Numbers-Part Two

Numbers-Part Two

A Story by Jay. E. V.

Finally part two is up!=D Don't get too excited though as I don't find it as good as the first, and I wasn't even happy with the first=/. So, Feedback appreciated=D


Eleven seconds. That was all the time it took to put me where I was. The foaming, thrashing water made it a priority to slam against my wound. Each time it did, I winced in agony. What hope did I have of reaching the sands before my competitors? They might drown, I found myself thinking, wishing.  It was entirely possible. I straightened myself out and paced even strokes and kicks accordingly. Making a rush to catch up would be sheer folly. If I was lucky, they would try to grind out the swim all at once, effectively causing cramps in their limbs, resulting in their immediate removal from the race. I just had to fight through the pain. My thoughts flashed back to the bearded man, who had been so confident in his speed. Now, his eyes sat wide open, devoid of all spark. How many had he taken the spark from? Still, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the man. Not even a murderer deserved to die in that way. But who was I to speak of what anyone deserved? Returning my focus to the swim, I noticed that the other two had fallen out of plain view. The waters were much too active to see more than a few feet ahead, and to make matters worse, a storm was rolling in. I could barely handle the things in the current condition with a pierced arm, let alone a full blown storm.

            Panic spread through me like a virus, infecting all of my thoughts. My legs strained to keep going, but they were losing tremendous amounts of strength. Each second felt like an hour as I struggled to stay afloat. Thunder crashed loudly above, announcing its terrifying presence. The wind swirled and twisted violently, causing the already freezing water to become colder. Hypothermia was sure to set in, even if I made it to the island, I would die on its beaches. Maybe that was the real point of the little race, to ensure no survivors, to give no pardons, no second chances. Maybe the purpose of the race was to simply degrade our last few moments of life with a foolish spectacle of death.

            As the waves grew even larger, I held on to my little plank of wood with a iron grip, it was the one thing between me and an early disqualification. I squinted hard as the rain began to beat down on my head. Then, I saw them. Not more than a few hundred feet ahead, the bald man had taken the lead and the little girl was looking tired. This was my chance. Mustering up all of my remaining strength and thrust my legs into the sea and began kicking and swinging furiously. I could catch them. Stroke after stroke I saw the distance closing. The waves threw me high into the powerful winds, giving me brief boosts in speed. Exhilaration replaced my despair, we were gaining on the island, and I was gaining on them.

            The minutes felt like hours as I made my last ditch effort to survive. Time kept passing anyway, apathetic to my suffering. Though, I hardly felt the pain in my arm anymore, it seemed less important in the grand scheme of it all. Diligently, I swam, Head down, eyes closed, legs kicking furiously. There was no longer any point to watching them, either I would catch up, or I wouldn’t. Seeing it happen would merely distract from the ultimate goal. I paddled in this way for some time, until, suddenly, I felt a change in the temperature of the water. Looking up, I realized that I was not but one hundred yards from the shore line, with neither of my competitors in sight. Still gripping what remained of my driftwood flotation device I searched the waters like a hawk, hungry for answers. Had they already reached the shore? No, that would be impossible. Could I have passed them already? Quickly taking a peek behind, I saw the bald man, struggling to stay afloat, the little girl, a small ways ahead doing no better. I had passed them. Though I was disadvantaged by my arm, I had my trusty wooden plank taking much of the heat for me.

            I started a mad rush to the shoreline, it was about to be over. The storm had greatly calmed down, the sun was peeking at me from the heavens, and I was going to live. It was incredible. Before I had even noticed, I was in the shallows. A few strokes later, and I was touching the earth with my feet once again, trudging through the last of the water. After everything was over, I was going camping, somewhere deep inland. I had earned a vacation.

            The water was now at my waist. I stumbled, struggling to stand upright as my feet sank into the wet sand floor. Horrendously out of breath, I waddled ever closer to my goal. The air was chilling as it washed over my drenched body. I let go of my plank. It had served me well, but its usefulness had been outlived. I turned around once more, just to see the odds. They were still neck and neck, shoulder deep in water. I had won, they couldn’t catch me now. The water was up to my calves; I took a deep breath and smiled at the large crowd amassed on the beach. They cheered my name and I took the final steps. Stories of my heroics fluttered off their tongues. The legend had been born. I was the man, with the courage to win with only one arm, the one everyone had counted out. My chest swelled with pride as I prepared my last step into my pardoned life.

