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Fiction by Abbie Doll

Household Spelunker

Okay, yes, I admit it. I did a dive into the dog’s water dish. Don’t ask me why, I don’t have to tell you. Fine, look, always wanted to try it out, so I caved in, jumped in. Dreams and reality don’t mix without effort. Sure, the water tasted a bit like drool, a bit like doggy backwash, whatever. Would’ve been weird if it didn’t. I doggy paddled my way around the perimeter, trying to get a whirlpool going, if only to feel the weightlessness of some invisible force pulling me along, tug-tug-tugging me through. Hush, who cares if I was the one who started it, that’s beside the point and you know it. That right there was my all-time fave poolside moment—that feels-like-flying magic, that scrumptious second of letting go after exhausting yourself slow-motion sprinting in circles, lapping yourself again and again and again and again until you lose all earthly sense of where you’re going and who you’ve been. It’s that dominoes, house-of-cards sensation. You build it up, knock it back down, build it up, knock it down. You bask in the glory of exertional accomplishment, the effortless peace for but a beat, then you turn around, hop in the ring with its current contender, and put your dukes up. It’s instinctual—this wrestling with water. You strive to rip right through this force you’ve produced, work to obliterate the flow with willpower alone. But you regret it in an instant. Such deflated disappointment always comes with tearing your own efforts down. Dismay aside, I continue splashing about, marking my new territory, half-expecting the dog to mosey on up and slurp me down. But he’s nowhere to be found. Off napping, probably. I dive down once more, this time to the bottom of the bowl. There’s a shiny silver grate begging me to pull. I don’t have a clue what’s on the other side, but there’s not an ounce of self-restraint left in me. I yank and I yank and I yank, bubbles gushing out my nose with that fire hydrant flow. Everything yields. The grate pops off and water floods the drain. As it’s going down, as we’re going down, I start to wonder how we’ll ever escape, start to question if our absence will even be spotted. I just wanted to look, wanted to be an explorer in my own right—which is so hard to do nowadays—but it was an unmarked one-way road to talking-heads nowhere, and now the glass is fogging up with all this stupid doom and gloom. Cough splutter choke, rinse and repeat. Going down down down but there’s still this marvelous twister swirl haloed in opal shine; yes, yes, at least there’s that. Beauty and terror have never not gone hand in hand, current to current, around and round, fear and awe, fear and all.

Abbie Doll

Twitter: @AbbieDollWrites

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