The water was as perfect as it always was. To be out there, with the love of my life, riding the waves with absolutely no fear, It felt like flying; it was a new level of freedom.
"Come on Nat, this one looks like a big one..." Chris was already paddling towards the wave as he shouted and I wasn't going to let him have this one. Soon enough, the wave was upon us and it was way bigger than anything I had surfed before. I tried to stay upright as the wave crested, I really did but I couldn't and soon found my head below the water. I was not a stranger to water; I went swimming almost everyday but when I tried to use the leg strap to pull myself back to my board, I found it was broken and I had sunk much further than I had been before.
Then, I started to panic.
I was sinking and sinking fast, too fast for me to outswim it. The water was rough above with the waves crashing so harshly that they sent ripples down to me. Chris had surely made it to the shore by now as had the other surfers who were out with us. No matter how hard I pushed, how hard I kicked, I couldn't reach the top and I was running out of breath quickly, quicker than I had ever experienced. Eventually, the image of my board disappeared and my vision went dark and blurry.
This truly was the end.
I stopped fighting the water and let it take me, just relaxed into the darkness. I told Chris a hundred times we shouldn't go out in the storm. I knew it. No matter how quiet the sky is, you have to listen to the water. The water was warning me.
It knew something was wrong.
It was only a couple seconds later that I closed my eyes and prepared myself to breath in the water but when it came time, there was no water. I was stood up, perfectly fine, on the ocean floor. The water still raged above me and on either side, I could see the water but around me, there was nothing.
I could breath. I could stand. I was alive.
I slowly moved my way through the water, able to take my bubble of life with me. It wasn't until I emerged from the water and watched as the crowd began to scream and point that I thought something might be wrong. Even Chris, who was sat on the beach crying, stood up and began to move backwards.
"Nat, you're on fire..." I just smiled and continued walking forward, assuming the comment was some stupid attempt to make the mood more light-hearted.
"Thanks, I saved myself." It wasn't so much a comment as a reminder. When Chris had suggested surfing today, I told him it was a bad idea and he had told me, that no matter what, he would save me from anything. He was a liar, just like all men.
"No, Nat, you're actually on fire, like there's actual flames coming out of you. Does it hurt?" I don't know what it was about this comment that made the rage well up inside of me. It was like the lava inside a volcano, the seconds before it erupts and I felt like I was going to explode right there, taking everyone with me.
"No, Chris," I said, stalking forward slowly, "I'm not in any physical pain. I'm not injured. The water did almost kill me but I'm not hurt." My steps were larger now and I was almost upon him as he had fallen over when trying to run. "You know what does hurt? Huh? Do you know what hurts, Chris? The fact that my loving, caring, sweet boyfriend, who promised to care for me forever, left me in the water to drown. The fact that someone who is as strong a swimmer as you, someone who was going to go to the Olympics for swimming, didn't even bother trying to find me." The last comments were more screams than talking but I didn't care. I wanted him to feel what I had felt when I was in the water.
That was when I saw it.
As I was shouting, red and orange flames, like a wall, had grown outward from me. They had started to grow from a mere few inches and now, they had engulfed Chris almost entirely. I was too furious to stop them.
Even as he screamed and cried, even as he begged me to stop, I couldn't. All I saw was red.
"Natalia, stop. Please..." That voice. It was the one voice that I couldn't ignore and when I turned, seeing my dad's horrified face. He looked as he always did, donned in his fisherman's uniform, still even in his apron. It took me a second to meet his eyes and when I did, I became a scared child again. It all hit me, like a wave.
"Dad, dad, help, I can't stop it..." I no longer cared about Chris and the water, or the fact that I had almost died. It was like I had just fully understood the gravity of the situation and the fact, that I was producing flames like some sort super villain.
"Nat, listen to me, okay? Look inside yourself and make a box. Make it strong and powerful. Make it an unbreakable box..." I closed my eyes and nodded, feeling calmer and calmer as my dad talked me through hiding the flames. He said to put the flames inside the box and lock it tight and that was what I did with more locks than I had seen in my life.
When I opened me eyes, the flames were gone but everything was dark.
"Dad, where are you? I can't see..."
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