Indecision

Vanessa cautiously approached the fence from the spot where she’d hidden her vehicle. The words on the sign were faintly illuminated by the moonlight. But that didn’t matter as she already knew what they said…

KEEP OUT – DROWNING DANGER

“No shit, Sherlock!” she said, acknowledging the sign with a grin.

“Not to worry,” she added, patting the metal sign before she moved on around the corner past the sluice gate. “I have no intention of drowning tonight… not with these lungs anyway. I can hold my breath almost two minutes if I really need to.”

Vanessa looked around before quickly climbing the woven, wire-mesh fence. She was over it in seconds, hitting the ground and crouching. Then she rushed over to the bank of the canal that channeled the water from the river into the waterpark.

She found a tuft of bushes high enough to hide behind. Then she began peeling off her halter top, shorts, sneakers and socks. She felt a surge of excitement over what she was planning.

Since this was a daring adventure she was wearing her most daring bikini under her street clothes. It was her “zebra” outfit, the one with the thick, black stripes that horizontally crossed her top and bottoms. It made her feel sexy, as well as a little naughty.

That was fitting. After all, she WAS breaking the law by sneaking into the waterpark late at night. But she wasn’t planning on vandalizing anything or doing any damage.

This was mostly in response to a dare. All she wanted to do was make the swim through the tunnel, get inside, find a souvenir to authenticate her daring exploit, and then swim back out. It would prove once and for all to that bitch Barbara that she was better than her.

Vanessa looked all around to make sure the coast was clear. Then she quietly slipped into the canal. She was right near the entrance to the tunnel she would need to swim through.

The water was not that cold, considering it had come from the river. It was probably because it was mostly still. Thus, it had absorbed much of the day’s sun.

It hadn’t cooled off much during the evening after the park had shut down. In fact it had a tendency to soak up the oppressive heat of a hot summer day. The sluice gates had been closed, shutting off the current from the river for the time being.

Vanessa looked around once more before swimming cautiously to the entrance to the tunnel. The water rippled all around her. Then she grabbed onto the concrete edge of the tunnel to steady herself.

Her heart thumped loudly in her chest. She took long, deep breaths, filling and then emptying her lungs without trying to hyperventilate. She wanted to get as much air as she could, but she didn’t want to risk anything that might cause her to black out. After all, this wasn’t going to be a serious breath-hold. It was nothing more than a long swim underwater.

Vanessa took a breath and submerged, hanging onto the edge as she looked through the tunnel. She was trying to anticipate what obstacles might be in her path. It was darker than she liked, but the moonlight helped somewhat in illuminating the other end.

She took a closer look, trying to pierce the darkness with her eyesight. There did appear to be something up ahead in the tunnel. Was it blocking her route?

Vanessa burbled as she peered intently, trying to figure out what it was. It didn‘t appear to be a serious impediment. After all, she could see through to the other end.

It was a long tunnel, approximately 90 feet in length from what she’d read about it. But she’d swam that distance underwater in the town’s pool easily enough, proving she could handle it. Still, she felt an erotic quiver of uncertainty.

There was a slim possibility she might get stuck in there, although she was confident she would be ok. After all, she lived for this kind of challenge. Besides, it would teach that bitch Barbara a lesson.

She’d eagerly accepted Barbara’s stupid dare earlier in the day. She would sneak in, pick out something that would prove what she’d done, and then swim back out with it. It would be a piece of cake.

That Barbara was an arrogant bitch. But accomplishing this would shut her up good. All she would have to do was present her artifact in front of an astonished Barbara and her entourage of bitchy girlfriends… “SEE? Anybody else want to give it a shot? No? I didn’t think so!”

Vanessa surfaced where she started taking deep breaths again. It looked like there was something in the water, all right. But it still looked like she could get through. Otherwise the tunnel would be totally blocked, meaning she wouldn‘t be able to see anything on the other side.

She could always turn around if she came up against something she couldn’t get past. She‘d come this far and had already gotten wet. Vanessa didn‘t want to go back over the fence empty-handed without even trying.

“Let’s get this over with,” she muttered to herself.

She felt a surge of excitement well up within her now that the moment was at hand. It was time to get going. Besides, it wouldn’t be wise to loiter too long or she might risk getting caught by a passing security vehicle.

“This is gonna teach that bitch I’m every bit as good as she is, the hoity-toity little snot!” And with that, Vanessa filled her lungs. She submerged with a burble before slipping under the lip of the concrete tunnel.

It was several feet wide as well as five feet high. That gave her plenty of room to maneuver. Vanessa calmly began pulling herself forward with her arms, kicking smoothly with her long, slender legs.

