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Rated: E · Short Story · Emotional · #2283497
A short story that's loosely based on a true story.
-01: Rising Tides -

         How can I describe this sensation? It's like I've been standing on a beach looking at the sun setting, waves slowly moving about. It's not calming the slightest bit...there's an eerie silence and no one around. I have a gut feeling something is coming but don't do anything about it.
Is the tide coming in? The water at my feet is pulling back further and further each time the waves move. The sun has almost fully set and i see no stars in the night sky-is it cloudy? I can't seem to tell. In the silence I begin to hear a faint roar, the moon is high in the sky..the waves are rising more and more. My feet feel heavy. My head feels heavy. I don't seem to have the urge to move even though i know what's coming my way.. the tide is rising even higher. I'm going to be swept under. Will I drown?
The sky is blocked out as the waves tower over the shore, I can't feel myself move, just as the wall is about to crash down I feel pain in my chest and close my eyes.

I open them again and I see the sun setting, waves slowly moving about.. it's not calming the slightest bit. There's an eerie silence, and no one is around. I have this gut feeling something is coming..

I'll keep holding this back. Even if the waters rise far above my head, I'll still stand here. I know I saw footprints in these sands sometime before, but I can still feel the pain in my chest. I close my eyes.

Why do I only ever see the sun set, never rise?
Is this a memory or a dream? Perhaps some form of delusion, who knows.

-02: Inside/outside -

         I don’t really have the ability to simply have thoughts like “oh I’m lonely” or “I want to do X thing”. It can be kind of hard to fully explain it, but I don’t exactly have that ‘normal’ articulation of emotions, thoughts, and things of the sort. Instead-somehow - I have these odd day-dream-like trances and see this heavy metaphor-layered vision that conveys said feeling. The closest way I could put it for others to understand would be if you took your mental state, emotional state, and physical state then somehow converted all that information into a place. It could be a beach, a town, rolling hills and grasslands, the tops of mountains, or even some place as fantastical as floating in space. Basically it’s a semblance of the core of your psyche, where you feel at ease away from everything.
All that being said, mine has changed over the years from something as simple as an open patch of grass that leads endlessly into the horizon, to the emptiness of a void, clad in sheer darkness, to what it is now; an island out in a vast sea. This isn’t just some empty island though, over time it has grown into something more and now I can see a city centered on it, presumably where all the faces I’ve met live in my memory. Though I never find myself in or around that city whatsoever, towards the edge of it there’s a small boardwalk that leads out towards the endless sea, with a small set of stairs to get down onto the sand of the beach itself.
This is where I mostly find myself when I descend into thought, at first it was just this lonesome beach, nothing in sight for miles but the water crashing to the shore. At some point I turned around and noticed the boardwalk leading back past some cement walls, they were probably put there as a means to stop the high tide from affecting the populace beyond them, smart idea. I’ve never gone over there though. For the longest time I’d come to this place and just watch the water come and go with the day. I guess this was some kind of representation of my empty mind, no one to think about, no ambitions, just simply being there and nothing more.
So now that the scene is set; I often wait on this meaningless beach for nothing in particular but the passage of time. Every now and then I would see some people passing by down here, though I can never make out their faces or figures, like I’m looking through a blurry, rain-covered window. It’s been a few years now, and there’s plenty of footprints in the sand from those I’ve met, forgotten, lost, and parted ways with. I don’t feel lonely as much knowing there’s proof that there was once something in this meaningless place, even if it’s gone now, the feeling and memory remains.
Or so I always told myself.

Somewhere down the line the weather here has grown unsteady, it’s always cloudy one day or the other. When I get brought here it’s always a setting sun, a reminder that I’ve missed the day and everyone else is gone already. Not sure what feelings this place is trying to convey to myself, but it has been starting to feel rather chilly. Now even more time has passed, I haven’t seen anyone pass me by here in a long, long time. Where’d they all go? I don’t know. The clouds are especially dark today, it seems. I’ve been watching the moon rise, the tide is coming in. “What is this trying to tell me now?” I can’t help but wonder. This water is cold, and viscous… is this really just ocean water? As it rises up to my ankles I look around, as the tides recedes I notice all the footprints are gone. Wait, what footprints? There weren't any there to begin with, were there? The tide is coming back in, it rises to my shins. It’s cold, I feel heavy. Why was I here again?

Here we are now, I haven’t gone to that island in a long while. I haven’t had the need to really feel anything in so long, I figured it just vanished along with everything else. Sure, I’ve been dragged under pretty deeply in the last decade and fallen pretty far, but I managed to drag my ass back from the brink. One day something jogged some memories of mine, and once more I was standing on that beach. I looked back and saw damp markings along the walls at the edge of the sand. I guess that’s supposed to be something like the overwhelming darkness that almost took me before, a flood maybe? I watched the tide for the first time in forever. It’s calming, but something feels wrong. Where I’m standing is where the water is supposed to meet the shore line, but it’s several feet in front of me instead. Low Tide is it? That means it should be pouring in soon enough this evening. So why is it pulling even further back? Where is the sunset? The moonrise? It’s rather dark here for some reason. I can hear a strange roaring sound.
I figured it out after a while, but it might be too late. As the tide recedes, it usually leads to overwhelming waves inwards as a natural disaster, akin to a tidal wave. That’s when I saw it, a massive wall of black water rushing towards the shore. So, it’s back after all these years? My legs feel locked in place. You tried to take me once, and now it’s back but I can see it coming this time. Somehow that’s much more frightening than being hit unaware.
The wall of black blots out the sun and sky wholly.
I grit my teeth
Well, I made it back once..right? I can do it again.

