Fiction: ‘Scale’

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I sail upon a calm blue ocean on a crisp paper boat.

The scent of sun-drenched paper brings a drowsiness to the air, mingling with the tang of salt on the breeze. It’s a dreamy sort of day. I place a hand on my forehead, shielding my eyes from the dazzling sun as I peer out over the endless blue. The horizon shimmers with reflected sunlight. An aeroplane glides high over my head, casting its great big shadow over my vessel. It moves quickly and in a moment it’s gone. I sit down in the stern of the boat, running a palm over the giant letters printed on the surface of the deck.

“…ancient mariner grew still in the…”

The words are cut off by a fold in the paper. The writing which joins to the previous sentence doesn’t fit.

“…ten-minute intervals tend to vary depending on one’s place and perspective…”

I stand up and move to the centre of the boat. Grasping the line of cotton thread with both hands, I tug until a perfectly white sail unfurls like a snowy set of wings against the bright blue sky. The tissue-paper catches the breeze. They billow out, blinding white under the brilliance of the day, and pull me onwards into uncharted territory.

I’m practically flying now.

The bottom of my boat skims the water as I race onwards into the endless blue, savouring the feeling of lightness. Minutes pass like hours. I go on until strange bubbles begin to burst upon the surface of the water, leaving a rainbow film in their wake.

Suddenly the sea looks too blue.

I watch a wall slowly rise from the horizon, towering over the water in levels of pale blue tiles. I don’t know where it came from. All I know for sure is that I need to steer my boat away, or I will collide with this gigantic barrier. Everything starts moving faster. I do all I can to turn back in the direction I had come, trying to keep calm as water sloshes in over the deck, soaking the letters on the surface.

“…proximity to a centre of gravity…” is now waterlogged.

When I look back, I see his giant face grinning from ear to ear as I speed away from the wall. He wants me to sink now; he’s had enough of the game. I cling to the boat as a garish rubber duck lands beside me with a giant splash.

Its cruel blue eye stares down at me.

I pull on the thread again, shifting the angle of the sails enough to turn away from this ridiculous foe. I sail on, heedless of the dampening paper beneath my feet. But I don’t get very far before a shadow plunges my vessel into darkness as the boy’s large soapy hand closes around me with a final deafening crunch.

~ Ekaterina

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