I wrote this story earlier this year, and submitted it to the World Unknown Review, but unfortunately, it wasn’t accepted. I’ve thought about putting a few of my short pieces together into a collection and publishing. I might throw them up on their own, too, if I can figure out cheap covers. But, for now, I’m going to start sharing this one here. I’ll share one scene each week, which will take us through the next 5 weeks. There’s actually 6 scenes, but the last is pretty short, so I’ll include it with the previous one. For now:
I was drowning.
I knew it in every cell of my body. But, I didn’t know how to save myself. My lungs burned, my body thrashed, my muscles ached as I tried to kick to the surface. Something held me where I was. I couldn’t drag any air in. I was never going to make it, never going to see my husband again, never start the family we talked about.
I would die here.
A great burst of air and cold suddenly blew over me. I dragged in a breath then another. I wasn’t drowning. I wasn’t even in the water.
The bed shifted under me. “Why do you always insist on sleeping with the blankets over your head? You always have the same dream when you do.”
I heard the impatience in my husband’s voice and turned away before opening my eyes. Justin’s irritation wasn’t the first thing I wanted to see upon waking up from the dream.
The sun just rose over the trees. A much better sight to wake to.
“I don’t insist,” I finally said. “It happens when I’m sleeping.”
“Well, make it stop happening. I get tired of dragging you from it.”
I mumbled an apology, but he was already moving away. I didn’t even bother. I waited as his measured steps headed out of the room. I didn’t know what had happened to us. It was so hard to find the man I’d married in the one I still shared a bed with.
I wanted to get us back. I just had to figure out how.
I moved slowly through my morning routine, the dregs of the dream still clinging to me, making my limbs feel heavy. It was like I still struggled through that water. I don’t know why it was always water, why I was always drowning. I couldn’t remember ever living near the water or swimming anywhere but the community pool.
I’d never nearly drowned there. At least not that I remembered. And I’m pretty sure I would.
He was gone by the time I made it downstairs. I hoped coffee would help burn off the remainders of the bad dream. And maybe clear my head enough I could think of a way to get the husband I remembered back.
What do you think? I always appreciate any feedback. I’ll have the next scene in another week.