Part 203

Part the Two Hundred Third:  Setting A New Course

Hope noticed two things as she tread water in the middle of the open sea.

One was the number of shark fins that broke the surface, surrounding her.  Their circles were fairly wide now, as the punching she did into the water, hitting one in the snout, seemed to have kept the rest of them away from her. 

The other was how calm she stayed and felt as she scanned the sea, looking for something, anything, to deliver her from this.  Part of her was glad that if she had to be thrown from the Raging Gale into the water, that it happened now rather than earlier.  She dreaded how she might have fared without facing everything else she had before this moment.

She tried to concentrate more on the here and now, and not let her reverie draw her in too deeply.  There’d be times for that, she thought, once this had been dealt with.

If this were dealt with…? 

No, once, Hope firmly concluded.

To that end, she noticed in the fading light something breaking the waves that was not a fin.

She started for it, arms pulling while she kicked.  Her progress was slow at first, moving through the water in tiring fits between strokes.

With a little concentration, she found a rhythm to apply to her legs and arms, and her progress improved.  The shape before her was no longer as far off, and soon she was upon it.

Hope recognized it on sight, a piece of the Gale’s gunwale as wide as she was and half her length.  She tried a few times to mount it width-wise, the third time succeeding with her arms tucked over the edge.

A few quiet moments of thought later, she had the inspiration to change her position on it, and the flotsam was soon supporting her torso and head, leaving her arms and legs dangling off it.  It took very little time or effort for her to note that she could continue her progress more easily, kicking and stroking while the gunwale kept her afloat.

Shortly, she found herself away from the sharks, though with night closing in it was hard to say with certainty that she was truly clear of them.  Not wanting to give them a chance to find her, she kept going towards what sunlight was on the western horizon.

By the time the stars had the sky to themselves, Hope’s pace slowed gradually, then stopped.  She shifted herself in starts and stops until she was face up on the flotsam, staring at Heaven.

Wondering why she was here, and for what purpose.

And how much longer she would be bobbing on the waves…

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