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A Bittersweet Sea Dive (Contest Entry)

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Zatharel avatar Zatharel
Level 48 : Master Sweetheart
I'm a hypocrite, I know. This is a good theme though. Enjoy.

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A Bittersweet Sea Dive (Contest Entry)
A Bittersweet Sea Dive (Contest Entry)
A Bittersweet Sea Dive (Contest Entry)

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There's a strange satisfaction to watching rain pour over the sea. Perhaps it's something about that seemingly endless mass of water get even bigger, becoming a greater wonder and a greater danger. That, or I was just very bored or miserable and would have settled for just about anything to pass the time. More than likely, it was the latter.

It was on the 10th anniversary of my father's death that, as I stood on the beach watching the rain pour over the very same sea he died in, I contemplated getting in the water and never getting out. My mother died long ago and I didn't really have any other family. I never managed to maintain a single relationship, because I felt unwanted by everyone even if told otherwise. There was no reason to keep going and there was no better place to end than the place my father died, the perfect final spit in his face.

Throughout the entirety of my childhood, my father was cold and distant. Being one of the most popular and well-paid builders throughout the known world, he had more than enough money to have me taken care of by others. "A miracle", they called him, "the legless architect", but his lack of legs was in fact his smallest flaw. The brief interactions that we had weren't pleasant and thankfully, they weren't frequent.

No one really knew how my father died, the crew on the ship said that one day during their trip, he was just gone when they woke up. Given the amount of alcohol he put into his system the night prior, they assumed he had fallen off the ship somehow and drowned. Perfectly predictable for him, really.

I didn't cry when they told me he was gone. Actually, I didn't even notice and while you could justify that by saying I was young, it took me a long while to realize that empathy is earned, not assumed when dealing with people. My father never earned that empathy, so there was no reason for me to feel troubled by his death.

I thought about him quite a bit that night and then walked into the water, bringing water breathing potions so that I could at least admire the underwater view for a while.

I remember the water feeling warmer than I thought it would. That, and it got deeper earlier than I expected. It was quite difficult navigating through the kelp at first, but the illuminating sea pickles made it a lot easier.

Schools of colorful fish swam by me as I got closer and closer to a somewhat distant coral reef. It seemed like the perfect place to spend your last moments, surrounded by arrays of vibrant colors.

After swimming for some time, I sat down at the base of an underwater hill, ready to wait out the rest of my time looking at the coral reef. I can still picture it now, that's how beautiful it really was. I'd say that I cried, but it was hard to tell because, you know, I was underwater and whatnot. As I sat there ready to face the abyss, I heard a rather loud and intrusive voice shout:


I looked behind me and saw... a dolphin. A talking dolphin, in fact. At that point, I was questioning the nature of the potions I brought with me. Or, even better, my sanity. Neither of those things were at fault though. Anthropomorphic sea creatures were something I had heard of from explorers, but I never thought I'd get to see in my lifetime.

"Yeah buddy, I'm talking to you. You're not the first to come down here like that with your special potions looking to off yourself next to my coral reef. The problem with that is that you're littering in my sea and that really makes me angry, you know?"

The realization that I wasn't the first to try it really hit me hard. For a moment, I forgot I could reply to him normally because of the water breathing potions.


"Yeah well, unless you have enough potions to go back to the surface, it's too late. You're going to end up like the last guy that drowned in near the prismarine. "

"What prismarine? Can you take me there?"

Prismarine doesn't form underwater naturally, so I was curious as to what he meant.

"Well, you're already down here, so might as well... Follow me, see if you can keep up."

Naturally, I couldn't keep up, because he was a dolphin. He was kind enough to wait for me though and that was surprising given the attitude he had prior to that.

"The prismarine" as he called it was in fact a bunch of ruined remains of various buildings. Among the prismarine there were pillars of quartz supporting high platforms, sea lanterns and a lot of other decorations. It must've looked fairly beautiful when it was still in one piece.

"So who died here?" - I asked the dolphin.

"It was about a decade ago when I was minding my own business and stumbled upon a man with a bunch of potions like yours just sitting here next to the prismarine, waiting for the effects to wear off."

"Did he say why he was sitting there?"

"He did. Poor guy had some big family issues and to top it off, he only had one leg!"

I think my heart might have skipped a beat when he said that.

"Sorry, what?"

"Yeah, he kept going on about how he wanted to build an enormous palace for his family, that's what this building here was going to be. He told me he had built a bunch of other things in the oceans as well, hidden from everyone else. Anyway, things didn't work out because his wife died and he ended up being a really bad father. He was hoping that, after respawning in another world, he would be able to do things better."

I didn't really know what to say at that point.

"So, what's your story?"

My "story"? I wasn't going to let my father's failures lead me into my own end! I realized that this life was mine to control and that I didn't need to gamble it away for another one. I felt anger, and it was the kind of anger that drives people to move forward and not look back.

"I have one more potion, but I need more to get back to the surface."

"Oh, a sudden change of heart? I like that. But there's no way I can help you, not unless... "

He began searching for something inside the ruins.

"Here it is! It's very old so it might not have the full effect, but it's the best you'll get."

He put a small water breathing potion in my hands, instructing me to swim as fast as I could. We said our goodbyes, I thanked him and I began swimming to the surface.

Once again, I saw the schools of fish swim by me, perhaps even more colorful than they were before. The potion was definitely less than ideal, but it worked. Every time I wanted to go faster, I just thought of my father and what a grand failure he was. I refused to be like him, I still do.

When I reached the surface, getting to the mainland was easy. I sat on the beach soaking wet and thought about everything. It wasn't raining anymore and I somehow found that appealing. New beginnings, I suppose.

I never really forgave my father, but that experience did help me understand him a bit more. Nevertheless, that day is still a positive one in my memory, despite the circumstances that led to it. Because despite my little bittersweet sea dive and despite what I learned about my father, it was a great day. More precisely, it was the day I decided I was going to turn my life around. Today, I stand before the same sea and I am proud to tell you: I did.

CreditPunkamoar, proofread / Akir, title help

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07/26/2018 4:05 pm
Level 13 : Journeyman Warrior
Lostbedouin avatar
This was heartwarming, Zath, what even. Good job, good opening, unexpected ending.
07/26/2018 5:57 pm
Level 48 : Master Sweetheart
Zatharel avatar
thanks, glad you enjoyed it (:
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