Sunday, April 11, 2010

Hypothermia (Short Story Series 1 Pt. 1)

Crouched down beside the lake that nearly took my life. My hair drenched and my hands trembling as I pick up a single stone from the mud on the shore. I reminisce on the events that took place not more than half an hour ago. I stepped upon the frozen surface of the lake, a large rock in my hands. My intent was to end my life. Use the rock to break the ice at my feet; to let the chilled depths suck me in. I gave one last look to the overcast sky and breathed a sigh. A sigh that I hoped would be my last. I exhaled all the breath from my lungs, not wanting to give myself a fighting chance. I dropped the rock, and felt the ice tremble beneath me.

A beautiful crack spread beneath the rock and under my feet like the smile of a demented man. I felt the final shudder of the frigid lake and it gave way to my weight. A final smile spread across me as my hair shot upward and my legs were thrust down. The water was indescribably cold. I felt it burn my eyes and turn my skin to a ghostly pale. I grasped the rock as I sank and held onto it the way a mother would hold a child; Cradling the catalyst that set my life spiraling down.

My eyes gazed up to where the ice gave way and I felt as cold as the water. A lethargic stare at the cloud filled sky, barely visible through the small space of chipped and broken ice. I planned for this to be my last look -- But the clouds parted, giving way to a gleam of overwhelming sunlight. It filled the water, revealing the various aquatic life that had stopped to lay witness to my demise. I looked at them, knowing none of them would understand what they were seeing and then looked back up at the light. I was still slowly sinking as the light hit the water, and I could almost feel its warmth in the overwhelming chill.

The ice was illuminated above me, creating the most beautiful canvas of pale blue I had ever seen. I desired to stare forever, but my lungs were beginning to give way. The pain in my chest began to make itself known and my head was pounding. The smallest of regrets grew in my throat, and for once I felt the need to live; to witness the gorgeous phenomenon that was occurring above my to-be grave. Normally this wouldn't influence me, but there was something in that sunlight that drew me to the surface. I had to see it; to feel its warmth.

My grip on the miniature boulder in my hand slacked and my arms stretched toward the hole in the ice. A frenzied attempt at life is what came over me in that short moment. For the first time in years I felt the desire to survive. The natural instinct of man that never appealed to me. I swam and swam, feeling my skin become puffy and blue. I felt my toes go numb and the sensation spread upward through my legs. My limbs no longer shook, my body was completely still as I desperately grasped for freedom; for life. Finally, within inches of the hole, I smiled as my finger tips felt the frigid surface of the lake.

A sudden rush of air to my lungs, of light to my face, and sensation to my organs. I feebly collapsed on the surface of the lake, breathing in a new air. An air I'd never tasted before. The delicious faceless gas crept down my throat and rejuvenated my senses. I absorbed the sunlight like a snake on a rock and began to laugh. The chuckling remained for several minutes and I began to feel like I was losing my mind. The joy that I felt was overwhelming. An onslaught of emotion that I'd never felt before. Rejuvenated and alive, but unfathomably cold. The strangest of sensations occurred. A glance at the sun, then back at my hands. Pale and cold, but not shivering. I grew increasingly warm. The heat grew from my fingertips and made its way through the rest of my frame. My body temperature skyrocketed and I rejoiced on the ice. I felt delusional and dizzy, but knew that I survived my self-planned demise.

My skin stuck to the ice and I peeled it off as I crawled back to the shore. The clothes on my back weighed a ton but it didn't bother me. The dirt clung to my cheeks the moment I laid my face on the earth. A feeling so powerful and foreign -- The desire to live out the rest of my years in harmony. I knew I could do it. I survived sinking to the depths of a frozen lake. Nothing could harm me. Drops of chilled water hit the ground as I shook my hair and smiled. An all-powerful feeling of self-accomplishment remained omnipresent through my bones as I sat up to a crouched position. As I reached down to a grab a small pebble from the ground I notice my hands returned to their trembling state. I remained warm and invincible, but still my hands shook with an unbelievable fierceness. My eyes moved from the stone in my shaking hands to the lake before me.

No longer frozen, a beautiful and swaying masterpiece of aquatic art. My mind couldn't comprehend it, but my heart knew it was right. Small waves crept up the mud under my bare feet. My shoes were gone. I timidly observed the naked skin of my feet and soon realized that it was not only my shoes that were gone, but all of my clothes. I was naked on the shore of the lake that should have been my grave. An unbelievable mystery, but I took no notice of it. I simply smiled out at the lake, the sun shimmering on the surface. No clouds were to be seen in the sky, just a beautiful blue atmosphere with a single burning star bursting with energy above the calm lake.

I rubbed my thumb across the surface of the stone in my right hand. It was smooth and perfect, ready to be freed from the mud of the beach. My thoughts drift back to me dropping the rock, sinking slowly but surely. I cast the rock out onto the surface of the lake. It skipped two times, sending small ripples onto the surface of the water, scaring away all the critters wafting calmly below it. Before disappearing below the reflection of the sun, it sent large ripples across the once-frozen lake. A final testament of its freedom. Finally taken from its muddy prison into a beautiful world full of life often overlooked by passersby.

My hand cups and scoops up a feeble amount of water from the lake, most of it dripping between the cracks of my pale fingers. I take my palm up to my mouth and suck in the clean liquid. It flows down my throat and makes me salivate with an unending thirst. I drink and drink, eventually sticking my mouth into the shallow surface just before my feet. One last sip, and I fall onto my back, unconcerned with the dirt caked in my finger nails and hair. Staring up at the sun with previously unknown passion, I accept what has happened today. I shook the hand of Death and came back alive -- As alive as I'd ever felt. Every thought that once clouded my brain disappears with the clouds above, leaving only sunlight. This place knows no twilight.

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