Thursday, June 28, 2012

Flashback: Undertow

by Pauline Creeden

Zana struggled to reach the surface.  The memories enveloped and dragged her to the depths of despair.  She wanted--needed to wake up.

Acid filled the air and rushed toward her face, and Zana squeezed her eyes shut against the pain. White spots danced behind her lids.  She heard nothing but high pitched ringing as she turned her head. The screaming came from her throat. Her face burned as though on fire.

Not again.

The ground slammed against her shoulder as she landed on her right side, but the pain focused on her left side instead. Her body turned from the momentum to her back and the pain renewed, dizziness threatened to pull her into unconsciousness.  She struggled; knowing that if she passed out, her brother would be in danger.  Clenching her jaw she forced her eyes open.


A red dust cloud surrounded Zana, but the sun still sifted through.  She squinted, the white dots fluttering like annoying flies.  Her mouth was closed, but she tasted dust and her left cheek moved in and out each time she took a ragged breath.

She tried to pull her left hand up to touch her cheek, but nothing happened.  Her arm didn’t follow her mind’s command.  Is it broken? She thought through the pain, unsure and unable to locate her arm.  The ringing subsided so that she could hear the giant cannonbeetle’s legs thumping the ground in a scurrying motion as it retreated.  She wondered at how it didn’t finish her. 
Fear seized her.  Where was her little brother?

Don’t look.

“Zane?”  She cried, afraid that if she moved she’d pass out.  Zana’s voice cracked lower than she intended and sounded foreign to her.  It was deep, groggy, and echoed funny.  Her tongue felt dry, swollen, and strange in her mouth.

“Zane?”  She called louder, but the force of the word caused the white spots to crowd her vision and increase tenfold.  Blackness seeped in to the corners of her sight, tunneling her vision.  She tried to get up, but her left arm did nothing and her right arm had no strength.  Tears-filled her eyes as she stared at the red sky.

Please don’t.

Dizziness seized her.  The world seemed to spin.  Zana closed her eyes again and turned her head.  The movement caused pain to shoot through her body and the blackness closed in.  When she opened her eyes, half her vision had gone dark.  She fought it again.  When the spots retreated, her brother’s face appeared.  

“Zane!  Thank God, I thought…” She stopped as a black fly landed on his open eye.

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