Tiptree

Creative Writing - Parallel Lives

Parallel Lives (by David Watson) – September 2018

The Lord Nelson sits on a low, grass covered cliff, overlooking the North Sea. John and Dave sat, basking in the sunshine, on a bench, outside that public house. They were chatting about nothing in particular and enjoying a pint of, the local brewer's, best bitter. They were oblivious to the disastrous events, which were unfolding just a short distance from them. Dave casually lifted his pint glass and took a long sip of the cool beer.

Lucy sat, precariously, on the cliff staring down at the water below. The sun was hot on her back and she half thought of diving into the sea. The water did not look inviting though, no Mediterranean blue here, more a murky brown, with flecks of foam on each wave. She did not know how it happened; it was almost as though the ground moved but she found herself tumbling down to the sea below. She landed head first into the icy cold water and continued to fall deeper and deeper into its depths.

The landing had forced the air out of her lungs and it was quickly being replaced by the foul tasting water. Her fall abated and she could see the sunlight above and she slowly began to rise towards it. She broke the surface and once more felt the sun's heat. She spluttered and gasped as she tried to empty the water from her lungs but she began to drop below the surface again. This time she tightly closed her mouth and stretched herself upwards once more.
As she broke the surface for a second time, she turned onto her back; she had heard what happens if you go down for a third time.

As she lay floating on her back Lucy thought it was odd that the sun felt so hot but the water so cold. Paddling herself around in a circle; she looked for anyone that could help, she could no longer see the land, just endless waves. She was scared but her natural survival tenancies began to kick in. The sun was low to her right, which must be west; land should be in that direction. She flipped over and began to swim. Although not a good swimmer, more a doggy-paddle really; but she was determined and now had a goal.

Lucy had no idea how long she had been in the water and although she would never admit to it, she was close to the end of her endurance. But at that moment she saw, in the distance, a cliff. Re-invigorated she raised the effort to swim towards it. However in that moment of hope her joy was crushed; the cliff seemed so high, no inlet, no beach, just endless cliff.
In despair she flipped onto her back, once more and stared up into the sky. The sky, as if from nowhere, clouded over and the waves began to, violently, smash her against the cliff face.

John's hand rested on Dave’s arm as he raised his glass, “Wait a minute Dave there’s something in your beer.

Dave stared down into his pint glass. “It’s a ladybird,” he muttered as he dipped his forefinger into the glass and then raised it with a flick into the air. Lucy suddenly found herself tumbling through the air; she instinctively unfolded her wings and began to fly towards the warmth of the sun.

THE END