Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1916119-Im-Fine
by Cinn
Rated: 13+ · Other · Contest Entry · #1916119
Everything is alright...
Abby trembles on the deck, staring at her flippers. She closes her eyes and breaths deeply in an attempt to steel her nerves, but the effort fails. I can do this! Just go.

Taking one last salty breathe, Abby slides the regulator into her mouth and flips backward, allowing no time to second guess her decision. Hitting the water tightens her nerves like violin strings in danger of snapping. She pops to the surface at once, breathing heavily. I’m fine. Everything is fine! The words become a mantra tumbling through her mind.

Instinctively, Abby searches for her non-existent diving partner as she bobs on the surface, knowing that solo diving is dangerous. Memories of previous dives flood her mind- the giggles and smirks of her peers, redness creeping into her cheeks, the scuba instructors trying their best not to join in the laughter.

The most recent dive had been the worst. Abby’s intended profession ostracized her from the start, but mere avoidance changed to undisguised contempt when the seven scientists recognized her uncontrollable fear. An underwater photographer who is afraid of water, Abby could hardly disagree that it sounded ludicrous.

I’m better off alone. It’s a shallow dive, and I’ve done this a million times in the pool.

Spit and salt swirl in her goggles, a mesmerizing distraction. Abby pours the saliva water back into the sea and places the mask on her face once more. Checking the pressure gauge a final time, Abby slows her rapidly kicking legs and sinks. Her heart threatens to beat its way through her ribcage as the water closes overhead, and for a moment, she considers swimming back to the boat. The memory of arrogant laughter quickly dampens the desire to return. Phobias are illogical. Phobias are nonsense.

Peering through the clear, sun-streaked water, Abby sees the wreck 40 feet below. She angles herself toward the sunken vessel and swims, thinking of nothing but the rhythmic movements of her legs. Everything is fine. I’m alright.

As she arrives at the site, Abby snaps pictures of the fishing boat’s coral-encrusted remains. Finding the bow buried in silt, she glides to the stern, capturing images of twisted and corroded metal. Amazing what damage the sea can do!

Thinking of the ocean’s power and the countless gallons of salt water pressing against her body, Abby’s fear swiftly returns. She grips her camera tighter, the feel of the familiar instrument calming her shrieking nerves. It’s fine. I’m fine!

Moving quickly before her courage flees, Abby kicks toward the gaping hole in the boat’s starboard side. She peers into the breach, illuminating the dark interior with the light from her camera. Just do it! Everything is fine.

A dangling light fixture draws her attention, and she floats through the opening, camera ready to record every detail. After snapping a few pictures, Abby forces herself to move further into the boat. Noticing a sudden movement in her peripheral vision, panic floods her veins with ice. I’m fine! It’s just a fish or something.

Abby turns, shining the light from her camera toward the source of her distress. A shiny, long shape darts at her face with startling speed. Raising her arms to protect herself, the camera slams into her mask, ripping it from her head. Just a fish. Stay calm. It’s fine!

Salt and floating particles sting Abby’s eyes as she attempts to locate her mask. No no no! Oh please, no! Sinking downward, she slides both hands along the bottom, hoping to feel her mask. Flailing in the confined space releases millions of particles into the water, further blurring her vision. Clamping her burning eyes shut, Abby takes a deep breath from her regulator and slowly releases it through her nose. Calm. Be calm. It’s fine! Just turn around.

Struggling to orient herself, Abby blindly chooses a direction and swims to the top of the space, hoping to find the dangling light fixture. She swims for a moment before hitting a wall. Bile rising in her throat, Abby pushes the panic down and turns to retrace her path. I know which direction now. Everything is fine!

Creeping through the darkness, Abby feels something brush against her face and reflexively swipes at it, dislodging the regulator from her mouth. Can’t breathe! Find it! Find it!

Desperate to find her only source of air, Abby opens her eyes and sees nothing but inky blackness. My camera! Oh God! Where is it? In her mind, she sees herself sliding both hands through the silt in search of her mask.

Slamming her eyes shut once more, the stinging pain eases, while the darkness remains constant. As panic becomes full-fledged hysteria, Abby opens her mouth in a silent scream, bubbles rushing around her head as she releases the last of her air. Lungs instantly aflame, she thrashes through the water, desperately wishing the exit would materialize in front of her.

Her limbs growing heavy, Abby’s sluggish mind finally pushes away her fear. It’s fine. Everything is...
© Copyright 2013 Cinn (cinnamonfringe at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates have been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work.
Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1916119-Im-Fine