Chapter 4

Written by: Bdamattson

Tumbling through the cold, dark water, I struggle to orient myself and push toward the surface. The water cascades around me as I float downstream. Everything is chaotic and my heart is racing. Now I remember what they told us about the Green Room - that huge drop in the water followed by the angry turmoil of rapids. They live up to the warnings. I pivot my head; the rest of my body refuses to move. The rapids push me under again. As I surface, I am facing upstream with water spray pummeling my face.

 
I turn around and see my raft flipped up ahead, a couple of folks clutching to it. The rapid’s waves rush over me, twisting me around. I resurface, looking upstream again and gasping. I watch as another of our rafts goes through the Green Room. At the high point of the rapids, it flips over as well. The current draws me under again. I struggle back to the surface and turn downstream. I see someone floating up ahead. I open my mouth to yell. A wave of water swamps me, and I am overcome with coughing. My mind refocuses at a tedious rate.
 
The water calms to a degree. I swim downstream and clutch the life vest-clad person I spotted before. He looks at me. It’s Artie. Despite my panicked expression, he is grinning with oblivious intent. I shake my head and glare at him as we push towards the rocky shore.
 
“You’re enjoying this, aren’t you?” I say. He says nothing but his grin answers me. Closer to shore, I see various sizes of rocks and scraggly shrubs scattered across them. The high cliffs and treeless mountains loom above us.
 
I stagger up on shore, collapsing onto the water-drenched rocks. Water runs in streams from my river-soaked clothes. I lay on the sharp rocks to catch my breath and watch Artie wave his arms at the rest of the group. I look upriver. The other rafters are struggling to right and remount their rafts. They drift right past as they struggle. I jump to my feet and flail my arms as my panic returns. I do not want to be left alone with Artie, but they are too intent on their battle. I hear Artie sigh, but he seems calm when I glance at him.
 
“We probably just need to go downstream. Calmer waters and all,” he says while shading his eyes, watching the rafts round the next bend. He glances at me as I get to my feet, dripping water everywhere.
 
“Alright, let’s hurry.” I mumble, trying not to reveal the dread in my heart. I follow Artie, the rocks chinking beneath our feet. I nearly slip from the slickness and the angle of the shore. Grasping a shrub, I right myself up just in time. I carefully pick my way back to solid footing. I hear Artie chuckle. I glare at him, uncomfortable about that grin. His expression does not waver.
Brandon Mattson (USA)

Comments

Brandon, I love the inference of dark thoughts and a girls dread. This gives the story real believability and a chance for others to dip into the characters minds and find the real person within. Great stuff
That Green Room section made me hold my breath. Good job staying with the reality of the setting. Now, after traveling with Artie all these years, Sue doesn't seem to be comfortable alone with him. I felt her discomfort. Makes me wonder what deep dark secrets she hides. Looking forward toward reading your work in the next serial.
First, Brandon - absolutely fantastic opening to this chapter. I was a little thrown, but intrigued, by the phrase "oblivious intent." It seems an oxymoron and doesn't really evoke a clear image, which bothers me - but I like it just the same. There are a few passive sentences, nothing glaring - but something to watch for, especially in this tense. Now here's the thing that I've finally realized is bothering me while reading these chapters. I've been missing something vital and I only just now realize what it is. The female perspective. Out of five authors, four have been male - yet the character that we are following is female. A woman perceives reality through her emotions as opposed to environment. I haven't been given any of that. Even here, where Brandon finally has Susan upset with Artie to the point of distrust, I haven't been shown the why.
I just went back and reread this whole thing because it seemed there was something seriously missing.  Now I know what it is.  Annette is right but it also goes way beyond the emotions of a woman.  No where in this story is there a description of what anyone is either feeling or showing as feelings.  If I had just fallen out of a raft in the rapids I would be TERRIFIED!  I would probably have to fight as hard to calm down as to keep from drowning.  When the human body is in this kind of life threatening situation the pain and fear would be overwhelming.  The adrenalin rush would cause you to have great difficulty breathing.  Having the sense of falling causes its own terror.  When this all becomes too much for the body to bear the mind just starts shutting down.  So where are the feelings??
It is very interesting that women in general look more deeply into the psychological side of the characterization of a story, looking for emotional waves and hidden feelings. We have a wonderful mix of writers here and as many women as men contributing. As these serials go on I'm sure writers of both genders will learn more from the comments than they may have originally thought possible. I do hope we all make sure we comment on a regular basis. Old and new writers alike will draw much inspiration encouragement from them.
To expand on the point I am trying to make. Although there is a basic difference in psychological expression between the genders, there is no appreciable difference in the physiological sympathetic and parasympathetic response of the male or female body.  That said, the human body is the most complex mechanism know on this planet.  Each one of us has one of our own so each of is us is looking from the inside out of this extraordinary "machine."  Yet few people on this planet will ever try to define or explain what it means to live inside and operate this "machine" in relationship to the rest of the world and what that FEELS like.  This is an astronomical undertaking because we, as writers, try to do this in a way that not only does the "machine" justice but also communicates it to the rest of the 6 billion "machines" (popularly called humans) on this planet.  Add to that the small complication of hundreds of different languages and you have an insanely difficult task that only the world's most egocentric and skilled humans are even willing to tackle.  Congratulations on your INSANE decision to become a writer!!  You are not eccentric, you are certifiable--or genius.  It is for you and your contemporaries to decide which.  The fact that you are a thinking, feeling, emoting human being makes the ultimate judge you and you alone.   
The emotions are there in the actions in what I've wrote. Sure, I don't specifically say in her perspective 'I am panicked'. My style of writing doesn't really orientate that way. I have her emotions in the actions and the description of what is happening with her. Case in point, in the rapids I have her heart racing and a panicked expression. She's getting pummeled around, her body is freezing up, and her mind is sluggish at best. She tries to call out, even if she's just engulfed in water because of it. She gasps for breath after one submergion. And by the time she gets to shore with Artie, she just collpases in exhaustion. The whole ordeal is potrayed as a constant struggle. It gets the emotions across, just maybe not in a way that one may be use to. But I believe it's there, and I stand by it.
Its good to see a writer stand by his words. They may not always be right and in time  the writer will find out if he/she was right or wrong about some particular piece of work by the reaction of many other critics. That said, if one feels so strongly about the work, basic editing apart, then as a creator of fiction and a strong believer in ones self - go for it man and stamp your own personal mark on the literary world.
I hope he didn't get scared away. I'm missing his perspective.
Gregg just read it so working put my take on the story 
I have just read the first four chapters of this lastest 'serial.' After each chapter I carefully read all the comments, then re-read the chapters. I must say I have enjoyed the comments and learned a little about each one of you. It is to be hoped that the current set of writers are learning a little more about their craft. I certainly am. Thanks. If time allows, I'll jump back in for the next serial.
or have a massive attraction to the subject of this story?  That is my first reaction because this serial can go in many directions for the upcoming chapters.  
I agree. There is plenty for other writers to grab on to here. This is where the ladies in particular could excel with a love story (maybe a fellah too) or this could end in tragedy. Brandon should be credited with that little clue/hint that might bring this serial to an exciting and explosive climax.