You find yourself in the lower level of an old ship. A calendar on the wall says 1682. There is a small window, and the view is nothing but open sea and a setting sun. There is a staircase and you can see daylight at the top…

as I continue looking up towards the top of the staircase the sky is a quickly darkening blue.  Slowly, I creep towards the stairs intently listening for any sound of their coming.  Up the staircase I climb, my bare feet barely feeling the cold of the wood ladder.  The only trace left is my bloody footprint from my the blisters and torn skin on the souls of my feet.  

I hear laughter and loud voices as I near the top.  They must be drinking again as there never seems to be an end to the supply of rum they consume daily.  I quickly contemplate my chances of success and realize it really doesn’t matter as I have no choice. And anything has got to better than this miserable existence.  Cautiously I peer over the edge and they are there about 10 yards away from the opening, most of them drunk, a couple are even passed out.

Without hesitating any longer I pull myself up and out of the hole and begin sprinting across the wood deck of the ship.  I do not feel the pain in my feet nor the aching of muscles from the numerous beatings and the daily physical jobs they have forced me to complete.  As my feet leave the edge of the ship and feel myself weightless, I hear a shout from one of them but the words are lost in the wind.  I fall quickly through the air towards the dark rolling waves below. 

The icy waters close around me taking my breath away and as I surface I shake my head looking for the ship.  I realize it is moving away as the strong wind in the sails is propelling it forward.  My beating heart is all I feel my body numb as the coldness overtakes me.  As I float on the swells I catch glimpses of the ship steadily getting smaller in the distance until it disappears.  I feel a peace at last and realize I am finally free, surrounded by nothing by water and a coming darkness.

I cannot feel my legs or arms but somehow I must be moving them treading water to keep my head above the rising and falling waves.  The tug on my leg seems out of place, making me wonder what just happened.  I realize that my left hand is searching for my leg under the water and there is nothing there only a warmth that rushes over my fingers that is out of place in the icy waters.  A second later I am pulled completely under the water and my world explodes in a brilliant white light and I hear the words, “Rest now.”

~Mark Schutter ©2014

The above was written for Free Write Friday using what is called stream of consciousness writing, no editing, no proofing just writing! Please check out Kellie Elmore’s official site or click on the Free Write Friday Image for more information. Post your submission with a comment and link to your blog on Kellie’s blog, post on twitter with the hashtag #FWF, Facebook and join the fun!




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      1. When I was a teenager, I remember writing an essay on drowning…I had this idea it was the greatest way to go…but the way you worded it, the body numbing, it was not painful and sad, yes, considering the alternative life…who knows. A really great write. Blessings, Oliana

      2. Thanks Oliana! As I was writing, just letting if flow, it seemed in my mind like the lesser of two evils for this character.

  1. Being pulled beneath the water’s surface is a nerve gripping experience, but to escape first, and to find resolve in a few final moments, leaves the story to linger with one at the the escaping moments, lines. A well structured tale, Mark.

    1. Thank you so much Cheryl! I am way behind on reading the other posts for #FWF, did you contribute to this weeks prompt? If so I will make sure to stop by and read. Wonder what Kellie meant by that? Maybe we should think about collaborating on a post sometime?

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