Wednesday, July 7, 2010

“Across The Black Sea” by Melissa Mendelson

The sun was slipping over the edge. Hope drowned beneath darkness. Cries were faint whispers of the wind. Dilemma gently rocked back and forth, and lives struggled to survive. Quiet held the night in hand, and turmoil boiled beneath the surface. And voices carried deep into the black abyss.

Two men sat on opposite sides of a small canoe. Their paddles were gone, sunk beneath waves of darkness. Silence was the wind that gently sat beside them, but bitter words lingered in absence. Averted gazes rested upon the faraway shore, and their backs pressed against the hard wood. Their feet kicked at the floor beneath them in frustration, but neither one would look at the other. And tension rocked them back and forth as if in a cradle, but would it break them apart?

“I hope you’re happy, Dave.” One man leaned his head back and looked up at the dismal sky. “I hope you’re really happy.” His eyes desperately searched for the stars. “We’re stuck. Unbelievable.”

“Don’t start, Jason.” The other pressed his back further into the small wall behind him. “I don’t want to hear it.”

“You think rescue is coming?” Jason snapped his head back toward the man. “They would have been here already.” His eyes narrowed, and his tone was bitter. “Rescue is not coming.”

“They’re coming.” Dave shook his head. “Look, I’m sorry that we are stuck like this. I was trying to help.”

“Well, your plan failed, so now what?”

“I don’t know.”

“I’m sorry. You don’t know, Dave?” He rested his head against the back of the canoe. “The cap didn’t work.” A tear stung his eye. “They’re still dying.”

“I know.” Dave’s lip trembled. “I wish I could save them.”

“Well, who’s going to save us?”

“I don’t know, Jason.”

“How did it get so bad?”

“I don’t know, Jason.”

“Why can’t we change?” He turned away from Dave. “The answers linger at our fingertips, but we are afraid of change. We fear to let go of the past.”

“No.” Dave wiped his tears aside. “We’re comfortable. Look at technology. It has become the very cushion that we base our lives off of, but what happens when the circuitry crashes? What kind of world would we find beyond the cyberspace? Chaos.” He swallowed hard. “Absolute chaos.” He gingerly touched the waves that lapped at their vessel. “That’s what we fear.” He looked at the oily substance that raced down his finger. “That is why we can’t let go.”

“So, others suffer for our benefit?” Jason kicked at the floor. “What gives us the right?”

“Does it matter?” Dave’s voice was soft, almost a whisper. “They’re still dying. We can’t save them, and maybe you are right.”
Jason met his gaze. “Maybe rescue is not coming. Maybe this is the price for our mistake.”

“It can’t end like this.” Jason jumped to his feet. “We can’t give up.” He looked up at the sky. “It’s not in our nature, not in our blood, and not in our heart. We can’t give up.”

“So, you’re the optimist now?” Dave chuckled. “Tell me, Mr. Rocket Scientist. How do we solve this crisis?”

“I don’t know.” Jason sat back down. “There has to be a way.”

“Has to be a way,” Dave repeated. “What we need is a hero, but we won’t find one like this. He or she would have to find us, so get comfortable. It may be months before we have our answer.”

“If we have our answer.” Jason looked out at the sea of blackness. “I don’t know why I look, why I want to know.” A tear raced down his cheek. “It breaks my heart to see and to know.”

“Good.” He glared at Dave. “You’re still human.” He touched the water again. “It’s so easy to lose ourselves, so easy to drown into oblivion that we often forget.”

“Forget what?”

“The world, but has the world forgotten about us?”

“And if it has?”

“This is where we end.”

“I hope you’re wrong, Dave.” He curled his hands into fists. “I hope you’re wrong.”

Soft tendrils of darkness wrapped around the small canoe. Empty whispers of wind carried across the two men. Tension slipped into misery, and oblivion inhaled all hope. A chill touched the air, leaving those vulnerable cold, and the stars denied all eyes their lovely view. But in the far off distance shined a small light, and determination thundered across the void. And tears of rescue fell down across the black sea.

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