            Suddenly, a violent scream echoed in my ears. I spun around to find its source. The bald man was in the shallows, gripping the little girl’s throat tightly in his meaty hands, obviously enraged by the thought of loss. I looked back to my beach, and back to the girl. What did it matter? She was going to die anyway. All I had to do was take the step; the archers would ease her passing. I listened as her gurgled screams pounded in my head. Then it hit me. The crowd wasn’t talking about the man who lived; they were talking of the monster who lived at the price of a little girl’s life. So, I put it in perspective, just as I always had. I turned around one final time. The way I figured it, it was just eleven seconds.

            Filled with a sudden tenacity, vigor was restored to my broken body and I lunged toward the murderer. The crowd behind me gasped in shock. Nine Seconds. I slammed my foot into his face, for the second time. He reeled backward in pain, submerged under water. The girl gasped and choked violently, struggling to take air back into her chest. Seven Seconds. The man quickly leapt up to his feet and tackled me. He seemed almost impervious to damage. Five Seconds. I was drowning. His incredible strength was too much for my weakened state to handle. As I prepared to welcome my death, I felt something solid bump into my hand. It was a small chunk of wood, a piece of my plank. Three seconds. Gripping the sharp sliver in my hand I raised my good arm out of the water and stuck it in the bald man’s neck. Instantly his grip loosened and I tossed him off of me. That little bit of rowboat had saved my life twice in one day. As it turned out, it was less than eleven seconds.

            I faced the little girl who was struggling to stand, terrified. I approached her, and carefully lifted her onto my back. She was barely conscious. I began my walk once more to the shore line. This time, however, I knew I wasn’t going to win. This time, I was going to my death. I found myself one step away once more. Gently, I laid the girl down, and gripped her hand in mine.

            “Don’t go stealing any more bread, hm?” I whispered, hoping that she would somehow remember what I had done for her. The crowd screamed and roared, they had been thoroughly entertained. One of the executioners walked from amongst them, arrow racked and aiming in my direction. He knew what I was to do, and he waited. I released her hand and it fell to the island’s sand. She had made it. She had earned her freedom. The archer’s dark eyes pierced me, and he nodded. Somehow I knew he respected my actions, somehow I knew he was giving me a few extra moments to be proud. I patted the young girl’s head and stood up. A team of medical professionals rushed to her aid from the boats they had all taken to the island. Immediately, they began checking her vitals and patching her up. The dark eyed slayer looked at me, pity in his eyes. He nodded once more, and I nodded back to let him know that I was ready. Suddenly, he loosed the arrow.

            He Missed, I thought, sprinting into the crowd.

© 2013 Jay. E. V.

Author's Note

Jay. E. V.
It's still a little wordy, I know, but I will work on it=D.

My Review

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Wow! I read A LOT on the cafe because I am unable to turn off read requests I suppose and I've learned to read a piece quickly - but this one made me slow down and lock on to the story. It was vivid, well paced and intense with a selfless main character. NICE! I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Posted 10 Years Ago

Jay. E. V.

10 Years Ago

Thank you very much=). Means a lot coming from you.
Oh my gosh!

This is turning out to be so epic! I find it brilliant that the main character in this is such a moral person, it makes for such an amazing turn of events.

Also, the thought struck me while reading this wonderful piece of writing, that we still have no idea what the main character's crime is!

Obviously people can get thrown into this for as little as stealing bread, but on the other hand, the other two were in it for murder, so it could go either way.

Posted 11 Years Ago

Jay. E. V.

11 Years Ago

Haha Thanks!=D. I like the use of the word "Epic" hehehe.
Yes I wanted him to be unpredictabl.. read more

11 Years Ago

Nothing wrong with having too many projects. :)

I personally can't focus on a project w.. read more
Yes!!! Thank god he got away... You write with such vivid description; i find myself admittedly more caught up in this story than I expected to be. Love it.

Posted 11 Years Ago

excellent story! an excellent almost finished work- proof it a little to trim- you captured the essence of this horrendous competition powerfully.

Posted 11 Years Ago

WORDY? no no. lol you needed this. you needed all those words to intensify everything. it was truly amazing.

Posted 11 Years Ago

more more!! Cant wait!

Posted 11 Years Ago

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Wow very well written, had me sucked in the whole time.

Posted 11 Years Ago

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7 Reviews
Added on February 6, 2013
Last Updated on February 6, 2013


Jay. E. V.
Jay. E. V.

Waynesville, MO

Well, Hey there. I'm Johnathan, I really enjoy writing, obviously. I'm pretty laid back, I like to help other people with their work and have them look over mine=). So, if you want to do that, just me.. more..


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