February 6, 2017
By , Tiffin, OH

Frantically searching through my portfolio, fingers touching every paper. “Where is my draft?!” Linn’s wary meows fill my loft. “Linn, not now! My class is in 15 minutes and it takes 10 minutes for transport!” She lets out one more meow and I look over and my draft was next to her. I grab my paper, pat her on the head and dart to the bus stop.
    Tapping my foot anxiously and insync with me looking at my watch every few seconds the bus has finally arrived even though I wasn’t there for a full minute. I board the bus and flash my student ID at the bus driver- students ride free. Walking through the aisle with my heavy bag seemed like an obstacle, avoiding every foot and student half asleep with coffee still in their hand. I like sitting back of the bus because of less people and I have room to stretch. Even though the back of the bus isn’t completely zen I still try to take a short power nap. The bus driver is playing his favorite 70s station, the half asleep student barely holding onto his coffee has a little drool, a band member drums on the seat in front of him, me? I close my eyes hoping for a good day.
    THUD, CLANK! I open my eyes and I hear the bus driver screaming at a couple of lanky kids playing chicken in the road, the repercussion was the bus driver hitting a mailbox.
    “I’m reporting this to the dean!” he yells as his deep voice cracks and fist in the air. The kids ran away, the bus driver conflicted over how he never got a good look at them so therefore could never report 2 of thousands of kids on campus to the dean.
    “Is anyone hurt!?” he struggles to get out of his seat because of his big stomach tucked under his steering wheel. Everyone is in harmony of agreement that they are okay. I glance at my watch again and could see my class and college down the hill, I have 3 minutes to get there so I have to go! I rush out of the bus once again avoiding every half asleep student that is now awake. The bus driver is screaming into his bus radio how two “hooligans” got in his path, I assumed it was someone at the bus garage. I instantly ran downhill tightly holding onto my bag and books, I can’t be late! No one could stop my expeditious speed, for I was on a quarry.
My speedy legs finally got me to my destination with a minute to spare. I sit down in my seat while catching my breath with sweat dripping down my temples.
    My professor is a strong, eloquent lady that carried herself very well, she’s tall with bright fiery orange hair that reflected her mood. I look around her classroom and my head was filled with confusion.
“Where is everyone?” I asked with entanglement.
“Good question,” she answered. “Today is the day we were all supposed to go to the lake to finish our journal, not a fan favorite especially when the weather isn’t looking the greatest. I’m surprised you even showed up.” My professor exclaims.
She guided me to the door with my bag still in my hands, she followed after me.
“So exactly where are we going?” I ask.
“Just behind the university.” She answers very shortly.
My short but determined legs tried to keep up, now i’m the one following right behind her down my school’s wide halls and sooner enough we’re out waiting for a cab. The cab shows up just in time for my professor's impatient attitude.
    “Where to?” The cab driver says with a rushed tone.
“Lake Wikka” My professor answers.
“Isn’t it supposed to be storming? What brings you guys there?” He questioned.
“Research.” I answer softly since I’m not really the one for small talk.
He glances in the mirror chomping his gum obnoxiously.
“Ah, alright.”  He replied.
We were stopped behind traffic since the road was closed because of the incident my previous bus from this morning when I was running late, the scene, still the same. The bus driver is still frustrated and instead of yelling at the kids, he was yelling at the dean of students. My window was cracked so I could still be able to hear the conversation.
“Haven’t you ever taught your rowdy kids to use a street walk?!” The driver raises his voice, “aren’t you in control?! Then take control! Next thing that’ll happen is one of these oblivious, ignorant professors will follow after their students and discern the street walk too!”
“Sir, calm down. We’re working on a solution to this new problem.” The dean replies.
“New?!’ I’ve been submitting complaints and problems to this ‘hoodrat’ school for months now but you guys are too busy disregarding every word i’ve said and every letter I sent. What’s the point of recommendations to become a better school if you don’t even take the recommendations into consideration. You guys pay like dirt, treat me like dirt and your students are dirt. Fix the jay-walking problem and your attitude to me or you’ll have a ‘new problem' looking for a new driver.” He said passionately while his face turned beet red.
“Got it…” The dean replied very shortly, nods and walks away.