She set a slow, steady pace for herself. There was no point in swimming hard and using up her oxygen. The goal was simply getting through to the other side.

Air dribbled out of her nose in the near darkness. Her excitement increased as she continued her underwater swim. She felt a swelling in her breasts the way she usually did when she was holding her breath underwater.

Her nipples hardened under her bikini top. At the same time she felt that familiar, pleasant little tingle down between her legs. Swimming underwater was exhilarating… and more than a little sensual.

As she slowly moved forward it came into view. Branches were wedged in against the walls of the tunnel. She released bubbles out of her nose in disgust.

Crap! Don’t they EVER clean this shit out of here? Damn! I’m gonna have to go back!

Disappointment welled up within her as she examined the blockage. Why couldn’t they keep their damned tunnels clean? This might spoil everything!

She was about to head back when she looked all around. She saw one opening… and then another. The branches weren’t blocking the flow of water. They’d simply been pulled in and gotten wedged inside, leaving several gaping openings for the water to pass through.

Apparently no one had noticed any significant decrease in the water’s flow. So no one knew about what was caught in the tunnel when the sluice gates were opened from time to time. They probably wouldn’t identify a problem until a few more branches wandered in and got stuck, further restricting the flow into the waterpark enough to warrant an investigation.

‘I’m sure as hell not gonna tell ‘em!’ Vanessa told herself. That would only get her in trouble. Let ‘em find out for themselves.

She looked around until she found an opening that would do just fine. She darted forward and squirmed through between a couple of branches. A moment later she came to a halt.

SHIT! She thought she could get through! It was just dark enough to cause her to misjudge obstructions.

She felt a surget of panic as she wiggled and squirmed. She peered forward and could see how much farther the other end of the tunnel lay in wait. But it didn‘t take long to get free.

Vanessa bubbled a sigh of relief. But now she could feel her lungs begin to burn. She moved forward, pulling here and pushing there.

She wriggled and squirmed until… SHIT! Something had snagged her ankle, halting her forward momentum. She burbled anxiously, wondering what was hanging her up.

She bent herself at the waist and reached back, pulling anxiously on the branches. Her ankle was caught in a V. She could feel it tingle; she must’ve broken the skin.

Pushing on the branch caused it to give grudgingly. A moment later her foot came free. Then she was through, her panic easing somewhat… that is, until she felt her lungs heave gently in her chest.

Damn! Had it taken that long to get through those branches??

Vanessa hesitated, releasing bubbles out of her nose. She looked forward to see how much further she had to swim. Then she looked backward to see the distance she’d traveled thus far as her lungs burned in her chest

It definitely looked shorter going back. All she would have to do was navigate her way back through the branches. She would just have to make sure she didn’t snag her ankle again.

The branches had been a bitch and a bother. But she knew she could get back through easily enough. She could probably make it faster having wriggled through once already.

She turned toward the far end and saw the opening waiting for her. It looked clear and inviting, with no more branches in sight. She could make that easily enough, couldn’t she?

She bubbled as her lungs spasmed with a growing persistence. She looked back again, causing her hair to swirl around her head. If she went back now she could always emerge from the tunnel, catch her breath, and then return to find an easier way through the branches.

But she was on the other side of the obstruction now. If she went back, that would mean she would have to go all the way back, catch her breath and then try all over again. She’d already come this far and was past the damned branches! It wasn’t that much farther up ahead, was it?

Vanessa looking toward the end of the tunnel. Then she looked back the way she’d come, her black hair swirling around her face. It did look a little far to finish her swim. Maybe she should go back and try again on another breath.

Vanessa was hesitant. The opening beckoned, but the way back was shorter. And she didn’t want to have to navigate through the branches any more than was absolutely necessary.

Her lungs heaved in warning. Vanessa made a made a mad dash toward the clearest path available. It was the one where she left the branches behind.

Her heaving lungs told her she wanted to get out as quickly as possible. But she didn’t want to work her way through a set of limbs just to come back and try again. Besides, she was low on air and didn’t want to risk getting hung up.

She bubbled as her lungs heaved in protest. She pulled hard with her arms, her legs kicking furiously. The opening in the tunnel grew closer.

She could see the channel divert past the opening up ahead in the dim moonlight. But it still seemed oh-so-far away. She swam harder, her mind telling her, “C’MON – ‘NESSA… YOU CAN DO THIS!”

She could feel the panic swelling inside her. Vanessa suddenly found herself wondering if she’d made the right decision. Her lungs were aching now, hitching sharply in protest.

The tunnel exit seemed farther away than what she’d anticipated. For a split second she slowed and hesitated. Once more she found herself wondering whether or not she should try to go back.

