Charlie

Charlie had always been an avid scuba diver. Throughout the years he’d explored wreck after wreck, reef after reef. Such was his love of diving that when he retired he used his superannuation to move to a humble shack on the remote east coast. Every morning he’d wake up, sit on his back porch and marvel at the sweeping seascape that greeted him. To the untrained eye it seemed a simplistic existence, but to Charlie this was paradise.

As the first rays of sun pierced the night sky on March 28th 2011, Charlie prepped his gear. On went the wet suit, the breathing apparatus, the mask, and into the blue abyss sped his trusty boat. On and on he went for hours, hugging the coastline to the north until he arrived at a lone island that shot out of the sea like a giant fist punching the sky. The anchor dropped and Charlie eagerly dove into the water. And what a sight it was to behold down there! Scores of fish swimming in perfect unison, phosphorescent algae curling in the most fantastic of patterns, and coral as far as the eye could see. Suddenly, Charlie came upon a most curious of scenes. At first, only one buzzed past him, and Charlie dismissed it as a mirage. But then another, and another, until a thick, spiraling stream of them were buzzing by. Charlie shook his head. How could this be? They appeared to be bees! Bees of the sea! The glowed bright gold and were all heading the same way. The buzz rippling through the water making Charlie’s head swim. Curious, he followed their path. On and on they lead him, until he reached a sheer rock face with a hole no bigger than a man right in its centre.

Charlie paused briefly and thought about turning back, but decided against it and pressed on down the hole. On and on it went through an endless blackness, the dim glow of the bees his only source of light. Further and further he went for what seemed like days, until the hole opened up into an enormous cavern. The bees path turned upward sharply and they accelerated at a tremendous rate. Charlie shed himself of his breathing tank and found, much to his surprise, that this water was different to the water back beyond the hole, for Charlie could breathe this water of his own accord. The bees flew up and Charlie swam with them at a speed he thought not possible. Slowly but surely the water begun to grow lighter and lighter, a brilliant rising white, until the depths of the sea became no more and Charlie and the bees burst through the surface. He took off his mask and scanned the scene. Much to his surprise, he was no more than twenty metres from the shore. Even more surprising was the sight of his house greeting him. And yet, it seemed different, brighter, and more permanent than it ever had before. The bees gathered around the lone tree nearby, dancing with each other, creating a hum more beautiful than had ever been heard before. As Charlie stepped ashore the back door of his house opened, and out stepped his beloved wife, whom he’d not laid eyes on in years. Charlie’s jaw dropped and tears flooded his eyes, and he embraced his love with his whole soul. And it was there, together, that they stayed for forever and a day, and waltzed into eternity as the most glorious of sunsets shone.

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