Friday, 11 October 2013


The man never saw who pushed him. His mind had no time to accommodate the fact he was falling until he hit the water sixty feet below. The warm Mediterranean sea, so soft and tranquil when viewed from the ship's side, slapped the breath from his lungs as it took him deep into its depths. Realisation and panic jolted his body into furious action to regain the surface where he gasped, forcing his lungs to draw breath.
Floating in the calm night sea, surrounded by a gentle fiz of effervescence and bubbles, he followed the line of foaming whiteness that ended in the huge hulk of the liner pulsing steadily away. The rhythmic thumping of its great screws churning the water growing ever fainter. His body took voice, frantic screams of help, arms thrashing, someone would hear, the ship would turn, he would be saved. Fatigue overcame panic and the twinkling lights of the liner grew dimmer and merged with the stars on the horizon. They had not heard and they were not coming back.
He began to swim, furiously slapping the water, chasing after the ship, determined to save himself but exhaustion again crept through his limbs until he could do no more. For hours he floated, his voice torn into cracked silence, the gentle swell a bed. If this was his fate, so be it it. And impulsively he threw his arms up and sank.
In the depths, panic again took hold, refusing to let him draw breath, to drown, and he fought his way back again to the surface. Alternating prayers and curses were spat along with tears into the night, unheard and unseen. Oh God, he cried in despair, just let me die. Then, in the distance. A fin. His last prayer answered.

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