May 2nd, 2010
It was a dark and stormy night.
Cliché, perhaps, but there was simply no other way to put to words the fury and ferocity of the squall. The sky was ink-dark, the clouds were angrily swirling, and the wind howled as it buffeted the tiny ship. The men stumbled, grasping onto the rails for dear life as the sea buckled and heaved below them. The rain streaked down in a thick curtain that prevented anyone from seeing more than two feet in front of them, and made the deck slick and treacherous.
Every few minutes, a great flash of lightning split open the sky, throwing everything into blinding light, and a deafening roar of thunder quickly followed. They had known the storm was coming before they had set out that night, and they were all seasoned sailors who knew better than to go out on the sea. Nonetheless, they had done so anyways. They had always acted like they were stronger than nature, always thought that they could outrun danger. Now, the sea would make sure that they paid for it.
The waves crested again, the ocean turbulent and bucking like a great beast trying to throw them off of its back. The crew members shouted themselves hoarse as they tried to be heard over the raging weather, calling to one another to tie down supplies and make sure everyone was on a line. Not a sound was heard between them as the storm swallowed their voices whole. The ship shuddered and groaned, tipping dangerously towards its port side, and another wave buffeted it like a battering ram and wrenched it back upright. The crew was thrown to the deck like rag-dolls, slamming hard against it, the air leaving their bodies and being whisked away into the wind.
None of them saw the rocks coming.
The boat slammed into them with a mighty *crack*, once more throwing the men who had only just managed to regain their footing to the deck. Thankfully, they hadn’t hit the rocks dead-on, but the shrieking wail that pierced through the torrent of rain made it clear that they were scraping all along the ship’s starboard side. Another minute or two, another shuddering slam, and they collided with more rocks, invisible through the downpour.
Once more, the boat heeled over dangerously, suspended at a steep angle that was made even more treacherous by the rocks and the rain. While most of the crew managed to grab onto the rails or were lucky enough to be attached on a line, the men watched as a single figure slid down the rain-slickened deck, crashed into the stanchion, and was swept off the side into the sea.
The rest of the men on the deck called out his name, hoping against hope that maybe this time, they could be heard through the storm. They prayed that the sea would save him, would deliver him safely to shore, but they knew with an icy dread deep in their hearts that it was never so kind.
They could only hope that the SOS transmission that they’d sent earlier went through, and that someone would find them once the storm blew over. They grounded themselves more firmly on the rails, and hunkered down as best they could against the howling storm. It would be a long and dreadful night.
The waves broke around Dean as he was plunged into the sea, the water parting around his barely-conscious form with a muffled *ka-thoom*. A thick flume of bubbles twirled upwards past his body, flurrying up to break through the surface of the water. The storm still howled and raged above him like a wounded animal, buffeting the water, sounding distant from how far submerged he was. The waves were just as powerful beneath the surface as above, and no matter how hard he kicked his legs and paddled his arms to try to swim back up, Dean just couldn’t fight against the squall.
As every precious second slipped past him, Dean was forced further under the water, swept further out away from the ship. He struggled and thrashed against the waves, desperate to get back to the ship, get back to his crew. The more he fought, the faster the breath left his body. A thin stream of bubbles slipped from between his lips, a broken cry for help swallowed up by the ocean.
After what felt somehow both like an eternity and an instant, the last of the air left Dean’s lungs. The fight left his body in a rush as stars began to dance at the corners of his eyes. His limbs grew heavy, his vision blurred, and his eyes drifted shut as his body drifted, unconscious, down into the depths.
Dean slowly came to consciousness some time later to the sound of murmuring voices somewhere off to his right; one sounded to be a soft but steady feminine alto, while the other was an impossible deep baritone rumble. They sounded…funny. Like he was hearing them from behind glass, or underwater, or something. He blearily forced his eyes open, only able to separate the lids by a slit. He tried to turn his head to look towards the voices, but his muscles were unresponsive. He tried twitching his fingers and shifting his legs, but they were similarly useless. He lay motionless for a while, straining to hear the voices better, but they were just too muffled to make out anything specific.
He didn’t remember falling asleep again, but he must have, as he found himself opening his eyes a slit again. This time, everything was silent around him. Once again, he tried to move, shift any part of his body, and again his limbs were unresponsive. He was able to stay awake for another minute or two before he passed out again; just as his consciousness started to fade, he caught sight of a flash of bright blue.
He awoke perhaps half a dozen more times, each time for only a minute or so. He saw the same flash of blue several times, and only heard the voices twice more – he was fairly certain they were the same voices, but it was hard to tell with how muffled they were.
The final time he awoke, it was to a white-hot searing pain in his shoulder. He reflexively tried to scream, but all that came from his throat was a piteous whimper. He tried to thrash, to get away from the pain, but his body still wouldn’t move. He blacked out again, this time from the agony; his vision blurred and his ears rung, but just before he lost consciousness, Dean finally heard the deep voice clearly:
“It’s okay, Dean – you are saved.”