Emily becomes ill with Cotards Syndrome.
Emily stood atop the stretch of steps that snaked their way down to Lusty Glaze. The wind whipped at her face, turning the delicate skin red. She swept back a few strands of mousy-brown hair that fluttered in front of her eyes, masking her view of the beach. The scenery was bleak. Its entire composition made from different hues of grey; from the concrete steps to the murky sea, even the sand appeared to have donned a greyish tint. A self-satisfied smile tugged at her lips; at least no tourists would be willing to brave this typically British weather.
To think she had actually contemplated going into work today! It was a good job those looming clouds and the gusts of wind had persuaded her to phone in sick. Otherwise she would have spent another hectic, yet boring day at Expresso Yourself, serving lattes to students who had wondered over from Exeter University. The small smile widened into a grin. Her boss thought she was at home sick, and her sister thought she was at work. Nobody knew where she really was. With the grin still etched on her face, and clutching at her second-hand surf board, Emily descended the steps with caution.
“You’re not going in the sea today are ya?” Questioned Mike, the surf instructor of Lusty Glaze, as he sat huddled next to a portable heater. His beach hut was overcrowded with unused wetsuits and body boards. Emily wasn’t even sure why he had bothered opening. Only the wannabe pro surfers came out on days like this and they all had the latest gear.
“Of course.” She nodded, hitching up the heavy board. Mike gave an amused yet questionable stare.
“This wouldn’t have anything to do with the Hot Tuna competition, would it?” He knew Emily had entered last year, but hadn’t come anywhere close to achieving the title of ‘winner of under 20s division’. Ever determined, she was already practising for this year’s. She gave another brisk nod and hitched up the surfboard again. “Well you better hurry, Alex is thinking about putting the red flags up.” He stated with a shrug.
Alex was the local lifeguard. He was fresh out of University and had decided to pay off his student debts by becoming life guard. Unfortunately for Alex, Lusty Glaze was more of a cove than a beach, which meant there were very little re-enactments of Baywatch.
“So you’re not going to join me?”
“Nice try but I ain’t giving you any freebie pointers.”
“Fine. I’m sure you can think of other ways to kill time.” She mumbled in a fake indifferent manner before pacing off. Emily counted her steps, knowing full well after five he would call.
“Okay! I’ll come with!” He called after her. “Just lemme get my wetsuit on.” Mike was so easy to manipulate.
“Bloody hell!” gasped Mike as he re-surfaced “Its fucking freezing!” His high maintenance, Californian surfer hairdo was now plastered to his head; its blonde highlights appeared almost luminous against the grey of the seawater. Emily treaded water, patiently waiting for her limbs to warm. “We probably won’t have long, it’s getting rough. Stay where I can see you, Okay.”
The waves were increasing in both size and force, however Emily knew she could handle it, she’d swam in unsettled seas before. She pushed her torso onto the board, bobbing and sinking with the rise and fall of the sea. Its rhythm was easy to adapt to. She kicked her legs and advanced further. Soon the drag of the current gained her attention as a large wave began to swell. She turned just as the wave was about to break. The force of it sent the board scuttling across the sea. Once she felt enough momentum had been gained she quickly jumped to her feet, tensing her stomach muscles for balance. Emily manoeuvred the board, shifting her weight so that it weaved through the waters in an attractive display. Mike too was taking advantage of the forceful waves.
“Show off!” She shouted to him over the roar of the surf as he passed by. He replied by plastering a sarcastic grin on his face. He quickly wiped out due to his lack of attention. Emily’s cackling could be heard above the wind. Mike scrambled to the surface, looking worse for wear. It reminded Emily of when she was younger and she was body boarding with Rachel. Rachel had been knocked off her board by a forceful wave; she resurfaced and vomited blomonge pink goo into the blue sea. The memory of this only made her laughter worse.
“It wasn’t that funny!” Mike shouted climbing back on his board. His thick Cornish accent made him sound like a disgruntled farmer.
Time passed but Alex hadn’t put the flags out yet, the sea’s flow had increased making it perfect for surfing, all the time they had been in it, it hadn’t gone flat once. Emily’s mood, like the sea, was becoming more and more foul. For some reason she just couldn’t pull off any decent moves. She was repeatedly bailing out from the intimidating waves, only to become angered with herself for doing so. Mike wasn’t bailing out. Nadine Jewel wouldn’t bail out. Her nails bit into the surf board. Nadine was not going to win this years competition. She had to make sure of it. The two had attended the same school and currently went to the same college. Unlike Emily, Nadine’s parents could afford to buy her a brand new RipCurl board and the latest Roxy wetsuit. Nadine always excelled at whatever she applied to. Nadine always won the Hot Tuna under 20s competition. Nadine was perfect. Emily hated Nadine because of these things.
Exhaling deeply, Emily once again took to the waves. Waiting for the right wave, one with a big swell that grows until it’s got a ripe breaking point. In the aggressive waters it didn’t take long. She swiftly jumped to her feet and snaked along the wave before attempting a Cutback. She turned sharply towards the breaking point of the mammoth wall of water. Her attempts were in vein and she quickly got wiped out. Salt water burnt the back of her throat as it swirled up her nose. She swam to the sea’s surface. Air rushed into her aching lungs in greedy gasps. Before she even thought about swimming, another wave smashed down upon her. It felt like slamming into a brick wall. Its unexpectedness knocked the remaining breath from her lungs. Again she fought to the surface. Where was her surf board? The familiar tug of the life link between her ankle and the board wasn’t present. She dived through the oncoming turmoil waters, once again accustom to the seas rhythm. As she dove an undercurrent pulled at her forcefully. She was churned and spat out shortly after. It was becoming increasingly hard to resurface and swim against the current. Where was Mike? Hadn’t he seen her wipe out? What about Alex, where was he? Her arms felt clumsy and heavy as she moved them in attempt to swim away from a cluster of rocks that gathered near the cove’s edges. Why was no one helping her? The sea answered her quires by slamming her into one of the protruding rocks. A flash of white pain shot through her back, her tired arms felt crushed and her burning lungs were going to fail her soon. She attempted to push off from the rocks as the drag of the sea pulled up another wave. She didn’t excel far.
“Mike!” She cried whenever her head was above water. Her cries sounded like the meows of a weak kitten. Using the last ounce of energy she turned so that her back was facing the onslaught of the sea and bent her knees. She pushed off, preparing to stop herself slamming into the rocks with her outstretched arms. As if almost sensing this, the oncoming wave shoved her forcefully into the rock again, not even allowing her the chance of trying to swim. She suffered what felt like the weight of a car crushing her head and then nothing…