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My feet are enveloped in burning hot sand. I can feel the heat, but somehow I feel no pain. The sun filters through the clouds as I take a tentative step into the sea. Water laps around my ankles and pulls me deeper. I feel like I’m floating, like I’m weightless. The current swirls me around and around, like a merry-go-round.

I’m laughing and I hear the people I love laughing behind me but every time I turn around they’re gone. Without warning the current pulls too hard and I’m drowning. And the sea is no longer blue, but a deep red and I know without a doubt that I’m drowning in blood. The blood of those I’ve failed to save. The blood of those I’ve had to kill.

Bodies float to the surface, close enough to see but too far away to touch. Too far away to save. I reach out my arms but I can’t reach them and the current is pulling me away. Further and further. I try to swim but I’m drowning too and I’m afraid of all the blood. Terrified of who it belongs too.

Red is all I see. Red, red, red. Help us, they whisper. I attempt to scream, but no sound escapes my lips. I struggle against the bonds that seem to be pulling me left, right and under. It’s futile though. A few feet away from me a small body is floating and now I’m desperate.

That’s my sister, I try to scream. Nothing. Somebody help us, I try to shout. Nothing. I watch her fight against the current, but I know she isn’t strong enough. Nobody is. She lifts her head out of the water for a split second and the light in her eyes is dying. She’s dying. You did this to me, she whispers in my head.

I’m choking now. Not on blood, but on tears. I close my eyes and stay as still as possible. I have to save my strength. Other bodies float by and accuse me of everything and anything. All of my regrets and sins. I don’t strain to save them, there’s no point. So I watch them drown. I’m silent, but not by choice. Blood mixes with tears and sadness mixes with fear. I’m lost.

Some part of me realizes that this is a dream, yet as I drown in red all I think of is how I failed them. I’m no longer attempting to stay still, I want out. I don’t want to die. I thought they said death was peaceful? But I’m screaming and crying, writhing and shaking. How can this possibly be peaceful, it’s agony.

Gasping, I wake up. I’m no longer sinking. I’m in my bed. Nobody’s drowning. So why do I still feel like something is still pulling me down? Why do I feel like the sky should be falling around us? And then I remember and I’m plummeting down, down, down. This is much scarier then the sea of blood because this isn’t a dream and I’m sinking. And I don’t think anyone will be able to drag me back to the surface. Not even you.

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guardianofthestars This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 1, 2013 at 3:17 pm
I got chills reading this.  I like how you don't tell the reader until the end of the story that it is a dream.  I could clearly picture the images you wrote and the photo you chose really helped me set an image (good job on that). It was a really good story and very deep.  I enjoyed it very much. You are an awesome writer!!
KeepLiving replied...
Sept. 2, 2013 at 12:20 pm
I'm glad you enjoyed it! (and in case you didn't already know, I love your work). Thanks so much for the comment!
Mark_Banks said...
Aug. 30, 2013 at 4:41 pm
Woah! This was great! Every sentence was bam, bam, bam. So instense.
HeatherOlivia replied...
Sept. 25, 2013 at 10:54 am
Thank you! I like that, 'bam, bam, bam.' :)
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