Ripples | Samantha Lee

When the moral compass is broken we’re all adrift at sea.


Ripples

Samantha Lee

2IC Mega Death Award


 

Waves bumped the tiny boat along, the people crammed, unable to move, standing upright or sitting on top of one another. They were thirsty, the days sweltering, sweat dripped from one to the next. The smell of body odour covered them, a pit of deteriorating bodies and excrement as they rubbed against one another.

Crying could be heard, not just from the babies and children now, but from the adults who sobbed dry tears. Rationing their food and water, people were starting to lure in death, his scythe held like a baseball bat ready to roll the heads of the suffering. These people had seen death walk in their cities acting swiftly, knocking multiple heads off at a time. He haunted them in their nightmares and daydreams, and in their mosques, their schools, and their homes.

***

They followed the tour guide, cameras slumped over their shoulders and around their necks, the walk of the city starting first thing in the morning, finally making it to the memorial erected firm, strong, a reminder of how America still stood. They were led into the centre, the sounds of running water getting louder.

“Each jet represents an individual who passed on the day,” the tour guide continued.
The group was silent, reverent, taking it all in, the trees still behind them. Their eyes were wide, each stream of water a reminder of the impact that person could no longer make. Death arrived quickly that day, summoned from the other side of the world.

***

The boat continued to drift, the captain continuing to instruct the vessel. No one was talking. But there wasn’t silence. The babies continued to scream, people sobbed, stomachs roared. The weak became weaker, bodies pushed overboard, their graveyard the beating ocean which began to attack the boat more violently now. Bodies slammed against the water, their salvation never arriving. A group of people forced to find it for themselves yet not able to. In their minds, they could still hear the bombs shelling, the bullets punctuating their cars, the windows shattering and the screams of the unknown, as they looked around to check their family were with them. Death walked freely with the people, no longer suspended on a tightrope above them, leaning down to take one at a time. Instead one swift movement was enough to kill dozens in a single stroke of the clock.

***

The group stood in awe, the sound of the water consuming them. The gravity of the situation rang in their ears, each individual searching for peace amongst the chaos, some shaken to their very core imagining the streams of water as people, some jumping out of windows, others suffocating, heat peeling their skin off their bones. The bright sky a taunting reminder of how the winds can change so quickly. Members of the group wanted revenge, wanted to watch the cities fall and crumble like theirs had. They’d seen the images of hooded men slicing the throats of the free, the modern day reaper fighting for a cause. A white man’s face appearing on the screen, sitting on bended knees. How a stranger could hold their lives in their hands.

***

Without warning, the boat began to sink. Water flowed in. No escape, no time to think, just water and death’s firm grip restricting the air flow to their lungs. The world wasn’t watching, sitting comfortably behind their tv sets and dinner trays.

***

A dumb tourist had a heart attack whilst taking in the sounds of the ripples water jets. He made the news that night.