So tell me why. Why does it feel like the ocean floor is about to open up under my feet?
It’s simple:
I don’t have a reason to swim to the surface this time.
Everything hurts and is heavy.

I’ll wash away like footprints in the sand.

-03: The Current -

I Couldn’t tell you how long it’s been since that wave hit me. When I close my eyes at the end of the day all I can see is blackness all around me. The comforting beachfront I once occupied was swallowed up that evening, however long ago that was anyway. I can’t seem to remember what a lot of that place looked like, why I liked it, where it was, or what any of it meant. Now I just find myself floating along in some horrifically viscous black liquid and every now and then I feel a strange warmth pass me by-I can’t see anything though. This has become my normal for some time and I’ve become used to this nothingness I’m floating in. I don’t need to worry about any shifting of the tides or the state of the weather. Wait, why would I need to worry about any of that? A strange thought, best if I just ignore it and move on.
As I continued to sink and drift about in the currents of this unpleasant water I sometimes had painful memories rise up within me, seeing the faces of those that have long since left my life. This sucks. Wasn’t there somewhere I was before I got swallowed up in this disgusting mess? I can’t remember. For some reason I started hearing my own words echoing in my mind, “I have these odd, daydream-like trances. . . .” but why is it like this now. “...If you took your mental, emotional, and physical states and took that information…” Which is it that caused this? Everything, just one? How the hell are you supposed to consciously appraise those things?
A few years have passed now, sometimes I think I see a faint light in the never ending darkness, it’s probably the moon managing to break through the clouds. I closed my eyes and tried to retrace everything, how I got here and why I’m stuck here. I could hear the roaring of the waves, finding myself sitting in the sand looking out at the ocean. A quick glance behind me, the boardwalk is disheveled, the walls are all crumbling, and beyond that there was nothingbut patches of dead grass and dirt. I sighed and looked out over the water, the weather was dark and cloudy, somewhere off towards the horizon I saw something. In the water there was some kind of object spreading-no, the water was growing dark. Some kinda of pollution was clouding the water. Has that been there this whole time? Sinking down through the sand, everything shifted back to the darkness again. So it’s been there the whole time? I never saw it?
Somehow the darkness began to clear around me, just a little though, I could kind of see the surface from down here but it was a long ways away. My lungs hurt from always holding my breath under this water. Seeing the surface made it feel like I was that much deeper underwater, my legs heavier as well. So time passed even more as I stayed like this.
I recently met someone that felt awfully familiar, and before long I saw them standing on the ocean floor where I’ve been stuck; looking on me with an innocent smile. Stop looking at me like that, it hurts. They looked at me confused, “You know it’s okay to take someone’s hand once in a while. Even if they aren’t strong enough to help you all the way up, the company is worth more than anything.”
Company? The warmth of another person isn’t something I need, or want, or deserve.

Yet I decided to take the hand that was extended to me, why I did-who knows. My legs moved free from the ocean floor, this is the first I've moved in so long that it felt unreal. Something inside of me felt like it was burning. They grabbed my wrist as I looked down at myself dumbfounded, "look over there, it's not just me-the others have been there for far longer than I have. You stopped looking at them at some point though.." My head and chest hurt, everything burns. Something ran down my face and hit the ground, sending out ripples across the…water? We were standing on the water's surface now, my throat burns. Ah, I remember this pain, as though I'm trying my damndest to choke back the tears and ignore the sadness. "Too much to bear anymore isn't it?" The person was bent over looking up at my downcast face.
I looked up, past them, and on the distant shore I saw it. Everyone I used to hold dear all lined up and waving at me. "And it isn't raining, so don't try to blow it off" I touched my face. Tears? Why? How.
I rubbed my eyes, now I was sitting on hard wood and looking out at the setting sun. There were two girls standing down at the water's edge talking- isn't that where I normally stand? As if they'd noticed me staring, both looked my way and waved. I can't see their faces from here but I feel like I know those two. Then they faded away, a sigh escaped me as I followed two sets of footprints in the sand going off into the distance. Something was different about today, I found myself turned around and looking past the cement walls behind me. Next thing I knew, I was walking down the sidewalk through town.
It's crowded here..so many people, I feel so out of place. A thought crossed through my mind, "after all these years, you finally see those around you. They've always been there but you couldn't notice them, assuming they were thousands of miles away even though they're within arm's reach." I've been standing by the water for so long, I wonder if I even have a home around here.. probably not. Do I have it in me to make one? Doubtful, but I'll keep walking..I'll figure something out.

I'm finally here with everyone else..this feels so strange. But some are smiling at me, I guess at least someone wants me here.

It's only slight, but I think this counts as optimism..

-I didn't know at the time, this town would, in turn, be sunk into the sea. But that's a far off time from now-
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