Your black eyes blink open. You are in a cave. It feels cold against your furry back and legs. There is a window, large and round. The light it lets in glints within the cavernous space, reflecting off the ceiling in sparks that could be stars if they weren’t so menacing.
You push up, barely enough room to stand, and step towards the window. You push against it with all your might and the world outside looks blown out as if seen through a fish-eye. But there is no movement of the pane. You see something looming outside, coming closer, and you fall back onto the ice-cold floor. Has it got even colder? You don’t want to be seen.
Then the floor begins to rumble. You hear running water – at first a trickle, but then suddenly the floodgates open and you are drenched in a deluge of cold water. It fills up the cave from the bottom. You do not know what is going on here.
You try to stay upright but the water catches you, lifts you clean off the floor. You feel cold to your bones . Could this get any worse?
Yes, it can. The rumbling turns to a rocking, turns to a rushing, and now the floor is up and the ceiling is down and you are caught, caught in phantom currents that seem to have come from nowhere. You screw your eyes shut, not from the sting of the water but to try to take yourself away, anywhere that isn’t here. The crashing continues and you are thrown every which way, into the walls and up against the window. You can’t face the fright you feel here – so you start to think of something else, something kinder.
You think of being dragged along the floor, riding the bumpy landscape of the living room. Which changed to dare-dangling centimetres off the ground, being flung along without care and yet feeling cared for. Being clutched tight to someone’s chest, crushed in a way that could crumple your bones. And you feel held, and you feel safe.
And then, the tumult stops. You crash to the floor and the cave drains as fast as it had filled.
What was that?!
You lie, exhausted, and then freeze as the window is pulled away by some phantom means. Fresh air rushes in, revives you as you are grabbed round the ankle by fingers small enough to comfort. You are rudely hoisted out, and stolen away, even as you here Mum’s voice call out.
“You can’t take Bear back yet! He’s still wet!”
But you are carried up and to the bedroom. To a calm place. You are with your child, and you are safe.
This is the piece I wrote at the first Mind group I attended, based on a prompt of a teddy bear brought in. I haven’t really edited it but I still feel proud for writing and sharing it.
Photos by Marina Shatskih & Alex Blăjan on Unsplash and Viktor Hanacek on PicJumbo
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