Sometime after you realise that struggling will do you no good, but before your vision starts to tunnel out, an immeasurable well of clarity engulfs you. Above you the ocean is churning, wrestling tigers in a dusty ring. Below, the ocean flaw, a convent nun watching a child being bullied but refusing to intervene.

The burning starts in your extremities; Arms and Legs. Cells that formed the bullock teams dragging you to the surface moments ago are collapsing, poisoning each other. Your lungs and brain are at war. Your lungs have forced every last oxygen molecule into your blood stream. They have kept you fighting. Every capillary, every alveoli turns itself inside out to save you. The command from your lungs is simple: BREATH.

Your brain knows a single breath now will fill both lungs and stomach with sickly water. After which, even a fresh breath of air will fail to nourish your dying body. Your brain is right. You can trust your brain.

Can you trust your brain? You can trust your brain until you hit the bottom of that well of clarity. The impact of the fall kills your rational mind. You’re an animal now. Your deprived brain is incapable of higher order function. Instinct and reflex are your murderous lovers.

Your limbs fire with a final burst. Disorientated you swim desperately. Your shoulder and jaw slam into the sand as you are swept along. The bone that seats your teeth clicks sideways. Molars jam into each other wedging your cheek between. You lurch and cough, burping air and blood into the dark.

Instincts right you and again you push with burning quads off the ocean floor. You race through the stillness into the spiraling turbulence above. The temptation to breath is now your apple and asp. You are jerked left and right but still rising. The momentum though, is dying. You are dying. The surface must be near.



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