I was going to die. Lost out at sea, no food, and alone. An extreme thirst had taken over, and hunger gnawed at my stomach. How did I end up here? I was a rational person. I thought everything out analytically, down to every minute detail. I replayed the events that led to my predicament. The phone call. It was the phone call from my best friend that changed my life permanently, and forced me to act without thinking. A phone call that made me tempt death.
“Brianna! You have to come here! As fast as you can!”
Valerie sounded hysterical, and she always called me Bri unless something serious was going on.
“Val, what’s wrong? Please tell me you didn’t let the government brand you. I told you it was the Mark of the—“
“It’s not about that,” Valerie said, cutting me off. “I have something I need to show you! It’s unbelievable. I still can’t believe it.”
“Calm down and just tell me.”
“I can’t, Bri. You won’t believe me. Please, just get here!”
“If I leave now, you know I won’t get there until the morning.”
“Brianna,” Val said, her tone serious and rushed. “Please.”
“Okay,” I conceded, “I’m on my way.”
I jumped in my car and tapped, “Val’s house” on the dashboard of my car. The car revved up, pulled out my driveway, and began its self navigation to Valerie’s. After all, when your friend calls you panicked, and needs you, you go. No matter what, you need to be there for the ones you love.
The sun began its daily decent from the sky, and soon the stars twinkled brightly. I pressed a button on my door and my carseat reclined, flattened, and slightly widened, turning into a comfortable bed. The lights on the dash dimmed, and the ceiling rippled, turning into a translucent moon roof allowing me to stare at the stars in the sky until I drifted to sleep.
I was startled out of my slumber as my phone rang obnoxiously. I looked at the time on my car’s dash, five-thirty in the morning, then I looked at the phone. Valerie.
“I’m almost there, Val,” my voice, muffled and dry.
“Ok, I have coffee on and breakfast is almost done.”
“Good, because I’m starving.”
“I have a bottle of liquor, too…”
“Val, what is this about? You’re scaring me.”
“Just… just keep and open mind.”
“Okay,” I said, letting out a heavy breath. “I should be there in five.”
Ten minutes later I was in Valerie’s kitchen, eating a plate of eggs, sausage, bacon, and toast, and drinking a hot cup of coffee. I could tell she was still visibly disheveled. Something had really shaken her up, and she was not the type to be unnerved easily.
“So, you gonna tell me why I drove through three states to get here? Five including mine and yours?”
“You know I love you, right?” Val said tentatively. “We are like sisters.”
“Did you get back with that idiot, Troy? Did he hurt you? I swear, I will kill that—”
“No, Bri. I need you to answer me.”
“No, question. Of course I know those things.”
“And I would never do anything to hurt you.”
“Yeah, Val, just tell me what’s going on. The suspense is making me antsy!”
Valerie was always a little dramatic, but I loved her for it, honestly. There weren’t many dull moments with her.
“What I’m about to show you is going to be hard to watch,” she said as she slid me her tablet. “Hit play.”
I taped the arrow on the screen and a video from her security system began playing. I watched as a man walked up to her door and tried to unlock it. Of course his key didn’t work, but he looked very familiar, though I couldn’t place why.
The man rang the door bell and Val answered it. As they talked, his mannerisms were definitely familiar.
“Who is that?” I asked.
“Turn the volume up,” Val responded.
I looked back at the screen and they were in the living room. He spoke as I finally got a close up of his face, and it hit me. I realized why he seemed so familiar before. I was watching a video of a ghost. A man that had died thirty years ago while I was still in my mother’s stomach. My father. He fell overboard during a cruise to Puerto Rico while on vacation with my mom. I had only seen him in pictures and home videos stored on my mom’s tablet.
I felt the panic attack coming before it hit me even though it had been at least seven years since I last had one. I dropped her tablet, a crack appearing as it bounced on the table. My heartbeat sped up, and it became hard to breathe, causing me to clutch my chest. Heat flashed throughout my body and sweat beaded my forehead. Val was by my side in an instant, coaching me through my breathing techniques until I calmed down and gained control of myself.
“How, Val? How?”
“He said Atlanteans rescued him and took him to Atlantis.”
“Atlantis? That’s impossible!”
“All I know is that I believed him. Did you see the portal open up when he left?”
I watched the video again, then again, soaking up as much as I could of him. I studied every detail I could. His voice, the way he moved, breathed, anything to glean what type of man he was. Find some connection I could to the father I never met. There was no denying he was my father, and in that instance, I threw everything I had become out of the window. I had a singular thought. I had to find him by any means possible, be it plausible or not.
Valerie told me of the weird time difference as I began to think of a plan. Thirty years had passed here, but he was only in Atlantis for a few days. I searched the internet on her now cracked tablet for the cruise my parents had taken all those years ago. Before I even took a breath in this world. I plotted the course and then booked a cruise that would take the exact same route. I knew the night he went overboard almost down to a few hours. Determination set within me. I could do this. I would do this!
“Val, I have to try,” I said.
She hugged me, knowing what I was planning, “I’ll miss you, Bri.”
My best friend. She understood me and wouldn’t try to dissuade me from doing something she knew meant more to me than anything else. We hugged again, tears in our eyes, then I uploaded the video to my phone.
“I’ll take a real drink now,” I smiled.
We shared a laugh. It was a laugh of joy. One that signified the possibilities of me realizing a dream I had my whole life. Meeting my father, but also of the ridiculousness of the situation.
After I left Valerie, I visited my mom and showed her the video. She did not take it well, and told me I should’t go, but she would support my decision even though she didn’t agree with it. All that was left was to wait for the cruise.
It was an agonizing month, but the cruise finally came, and my plan unfolded. I mostly stayed in my room except to eat and when the night came, I eagerly dove into the water to await rescue from a lost civilization that was thought to be myth. One day turned into two. Two days turned into three and so forth. That was how I ended up here, lost at sea, on the verge of death. I was searching for a ghost, and it seemed I had failed.
Starvation will make you delirious, add in being lightheaded from the beaming sun sapping the rest of your bodies energy the hunger missed, and you begin to see things. You don’t know what’s real and what isn’t, but the ship that emerged from the depths of the ocean was real. Only one thought passed through my mind as life ebbed from me, and I began to pass from this world. I was so close. I almost met me dad.
Hey, everyone! Thanks for stopping by and reading my short story! Leave a like, comment, or feel free to reblog if you have the inclination! This is a continuation to “The Atlantis Decision”. If you haven’t read it, the link is below. Enjoy your weekend!