Photo courtesy Ashwin Rao (via The Angry Hourglass)
Gazing into the murk over the flagstone clad edge, Lee wonders how it feels to drown - that surface struggle near-vertical, gasping at non-existent air and holding of breath whilst bobbing up, then down; further still, cloth soaked, floundering, arms grasping, windmilling, emoting mute bubbles; face tilted up towards what little shafts of light might make their way into the water’s midst. He considers how long it would take him to sink towards submergence before he would be beyond saving. He thinks he could hold his breath for perhaps thirty or so seconds – maybe slightly more – sixty? – ninety, max? - before being forced to inhale as his body betrays him, self-preservation’s survival kicking in, like his legs beneath him, though he would be weighted to drag himself down, choice pre made, for what that would matter then.
Splutter. Cough. Inadvertently imbibing more water. Reflexive laryngospasm tearing and burning its way through his chest. Squeeze slipping softly into a euphoric blanket of tranquillity - no movement now. Unconscious sinking slowly towards a bottom he cannot see from his current vantage point – it is beyond him; far below and into the deep down depths. He doesn’t know precisely how long it would take to hit rocky resistance; to reach his eventual end; he would be blue; a disappearance beyond recognition by that stage, in any event. Finally a true water baby, colour gilled at the nail beds; liquid’s kiss at the lips. He sees – knows - how it would be, at his conclusion. Lee draws in air, pulse beating faster, heart pacing, as he considers the permutations in their possibilities. The water laps beside him, silent companion in his contemplation.
Lee takes a further deep breath – a beat - filling his lungs with air, expelling it slowly again - wholly, completely. Again. Another. Now that he is certain, finally, Lana is not going to surface again, he feels free to walk away from the jutting ledge, pulling his toes from their previous curled position at its perimeter. He doesn’t look back after he turns.
Another entry for Angry Hourglass - this one for Flash Frenzy-Round-33. Somehow this one wrote itself into quite a dark ending to produce the relevant twist in the tale!