NaNo day 2… excerpt.

Here is a snippet of my work from today… over 2000 words achieved today! Up to 4157 of 50,000.

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I call them rapids but I suppose they are nothing compared to the great rivers of the world. Big rocks, perfect stepping stones, almost as if someone had planned it that way, created swirling eddies of cold, clear water, and the occasional scatter of stones on the incline created foaming bubbles, white water. I skipped over the first few boulders and settled myself on a low, flattish rock, and stuck my hand into the fast flowing stream of water. It was ice-cold and buffeted my hand with its force. I shut my eyes and let the sensations take over my body. All I could hear was the rushing roar of the stream, all I could feel was the hardness of the rock, the numbing coldness and whimsical fluttering of the water and the brisk breeze on my skin.

I stayed like that until the arctic water became unbearable. Slowly, with regret, I withdrew my hand. As my fingertips broke the surface the water seemed to follow them up, to wrap around my hand briefly before succumbing to gravity. Shocked, I stared at the spot but the water ran ever onwards. I must have been seeing things. Stretching out, I turned my head and saw Mark sunning himself on a large slab of rock. He was watching me again, and waved when he saw me looking. I waved back and stood to make my way over to him. As I hopped over the water I had the distinct sense of being watched by someone other than Mark. I froze, staring around, listening intently, but the birds still sang and I saw nothing out of place. Mark called out to me so I shook it off and kept going.

Moments later I lowered myself to the ground, and opened my mouth to tell him about the water and and the spooky feeling I’d got, and shut it again. It sounded a bit crazy, really. Instead I said “I think I’ll go for a swim, too,” and shed my top layer before slipping feet first into the pool. The cold hit me like a physical blow and I gasped. He chuckled at my reaction.

“Cold enough for ya?”

I flicked water at him and swam out to the middle, where there was more unbroken sunlight. The current was gentle, here where the water was deepest, moving sure and steady, not frenetic like the rapids upstream. I kicked a slow circle, marvelling at the cream and ochre rocks, the physics-defying volcanic formations that had been further sculpted by the elements. The pale ghost gums offset the greenery, and the dappled blue sky was the jewel in the crown. I was gripped by an irresistible urge to sing, a hymn to this sacred wild place. I hummed wordlessly at first, then sang louder, matching my voice to the sound of the stream. The breathy sound of the rapids was grounded by the deeper, slower rush of the current in the pool, and as the tune took shape, the sounds melded together perfectly. Harmonics vibrated through me, and I was filled with bliss, a complete sense of oneness with the creek that further down its length became a river.

In that moment, as rapture took me, the water around me churned and spun. I felt the chaotic hands of the rapids flitting over my skin, as the gentler hand of the pool cupped me in its palm. My song faltered at the sensation, and unease gripped me. This wasn’t normal. I went to call out for Mark but the water firmed around me, and I was pulled under.

Panic clawed up my throat and I stifled a scream, sure I was drowning. Here in the water I could hear its true music, feel its heart beat. I was terrified that the hallucinations meant the end was near, and I struggled uselessly against the immense force of the river. I could see nothing but water, and light refracting through it—water was the only thing that held me. Reaching a point of shutdown, due to shock I guess, I stopped struggling and surrendered to the power of the water. Peace wrapped its arms around me and I shut my eyes against the growing blackness. It was only a matter of moments before I tried to draw breath. I felt a tingling sensation in my abdomen, a warm glow in counterpoint to the cold of the water, and the water stilled and let me go.

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