A dark wall rose above the horizon, and a once glorious sun vanished into cold, unforgiving waters. The creaking of the wood echoed below me as I leapt off the dock and onto the deck of my ship. Voices behind me raced through the wind, but their cries fell on deaf ears as the hull of my vessel freed itself from the clutches of the island.
The first wave struck, a massive sheet of darkness against the wooden body of my ship, and immediately, I went flying forward. Salt water lurched over the side and splashed against my face, and before I could recover, the second wave hit the ship. The impact immediately launched me six feet up into the air, but refusing to be defeated, I twisted in midair and landed on my feet.
Reaching out to grasp the steering wheel, I spun the ship at an angle to match the waves, determined not to make the same mistake as last time. The sound of failure still echoed in my ears as the memory of water slashing at my sides penetrated my body. It’d been a miracle that I didn’t drown that day as my ship was torn asunder, although, much to the distress of my family, I knew I had to return.
“There’s nothing out there.” Their voices rang in my ears, almost as loud as the cracking of waves beneath me. “The world in stories is gone, and the only remnants of the old times is buried beneath miles of water.”
Their words held truth. The old world, where humans ruled far and wide, had vanished into the new age, where the seas ruled and all that remained was us few dozen atop Everest Island. According to the history passed down by elders, where massive continents once stood, only the highest tips remained, but even if that was all that awaited me, I had to keep going.
A storm had begun to gather overhead, and as purple webs of lightening weaved across the sky, walls of darkness lurched up on all sides. I braced for impact, but even if I had years to prepare, I could have never withstood the water’s might. The roaring of waves crashing all around me, the first wave knocked my ship to the side, tossing me against the wooden mast.
The sea was determined to send me far beneath its waves just like it had with the rest of humanity. This filthy water splashing against my face lay tainted with the blood of all the humans who had once lived here. This world had once been ours, back before the water rose, swallowing everything in its path, and now only a handful of us bordered extinction.
Their faces flashed in front of me, and for a moment, warmness flooded through me. The remnants of humanity: my parents who’d raised me to appreciate all things good in life, my little brother and sister who I continuously tricked into going on adventures, my friends who showed me that even a rock and bundle of sticks could pass an afternoon, Emilia who I’d shared my first kiss, Old Man John who’d taught me the ins and outs of sailing and fishing, and so many more who made my life wonderous. One would think that being trapped on a small, tropical island for one’s entire life would grow dull and uninteresting, but thanks to them and this world, I’d never felt that. No, my life had been richer than I ever expected or deserved, and thinking that, it was almost preposterous that I was trying so hard to leave.
Reaching out, I once against grasped the steering wheel, and just before the next wave struck, I spun the boat, saving it from capsizing. The sea did not relent, and out of the void rose hundreds of massive goliaths bent on swallowing my vessel. Salt water drowned the air, and the world disappeared into darkness as wave after wave rushed forward out of the abyss beneath me.
Seconds dragged by like hours, and time itself soon vanished into the vortex of water trying to drown me. My arms grew sore like one hundred boulders were bearing down on them, and everything in my body cried out for rest. However, if I stopped, I’d never surpass these waves. I’d never reach the world on the other side. I couldn’t stop for the same reason I couldn’t turn back and stay on the island.
“What’s so important about venturing past the waves?” My parents’ voice once again echoed through my brain as they asked the same question, I’d failed to answer my first time out here, but in the midst of nature’s chaos, I found my reply.
“This island we’ve lived on, it’s filled with so many happy memories.” I turned the ship as a shadow that stretched up to the clouds approached me. “Despite possessing so little, we had so much to enjoy. Our lives on that tiny island were wonderful, but the world was more than a tiny island. The world was more than we could ever imagine. Beyond the waves that bound us, there was the world that once belonged to us.”
“Belonged to us once but now resides with the sea.”
“Yes, the world we once ruled was swallowed by the sea, but that doesn’t mean it’s lost to us. Look at our island. Despite living in this world of darkness, it’s given us so much joy. If such a tiny piece of the planet can give us this much happiness, what will the rest give us?” My ship raced forward and slashed through the shadow, revealing a golden light rising above the horizon. “That’s why I will surpass this sea. Because I want you all to enjoy everything this world has to offer us. This sea has trapped us for so long that we’ve forgotten that beyond this sea is the world that sill belongs to us, the world that will always belong to us.”