Amidst the school grounds 

beneath dim twilight lamps, 

I walked with my friends under the 

radiance of a door ajar. While 

they veered right, I pressed onward, 

into the darkness. 


A shadowy figure offered me a drink;

despite sensing his ill intent, I 

foolishly imbibed. Rendered me 

immobile, trapped 

within my own 



A group of faceless figures 

whisked me away and hurled me 

into a tunnel, plunging me

down a spiral slide. 


A watery abyss awaited– divers 

stacked corpses like firewood, proclaiming 

the eradication of disease code

0124 Obsidian depths unfurled

like an ink spill, its tendrils

reaching out to claim me 

as I surrendered to the 

merciless grip of the Water. 


Heavy drops / suffocating clouds

cascaded down whipping 

the ground. Arks and wooden boats: an escape 

from Ao’s wrath. Separated families 

due to the fragile vessels’ compact capacity, 

with hopes to reunite after the storm. 


On the wooden boat, there was an

unknown figure… boarding the same vessel 

as I. Directly opposite

of where I leaned, with our backs 

against the sides… Wooden boat–

frail and narrow– and yet there was 

a vast distance between us. The boat

swayed, wobbled, trembled and 

the figure tumbled over on my side. 


The violation–a body pierced by pain–

in the depths of despair, the dream ceased to be

as ripped pieces of cloth were carried away

by the weeping wind and Waters. 


A helpless girl 

bound to a raft, 

adrift on a wide river, encircled 

by a shiver of people. An act 

of gruesome violence: they punctured 

a huge, wooden spike 

into her skull vertically. She drifted away,

carried by 

the current. 


Suddenly, the perspective 

shifted. I flowed downstream– like a leaf 

in the drift– watching as the river 

slowly constricted, hemming me 

with its unforgiving embrace. 


The deck arched its back into the middle 

of a giant lake. Someone 

stood beside me, grabbed me by the waist 

and dived deep down. Unprepared, my body 

dragged beneath the chasmic Waters. The figure, 

with arms around my torso,

wore a whole diving suit, whereas my body 

was dressed casually. 



was not an option for me. 


Void swallowed me whole, breaking 

my ribcage, crushing 

my skull. The dim, sombre waters

wrapped its arms around my shoulders,

gripped my ankles and had its hands

choking my neck 

as pressure built up as we descended. Overwhelmed, 

I tapped the figure; it swam back up. 



With grace. 

Like a beautiful jellyfish. 

With scars on its bell; ripped oral arms and tentacles. 


Blades of prickly grass

caused my skin to feel itchy. I was immersed 

by the presence of enchanting, 

petite beings, whose human-like features 

alluded recognition. These delightful creatures 

resembled miniature flora, their charm radiating 

like blooming flowers. 


A large, black, cat-like creature 

prowled into our midst, resembling 

a predatory force. A sense of haste consumed me 

as I directed the smaller, plant-like entities 

to scatter and seek safety. In an astounding 

display of valour, the — an enormous, 

plant-like being—pierced the beast’s skull 

with a jagged branch, impaling it entirely 

through its cranium and emerging from its back. 


The savage beast was cast 

into a body of Water 

destined to be food

for the lovely, endearing creatures. 

The beast clung stubbornly to life, defying 

its impending demise. With the intention 

of boiling the creature to end its torment, 

the adorable, flora creatures patiently endured the 

agonisingly slow rise in water temperature, 

prolonging the beast’s suffering. 


A sharp pain in my chest, a stomach-drop feeling…

I proposed an easy death 

by suggesting a single, decisive shot 

to the beast’s head. However, my plea was met 

with rejection from the lofty, plant creature, 

wary of the uncertain outcome. They reasoned 

that boiling the beast merely required its secure restraint, 

ensuring its eventual demise. 


Although physically 

I was standing on the bank 

alongside the enchanting creatures, I experienced an

inexplicable sensation—a connection that immersed me 

in the harrowing scene. It was as if 

scalding Water engulfed me, mirroring 

sensations felt by the pitiful beast itself.


Aboard a cruise ship, adrift 

in the vastness of the ocean, 

when a frigid revelation swept 

through the air: we were all unwilling 

participants in a harrowing game of survival. 


With eight daunting stages awaiting us, 

each requiring a swim to reach, panic 

engulfed the ship, severing the ties that bound me 

to my loved ones. As the chaos unfolded, 

bodies leaped off the ship deftly, plunging 

into the treacherous Waters. 


Venom of fear: a sense of 

helplessness paralyzed me, for I 

could not swim. I sought solace 

in the ship’s depths, praying

to gradually immerse myself in the 

murky abyss. Clinging onto the steel sides, 

I extended my senses, attempting to fathom 

the profound depths below, 

only to realise that the bottom eluded 

my grasp. 


The unforgiving waves claimed me, 

and I succumbed to their 




Amidst an oceanic competition, a sudden 

commotion erupted, compelling everyone 

to evacuate to secure protection. Whether escaping 

a potential explosion… evading an unidentified threat…

the urgency in the air was undeniable. 


Alas, my lack of swimming skills rendered me helpless.


I implored a man before me for assistance…

though my pleas seemed to vanish in the chaos. 

Seeking aid from a woman behind me… 

my hopes were dashed as she hurriedly swam away. 


Turning around, I glanced at the grounds in the 

distance. Like a goldfish swimming upstream

against a waterfall… Multiple distraught sea creatures 

skimmed past me as I floated in the midst. 


With my instinctual fight-or-flight response 

taking control of my mind and body, I called upon

every drop of grit and managed to push myself 

through the Water, covering several kilometres, 

albeit with un-

conventional strokes.


Shallow Water up to my waist 

that was full of chunks of 




It felt so cold;

it was cold;

so cold;



Written by Vanessa Li and edited by Maisarah Madawi. Published on 6/782023. Header image by Unsplash.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.