Please. No. I don’t want to die.
I’m not even supposed to be here.
It was a dare. A stupid dare.
“Let’s race to the buoy and back. Last person back to the boat has to buy everyone’s drinks all night,” Chet challenged the seven of us.
I glanced around the overloaded powerboat, my friends Cyn and Amy pausing from their make-out sessions with the hot frat boys they’d met this morning.
“I don’t swim,” Cyn huffed, her eyes glazed over from too much tequila, as she used the interruption to take another swig from a bottle that littered the deck. “Kammie will win anyway.” She raised the bottle in a half-hearted toast to me.
“Is that right?” Chet sneered, still bitter the only unpaired female – me – had turned down his drunken advances. “Me and you then. The buoy and back.” He stripped off his ratty T-shirt, the late afternoon sun displaying a body already past its prime, the beginnings of a beer belly rounding an otherwise toned stomach.
I looked at my friends. Amy’s bikini top was partially off, covered instead by the meaty paws of her frat boy. Cyn, bored with the conversation, now straddled the lap of her partner, the only things visible her curtain of shiny black hair draped to her waist and the guy’s hands creeping into her bikini bottoms.
“You don’t want to sit and read by the pool all day. Come join us. They have a friend. It’ll be fun.” Cyn’s earlier words echoed in my head.
This was most definitely not fun.
“Just take me back to the dock, okay?” I asked him. I wanted off this boat. It was only a few more tequila shots away from transforming into a full blown orgy.
“Race me. You win, I take you back.”
“And if I lose?”
“You stay on the boat and do shots with me.”
“Fine, let’s get this over with.” I kicked off my shoes, cursing under my breath that I’d been stupid enough to get trapped on a boat with five people I barely knew while my supposed friends got their freak on. I was smarter than that.
At least I knew I’d win. My top ranked swim team hadn’t nicknamed me “Phelps” for nothing.
Chet splashed into the water causing a couple I’d never met before today to flip him off before returning to …
Dear God, I did not need to see that.
I quickly dove off the boat, the salty warm water hugging me like a long lost friend. I surfaced a few feet away. “I’m ready when you are.”
Without another word, Chet was off, surprisingly smooth strokes already pulling him away from me.
His lead didn’t last long.
The buoy was only three hundred meters away – a piece of cake for me. I easily passed him less than a third of the way there.
I was in the zone, flying through the water – more at home here than on land.
As I turned at the buoy, the sound of an engine revving reached me.
Chet tossed me a wave from the wheel as he put the boat into gear and fled – in the opposite direction.
“Hey!” I screamed. Why didn’t my friends stop him?
“WAIT! You can’t leave me he-!” My yell cut off as a wave of water splashed into my mouth.
The boat shrank into the distance.
Calm. Be calm. Swim towards land.
I took a deep breath and searched the horizon.
Nothing. Only ocean.
I was alone except for the buoy – too big to grasp.
Please, don’t let me die.
This is a work of fiction for The Red Dress Club’s writing prompt this week:
Water gives life. It also takes it away.
Write a short piece – fiction or non-fiction – inspired by one or both of these statements.
Word maximum is 600.
Comments and constructive criticism craved. I want to improve and I appreciate feedback so I may do so. I promise I won’t cry if you hate it. Much. It’s okay. I need to thicken my skin.
Did I “show” you the story, or did I “tell” it to you?