Under Another Sun
My recently finished project awaiting representation
Fall 2000- Ravynn Bradley
An overwhelming sense of melancholy washed over Ravynn Bradley as she sat in the back of her parents’ light blue Volkswagen Station Wagon. It had been a very good day for a thirteen-year-old, and there seemed no reason for her sudden feelings. Fresh from a swim meet, followed by ice cream with her parents at her favorite soft serve spot, Sullivan’s, across the river.
But as she’d climbed back into the wagon, her stomach did a backflip challenged its cool contents.
Crossing back over the bridge to go home, that melancholy gripped her and wouldn’t let go. She’d wished her twin brother Ray was with her. Even though she couldn’t grasp what she was feeling, he often could. Twins were good that way, she knew. Shared feelings and unconditional understanding.
Ravynn wasn’t positive, but she thought she was going to be sick.
She cranked the window down all the way, placing her arm on the window frame, and set her head on her arm, sucking in the fresh air. Her raven-colored hair danced and flipped over her face in the cooling night. The lazy moon tried and failed to slip its light through the hazy clouds above.
“You ok back there?” Her dad called out. She caught his eyes in the rearview, eyebrows raised in question.
She felt her lips move, about to answer, but all that made it out was “I---”
She never did get to answer him.
There was a woman standing in the middle of the road. Her dark hair shrouded her face, and she wore nothing but a slip of a white gown. She let off a glow like she was made of the moon itself.
Headlights from up ahead blinded her to her father’s gaze. It was as if he’d disappeared in a flash. The lights were too bright and coming straight at them.
Her mother cried out from the passenger’s seat, “It’s in our lane!”
The lights were all Ravynn could see until her father slammed on the brakes and yanked the wheel to the right, trying to avoid both striking the woman in the road, and the car coming straight at them. The force of it sent her first smacking into the back of his seat, then spilling her onto the floor of the car.
The tires screamed in a way that Ravynn should have as she lost her breath. Slammed into something hard. Crunching sounds. Metal ripping. But they still kept moving.
Then the world went lopsided.
The car lurched forward at a hopeless angle, smushing her back up against back of her the dad’s seat. Lights danced across Ravynn’s vision, like thousands of little fireflies.
Her mom was saying something, Ravynn was sure of it. And her was screaming. But they already seemed so far away. Like Ravynn was all alone, pitching downward in her metal prison toward the unforgiving water below the bridge.
The world was darker than before, despite the little fireflies flashing their stunning brilliance at her.
But still, she didn’t scream.
Not until the car hit the water. In reality, she knew it was all happening fast, but that was when time slowed down.
She could feel her jaws and lips wide open, as the most terrifying sound she’d ever heard came forth from her own mouth as the car slammed into the water. Her jaw slammed shut from the impact, rattling her teeth. Water pulsed and thrummed up over the sides of the car. But within those first nanoseconds, Ravynn had realized she was already reacting. Those first few drops of water trickled over the side of her open window, into the car, too slow to be real-time. But it didn’t matter. Her body had vaulted to the side, flinging herself out the window, into the cold, dark water of the lake.
She never once thought of Mom or Dad- because in those moments- no one else existed.
There, cold, but unaffected by it all, as if viewing this all as a spectator in a movie theater, she robotically tread water, unemotionally watching the car sink, the greedy lake devouring it.
Then something from behind brought her attention around. A woman, standing, or floating there, above the lake, in a spinning vortex of water. A protective funnel encased this woman, keeping her above the lake’s grasp.
Ravynn knew what she needed to do. Where that melancholy feeling had come from, because it was here again. A looping feeling of deja-vous gripped her tightly and she remembered being here before. In this moment. It was a recurring dream she’d had thousands of times, so often that there were times when Ravynn doubted what was reality and what was the dream. This woman had always been there. Her dark hair spun around her head, in the same motion that the funnel of water was spinning in. Her white flowing dress billowed , twisting and turning along with the rotation of the water in the funnel.
Ravynn needed to go to her.
The woman opened her arms in welcome.