63 - The Virus

Submitted by Ken Watts on Mon, 04/09/2007 - 08:51

Picture this.

You're lying flat on your back, staring upward, through the water. Your arms are weightless at your sides. Every sound is magnified by the water on your eardrums. You are cold, and you aren't sure how long you can hold your breath.

Above you, you can see the surface and the light, and every cell in your body aches to reach it, to burst through to the light, to the air.

I stayed under anyway, steeling myself, praying for the change to come.

I felt the pressure build in the back of my head, behind my eyes.

My lungs developed a will of their own, and tried to breathe without my consent. They didn't seem to mind that it would be water, that I would drown. They just wanted to suck something in.

But I fought them. I held my mouth closed tight against them. I closed my eyes so I wouldn't see the surface, so tempting, so close…

Then my mouth sided with my lungs, and started to open.

I sat up, so fast that I started a wave, and some of the water sloshed over the side of Ann's claw-footed tub, and on to the old linoleum floor.

I gulped a huge lung-full of air, managed to get a bit of salt water down my windpipe, and choked.

When I stopped coughing and spitting, I grabbed the box of Morton Salt on the edge of the tub, and I threw it across the room.