The bus driver gets back into his seat and pulls the lever to close the door so hard you’d think they would shatter and angrily drives off.
My professor pushes her red fiery bangs out of her eyes and loudly sighs. “Hoodrats, dirt. Ha!” she mumbles under her breath.
“What is he talking about? Aren’t we the most prestigious school in the nation?”The cab driver laughs between every breath.
“Not prestigious enough apparently.” My professor answers.
“Look, we’re not harvard but pretty close. Amiright?” He giggles and adjust his mirror to look at the mess of a bus driver we just passed as traffic started to pick up now.
We drive down this long narrow and empty road only yielding to occasionally stop signs and sea birds crossing the street. It’s a windy day and the clouds white color fills with grey.
“We’re still going through with this? It looks stormy” I ask my professor.
“Of course, this is a one of a lifetime deal. We’re the captain’s V.I.P, he’s looking very forward to meet you.” She replies.
The once narrow road now becomes wider and bumpy, pebbles flying everywhere. Birds that were resting in the middle of the road scatter and fly away. The swaying trees from the smooth breeze silently surrounding the road shadows it. Life brings too much stress, I wish there were more moments like these. If I was the cab driver I would love to drive down here or anywhere this serene, not a person in sight-only us-accompanied by animals. I can see the road ending to the lake and docks. When the distance from us to the lake lessens my excitement also lessens. I have a bad feeling something terrible is going to happen, the weather is worsening and becoming less seren. The weather’s light breeze has became violent winds, tiny drops of water coming from every direction. I bite my tongue trying not to beg the poor driver to go back and my grip grows tighter holding onto my bag and I wouldn’t be surprised if one of my pencils impales me from my incredible tight grip. I feel an anxiety attack coming on, I quickly roll down my window despite the winds. I feel my face getting bright red and hot, and a pins-and-needles feeling in my armpit. I took a sip from my water at an attempt to calm down. I’m not really sure why I get worked up over a little bit of nothing.
“We’re here! Thanks ladies, I always enjoy driving down here.” The cab driver exclaims.
My professor is rustling through her bag.
“Free of charge, please.” He quickly darts.
“Thanks.” She nods
I exit the cab exhaling stress and acknowledging the weather.
“Over there.” My professor directs me to a small boat. She had told me earlier I was expected to leave my books and bags here in a shed. I look at this rusty and old shed (she had previously talked about) was losing its yellow color as a result of the bleaching sun and now holding my bags. When I look back at the boat there now holds a man, assuming it was the captain. He looks back and motions us to the boat, we continue to walk. The “captain” takes my hand helping me get on the boat. The water is rough and the boat sways violently on the waves, one hand is holding on to the captain and the other is on my journal. I make a successful leap into the boat, blinded by my own hair resulting from these harsh winds.
    “I’ll see you guys when you get back.” My professor waves as the captain unties the boat from the dock.
    The captain seems as introverted as I am, he hasn’t talked once. He is tall, old with a scruffy beard… He seems to know what he was doing. His eyes are tired but I could tell he is never tired of the sea. His hands shake as he adjusts the motor, he looks relieved to escape land. I pull out my journal and start to log everything I see around me;
10:43 a.m: rough waves, ultramarine blue with a tint of crimson. Thick, gray clouds… Possibly a Multicell storm later?
I close my journal and feel the weather getting more harsh, I close my eyes. The sky pushes down every bit of rain with power, It feels painful. We were in the middle of the lake not sure what to do. The captain’s sad eyes turns into shock and he grabs my hand, at this point I can’t tell if he’s still trembling or if it’s me now. The boat quickly fills up with water and violently shakes. I scream asking for anyone near to help us, no one is near. The boat flips and the last thing I saw was the captain’s terrified expression while he’s trying to give me a life vest.
I open my eyes to a new world, this world is cold and wet. I look around, it’s the lake. I try to swim up but can’t, I look for the hindrance and find one just below my knees. My foot is caught in strong rope and I can’t seem to break free. I yell but all that comes out is bubbles. My head hurts, I don’t remember what happened. My face is full and I feel light headed, I don’t think I can hold my breath much longer. I look around some more to fortunately find an oxygen tank and mask, I quickly put it over my mouth. I feel less dizzy now, calmer. I remembered I carried a pocket knife on my side, I began to slice the rope. I feel vibration on my thigh, I forgot my phone was waterproof. I open my messages and see a message from my professor.
