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 Iâ€™d end up in hot water. And here I am, immersed in water thatâ€™s getting hotter every minute. Mind you, Iâ€™m not the only one. Thereâ€™s a whole bunch of us in here, floating around and diving down to find a way out. I guess weâ€™ve all offended somehow.
Thatâ€™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 weâ€™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 itâ€™s so hot, I wish Iâ€™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, Iâ€™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 - thereâ€™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 itâ€™s not water. Thicker than that and itâ€™s making it really murky in here. Itâ€™s getting hard to see more than a few inches in front of me. And now the waterâ€™s churning around, mixing us up with all the garbage. I suppose itâ€™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. Iâ€™ve started sweating which seems a bit pointless when Iâ€™m already drowning in liquid. But I feel as though all my energy is being sucked out of me by the heat. Donâ€™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 canâ€™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. â€śAh, chick pea soup. That is enough to warm the cockles of your heart,â€ť he announces.â€ť
Word Count: 561