GENRE: YA fiction
I wake up to blue. Blue above me, blue around me, everything and everywhere is blue. I'm very warm, and I tilt my head back, the sun feels like an enormous heat lamp on my face. There is a schuss, a hiss, a fat slap of water against my chin, water in my eyes and nose and ears and mouth. Despite the wetness my throat is itchy and tight. My lips burn. I taste salt.
Only after the second lush slap of water do I realize I'm floating, drifting. Calm waves lift and lower me, and a rubber sleeve not much larger than I am surrounds me like a tube sock. My body is perpendicular in the water but my head is kept easily above the waves, and I bob along, a tiny human buoy, nothing in my line of sight but sea and sky.
I have no sense of myself, no sense of direction, nothing to explain what I'm doing here, floating out in the ocean. I know it's an ocean. Lakes don't taste and feel and smell like this.
A staccato of chirps, clicks and whistles pierces through the lull of waves. A dolphin, large and gray and slick as an inner tube, glides up next to me and slips through a harness next to my float, which seems to have been designed for the animal. It tugs the line and the bag rips open at the seams, rising, unfolding, and flattening itself onto the surface.