• Chris Kok

Fiction: The Water Slide by Chris Kok

Photo Source: Pixabay

I stand at the mouth of the water slide, my hands gripping the rim. Beads of sweat drip from my skin. Some of it’s the heat, but mostly it’s fear. My friends are behind me, egging me on. I have waited so long for this birthday. Now it’s here, I wish I’d picked laser tag.

Raging Nature is the state’s sickest indoor water park. When my mom dropped us off, the first thing my friends and I did was go stand in line for the Tube of Terror. We’re way too young and far too short. But we lied about our age and stood on our tippy toes and the high school kid in charge couldn’t care less.

The air is humid and my head is filled with the noise of hundreds of kids, laughing and screaming and not shitting their pants.

The slide is so big that most of it’s outside the building. I can’t even see beyond the first bend. I want to climb down. I want to go to the kiddie pool and play swords with the noodles. But I can’t go back. I’d never hear the end of it. I can either die on this slide, or die of embarrassment.

The high school kid notices the traffic jam and shouts something about shitting or getting off the pot.

I sit down, regretting the waffles and ice cream I’d demanded for breakfast.

One of my friends switches from cheering me on to clucking like a chicken. It does the trick.

I push off.

Inside the tube, the sound of hollering kids and splashing water is muffled. There’s me, my breath, my heart, and my skin sliding against plastic. The downward slope becomes steeper, the tube widens, and my speed increases.

The color of the plastic keeps changing, it’s like I’m sliding down a rainbow. Then the tube becomes clear, and it’s outside, and I can see the mall and the parking lot. I’m going around and around in a spiral and so are the waffles and ice cream.

The tube re-enters the building and everything goes dark. For a moment, I’m blind. Tiny pinpricks of light appear, like stars in the night sky. I’m flying through space at warp speed. It’s freaking awesome. For a moment, I forget to be terrified.

Until the slide evaporates, and I find myself floating, weightless, through the air. All sound disappears, even that of my own breathing. The lights swirl around me, faster and faster. My body stretches out like bubblegum. I don’t feel it, but I see it happening.

The silence is broken by a sound unlike anything I’ve ever heard. It tastes like the color orange smells.

Time becomes liquid; I age and die and am reborn. I do it again, but in reverse. A vast landscape spreads before me and inside of me. I grow to the size of a building. I shrink to the size of an ant. My head spins around like that Exorcist girl’s and there go my feet and my hands, drifting off in different directions. It all feels right, somehow. Everything is as it should be. I am the Alpha and the Omega, and all the letters in between.

The slide births me into the pool and I hit the water hard. The massive splash is still raining down when I surface. I doggie paddle to the pool’s edge and lean on it, allowing the world I thought I knew to flood back into my perception.

One by one, my friends join me, quiet, pale-skinned and shaky. We read the same experience in one another’s eyes. We don’t speak of it. We don’t go again.

The rest of the day is spent in the kiddie pool, playing swords with the noodles.

Chris Kok is an enigma, wrapped in a contradiction, stuffed inside an éclair. He teaches songwriting but prefers to write fiction, himself. He is Dutch but writes mainly in English. Chris lives in Amsterdam, The Netherlands with his wife, their newly acquired puppy, and two suddenly grumpy cats.

If you are interested in learning more about Chris Kok, you can find his website here.