Flash Fiction: Ascending


It’s cold underwater. Holding my breath, watching the bubbles bloat and pop in front of me before rising to the surface, I float in the deep. The sun sparkles from beyond the water’s surface, bright yellow, warm, golden. And I know he is also there, so close and yet so far away.

I hadn’t meant to fall. I’d been walking with that man across a mirror-smooth sea. We’d met on the road, and he’d invited me to follow him, promising that together we would do amazing things. We hadn’t known each other long, but the man spoke plainly and there was no lie in his eye. Besides, I was looking for something to do. And once we started across the sea, the still waters as reflective as glass, I could only become more excited about what was to come. So I followed the man, listened to his words. Basked with him in the sun.

But the waves suddenly arose. They were fierce, merciless. They seemed to have a spirit of their own and clawed at my feet, sloshed over my shoes, tugged at my socks. The waves crashed higher and louder. I looked at the man. All around him the waters were calm. I called for help. He answered but, overcome with dread and spray, I couldn’t hear what he said. As the waters rolled over my head, the last I saw of him were his troubled eyes, watching.

Now, the abyss waits below. Cold radiates from the ocean’s depths, chilling my toes and creeping up my legs. Inch by inch, the freeze envelops my flesh. I am unable to move; I cannot think for the pain. The sea pulls me deeper into its bosom.

Our beautiful journey is over. And so, here, now, I will meet an end fitting for one who fails.

Failure is part of the journey.

Warmth pours down from above, pushing back the cold.  

Did you think that the way forward would always be so smooth?

I was afraid to answer. Something is the steady flow of heat spreading in my chest told me he already knew.

Learn from this, for the way is not always so easy for those who follow me. Now rise, and come to me.

The ice had completely melted away. Unburdened, I kick my legs and ascend.  


(c) 2019 Delia Talent (Dyane Forde)

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