By Breana Kirby
Posted on January 28, 2023
Cover Image Title: Luminesce
Cover Image by: Breana Kirby
The waves of the ocean crashed against the cliff, stars lit up the dark sky, and the setting sun lit up the ground. It was a beautiful sight, and Selina was glad that her friend had led her here. Just her and her friend, holding hands and dangling their feet off the cliff, watching the beautiful sunset cast an orange-yellow glow across the world.
This place is known for its beauty, but it is also known to be dangerous. The cliffs are treacherous, and a small misstep could send you plummeting into the water. As soon as you stick your head in the water, you’ll be met with inky blackness, like the void. The water is also toxic, which makes it even more dangerous.
only one died…
Despite all that it’s still a popular place that people go to and people that live there are lucky to experience its beauty…
So… why did you bring me here in the first place…?” Selina asked. Her friend next to her smiled as they sat at the top of a tall cliff overlooking the ocean.
“Well… I come here a lot to look at the view. It’s a special place, and I wanted to show you… since you're my first real friend!” she explained, looking out onto the shimmering ocean.
They sat there for a few minutes, watching the sun slowly descend and disappear. That’s when she noticed it…a boat came into view and suddenly there was an explosion of color! A shining green glow in the boat’s wake.
“Uh, Leora, why is the ocean glowing like that?” Selina asked her friend curiously. More boats crossed the water and left the same greenish glow behind them, it was the most beautiful thing Selina has ever seen.
Leora responded with a smirk, “Well, it’s not the ocean that’s glowing; it’s what’s in the ocean.” Selina was even more confused now.
“They are called Dinoflagellates, it’s a type of organism, kind of like algae that can swim and whenever they are disturbed, they emit this greenish light. It was also a good day to bring you here because I knew that there would be a lot of boats active tonight,” Leora explained as her ocean geek self.
A giant, huge boat suddenly came into sight. A trail of light followed it in its wake, shimmering as bright as the stars in the sky.
“Woah!” Selina exclaimed, amazed by sight. Then, getting an idea, she picked up a small pebble and threw it into the water below them. As soon as it hit the water, a soft green glow emitted from where the rock used to be. Leora laughed and threw another one in. Once again, the green light came and then slowly faded away.
“Wait, I have an idea,” Selina spoke. She took two handfuls of the tiny rocks and threw them all in the water. The light lit up the ground below them, and they were both awed at sight. It was like looking at the milky way except in the water.
“This is totally worth it!” Selina shouted. Leora smiled and giggled a bit, and then she got up and stretched.
“Sorry to ruin the moment but I should probably get going, my family is probably freaking out that I’m not home yet,” Leora remarked while slowly helping Selina get up.
“Alright, I guess I’ll see you tomorrow at school then!” Selina waved and started walking away from the cliff.
Leora turned to catch up with her friend, “wait for meee-” but she was cut off by a horrible cracking sound as the ground around Leora shifted. They both froze, realizing almost immediately what was going on. “Don’t move…” Selina ordered; Leora nodded. There was silence as they tried to think of a way to get out of this situation.
“Maybe I can--” Leora tried to suggest, but the ground shifted even more, and it started to fall towards the water below them, Leora with it. Selina screamed and tried to reach out to her, only making their situation worse.
“HELP!!” Leora called out, but no one heard it.
The ground then finally gave away, and with one last attempt, Selina jumped out to reach her friend but instead, they both fell toward the water. Selina grabbed Leora, bringing her close, trying to make sure she didn’t get the worse of the impact, and then they hit the water.
The impact hurt. It was like a pile of bricks were dropped on her, and every single bit of air was sucked out of her body. Now Selina was underwater and definitely couldn’t breathe. Not good.
When she finally opened her eyes, all she could see was blackness, a horrible blackness that covered her vision, she couldn’t even see the surface. Of course, she panicked. What else could you do? Looking around wildly for some way to get out of the water, but then something caught her attention. A soft glow, the-- what do you call it? Dino… -something? They made it bright enough that Selina could tell where the surface was.
She looked at Leora, who was still in her arms, and realized she was knocked out from the impact. Selina was going to have to get them both out.
Selina was surprised at how long she was able to hold her breath, but she couldn’t waste a second. Selina tightened her grip on her best friend and started swimming up to the surface, using every ounce of energy she had to get them both out.
It had seemed like an eternity, a long eternity of swimming and staying alive, but then Selina finally made it. As soon as Selina’s head broke through the surface, she took the largest breath that she had ever taken in her entire life and looked around, she had to make sure that Leora could get above the water. After looking around, she managed to spot land and tried to quickly swim over to it only to realize she was out of energy and that she was slowly sinking back into the water. She wasn’t going to make it. The land was still too far away, and she was completely out of energy.
She wasn’t going to make it.
They weren’t going to make it.
Selina’s vision blurred, and she could barely tell if she was still swimming or not. She suddenly felt like she was being pulled up, and then she felt solid ground. She was going to pass out, but she needed to ensure that Leora was okay. Forcing her eyes open, she looked around.
“Oh god, are you all right!?” a voice asked. Selina sat up and looked at a boy who looked a bit older than them.
“Ouch… yeah, just sore,” Selina answered, wincing a bit.
“That's good; I heard a lot of commotion and screaming, so I came here to see what was going on... I’m glad that I found you two before you could get seriously injured.” a pause. “I saw you two falling off that cliff. What even happened?” he asked.
“I don’t even know… the cliff just collapsed a-and then–” Selina took a long deep breath; she was still in shock from what happened. “If you weren't there to pull us out of the water, we would have been done for…” a shaky laugh escaped her throat.
“Even though there was an obvious sign that said not to go to the cliff…” you could clearly tell he was sarcastic by his playful tone and how he rolled his eyes.
Selina exhaled, “Yeah… not the best move I’ve ever made…”
The boy switched back to a serious tone, “Okay, but, how did you survive? It's impossible to see when you're in the water.” they stared at each other while Selina wracked her brain to try and remember.
“Actually, those glowy things in the water made enough light that I could see where the surface was,” she finally explained, pointing to the water where it was still glowing, the place where she and Leora fell.
The boy suddenly had a moment of realization and then pulled something out of his pocket. “This should help, just in case you swallowed any water.” He dropped the thing in Selina’s hand.
It was a berry, an odd looking one, but regardless, she took a bite and ate it.
“Anyways, how did you get this berry? I’ve never seen anything like it before.”
The boy didn’t answer, and after a moment, Selina turned to look at him just as a lamp post beside them turned on, shining a yellow-orangish light around them. Now she got a better look at him. He was strange. He had light blonde hair, almost white, his eyes were exactly the same color as the glowy things, and strangely enough, he was emitting a soft glow around him, and Selina was confused about how she never noticed it earlier.
“Uhm-” she started, but then a groan from behind her averted her attention.
“What happened…” Leora asked sluggishly.
“Leora, are you okay!” Selina hugged her best friend, “I was so worried about you; I thought you were dead!”
Leora’s face made a weird expression. “I’m… sorry, it’s my fault for making you come with me,” she apologized.
Selina sighed, “don’t be sorry, be glad that we are at least still alive, and that this guy was here in time to save us!” she pointed to where the boy was-
Selina looked back – He was gone….
[ * The End * ]
The intriguing story leaves plenty of room to tell more stories. For example, who is that boy? Is he a Prince of the Kingdom of Dinoflagellates? Why would one die if he comes to rescue? What kind of accident happened to lead to a rescue failure? The story of Daphne Du Maurier's style introduces questions to the readers and invites you to answer them yourself. - Writing Editor: J.Y.