Joey Cifelli ’23
The surf is blue and foamy and cold, like otherworldly beer fresh from the tap. There is no sand, only a smooth plane of frosted glass that meets the horizon no matter where you look. The sun is mild, and the breeze lifts up your hair in lazy spirals. Scaled creatures float through the water in the distance, big as houses. It smells like wet ash and soap. You’ve been sitting on the glass pane for about an hour when a glass bottle rolls in from the waters, clinking against the beach. Inside is a rolled up piece of paper wrapped with string. You uncork the bottle and take a look. Be seeing you, it says, and you remember all the times you’ve been here before. You wake up in bed with a startled breath. 8.4/10
You’ve returned. This time the feeling is different. What’s that on your arm? Remember, it says. And you do, you wrote it there last week. Wasting no time you crash into the ocean and feel the crystal coldness electrify your veins. You swim past the right of monsters, taking care not to be caught in the whirlpools that surround them like dogs on a leash. A chain of islands waits for you beyond. You crawl onto the shore of the nearest one and collapse, exhausted. “Hello,” says a voice, “boy, don’t you look far from home.” The speaker is a young boy with pointed ears. You look up at him weakly. He smiles back. “Well then, let’s get you fixed up. You have a long way to go yet.” 8.6/10
The boy uses some sort of spell – “it’s a punch to the gut made of vitamins!” – and energy pulses through you like the waves. You thank him and carry on your way, diving back to the foamy depths. In time a thick fog surrounds you, obscuring your path. Whispers pierce through the fog. Your mother, telling you to wake up. You feel your presence in the ocean growing faint, another reality tugging you back. Taking a deep breath, you swim down, away from the mist and the voices. Further into the abyss you fall until there is not a sound to be heard. It is only you, alone and afraid in the ocean black as pitch. What to do? Where to go? You came so close, close to something….
What? A speck of light shines in the dark. A single star, and it grows larger. A fish. A long, sloping fish with radiant scales. It pauses in front of you, waiting, and you grab hold. 8.2/10
You don’t know how long you’ve been traveling, but you can feel the time in your aching bones and windburned skin. The fish does not stop for anything, and it skims through the water like a writhing bullet. It takes everything you have to hold on, and when there’s nothing left to give, at the moment your fingers loosen, it stops. An island lies in front of you. You walk onto the shore. Someone sits against a tree with a sheaf of paper on one side and a pile of bottles on the other. They look up as you approach, and smile. “You made it,” they say. You nod. They laugh, “I was starting to think these messages were useless. Come on, there’s so much to see!” They grab your hand and lead you into the island, speaking of the adventures to be had in the coming nights. 10/10