So, I reckon I almost drowned today…
Go from the beginning, shall I? First, let me impart upon you the obscene amount of rain that has been falling lately. In my living memory, never has a season been so generous with its rainfall. The moors are marshes right now. The rivers are rampaging and the waterfalls careening off the plateaus. My house has been creaking more ominously than usual with the added weight of its soggy coating (and I fear mildew and mold may be taking dominion over the wood of the walls). And this morning, I heard a ruckus in the Dragginwood and went to inspect it.
I walked deeper and deeper into the wood, my shoes growing very muddy and my socks soaking through, with the rain resigning for now to a light drizzle. I walked toward the spot I thought I’d heard the ruckus coming from. And when I arrived, a startling sight met my eye.
Now, I’ve walked the local Dragginwood up and down, east and west, and I know it as well as any of its denizens. So naturally I was alarmed to find that the landscape, in this spot, had changed drastically. A rotten old landslide, so it seemed, had torn up what I knew of this area and reimagined it as a sorry, soggy, tree-topply mess.
Hoping that no one had been hurt, I scanned about for living things in the muddle. I saw no one. The nearby river was still there, down below the mess, but it was swollen and full of muck and chunks of forest. Cautiously I leaned over the edge to peer in and see if anyone had been washed down there. Just as I was reasoning that even if they had, they’d either be carried away or buried under muck and I wouldn’t spot them anyway… the rotten old landslide decided its break was over.
Whee and hoorah, the bit of ground I was stood on had decided to take me for a jollyride. There was a rumbling and a shifting and before I knew what was happening, everything was all downside-up and spinning out of control. In a matter of seconds, it seemed, I found myself in a very cold and wet place, submerged and lying partly-buried by mud, leaves, and broken boughs.
I’ve always been an arse-poor swimmer. Never did get the hang of it. My swimming ability is akin to a Tambilope’s ability to fly. But my sinking ability, now… that’s superb. You show me the stone, bring me the world’s finest and most talented, and I could contend with their sinking skills any day of the year… if I do say so myself.
And that’s just where I was… sunk. After the spinning stopped I shortly registered that I was under the river’s surface, surrounded by muck and a swirling current, and that my sorry fatless frame was showing absolutely no intention of lifting itself anywhere near the surface. Even if I hadn’t been somewhat stuck under mud and mire, my skeletal stumbler would have been pleased as punch to prolong its visit with the sludgy bottom as long as it could.
Some bubbles found their way out of my face and I realized I was not breathing. Though, I had never once instructed my lungs to stop taking in air. They very simply had. Apparently, they were in charge now, and to rot with me.
I wriggled a bit. I wasn’t stuck in the hopeless fashion… I could get out from under the muck. Getting out from under the water, now, there was the trick. Just as I was pondering whether it was worth the effort, I imagined that I heard Mysteria’s ghostly voice in my head…
‘Don’t you dare just sit there, young lady!!’
Oh, bother. Mysteria, these things happen.
‘As if you didn’t know something like this might happen! You KNEW the forest would be unstable with all this rain,’ scolded imaginary-Mysteria in my head.
There was a voice from inside my chest, too… one that didn’t sound as words, but came as a building ache. It was my lungs, whining something about ‘air’. I told them to shut up, and that very WELL, I’ll bloody well WORK on it.
I wriggled some more and watched muddy dust and leaves depart into the current. I irritably shoved some branches out of my way. But, as expected, even when there was enough room for me to come free and float, I didn’t.
Shut up, lungs. You aren’t helping matters.
I made a pitiful attempt at scooting toward something that I could use to pull myself upward. But the powerful current was making that endeavor very difficult. Not to mention all the forest matter flying around above me that would need to be dodged.
A few more bubbles got out of me.
Oh, SHUT UP, will you, lungs!!
‘Aaaaaiiiiiir’, they both whined pathetically in unison.
If you don’t stop that snivelly pleading, I’m going to indulge you and breathe in right now.
‘Nooooooo, not NOW!’ they cried, clamping themselves firmly shut against any attempt of mine to inhale.
WELL DO YOU BLOODY WANT ME TO BREATHE OR NOT???
Luckily, their exertion was growing weaker. UN-luckily, so was mine. My vision, I noticed, was getting dim and my head starting to swirl as much as the current. Yet more bubbles for the river, yet less for me.
And you can ruddy well shut up, too, Mysteria!
Woosh. All was suddenly topsy-turvy again as the bottom of the river raced abruptly forward, carrying me with it. Apparently the aforementioned rotten-old-landslide had only been taking yet another rest between mess-makings. This new surge pushed me forward and upward, and shortly I was above the surface and clinging to a log, my chest expanding so rapidly and desperately it was actually painful.
That’s right, lungs, you rotted well BREATHE. And you had better make a right old SHOW of it, as well, after all the fuss you made down there.
Shortly my log was carried into a sandbank on the side of the river and stuck there. I was able to pull myself along its side and into the shallows, and there I sat for a little while, sopping wet and shivering with cold, my chest hurting bitterly and indulging in further air-gluttony, while I mused over what had just happened. I was feeling very annoyed at it all, and especially so at the way that my body can suddenly act of its own accord, doing anything and everything it can to preserve my useless life in a crisis, shutting ME right off and taking over to just decide that it is not, for instance, going to draw breath as we plunge underwater. Before I can even think or properly act, the decision is already made.
And you can just STOP that pathetic shivering, right now.
I hauled myself all a-wobble to my feet and slopped my soggy way away from the river, my clothes hanging heavy with the soaking.
And don’t sound so triumphant, Mysteria. I’m still alive for now but I’ll probably catch my death soon enough, seeing as I’m wet right through and there’s no sun out to help me.
Then, as if to spite me, the clouds parted above me and a jolly warm beam shone down onto my face.
Well, bang goes THAT.
M.F.~'Forbidden Zone' (snippet)
Mask Face is so FUNNY. Seriously, most people would PANIC in that situation and she's just... irritated. I think being a living organism seriously annoys her much of the time. Alternate title/subtitle could possibly be 'Instinct Is a B*tch'.
(It was also fun writing this within the season in which I see absolutely NO rainfall... count your blessings, Masky xD )
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