Challenge: Write a story, picture essay or poem about the sea. A warm, lovely sea.
KEEP CLEAR OF THE WATER
Holiday on Zara, the agent had said, would be a unique and exhilarating experience and it seemed to be living up to the copy. A select party was aboard an ocean liner, and the suns beamed down like twin golden orbs.
The sea was steaming.
It wasn't the kind of steaming you might expect if the oceans were in a gigantic cauldron heated by a great fire, but steaming none-the-less. A light fluffy kind of steaming, a hazy, drifting, lazy, barely visible kind, drifting across the sky.
“I love it,” sighed Dora, “I need my bikini!”
“It's in the luggage still,” murmured Brent, “I'll fetch it for you if you like.”
“I'll go myself and put it on in private! I'm not having half the eyes under the sun burning through me while I strip off!”
“Then I'll come with you.”
“Put your shorts on if you like.” She grinned. “I'll watch you get changed!”
“You'll not see anything you haven't seen a thousand times before.”
“Nor will you!”
It was barely ten minutes later when they both walked back along the deck to where they'd been standing before. It was their spot. Everyone had their own spot. That way there would be no argy-bargy along the lines of I was here and no you weren't!”
“It's lovely,” sighed Dora.
“At last I feel like we're on holiday,” agreed Brent.
“Keep clear of the water!” advised a loud speaker.
“It's perfect,” smiled Dora.
“Let's go for a swim!” suggested Brent.
“Keep clear of the water!” urged the loud speaker.
“I'll beat you to it!” giggled Dora.
“Keep clear of the water!”
“That speaker's got itself trapped in a loop that it can't get out of!” laughed Brent.
“Technology!” smirked Dora, knowingly. “Me first!”
“Keep clear of the water!”
Brent sighed. She looked more than lovely in her bikini. Her skin was smooth like young skin ought to be and her eyes were radiant. And that bikini was really tiny and barely covered any of her, its flimsy material reflecting a rainbow of light from the planet's double star.
“I love you,” swallowed Brent.
“Love me?” asked the speaker. “Just keep clear of the water!”
“Dora. I love Dora,” said Brent.
“Then keep her clear of the water!”
“I love her more than anything! Dora, my sweet, marry me!”
Her eyes softened. “Of course, Brent,” she whispered. “I thought you'd never ask!”
“I know, Brent.”
“Sweet Dora... Catch me if you can!”
And Brent dived over the side of the boat and entered the water with a belly flop that sent fountains of water high into the air until it splashed down, tiny globules onto Dora's shining skin.
He disappeared. In that very instant all sign of him vanished and he was never seen on all that planet again, nor was any remnant of him ever found save for a very saucy pair of swimming shorts that floated away, bobbing and turning, until they sank out of sight in the distance.
“Brent!” shrieked Dora.
“I said, keep clear of the water,” sighed the speaker. “Now go and wash before you follow the idiot!”
But Dora was crying.
Of course she was! In an instant her life was changed for ever and the one love she'd found was, apparently, no more than a pair of skimpy shorts sinking into the alien ocean. The holiday was ruined!
The splashes where the fountain of water had tickled her were itching and she rubbed them, and gasped.
Where moisture made her skin damp there were little holes. Not sores, not gaping wounds, but holes, like holes punched in a sheet of paper. And if you put your eyes close to them you could see through them and to the other side where the sea was rolling and steaming and Brent was swimming and splashing and laughing and calling for her to join him.
“Keep clear of the Water!” ordered the speaker.
“Sorry, speaker,” she whispered, and prepared to dive after Brent into the steaming sea.
© Peter Rogerson 06.02.13