Tidal Wave by Laura Burke

An overwhelming tidal wave, crashing around you, pulling you down into the unforgiving dark. You keep your jaw clamped tight, sharp pain lancing through your skull from the pressure. You feel a scream claw and scrape its way up your throat, but you know that if open your mouth you’ll drown, inhale the cruel cold water and lose yourself to its dark embrace. The fear and stress march up and down just under your skin, crawling and digging down ever deeper. The water around you is crushing and inescapable. You desperately crave to relieve yourself of the feeling, and that glint of metal is so seductive. To just cut, cut, cut to ease the pressure; flowing lines of crimson equal the rush of freedom and peace. Scratch, scratch, scratching at yourself, they don’t understand, you need something, anything, to distract yourself. The pain is a welcome friend who knows just how to grab your attention, to cede control to you. Chest heaving, breaths ragged, traitorous gasps sneaking past clenched teeth. You are the embodiment of Atlas, but alas you are not as strong, unable to take such monumental weight. Then, just before you completely fall to pieces, until you’re smashed flat, your breaths return to normal, the scream inches its way back down your throat, and the wave recedes, leaving you waterlogged and bedraggled, crawling pitifully up the shore in a vain attempt to flee the next destructive wave.

-Originally published in The Elixir’s 2016-17 print edition

-Photo credit to The Zalt Group