneath it, in the dim light, was an old box.
“A secret compartment!” she squealed, hugging Tambourine tightly to her chest. “Tambs, you did it!” They were going to be rich.
When Paul walked up, he saw the girl crying on the stair case. She looked utterly lost and alone. Kinda how he felt. Maybe that’s why he was drawn to her. Who knows?
He sat beside her and watched as the tears slid down her cheeks and listen to the hiccupy sobs she made. Finally he said, “Hey.”
Starttled, she looked up quickly. Sitting before her was Paul, the guy she’d seen walking around school sometimes. Not someone she’d hang with typically. Not that it mattered. To be caught crying in a stairwell was embarrassing no matter who saw.
“So…what’s with the water works?”
She sighed. Might as well make this more humiliating. “Tim. He said he wouldn’t ever go out with me because I’m not experienced enough.”
Paul looked confused. “Experienced? What do you need experience in?”
She sighed, swiping away tears. “Kissing, apparently.”
“That’s all?” he frowned.
She nodded. “He says that nobody would ever kiss me, and that I should just give up. To think a quarterback would ever consider someone like me would be-”
She couldn’t speak anymore. Partly from shock.
Mostly from Paul suddenly covering her lips with his own.
She shivered from the feel of him, his lips massaging her own. Her eyes fluttered closed as she finally just decided to go with it. His hands held her face carefully as he continued to kiss her for a few more seconds and suddenly, it was over.
“There.” Paul stood and started walking away. “See? Even quarterbacks lie.”