Choking blackness. The splash and howl of the storm is lost; deadened to a dullness in my ears. I wait to drown, to die. I wait; my body desperate to inhale, my mind delaying the moment I must. I’m cold. I’m numb. With fingers of ice, the seaweed reaches out to catch me and begins to tighten its strands around my neck.
Help me, Lord!
Death looms out of the deep. A growing portal of blackness within blackness. And I’m sucked inside. Swallowed to a hollow in a supernatural fish.
Oh Lord! What have I done?
So dark. So dark! My eyes are open, blinking blindly. But I can breathe! Tumbling in submarine turbulence. My hands reach out to grip something, but all around me are cold and slimy walls and wet and slimy sludge. There’s nothing to hold on to. The fish bucks and dives. I close my blind eyes and let myself be carried.
I have no choice.
Well, I suppose I had a choice in the first place, kind of. My heart wasn’t really in it. I mean, my heart was out of it. God’s heart was in it. His heart of forgiveness. My heart was half-way to Tarshish, truth be told. And now, here I am, sitting here in my rescue fish. At least, I assume this fish is like, well, a life-fish.
It’s like being inside a limb. I feel encased in pure muscle. The fish moves with such strength and purpose. Sometimes the fish swallows and a rush of wetness floods in. I splutter in panic until the liquids subside a little, letting me rest back, letting me rest in the fish and move as it moves, as it bobs and twists and rises.
Oh Lord, thanks for sending this fish. If I make it out of here I will be obedient, I promise. I will go to Niniveh. You are the one who rescues us. You will rescue them as you are rescuing me.
Around me that band of muscle suddenly tightens, and again and again. I clench in response, my mouth salivates, my fingers form tight fists, my stomach contracts.
Life opens up for me. Bright light sparkles around me as I land, face first on dry land. Blinded by day, I close my eyes again and breathe fresh air. I grab sand and shingle rub their grainy hardness into my jellied flesh, shaking with the pleasure of texture and colour and…
I look out to the sea, scanning for a sweep of tailfin but all is calm.
I sit up, and for a moment, smile.
My skin is greyish and slick. My clothes have disintegrated almost completely, saturated beyond saturation.
I lie back and look up to the sky. The earth moves beneath me too, imperceptibly. I hold onto some pebbles, squeeze them until my fingers ache. I relax into the sand and the stones, feeling their hardness, their strength and purpose.