Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Bet

Thick, palpable darkness presses in on me. I become less and less of the dock under my feet as, step by step, I walk forward. I concentrate on the rough sound of my shoe, sliding against the wood.

Only a few more steps, and I'll be at the end. And I'll have won the bet.
I squat down and feel the wood in my feet. The dock doesn't end for another ten feet or so, I'm sure, but I get more and more nervous as the darkness completes itself.
It can't get any darker now. If it does, it will be no difference to me. I can't see anything. I begin to wonder if even the dark itself is an illusion of my mind.
The air grows suddenly chillier, and the wind whips my hair. I think of the bed that I've just left, warm and inviting. Twenty bucks, I remind myself, twenty bucks is the winner's prize. My prize.

Saltwater sprays into my face, my lips. I taste the saltwater and begin to shake. I slowly shift my hands until they're behind me, and I scoot forward, feet first. Again and again and again. I try to stop thinking.

But I can't. I try to remember the last time a saw light. Real, blaring, glaring, solid light. Hours and hours ago, at breakfast, when I shoved a piece of toast in my mouth and headed out the door, where the sky was dark and cloudy. When the storm left, it took the electricity with it.

That feels like days ago. The last time I saw the light.
I cool my fear by speaking aloud:
"The sun always remembers." It sounds stupid, even to me, but here, in the dark, the cold, the wet, these words hold warmth and promise.
I scoot five scoots forward, and imagine tomorrow. Twenty bucks, and a sky full of gold.

I must be at the end of the dock by now. My arms are shaking from both the cold and from carrying my weight.
I sit on the dock, criss-cross, shivering. The sea is so close, I'm already drenched in it.

I slide forward on my stomach. I take my camera out of my pocket. And I'm still touching the same wood I've been touching for hours.
What if, somehow I turned around? At first, I declare it silly, but then I realize... when I changed from walking on my and hands and feet to my stomach, did I turn so that my face was pointing towards the end of the dock? Or towards land?
I can't remember.

"The sun always remembers." The sun is laughing at me.
I hear foot steps, then. They scare me so much that I'm up on my feet in seconds. And it takes only seconds more to remind myself the horrible prediciment I'm in.
Big, echoing footsteps. Walking up the dock. No flashlight.
A scream is trapped in my throat.

The only thing I can do is run, so thats what I do.
With a sharp cry, and alot of empty air, I realize that at last, I have found the end of the dock.