IN TOO DEEP
by Analia, 10, USA
The waves splash calmly against the small cruiser. The salty sea air tickled Erica’s nose as she leaned closer to the water. Dolphins splashed in and out of the water in glee, swimming next to and under the boat. Oohs and ahhs rose from her mother’s mouth as she fell in love with the dolphins. Erica’s sister stood off to the side recording the energetic creatures. Erica and her father stood silently watching the dolphins and leaned over the railing, smiles showing on their mesmerised faces. The driver of the boat often glanced to the sides at the dolphins around the boat. After a while, they left the pod and were consumed again by the endless water. The world seemed to come to a pause as they drifted. Erica only heard the occasional cry of a bird or the lapping waves against the boat. All land around them faded out of view and seemed to be swallowed up by the clouds. The sun beat down on them as it continued to shine.
As the driver once again glanced off to the side, Erica felt a bump. Then another. Everyone suddenly tipped left and right, dangerously leaning over. Her sister’s phone slipped from her grasp and into the ocean. Her sister groaned at her loss. Erica gulped in fear at her possible future.
“I hope we don’t end up that way.”
For once the driver spoke up. “I hope not. I wasn’t paying attention to the course we’re headed in. There is a bunch of sharp rocks in this area. As soon as the sharpest one hits, down goes the boat. We can try to abandon ship and swim to a small island we passed.”
Guilt passed in Erica’s eyes. “I don’t know how to swim. Maybe we can use life preservers.”
The driver’s face brightened at the idea then darkened again. He chose his next words carefully.
“There is a slight chance that would work BUT since we can’t swim, a boat would have to come to our rescue. There would be no boat out here in these rocks. There’s no way for me to turn around because the rocks would hit us for sure. We do seem to be reaching the end so maybe if we can just wait until then, we’ll have a fighting chance.”
Suddenly a bump hit the boat. Water started to seep in through various holes. It wrapped around their feet until the water was up to their thighs.
“We’ll never make it to the end like this.”
Another bump threw Erica over the railing. She reached her hands out for the rail but couldn’t grab onto it. With a splash, she fell into the water, clear of the rocks. The light above her faded away. She was consumed by the darkness. Erica didn’t know how to swim but she had seen her father do it when he attempted to teach her. She started moving her legs in a quick, swift, kick and batted her arms back and forth to escape the force of the waves. In a slow steady movement, she fought her way back to the surface. Lungs bursting, she felt like she would fall into the sea all over again but she didn’t. Determined, she slowly fought her way to the surface until she broke the water. Turning her head left and right, she spotted the boat with four little specks on it. Realizing that she could only stay on top of the water for so long, she waved her arms back and forth before starting to sink back into the water. Luckily, Erica’s message was caught and they charged ahead to her. Reaching down, they helped her up. Erica coughed up water and then looked around in confusion at the floating boat.
“How did the boat not sink?”
The driver gave a narrow smile. “We used goggles and your sweater to plug up the holes. It won’t last for long. We need to head back!”
“I’m game, as long as I don’t get knocked back into the water again!”