The boy and the ocean (Part 3/3)

wave breaking against sea wall

Photo by Long Road Photography (Creative Commons)

The wait is over (okay you’d probably forgotten but feel free to pretend you were counting the days…)

I give you the 3rd and final part of my Fiction Friday mini-series. You might want to catch up with Part 1 and Part 2 before you read any further. It’ll add to the story, promise. If I have managed to pique your curiosity, you can also discover this short passage where Angel – the narrator below – compares his mother to water.

*

Part 3.

I hear it again. It is a child’s scream, drowned out by the blustery wind. It originated near the minaret – a broken arm perhaps, or twisted ankle. Or simply a petrified child, afraid to move. I scurry towards the minaret and peep over my shoulder. Three hundred meters. The wall of sand is gaining momentum, like a giant wave rolling towards the cliffs. The hospital has just been engulfed. I will have to find shelter elsewhere.

I reach the corner of the mosque, only to discover a deserted place. Am I too late? A peculiar, tingling feeling spreads through my body, like pins and needles, only twice as numbing. I glare at the impending sandy wave. Two hundred meters. I resign myself to the inevitable. The sand storm will catch me out in the open, I have to prepare for the lashing heaps of sand that will spill out on me. Improvise. I take off my jacket and wrap it around my head, only leaving a gap for my eyes. Clumsily, I tie the sleeves at the back of my neck and resume my search for the child, all the while keeping an eye out for a shelter against the hurling pellets of sand.

Soon enough, I realise my initial location was perhaps the best. The winds are blowing from the south; I could use the mosque as a shield and hope for the best. I turn around the corner and take one last look at the storm. A hundred meters. My heart tightens up. I take a deep breath and turn around the building.

Suddenly, an echo from the minaret.

“Allahu Akbar…” 

The Dhur prayer has begun. I join my agnostic hands together and close my eyes. And in the darkness, I hear it once more. Clearer this time. Closer. I lean over the wall and inspect the surroundings. A body is struggling in the ocean. The hundred little knots in my stomach swell and merge into one big lump. It is a young boy. appearing and disappearing off the surface of the wavy water, like a buoy moored to the sea floor, warning of danger.

My heart is bouncing off my ribcage like a distraught bird in a cage. The vast Atlantic. More than a hum, it is now a wailing siren. The seawall is slippery. The palms of my hands blooming in sweat.

Fear is like a helium-filled balloon, all you have to do is let go.

I turn to the open sea. Rough. Uninviting.

“It is only water, Angel.”

The boy is nowhere to be seen.

I clench my fists.

One, two, three. Jump.

*

Thanks for reading.
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