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Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Anchor

The Anchor

by Angela C. Orlando

I. Darkness

The dream begins with pure darkness. I am aware of my existence
alone and nothing else. Have I been sucked into the empty void
of a black hole? Wherever I am, there is no sound, no sight and
nothing to feel. I have no body. All that is left of me is one
last scream of terror...

II. Falling

Suddenly, I slip through a crack that leads me away from this
profound nothingness. As the darkness clears, I become aware of
my surroundings. My body is returned, and I am falling,
falling, falling...

I plunge fast and hard toward the deep waters of a blood-red
ocean. I can hear the angry roar of churning water below. Giant
waves with gripping tentacles stretch up as if to pluck me out of
the sky. They miss and crash back to the surface with a
thunderous bellow. And still I fall... tumbling head-over-heels
to certain death. If the impact doesn't shatter my body to
pieces, the rumbling waves will surely drown me.

III. The Boat

At the last instant, my descent slows, and I drop smoothly onto
the deck of a small boat. For just a moment, I believe I am
saved. Then I scrutinize my savior and know this nightmare
will never end.

The boat is tiny, little more than a raft. It is made of soggy
wood planks, like a pile of mismatched timber. The wood pieces
are bound together with a long length of ancient rope. The
knots of the rope are thick and heavy with water. The boat is no
longer completely whole. I see gaps and crevices where age and
elements have rotted the wood.

I wonder how this vessel can even float. Was it created by
someone who was marooned on a deserted island? Perhaps this was
their desperate attempt to escape. Or perhaps it is mine.

The entire boat is stained crimson from the dark red waters. I
wonder if the water is truly blood. Whose blood? Will mine
soon join the pool?

The wood is slick and saturated with water. It is too slippery
to grasp. I cling to the rough edge of rope. The split ends
are sharp and slice away at my fingers like hundreds of tiny
knives. It doesn't matter. I must hold tight, or else the
waves will carry me away.

IV. The Monster

The ocean stirs, as if some great monster has just awakened. The
wind wails with the force of a hurricane. A fountain of sea
water hits me in the face, making my eyes blur and burn. I
cough and struggle for breath. As the water drips down my
throat, I can taste copper and salt... the blood and tears of
prior victims.

Thunder cracks above as I hear an evil laugh. I gaze up as a
wall of water draws near. In the center of the tsunami I see a
face -- round black eyes the size of boulders and a mouth as wide
and deep as a yawning pit. Pearly white teeth with huge fangs
glisten as the water shifts. The sea foam shapes the monster's
face with devilish horns atop its wicked head. Could this be
the god of night terrors? Has he come finally to finish me off?

The battle is nearly lost. I am too exhausted and battered to
withstand another attack. I decide to give up. Anything would
be better than facing this ferocious beast. I will let go of
the rope, drift away and drown in peace.


V. The Anchor

I hear a voice, so calm and quiet it's like a whisper in my ear.
"Use the anchor," it says.

For the first time, I notice an anchor that lay beside me on the
boat. It looks like an anchor from an old pirate ship, with
two sharp hooks on either side. Although it is small, it
somehow pulses with strength in my hands. The metal shines
with a lustrous light that isn't really there.

I toss the anchor overboard, and it hits the water with a splash.
The coil of rope snakes away out into the sea. The rope pulls
taunt with a sharp jerk and the boat is absolutely still.

An arm appears in the sky, as if an angel is reaching for me
right out of Heaven. I take the offered help, and we clasp
hands. Oh, how I know this hand... I gaze at our joined hands -
so much alike that only DNA can explain the similarity. The
sea is still and the monster forgotten as I focus on these two
entwined hands. They are linked so strongly together like the
umbilical cord that once connected us.

The small arm pulls, and I am gently lifted out of the boat. I
float into the sky through the mist of a fluffy white cloud.
Then I am standing in a beautiful, grassy meadow with my son at
my side.

The sky above is bright and blue and as perfect as a summer day.
Billowing white clouds dance about overhead. They perform a show
of friendly shapes - I see a kite, a star, a circus elephant...
They form and reform, constantly changing in their show of
splendor.

Green foliage flourishes all around. Rolling hills of brilliant
green grass dominate as far as the eye can see. The nearby
landscape is dotted with bushes and trees of every shade of
green that has ever existed.

Leaves rustle in the soft breeze, so gentle it's like a kiss on
my skin. I hear the chirp of birds as they sing their cheerful
songs. I can smell the perfume of flowers on the air. A
bumblebee buzzes about in a patch of wild daisies. A furry brown
rabbit hops about until its snowball tail disappears under a
holly bush. Two butterflies flutter around a cluster of soft
pine trees, their red and gold wings shimmering in the sunlight.

All around me, the scene is brimming with life and vitality. I
peer into my son's crystal blue eyes, and I know that I can face
any cruel monsters that dare invade my dreams. He is the anchor
that keeps me afloat. He is the strength behind my will and the
power that maintains my sprit. As long as my anchor is set in
place, no force will ever destroy my determination. With my
anchor, I will always remain connected to life and love.

Revised August 2011

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