You are reincarnated over and over again.
But sometimes the way you die in your past life is so traumatic that the fear bleeds into your new life. You are hunted buy a past that isn't yours, but is. And for some reason you can't explain, you fear water and then you fall.
What You Carry With You
Lights flash, washing a blue-green hue over the lively party, as the sound of electronic music rolls over you. It pulses with vibrating beats, crashing against you wave after wave; as if made to by some kind of gravitational pull. A current of people dance around you, they flow with the music like a maelstrom of arms, legs and bobbing heads. You watch them as they move together: a sea of people. Drinking, dancing, partying; sticky in the summers humidity and glistening with beads of sweat. You take a deep breath the sickly scent of chlorine, alcohol and cigarette smoke mixing with the saltiness of the sea air. It’s almost too much, all the lights, the noise, the people and you ask yourself, for almost the hundredth time, if you really should have come.
You hear a splash.
You turn to see people jumping into the pool; clothes and all. You can feel yourself begin to sweat, even more then you already are. You breathe in slowly and count:
Your mind overflows with the irrational need to start crying, as a groundless feeling of panic mixed with anger makes your heart rate spike. Your hands travel to your neck as you gasp for air, the world spinning around you like a whirlpool of ocean lights, smiling faces and way, way too many people. You grab a drink. Then another. And another. It burns as the blue liquid runs down your throat and you feel a little better, despite the subtle tingling sensation that is slowly flooding throughout your body.
You relax, the sound of your heart beat calming you, easing you back into a comfortable breathing rhythm. You stare up into the night sky and for a moment, just a moment, feel at peace with everything.
Hands grip you with great strength, despite the drunkenness of their owners, and lift you up off the ground. Cries of excitement hang in the air around you like a thick, stagnant fog, as you are carried, closer and closer, to the pool. You kick and scream, the buzz pumping through your veins sinking into the depths, leaving a hurricane of horror to surge in its place. Tears stream down your face, as you beg for them to put you down. The sound of your cries are drowned out by the swirling vortex of music and ecstasy.
You crashed into the gurgling water and watched the air bubbles rise to the glowing surface, as you sunk deeper and deeper into the icy-cold river; a deafening silence enclosing around you. Your heart beat with an urgent ferocity and your lungs burned with an intense fire, as the edges of your vision darkened with each passing second. You struggled against the bindings that encased you, and fought to keep the chill of the winter water from pulling you into the depths of the abyss. The rope chafed against your bare skin, as the rest of it floated around you like a vicious sea-snake, taunting its prey. It jerked suddenly and you were pulled to the surface, coughing and spitting, where your naked body bobbed in the clear water for everyone present to see. They looked on with fear in their eyes, judging you for the witch they thought you were. They screamed at you over and over, calling you out as a lie: a worshiper of the devil; a trickster; a wicked woman; a demon's spawn.
You wondered what you did to deserve this punishment: where did it all go so wrong? Through eyes wet with tears, you looked to your beloved, who stood beside another, on the safety of the shoreline. Someone who you once called friend. Together, they watched you as the men of the village released the ropes and you were to the bottom of the river once again – in the hope that you would prove your innocence. As you descended into the water, that familiar pain surged again. Your lungs felt as if they were going to burst, and the tiny fragments of your shattered heart, beat furiously against your chest, and then there was nothing.
A slowly growing warmth that gently lulled your fear and rid you of the waters chill. You felt at peace and welcomed the sleep that called to you in steady beats.
Through instinct you somehow make it to the surface. Your clothes slosh around you as you try to keep your head up, your arms flailing about like a fish out of water. You call for help, but no one seems to be paying any attention. As you struggle to stay afloat you feel like the music is screaming at you, and you alone. That it’s accusing you of something you have done wrong, when you know that you haven’t. It rushes at you, and the world seems to engulf you like a tidal wave that makes you sink back beneath the water.
You watch as your last breath of air floats towards the surface in a slowly moving bubble, that reflects the coloured lights in breath-taking beams.
The edges of your vision darken.
You lean over and cough, water spraying from your mouth and scream, “Get off me!” as you push a body away from you. You breathe heavily and realise that Henry saved you. That he gave you mouth-to-mouth.
You blush furiously and turn to thank him but he practically shouts back in your face:
“God, don’t you know how to swim?” a look of horror flashes across his face, followed by realisation, as the others around him start to laugh softly and then uncontrollably.
“You can’t swim!”
“What a loser!”
Henry stares at you and asks flatly, “Why’d you even come?” knowing fully well that it was because he had asked you to.
As panic fulled and riddled with embarrassment, pulses through your veins, you are crushed by everything around you. It all seems to melt together, like a dark fear inducing painting. Your breaths come quickly, quicker than ever before, as you weave your way through the crowd that continues to mock you. You stumble, and the mocking intensifies. You fall straight into the glass railing, and an ear-piercing crackling resounds through the air, as a sudden silence envelopes the world.
You descend into the darkness of night, falling for what feels like forever, wondering for the last time why you even came.
Excitement courses through your body as the teachers usher you and the other students onto the hovering air-bus. You jump up into the huge floating vehicle and give the old driver a big, toothy grin. One that shows-off the hole that’s left from the tooth you lost last week. You hop up into your seat, resting on its rim with your legs dangling over the edge, impatient and ready to leave.
Your teacher walks down the aisle she eyes you, “Cricket, sit properly in your seat.”
You scowl at the fact that she calls you Cricket – all because you’re supposedly ‘knee-high to a grasshopper’ – and slide back into your seat with a scoff. She laughs and continues checking on the other kids, counting them as she goes.
The trip takes what feels like forever, but your grumpiness falls away as you see a plane land when you arrive at the airport. You gape openly at how awesome it is, completely mesmerised by its sheer magnitude. Inside everything is big, white and shiny, and there are so many people, all rushing around like crazed bugs and it makes you feel like you’re moving in slow motion.
You smile like the Cheshire Cat, as everyone piles into the elevator, and think about the plane you saw on the way in, and you just know that seeing one even closer will be one hundred times cooler than anything else you could ever see. After a low ding, the doors whoosh open to reveal a bright blue, cloud-less sky and an enormous plane.
You can’t contain your joy as you bolt to the railing, eyes wide and full of awe. You ogle at the air-craft, your heart beating a hundred miles an hour: it’s the most amazing thing you’ve ever seen.
“Wow! Look how high up we are!” You smile at Liam as he stares down at the ground and follow his falling gaze.
Your heart stops and your throat tightens, and you start to feel dizzy. The sudden urge to throw-up grows stronger as the world seems to drop out from underneath you. You can hear it, the sound of the wind as it blows down – so far down… Tears plunge down your face and you scream. All the teachers jolt in shock and run to you in a frazzled panic, fussing and cooing over you, but still, you squeal like a teapot that’s boiling on the stove. You feel a dampness run down your leg and acid burns your throat as you throw-up on Mrs Roads. The world tilts below you. You sob uncontrollably, confused and scared for some unknown reason. Which only get worse as the other kids begin to laugh at you and mock you.
Mrs Roads takes your head in her hands and wipes away your tears. Your chest heaves as you try to stop crying. She smiles at you, “It’s okay. You’re okay.”
You wipe your hands over your hot, sticky face and sniffle, but it sounds chunky and wet, “I was falling.”