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Thu Dec 08, 2011 1:45 pm

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I sat on the wooden dock, and stared out at the sea’s horizon. Restless ocean met with a faint pink morning sky. I watched the sun rise up from beneath the sea, sending the sky into explosions of violent pink and vivid yellows and reds.

A smile settled on my lips as I threw out my nets and fishing lines. I was a bait catcher. It wasn’t a glamorous title, but it at least got me close to the sea – something my mother was hesitant to allow these days.

I sighed and watched as the fishing vessels set out to find their usually spots. Waves lapped at the ship’s hulls, and captains shouted out commands to their crews. My father’s dream was to own his own shipping vessel one day – and my dream had been to accompany him…but that dream died along with my father.

My feet dangled from the dock, my toes just barely submerging beneath the cold sea. Little guppies, too small to be caught by my bait net, tasted my toes with their miniscule mouths. “Guppy kisses” is what my father used to call them.

My smile slackened a bit and I tore my eyes away from my feet and their friends. I glared at the horizon once again and watched as the sun rose higher and higher in the sky. Soon, instead of blue on pinks and golds, it was the blue on blue of late morning.

I stared blankly seaward, and focused on the warmth of the sun on my tanned skin. It was hard to believe that it had been so rough and rainy last night – probably one of the worst storms since the one my father died in.

But there were no fatalities this time – unless you include the abandoned shack out on the rocks. It got demolished with the storm’s wind.

The shack was kind of a mystery to us – no one knew or remembered who built it. Because of its curious fame amongst the kids of town, almost everyone, at one time or another gets dared to go and explore it.

I remembered when I was younger that I was dared to spend the entire night there. Me and my best friend Jillie climbed up to it and stayed the night, but in the morning we found that the tide had come in, covering up the rocky passage that took us back to the beach.

We were so scared, that we forgot that the tide only lasts for a few hours.

I laughed to myself – we left that part out when we told everyone the story of our adventure.

Jillie and I had always vowed to go on real adventures together, once we got older – but now that she was married and pregnant with a little girl, I figured that fantasy was over.

I focused back on the horizon but found that it was no longer just blue on blue. There was a little patch of black – or maybe brown – disrupting the monotony. I squinted my eyes to try to see it better.

“Hey, Mal!” I shouted.

Back on land I heard heavyset footsteps coming my way. Mal, the dock patroller stepped onto my dock, “What?”

I pointed out to sea, “Give me your glass – I think there’s something out there.”

He grunted, “Probably just chunks of an old ship.” He pulled his spyglass out of his clothbelt and tossed it down to me.

I expanded it and focused the lenses on the brown patch.

At first my view was blurred, but as I toyed with the lenses the board came into view…along with its passenger. Out of surprise I almost let the spyglass drop from my fumbling fingers.

“Mal – there’s a kid out there!” I shouted in urgency.

“What?!” He grabbed the glass out of my hands and looked out to sea, “Holy Spirits – I’ll get ‘em.”

But he was too late – I had already stripped off my shirt and necklace.

As I dove into the water, carefully avoiding my nets and fishing lines, I heard Mal shout, “Get back here Girl! Your mother’s going to kill me.”

My arms and legs worked together like a machine, feeding off of each other’s motions. I swam against the pull of the ocean, and reveled in the feel of the cold water drowning my sun-browned skin.

The current was putting up a fight, but it was no match for my expert swimming skills. I had grown up in the water, and so far had never been beaten by it.

I came to the surface and started a backstroke, just to give my muscles a new challenge. If it weren’t for the urgency of the situation, I could have stayed in the water all day. It had been too long since I had gone swimming.

Too quickly it seemed, I had found my way to the makeshift raft. Up close I could see that the board was debris of a shattered sailing vessel, and the occupant was a dark-haired boy about my age of sixteen, with bones clearly outlined beneath his skin.

I reached a hand out to him and grabbed his wrist, feeling for a pulse.

It was weak, but it was still there. This boy was clearly a fighter – from the looks of it, he had been adrift for a few days now.

His hands were clenched tightly onto the board, but he was defiantly unconscious.

“You better not fall off kid,” I muttered to his unmoving body.

I grabbed onto a part of the board that wasn’t completely covered in splinters and started swimming back to shore.

The swim back was tougher, considering I was using one less arm and had seemed to double my weight, but I loved the challenge. I kicked with as much power as I could, and backstroked my way back to shore.

It actually wasn’t that hard with the current helping me a little bit.

On shore there was a little gathering of people waiting for me and the drifter, and as I neared them, people started coming out to help me.

My feet were able to touch the sea floor as Mal came up to me and the unconscious boy. “You’re mother’s going to murder me in my sleep,” he grunted as he helped pull the board and passenger ashore.

I rolled my eyes, “Just get him to the beach.”

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