Danielle turned on the television, something to watch while she let her tea steep.
Discover was playing shark week.
Background noise as she put the kettle on the stove, then laid back on the couch and fell asleep.
When she opened her eyes, Danielle was standing on the deck of a long narrow ship with cranes holding cages up out of the water. Groups of people stood around the cages, some tightening the fittings and checking for damage, others copying information from a computer system installed on the cages onto handheld devices.
Raising a hand to her forehead to block the sun, Danielle sat up and looked around the deck more closely. She was on a research vessel out on the ocean. The water seemed to go forever in every direction.
Danielle walked towards one of the cages and a man stepped out wearing a full wetsuit and oxygen tank. She walked passed him and stepped into the cage.
"Diver ready!" voices yelled out around her. "Cage in the water."
Danielle looked down and saw what she was wearing: she had flippers on her feet and was wearing a shorty suit with short legs and sleeves. She didn't have oxygen or anything to cover her face.
"Wait!" she called back.
The crane dropped the cage with a smash into the water below. The water felt ice cold on her legs and Danielle struggled to hang on to the bars above her head to keep from sinking, pulling herself up as the water rose up her body. She tried to break out through the same way that she entered; but the door had been locked and it wouldn't budge.
Air bubbled up from below every surface on the cage as it became completely submerged in water. Danielle pushed her face between the bars and puckered her lips to get the last breath of air before everything was water. The cage went deeper and deeper. Darker and darker. The world moved around her as she passed through ecosystem after ecosystem. Every layer of ocean teaming with life.
After a minute, her lungs began to burn. As the cage continued to descend, she let out a long, slow breath, fighting the urge to inhale as her lungs slowly emptied. Eventually, she couldn't take it. Danielle breathed in deeply with the panic of knowing that she was about to die.
To her surprise, Danielle was able to breath just fine in the deep ocean. She took several deep breaths and tried to slow her heart rate. At that moment, the cage came to a halt. The water felt warm and calming; so she focused on that feeling.
Danielle looked around. Why would there be a cage unless there was something to be scared of in the water. Once again, she was frantic. She checked the computer systems for emergency panels to retract the cable holding the cage or contact the crew of the ship on the surface above. Those things and more appeared to be available; but nothing worked. She pushed the buttons and pulled at levers to no avail.
She didn't hear it or see it. At least not that she knew of. Some deep instinctual part of Danielle told her that hovering in the water a few feet from the cage was the object of her terror.
Danielle turned slowly to see the shark staring back at her. Once she had turned around completely, the shark began to move around the cage. It passed close enough by the corners to brush its tail against the metal bars.
Her heart was steady.
This is a dream. This is a dream. She said to herself again and again.
The shark moved towards the door where Danielle had bashed her feet hard against the bars, hanging from the top of the cage, trying to get out. It brushed the end of its head against the latch. Just a dream. Just a dream. The latch gave easily and the cage door started to sway back and forth in the current.
"Just a Dream. It's all just a horrible, terrible, awful dream!" Danielle screamed.
The shark turned away from the cage with a jerk and swam away, hitting the cage door with its tail and opening it completely. It began to turn in circles several yards away from the cage.
Danielle took a deep breath and pushed herself out the door into the open ocean. She kicked her flippers and swam out towards the shark.
The shark turned and swam off at amazing speed through the water. Danielle followed effortlessly as the magnificent creature lead her through schools of fish, inside underwater caves that emptied out through small, winding passages covered in coral, and back out into the light of the sun beaming down through the ocean depths.
Every creature in the ocean turned around and went in the other direction at the sight of the great predator. Those that didn't, ended up being consumed by its unforgiving jaws. They dove down deeper, going further and further from the surface until a sharp noise cut her focus.
Danielle blinked her eyes open to the living room and the sound of the kettle steaming in the kitchen.
She jumped up to run to the kitchen, before turning around and leaning over to grab the remote. Danielle changed the channel and left the room.
About the author
Typically, I write science fiction (Mutiny); but my passion for writing has led me to write a handbook for lucid dreaming and I hope to one day write travel books from the lens of my anthropology degree. All my work is published on Amazon.