Our first submission and first contributor: Steph Harding.
Bio: Hi my name is Steph and I'm 15. I live in New Zealand and i love orienteering, swimming and writing. I live a pretty normal life and I'm a pretty normal kid. I hope you like my writing.
His eyes are as blue as the water that stretches out before you; they flash as your feet spring off the edge. For a moment, you’re suspended, frozen, floating in the air. For just a moment. You slip silently through the air. He blinks, and the water crashes up to meet you, adrenaline pumping through your body as your legs kick furiously while your arms spin windmills. Every stroke, every flick of water that sprays above you is joined to a memory, a thought, an image. The drumming of your heartbeat, the swish of the water, his voice whispering in your mind. Sounds, songs, thoughts; jumbled in your mind like the water in your mouth. A scream runs through your legs and you close your eyes, blocking out the pain. Another image, a smile this time, flickers in your mind. As your hand smashes against the wall, you see an arm, stretching out to stroke your cheek, your lips. Your body flicks over, a tumble of water rushing past you. Your feet feel strong as your push off, releasing yourself into the last length. A curve of his lips, a flash of white teeth. The tiles on the pool floor have become a blur, but from the water in your eyes or the speed you do not know. His whole body hovers before you for the smallest of moments. The fire in your legs is catching, spreading to your feet, burning down your arms as they slam onto the surface of your water. You think of the trees, you think of the nights. You think of the dreams that followed your for nights, weeks on end. They haven’t stopped, and neither have your legs. The fire has turned to ice, turned to a tornado of pain in your muscles. The wall looms ahead of you, and you can feel his soft hands caressing the skin on your shoulders, your back. An arm smashing against concrete; bruised knuckles. Screams that whisper past you. Dreams that come alive. You cling to the edge of the pool; arms shaking, fingers white. You’ve won. As your breathing slows, the noise around you comes into earshot. You hear the screams, the yells. Mechanical beeps; water splashing. Heavy breathing. You look to your right, at the girl who has just finished. She is panting, her shoulders rising and falling steeply. She looks up at you and you smile tightly before turning back to the wall. A shudder runs down your back, goose bumps appearing on the stretch of your forearm. The clock on the wall drags over slowly. There are still swimmers finishing; their strokes seem slow, arms arcing gracefully through the air, slipping into the water carefully. Your mind wanders to the forest that borders the pool, to the darkness of the leaves that close the sky off in a web of green. You think of the cool shade, the rustling of each step on the leaves that litter the ground. You think of the valleys that run forever, their steep hillsides that flow like water, steep banks, trees clinging to the ground with strong, firm roots. A whistle blows loudly, waking you back into reality. You blink and duck under the lane rope, your heavy, aching arms struggling to pull yourself through the water. He flutters through your mind, drifting across your vision. Tired bodies hauling themselves out of the pool, water dripping down your skin; the air cold against your bare arms, legs.
Steph Harding ©