This is the start of the story:
With a rush the sea rises and hangs suspended; a white-flecked wall, like some terror trapped in time.
It falls. I hear the roar, feel the slamming cold. My mouth fills, I gasp for breath. I move arms and legs in a parody of swimming. I see lakes, rivers, seas, converge, as though some monstrous hand has ladled every ocean on Earth over the land, obliterating cities, farms, factories and fields.
I cover my ears as men, women and children scream, assailed at some daily diversion. Bodies are hurled, trapped in rooms where tides ride recklessly up walls, or thrown into trees that swim and splinter, smashed against the sides of buildings, washed like matchwood over motorways, sheets of rain slanting onto the maniacal barrage of waves.
Then I see myself flung from a doorway; pitched, tossed on mad mockeries of waves to the coast, where, miraculously I am thrown into a cave as the tumult subsides.
I opened my eyes. The sea slid like sullen glass at my feet. I was assailed by silence. I rose from the cave’s mouth and limped over sand that barely sifted, towards low dunes.
Drawn up I saw a curious craft. Woven from some sturdy reed, it rose to a high prow, with a bunch of finer reed knotted like some secret figurehead. It bulged as though to accommodate some cargo and narrowed to an elegant stern. Wooden oars were laid inside.
A movement glimmered across the water. It vanished but I climbed into the craft and began to row. The action was painful, easing as I established a rhythm, the oars’ perturbance on the water echoing eerily.
No night fell. No wind rose. The clouds were motionless. I grew mesmerised and almost lapsed once more into sleep. Then, as though it had crept stealthily up on me, I saw an island. At least a mile long, it burgeoned with plants; the leaves luxuriant, the flower heads flamboyant and nodding with its movement. For the island floated on the dull water, rocking with the slight stirring of its surface, so ripples passed like a primitive language among the leaves and flower heads.
I rowed close and grasped a dipping branch of languorous green leaves. With difficulty, I pulled the boat up the shifting bank and climbed out.
As though eager to impede me, the vegetation clutched my legs, branches whipped my face and, although I had not disturbed them, tendrils of pale green with minute black hooks caught and scored my bare arms. I went back for one of the boat’s oars to help thrash a path. The boat had vanished.
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