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The cold sting of sharp razors lapped at my feet as I stood, barely deep enough at the shore of the ocean to cover my shivering toes. In the distant darkness of night I could see red streaks of sky, like a knife had savagely sliced at the sky's flesh so as to rip it open and leave it bleeding through the pureness of dark. Only one thing could be seen through the red slashes in an otherwise melanoid sky, a single thunder cloud that warned of it's presence with a menacing roar. I stepped closer, deeper into the relentless savage of the murky ice water until I was surrounded by it's frigid sting up to my knees. I watched with a rebellious glare, willing the impending cloud to dare stepping forward.
“Misty!” A sharp bellow christened behind me. “Get out of that water right now!” The voice was panicky, quickened with every hastening breath.
I turned around, but I knew from the voice it was my mother calling me. Her hair wrapped around every wrinkle of her pained face. One arm hung to the side, the other wrapped around her thin layer of cloth she had attempted to defend herself in from the savage beast that was nature. Gritting my teeth, I turned sharply back to the enemy I was facing. Father had told me once before that nature was man's worst enemy, that if you conquered even that then there was nothing you couldn't do. This was what I was here for.
This was why I stood, deeper and deeper with every stubborn step into the ocean's clutches. I was angry, and rightly so. For it was nature that had taken my father. With a single blow he was swept under hundreds of debris along with millions of irreproachable trees. He had tried to prove it, both to me and to my whole family, that if he could climb the Mountains Of No Return, than anything that happened to our family would be conquerable. It had been a custom from generation to generation, that if one person could prove their stand over the forces of nature, than nothing that man could offer could be untamed.
The menacing tempest quickened it's speed suddenly, and with a superlative bellow the thundercloud forced it's way through the dark blanket of night sky, across the threatening red slash through the sky that warned me that this thunderstorm was like no other. I walked further, atop the ocean floor until my frosted toes could no longer touch the sand below, and I swam out even further. In the darkness it was impossible to touch the bottom, let alone see it. Suddenly a ripple slashed across the sky – not a red one such as was there already – but pure white, with a billion volts of electricity connected to it. Following it was a roar faster and louder than even the engine of the Titanic.
The pain of the cold that encircled my body was more than excruciating. In a matter of minutes every last nerve in my body had seized, and I found myself immobile to the coming cloud that would mean my death. My head felt a pain throughout the entire system, like my brain had formed ice crystals that would seize any nerve I had. Distantly I heard voices, not just one as had been before, but many. With every ounce of my available strength I forced my head back around. The entire community was in a panic, pacing the shore like a troubled dog at the foot of a colossal cliff. Their cries carried out through the water, and distantly their voices became clear.
“Misty, come back!” My mother screamed with a terrifying cry.
“You don't have to do this yet!” Still another shouted above the coming storm.
More talked, but with the pain of the iced water even seeing clearly had become a struggle. It would be impossible for me to have heard. The blackened cloud grew closer, until I only had to stretch my neck to see it floating directly above me. In the far distance, I saw another bolt of lightning, writhing toward my crumbling form in the water. It's long arms stretched out to me as if beckoning me to give way to it's force. Thunder gave out a form laughter that sent a shiver down my spine. I knew it was laughing at me.
Another bolt struck not a half mile from my still form, every arm ripping further and further through the blanket surrounding the blackness of sky. I shivered involuntarily as it approached me, and I knew in a matter of seconds my death could be upon me. Now was the time, a race against nature and time itself to make it to the shore before one hundred arduous bolts of fulmination would consume my very being.
With a lunge I set back towards the shore, kicking my trembling muscles that seemed almost inattentive from numbness itself. The great cloud laughed loudly, mocking my every struggling kick. I ignored it's threats, choosing instead to push on with a strength I knew I did not possess. A bolt of lightning crashed upon the ocean floor not two miles from where I was. I pushed on, avoiding the great sting that engulfed me at all sides. When at last I touched the sand, my toes too numb to know until I hit the ground, I gave one last struggled kick to make my way out.
Yet my one kick could only take me so far. A flash of lightning behind me had for a split instant illuminated not just the surrounding area of it's voltage but the entire sky. For a moment I was blinded, until the pain of the voltage not only stung but engulfed my very core. I screamed, and moving was out of the question. The pain was harrowing. Looking down I found that my arms were shaking beyond anything I could control. I grit my teeth, but now screaming was out of the question. A black whale of a wave hovered over my head.
The last thing I knew, my eyes were slowly fluttering shut, and all I could see was black.
Voices...distantly through ringing of my ears I heard voices. My lungs felt as if still I was descending, down further and further deep into the abyss of a watery grave. Yet nothing told me I was floating. Nothing said that a current of water was at all passing my still form. I tried breathing – and instantly my lungs felt like they had exploded, gallons of water cutting through my mouth and ripping like knives through my body. It felt impossible to move anything, but I felt my eyes flicker open, and through a foggy mask were people. Surrounding me everywhere people crowded around me. Their expressions were a perfect mixture, ones of fear, of hope, of sadness and loss.
Painstakingly I sat up, but at the weight resting on my arms I fell back down. This caused even more people to come by me. I blinked hard, and after a series of tries I managed to see without a fog. My Mom sat by my side.
At any movement, Mother lunged for me. I felt my shoulders being squeezed, then shaken. Arms went around me and again the feel of being crushed overcame me. I winced, and made a sound I hoped sounded normal. Mother was pushed away.
“Careful, don't crowd her,” a man's voice, gentle yet steady, cooed softly at her.
“Oh...” Mother's voice echoed through my mind. I heard my name being called softly, “Misty? Misty?”
I coughed painfully, letting even more water release from their grasp in my lungs. Mother went near, but again was pushed away. Desperately, I wanted my eyes to shut. Anything but the pain that overcame me now. Every part of me hurt, like I had been badly burned in a fire.
If that was lightning, then actually, I probably was.
Had I won? Was my fight against nature complete? I listened, hard, but no more threatening thunder growled overhead – at least from my looking. It was bright, but bright in the form of sunlight, not continuous bolts of electricity that would have been the end of me.
I tried arduously to speak. “Wh...who...wha...hap...” I had intended to ask what happened, but it came out wrong.
Mother pushed forward again. “Oh Misty...Misty?” She asked. Mother looked as if she'd lost someone, all over again. Instantly I felt a wave of guilt come over me, but I didn't make a move.
I tried yet again to speak. “What...happened?” This time, it sounded right.
Mother took my hand, her warm embrace covering any hurt I felt. “You made it Misty. You conquered nature. Your father would have been very proud.”
I smiled. So I had finished. Though scars would come, I knew that now I could say that if I had conquered nature, anything that happened would not amount to it. I gave a new look to the sky, fresh and bright after the storm. Perhaps now, I could live my life following my own father's advice, and could accomplish anything.