THE BROTHERS VERNE by Catherine Davis

Underneath, distance is the thing, not time. Time, only insofar as how long it sustains. On one breath.

Kid can swim. Two minutes seventeen, second turn. Length of limbs: mechanical advantage. Slenderness of frame: reduced drag. Accidents of birth, not strength of mind. “Citius, altius, fortius!”

The bottom is tinted with fine shades of ultramarine. Surely the way we were meant to move in the world. If not gills? Adaptation. A single breath – extend until it capitulates and – I’m in. Blast the barrier.

Two and forty-eight. Carbon dioxide dribbling up to the surface. Soon will be nothing left, then fire, cells screaming, and he’ll give it up.

Burbles, gurgles, whooshing of displaced water. Sunlight refracting in shards. The solar rays easily crossed this aqueous mass and dispersed its dark colors,

Hypoxia. It happens.

His shadow cuts the light as he stands by, clocking me. He will be so proud: a younger brother worth having! One league only is fifty-five laps plus one length of this pool. Imagine. It can be done, in time.

Teach the brat a lesson. He challenges my three minutes, seven?

Every cell of my skin feeling the flow – a billion individual sensations. This is… alive.

Can’t be doing three, twenty-two and still… no, not moving. It’s inaccurate data. Reset, I’m done.

I call your name, but you don’t hear. I’ll sleep now, while I wait.

So? Hypoxia, he gets a snootful, he’ll snap out of it.

Brother, how will we reach the bottom of the sea?


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8 responses to “THE BROTHERS VERNE by Catherine Davis

  1. randalhoule

    ooo… 5/5 stars on this one. The last line is chilling. The one word sentences overpowering (in a good way).

  2. This one made me scared and sad at the same time…

  3. GORGEOUS! You hear me?

    And I want to know — what inspired this (beyond the theme, of course). Peace…

    • My father was a remarkable swimmer and competed in this event, in the days that it was an event. Interestingly, it was an Olympic event only once in history – Paris 1900 – afterwards withdrawn as too dangerous, or maybe it was only a lack of spectator interest. 20,ooo Leagues Under the Sea simply flashed (ha) into my mind. Sibling relationships are complicated, yes?

      Thank you, Linda. I’m wowed by your, and the others’, replies here.

  4. Pingback: Week #38 – Long distance | 52|250 A Year of Flash

  5. There’s such a depth to this that uncovers the relationship between the two brothers. I love how you’ve used the water theme and the swimming to present it.

  6. Thank you all, (you lovely gentle people!), for the spectacular comments. I am a fan of water.

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