Be good or you'll end up in hot water! HM in Holiday Short Story Contest, January 2020.
|Your Mother Knows Best
Mother always said that I should be careful or I’d end up in hot water. And here I am, immersed in water that’s getting hotter every minute. Mind you, I’m not the only one. There’s a whole bunch of us in here, floating around and diving down to find a way out. I guess we’ve all offended somehow.
That’s part of the problem. I have no idea what I did to get myself into this predicament. Just messing about with my mates, not causing a ruckus or too much noise, then suddenly we’re all swept up and find ourselves in here, with water arriving immediately afterwards. The heat came later but, once it started, it got worse very quickly. Now it’s so hot, I wish I’d listened to Mom all those years ago.
I tried dropping below the surface and searching for a tunnel or hole somewhere that I could swim into and escape but no joy. This seems to be a sealed chamber. As a guess, I’d say the heat comes from a subterranean chamber that fills and empties with lava. Trust me to fall in here of all places.
Hold on a moment. The roof seems to be opening - there’s light coming in from outside. And now new things are falling into the gap. Looks like a mixed bag of stuff. Garbage really, bits of vegetables, green stuff, tomatoes and rice, a total hodgepodge. Have I been thrown out with the trash?
Now more liquid is pouring in but it’s not water. Thicker than that and it’s making it really murky in here. It’s getting hard to see more than a few inches in front of me. And now the water’s churning around, mixing us up with all the garbage. I suppose it’s the heat making it swirl like this. Hot air rises so maybe hot water does too.
This is a terrible place. Just now I tasted salt in the water so we might be heading for the sea. Mom never mentioned anything about that. And all the time it keeps getting hotter. I’ve started sweating which seems a bit pointless when I’m already drowning in liquid. But I feel as though all my energy is being sucked out of me by the heat. Don’t know how much longer I can stand this.
Must resist and find a way out. I find myself drifting to the sides and soon I am being bumped along the edges of the pool, swirling around to make me dizzy and being thrown up higher by the waves. Maybe if I could grab on to something, I could climb up and find a way out near the top.
The sides are smooth however, and I just can’t get a grip. Then a big wave grabs me and hurls me back to the centre of the pool and I am lost in the bubbling, roiling mass of confusion. My resistance is spent; I am just flotsam in the fierce waters and the last of my goodness is drained from my being. Oh, Mother, if only I had heeded your words and lived a better life. This is one chick pea that must give up the ghost.
Outside, the cook lifts the lid and smells the steam with satisfaction. “Ah, chick pea soup. That is enough to warm the cockles of your heart,” he announces.”
Word Count: 561