By Tipp Hex
He never knew who pushed him and his mind had no time to accommodate the fact he was falling until he hit the water sixty feet below.
The Mediterranean sea, warm, soft and tranquil when viewed from the ship's side, slapped the breath from his lungs as it took him deep into its depths. Panic jolted his body into furious action to regain the surface where he gasped, forcing his lungs to draw breath.
Floating in the calm night sea, surrounded by a gentle fizz of effervescence and bubbles, he followed the line of foaming whiteness that ended in the huge hulk of the liner. The rhythmic thumping from its great screws churning the water pulsed within his chest, growing ever fainter as it slipped away into the distance.
His body broke into action, frantic screams, arms thrashing, someone would hear, the ship would turn, he would be saved. Breathless fatigue overcame panic as the twinkling lights of the liner grew dim with distance and merged with the stars on the horizon. No one had heard and they were not coming back.
He began to swim, furiously slapping at the water, chasing after the ship, determined to save himself but exhaustion again crept through his limbs until he could do no more. For hours he floated, his voice torn into cracked silence until the gentle swell became a bed. If this was his fate, so be it it. Impulsively he threw his arms up and sank.
In the depths panic again took hold, refusing to let him draw breath, to drown, and he fought his way back to the surface. Prayers alternated with curses and were spat with tears into the uncaring night, neither heard nor seen. Oh God, he cried in despair, just let me die.
Then, in the distance. A fin.
His last prayer answered.