Where are you? Everything will be alright, we found the captain floating by shore. - P
She texted. I tried typing back with my pruny fingers,
Not sure. I locked my phone and slid it back into my pocket. Everything seems so dreary and faux. I touch my head and look at the tank, it measured by hour. I rub my eyes into realization that I, Indeed had one hour left. I swim looking around for my journal and luckily found it by a bed of rocks and slipped it in my back pocket. I think of everything I could write down everything I saw down here; the shape, color, species and texture of everything. What am I doing? I need to find my way back to land. I have no idea how deep I am and where i’m at. I look up and only see a small ray of light and decide to follow that. I swam upside down, sideways and up looking for it. That bad feeling I had earlier never left, I feel as like i’m being watched. I swim faster and from the thought of something bad is following me. I must be oxygen deprived, someone help. The smoothness of the water tunnels through me and I look at the time noticing I already wasted a quarter of it. I swam quicker and more skeptically, looking back every other moment.
I see fish every now and then, they are more scared of me than I am right now. I continue searching for the light, my legs and arms grow tired especially when holding this tank. I feel the water getting warmer as I get to the surface, relief. I put my arm in front of me pointing to find I see an apple on my window and my very curious cat, I yell for her to come here. I looked on the side of it and it read,
I pick her up and the apple and threw it away. I notice I have a class but continue to call in sick, for I am feeling not right in my mind.
I go back to bed and my cat follows. I need to relax, what is wrong with me? Am I going insane?the surface, closing my eyes. I feel a breeze of air and some serenity, I’m free. I take off my mask and look around taking in the fresh, crisp oxygen. I squint and see in my distance a small island. The weather has calmed and so have I. I swim faster to the island, sun beating down on my face and a rainbow accompanying it. I eventually get to it and lay on the warm sand and grass. I call my professor explaining i’m safe but still unsure of the location, she told me she’ll send a helicopter to look for me. I open my soaked journal and continued to write about my experiences down there. I feel so overwhelmed,  like i’m missing so much detail. I yield for a moment feeling birds peck at my toes. I shoo them away and relaxed for a while.
It’s now been hours since they sent a helicopter to look for me, the lake isn’t even that big. I start to feel hungry and look for something to eat, i’m still damp so I start a fire before I look. After I built my fire, I went to this small wooded area and looked for berries. I avoided berries that were poisonous and insects because i’m not that brave, but eventually I found some edible and weren’t creepy crawlies like those insects. I ate the berries and they were extremely sour. I glance over to my right and see a tree growing rich apples, what an odd place for a fruit tree to grow here… I continue my journey to the rich apples and take a bite, what an odd feeling.
I look to the left of me and see a small, frail and old man laughing. The man has a long beard to his knees and even longer hair to his ankles, he wasn’t wearing any clothes! I cover my eyes.
“Who is there?” I say.
“No one important!” He scoffs.
I hear his laugh get more distant. I open my eyes and he suddenly appears in front of me.
“The fruit!” He screeches at me.
I drop the apple and berries and when it fell it turned into a liquid and melted into the ground, I scream hoping this nightmare is going to end soon.
    “Ignorance!” He yells.
    “What? I’m being Ignorant?” I reply
He runs to the apple tree knocking everything off.
    “Imposter!” He sings.
He runs straight into the water, wide eyes that are pitch black. Before the man disappears in the water, he throws an apple at my head. I was knocked out from immense pain, the apple felt as heavy as a bowling ball.
When I awoke I was in a room I was not familiar, or was I? My vision was so blurry but eventually went back to normal. I’m in my bed, my own room. I look at the time and date, it’s the same date from the day we went on the boat for research. It’s 8:00 am, why is this so strange? I look in the mirror and see a huge bruise on my head. I look through my journal and see everything I wrote about the trip. My clothes smell like fish, I feel pain all over me. This is so odd. I turn to the very last page of my journal and see sloppy writing;
The fruit!!! Imposter!!! Ignorance!!!

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