Story: David Rawding
This Is Power
The wave in front of me ascends to regency like a tongue poised to lick the sky. The crest, decidedly paramount, becomes too heavy with weight, and dives ahead. An advancing wall of water suddenly crumbles and shatters into piles of white glass. The avalanche of foam races to meet me, but I push down on my board and dive under, avoiding the energy’s jurisdiction.
When I breach the surface, I resume paddling until I reach a patch of calm water. From here, I straddle my board and watch as the ocean gives authority to giants, folds of rolling motion wrapped in blue robes.
Between the water’s might and my moxie I sense the leader as he stirs from the deep, pushing against the structure of the water’s dominion.
I turn, give the wave my back, and go prone. With deep strokes I pull water to gain speed and steer the sharp point toward shore. Without looking behind, I feel omnipotent hands grasp my feet. Once I sense the moment of sway, I tilt the nose of the board down. The connections within my body link, while my muscles flex and extend to push my chest from horizontal to vertical with one heave. Each of my feet claims its birthright and clings to waxed fiberglass.
My knees bend as I try to guide the board like a spear tip. The water warrants me to drop down the slope, but as I try to cut back it explodes and throws me from my throne.
I’m under the water with just a mouthful of air. I tumble and bounce off the ocean bottom. My eyes are closed, but I can see the circles of energy as they pull me into their orbit. The oxygen I’m borrowing becomes stale and inefficient for my lungs. The ocean tries to force my surrender. I can count the seconds I have left.
The cyclone suddenly stops and I’m cast into quiet space. Death’s tentacles beckon me to stay as I claw and kick for the surface.
I open my mouth and then my eyes and all I can taste is life. Bitter, salty, and the most potent air I’ve ever breathed.
David S. Rawding has a BA in English from The University of New Hampshire and an MFA in Fiction from Southern New Hampshire University where he teaches creative writing as an online adjunct professor. David’s children’s book, Lucas the Traveling Crab won the New Hampshire Literary Awards’ Reader’s Choice Award for Outstanding Children’s Literature in 2011. David’s short fiction has been published in Barnstorm Literary Journal, Steel Toe Review, Black Lantern Publishing Magazine, and Forty Ounce Bachelors. A New Hampshire native, David is currently exploring The American West. In addition to his professor work, David works as a fly fishing and rafting guide in Alaska.