She jerked her head around to look behind her, her hair swirling around her face. That’s when she saw how far she’d come. She was well over halfway through the tunnel. Now she was committed.

SHIT! …and she turned and kicked as hard as she could, pulling furiously with her arms. Then she was hit by another painful spasm. Her lungs heaved insistently in her chest.

Air spewed out of her mouth as panic threatened to envelop her. She frantically covered her mouth with one hand in an attempt to contain what little air she had left. She pulled hard with her free arm as her legs kicked furiously.

Water worked its way up her nose, burning her sinuses. It made her wish she would’ve brought along some sort of dive mask. But she seldom wore one, and she hadn’t thought that far in advance.

GOTTA HURRY…

Vanessa was hit by another painful spasm. She slowed as she frantically looked up at the ceiling of the tunnel, hoping to find some sort of air pocket. But there was nothing she could see in the near darkness.

From what she could tell, the tunnel was full. She would have to get out of it if she was going to get her next breath. Vanessa bubbled through her fingers as she kicked in desperation, pulling hard with her one hand as she covered her nose and mouth…

C’MON – C’MON; IT’S RIGHT THERE! I’M ALMOST THERE…

Her chest spasmed painfully, her lungs on fire. She couldn’t help slowing down. Another spasm drove more air out of her lungs, spurting out through her fingers.

Instinctively she clamped both hands over her mouth. She tried to kick her way forward. But she ended up angling up against the ceiling of the tunnel from her buoyancy, bumping against it and virtually coming to a halt…

NOOOO! I CAN SEE IT – IT’S RIGHT THERE!

It was less than 15 feet away, the opening large and inviting. But she was spasming up against the ceiling now. Vanessa pulled her hands away from her mouth, trying one last time to pull herself forward as her legs kicked weakly. She didn’t get very far. The next spasm forced more air out of her mouth in a burst of bubbles.

NOOOO! I’M ALMOST…

Vanessa spasmed painfully, inadvertently pulling water down her throat. She coughed as she instinctively banged up against the ceiling. Her arms flailed upward as though her body was attempting to locate an air source that could only be “up there somewhere”.

She gurgled as her lungs heaved again, the demand to breathe overriding all other motor functions. That’s when her will gave out. Vanessa inhaled sharply, roughly 10 feet from the opening.

Instinctively she shot upward, clawing at what seemed to be the roof of her prison. She hitched and spasmed, her body desperately trying to pull air into her tortured lungs. She coughed… gurgled… inhaled… coughed again.

It hurt like hell; every part of her body felt violated somehow. At the same time there was that familiar erotic tingle in her breasts and down between her legs. It was a tingle she didn’t fully understand other than the fact that it felt really good whenever she was underwater.

Vanessa opened her mouth and tried to scream. All that came out was a gurgle as the air continued evacuating her flooded lungs. Her body jerked and spasmed, her lungs trying to expel the liquid, only to succeed in pulling more water into her system.

She gulped one last time in an effort to swallow air. Then her body lost its buoyancy. Vanessa hitched and convulsed as she started to settle in the bottom of the tunnel.

Her body drifted down until she came to rest on her back. She stared vacantly up at the ceiling in utter disbelief, wondering how she could have miscalculated so badly. ‘I should’ve gone back,’ she told herself, her mind in a haze as darkness started to close in around the edges of her vision.

She couldn’t close her mouth, couldn’t seem to keep the water out. A small trickle of bubbles slipped out past her parted lips. Her body spasmed weakly, her arms fluttering like a bird with a broken wing while her legs twitched as though trying to find the strength to kick.

As consciousness began to fade, she found herself thinking about the bitch who’d dared her to try and pull off what she now realized was a very stupid stunt. ‘Barbara’s gonna love it when she hears I didn’t make it into the waterpark! That bitch!’

Her last thought was one of utter dismay over how long it might take before someone actually came inside the tunnel to clean out the branches. Only then would they find her body and fish her out.  Then darkness claimed her as the life flicked out of her eyes…

At 8:00 AM the sluice gates were opened, allowing the river to flow into the park for the day’s festivities. The current swept in and nudged Vanessa’s lifeless body, causing it to move slowly along the bottom. By 8:32 she reached the lazy river and started to bounce gently up and down as she moved ever so slowly along the bottom of that section of the park.

It was 9:18 when a female park employee finally spotted her in the lazy river, midway through her second circuit. The poor woman’s scream of horror instantly sent security scrambling in her general direction to see what all the fuss was about…

2007; 2019 (written for jqpublic Jun 9 ’07; ed. Apr 15 ‘19 by riwa)

(Picture found on the Internet and used for illustration purposes.)

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