Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Breathe (08/19/10)
TITLE: Black Lagoons
By Troy Manning
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After sitting at the shore for several minutes, Frances thought she saw the Creature playing a brief game of now-you-see-me-now-you-don’t. Nelson, however, said he couldn’t see a thing because it was too dark.
It took a little while for their retinas to manufacture adequate rhodopsin for efficient night vision. When it did, Nelson and Frances began to gaze into one another’s eyes.
Nelson’s blue eyes looked to Frances like inviting oceans into which she wanted to drown, if only momentarily.
Frances’ brown eyes looked to Nelson like mysterious black lagoons in which the creature he feared himself to be occasionally surfaced. Nelson shuddered at the thought there really could be something so ghastly about him.
Frances anxiously held her breath as she saw herself sinking to the bottom of one of Nelson’s azure seas.
Nelson’s breathing was getting heavier, as the disturbing revelations concerning his depraved inner recesses triggered his asthma.
When the Creature realized Frances was no longer paying attention to it, it began to make loud splashing sounds.
The love that Frances felt welling in her heart buoyed her back to the surface of Nelson’s right iris. She joyfully breached over the bridge of his nose into the exhilarating pool opposite.
The incensed Creature knew that if it were to regain any notice at all, it would have to be more conspicuous.
Unable to bear any longer these ominous disclosures from his most intimate self, Nelson buried his face in his hands.
Reluctant to leave Nelson’s half-ocean yet not wanting to worry her parents as to why she never returned from her date, Frances squeezed through his fingers and rejoined Nelson at the shore.
The Creature, by this time, was nearly standing over them with upheld claws, not unlike the French edition of the poster for the 1954 Universal Pictures movie in which Richard Carlson played it.
Frances put her arms around Nelson, whose breathing had become dangerously labored. It is difficult to say how long she would have remained unaware of the Creature’s proximity if it hadn’t emitted an ear-piercing cry that promptly silenced all wildlife in the lagoon’s vicinity.
Still, the despair that held Nelson’s heart captive was too profound to be dispelled even by an outburst such as this. As his asthmatic condition became further complicated by his choking sobs, he removed his inhaler and took a long draught.
To spare the oblivious Nelson, Frances quietly surrendered herself to the Creature. It carried her down to the water’s edge and, ultimately, into the black waters.
By the time Nelson discovered Frances was no longer at his side, the ripples on the lagoon’s surface had stilled. The dark was giving way to a tranquil dawn.
Nelson had never been aware of the Creature’s presence, as he had been wholly engrossed in his own.
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