It was a balmy day. Just a smattering of clouds in a blue, blue sky. Soft wind was blowing and the setting sun was picturesque to behold on this beach. I was strolling down on the white sand with my best friend. The wind in our hair, the crunch of seashells, sand under our flip flops and a soft glow of the setting sun, it was perfect. The thing about Pooja and I, is that we can sit next to each other in perfect contentment. Words aren’t necessary and silence is never awkward. Sometimes, I wonder if I have some connection with her from a previous life. I don’t see her often but when I do, it is like a continuation. Not like she has been away but she has been there all along. In some way; connected. No body can understand why she and I are friends. We are as different as chalk and cheese. I cant understand why we are friends. But I know this: The connection is definitely there. Maybe from a different dimension, or a different time, but definitely there. Now I don’t know why I told you so much about her. This story isn’t about her. She just happened to be there that day. But once I started typing, the words just flew out. One day maybe I will tell her how I feel. She already knows, but I will tell her anyway.
Coming back to my story. We were walking, on a beach, on an incredibly pleasant day. We were steps away from a small jetty that connected the beach to a tiny island. You could walk across to the island during low tide, but during high tide, the waters were choppy. I judged that we were maybe mid-tides as the water was quite deep but not violent. It looked calm on the surface. My deep reverie was broken when my name rang sharply across the river. I jerked up, quite rankled at the urgency in that voice. I saw my friend Nate straddling what looked like a man nearly drowning. He was frantically beckoning me to come and help. I am pretty good a swimmer and I cast my eye around the situation. It looked like the man had his ankle caught on something and Nate was holding him to keep him from going under. His few friends were standing on the shore of the island looking quite bewildered. Nate looked distressed and I frowned. Thats funny, thought I. The man would have been easily been able to swim across. The water wasn’t deep at all. At that point I should have realised that what doesnt look right, probably isn’t right. A vague unease enveloped me. And I did what I do always in times of stress, I brushed aside my inner conscious. Then I kicked off my shoes, steadied myself and jumped into the water. I plunged into frigidly cold water. It took me by so much surprise, I had to steady myself after a few strokes. My feeling of unease notched up a little higher. I swam easily across the channel.
“Whats up?” I blurted out, as soon as I neared them. He looked perplexed as ever. Nate is the swimmer in our group. He was a national level swimmer and was someone most confident in the water. “I can’t get him out”, he answered. “The sea weed just refuses to untangle and I can’t do it by myself, it is too deep”.
And then… I looked at the guy… He was gorgeous. My mouth dropped open. Not gorgeous in a male model kind of a way, but someone with sharp eyes and hard mouth. He had this incredible presence about him, a vitality, a command. Even in this predicament, he was not frazzled or rattled. His glance at me, cut thought all my defences. It looked straight into my soul. I was mesmerized. I couldnt look away. For what looked like eons but maybe was just seconds, we were gazing into each other’s souls.
Half submerged, Nate yelled out my name in annoyance. Right, thought I. Set him free. I dived under the water but nothing could be seen. The water was starting to swirl and it was kicking up sand in protest. As competent a swimmer as I am, I couldn’t make it to the bottom. I tried to swim down again and again. What is it, thought I, completely frustrated. And accidentally, my leg brushed his ankle. I stopped short. What the hell? It didn’t feel as though there was some weed entangling his foot, it looked like someone was holding it. I could feel long bony fingers clasping his ankle, underwater. I looked up at the guy again. And somehow, his whiskey brown eyes knew it all along. He looked at me half amused and half worried. He knew too that it was no weed holding him so tight. I dived again, attempting to get a better look. But the more I did, the more futile it was. I tried brushing his foot again to convince myself I hadn’t imagined it. But nope. It was still there, what looked like skeletal fingers, holding his ankle in a vise. Cold fear was settling down my spine and I was reaching a point of desperation like no other. What was holding him? Why was it holding only him? How long would it hold him? Why wasn’t it letting him go? By now, the waters were swirling dangerously and I knew it wouldn’t be long before either we drowned or got washed away into a dark and threatening ocean. The wind was strong as an ox but silent. And it hit me, that there wasn’t a sound to be heard. Everything was quite. Wind, water, animals. It was violent but just so silent. And colder, it was getting colder. Something evil was definitely around.
And then I just reacted. It was one of those moments, where something deep in your subconsciousness takes over. A buried wisdom, an instinct, that kicks into play. I started to unscrew my diamond earrings. Both the men, paused, and looked at me like I was crazy! What was I doing at a time like this? Honestly, I didn’t know either. I dropped the earrings at the trapped guy’s feet and I started to look around for something else, that I could throw. Before the guy could react, i stripped off his watch. It definitely looked expensive. Rolex. I threw it at his feet too. And then, it struck me, my silver ring! I wrenched it off my fingers and paused. I loved that ring. It was giving to me by my uncle and aunt at a very bad time. It represented love and support to get me through all things that I thought were more than I could handle. And I knew, that this would be one thing that would be bribe enough for that unholy creature. Something that wasn’t that valuable, but had incredible sentimental value. I closed my eyes, said a small prayer, and dropped the ring. The man raised his eyebrows. His sharp eyes had missed nothing. And instantly, I felt powerful hands grab me and leading me on my way to shore. The man was free and was dragging me out of the channel, onto the shore. We looked at each other, and again, there was that old time worn connection, We didn’t need words. His eyes asked me how I had done it. And who was I? I couldn’t even muster a smile. I was just too shaken, I got up and started walking away. He just lay there and turned his gaze towards the ocean. I knew it would be a while before he trusted any ocean, sea or any other water body again. An old fisherman watching the scene, walked up to me. He looked at me in empathy. I was torn between asking him about the incident and just getting the hell out of this weird place. I opened my mouth and realized that no sounds were forthcoming. Nate was avoiding my gaze too. I looked back and saw him staring at me. And suddenly I was sure, I would be seeing him again. Soon. I turned around and walked away. It had been a crazy day.
Note: I love stories, this is my first attempt at writing them for a change.