One thought ruled: hold the kayak steady or she was dead.
The boom of the falls surged through Lara’s mind. Exhilaration thrummed her blood, beat in her neck and tingling muscles, pulsed in her taut-knuckles clenched around the paddle’s thin wood. She had to score a boof landing, smack down flat bottomed. The pool below was shallow, so no turning in the air. No pencil entry. No mistakes. Just complete and absolute control.
She could do it. She was ready.
The river’s edge dropped in front of her. Lara glanced for Paul and didn’t see him on the bank below. But she knew he’d be there. He was always there.
She sliced over the brink and flew for a split second, then dropped straight down. Upright. Balanced. Perfect.
Until halfway down. The kayak tipped to the right. Lara counterbalanced – and that’s when she saw the water formation falling beside her, looking firm, glowing with life. Sharp edges and corners where corners ought not to be. Spinning.
Time became sluggish. Water floated around her in chaos, smaller drops drifting away to oblivion. But no drops separated from this living liquid thing.
She reached and it scalded her fingers.
Lara jerked away; the kayak spun. She looked down to see how much air she had left, and sliced into the pool.
read the entire story in Pulp Literature Issue No. 2, Spring 2014.