Seasick

It’s short story writing prompt time!  Normally when I post one of these I post the prompt that it came from before the story itself, but this time the prompt includes a spoiler, so it’ll be at the end.

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A tall woman with light brown hair sat on the floor of her cramped bathroom, resting her head on the toilet. Her eyes were heavy as she stared at the wall, hoping the nausea she felt would subside long enough to allow her to get something that might wash away the horrible taste in her mouth.

‘Go on a cruise, Laurie; it’ll be so relaxing!’ She thought bitterly. ‘You need to get away and pamper yourself!’

It had been fun at first. She’d gone to see some of the shows, and had enjoyed tanning on the deck. Her room was small and cramped, but she hadn’t planned to spend much time in it anyway, so that hadn’t bothered her. At least not until the storm, which had forced everyone inside. She’d been in her room ever since, regretting the cocktails she’d had with lunch.

After a while, she pulled herself up off the floor and steadied herself. She stayed still for a few moments, making sure the rocking of the boat had stopped and that her stomach was going to let her move without rebelling. When she felt comfortable that both of those were the case, she left the bathroom.

She still had a few bottles of water left over from the stash she’d collected from the dining hall on her first day on the ship, so she grabbed one of them and chugged it. She sat on her bed and thanked God that the water didn’t come right back up, then took a few sips of a second bottle and laid down, setting the rest of the bottle on her nightstand before falling asleep.

A few hours later, she woke up and finished the bottle of water. She still felt terrible, and now her head was pounding on top of everything else, so she decided to go see if there was anywhere on the ship that still had some anti-nausea medication available.

‘Did the power go out?’ she wondered, as she wandered the dark halls. ‘The ship doesn’t feel like it’s tossing and turning anymore, so the storm can’t still be going… What happens to a cruise ship when the power goes out? CAN the power go out?’ She looked around, hoping to bump into a crew member so she could ask what was going on.

She eventually made her way to the dining hall, where she found a few people sitting at tables with candles lit before them. She went up to an old couple sitting at the table closest to the door and asked, “Excuse me, do you know what’s going on? Why are there no lights on?”

The couple looked at her quizzically. “The power’s been out for hours. Did no one knock on your door to let you know? We’re waiting for search and rescue to come collect everyone,” the woman answered.

“I got seasick during the storm and fell asleep. I guess I missed them knocking. So we’re just waiting here to be rescued? Have they said why it’s taking so long?”

“Well, the last I heard, the storm was heading to shore, so they must be having a hard time getting to us,” she said with a shrug. She didn’t seem too concerned, which made Laurie feel a little better.

“Okay, well, thank you for the update. I’m going to go see if I can track down some anti-nausea meds.”

“Good luck!”

She grabbed another bottle of water before heading out of the dining hall, then headed off to the area she remembered seeing the doctors in the day before. As she walked, she saw a few more people wandering the halls, a lot of whom had clearly spent at least some of the last few hours at the bars. The thought of alcohol made the nausea churn in her stomach again.

She finally found the doctor’s office, but didn’t see any sign of any of the doctors, so she looked around a bit to see if she could find any Gravol.

“What are you doing?!” A voice behind her shouted. She jumped and spun around to see a doctor standing in the doorway.

“Sorry, I’ve just been massively seasick since the storm, and I wanted to get some nausea meds. No one was in here, though, so I just looked around…”

“They’re right here,” he said, grabbing a box off the shelf and tossing it to her. “Now go back to your room and stay there.”

She looked at him, confused. He looked pale and scared.

“Is something wrong?”

“No, everything’s fine, it’s just that the storm is still going and you’re better off staying in your room.”

“Oh, I thought it had ended. The ship doesn’t seem to be rocking much anymore.”

“The waves aren’t as big, but it’s still storming pretty badly out there. Stay in the dining hall or your room.”

“I guess that means the rescue boats are going to be a while getting here.”

“Rescue boats? Oh, yes. They’ll take a while to get here. Yeah.” He looked at her with sympathy, and she looked back at him, still confused. “Just head to your room. The Gravol will help you sleep.”

“Okay…” She gave him one last confused look before heading out.

On the way back to her room, she noticed the stairs to the main deck on the other side of the hall and felt an intense curiosity rise up inside her. She figured the storm must be really bad to make the doctor seem so concerned, and she just had to know what was really going on. She looked around to make sure no one was nearby, before darting up the stairs to the deck.

When she took hold of the door, she braced herself for the wind to grab it. She took one last look around for anyone passing by, then pushed open the door and closed her eyes, prepared for a face full of rain…but nothing came. She opened her eyes just in time to see a fish swam by her face. Her eyes went wide as she walked out onto the deck.

Panic set in as she looked around, they were on the ocean floor.

The ship looked completely different from the outside; she could see the evidence of what had happened. Some of the lifeboats were missing, it looked like at least some of them had broken off the side. There were busted windows, so why wasn’t there any water inside the ship? Why didn’t she remember the ship sinking? Surely she would have noticed… Surely someone else inside the ship would have noticed even if she hadn’t.

She walked further out onto the deck. She couldn’t feel the water, she wasn’t struggling to breath. She kicked at something that looked stuck to the floor, it didn’t come off. She looked closer, was that a barnacle? How long had the ship been underwater? She turned around and saw the doctor standing on the deck behind her, looking at her sadly.

“What’s going on? Why can I breathe?” She asked. He just looked down at the floor. Her eyes widened as she finally realized what was happening.

She sank to her knees on the deck and cried.

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A sick woman learns something disturbing on a ghost ship.

Q&A: Willpower

What is the strongest willpower you’ve ever displayed?

As I’ve said many times, I had anger issues most of my life, and I also managed to keep from telling people to shove their opinions up their asses all the time.  So the strongest willpower I’ve ever displayed is the fact that I’m not in jail for assault or harassment despite that for a good ten years I wanted nothing more than to be able to punch most people I had to deal with right in the goddamn throat.

Cheery one today!  To counter that imagery I will debase myself by pointing out that if you put food in front of me that I really want to eat, any attempts I make to not eat it tend to look like that of a small child desperately waiting for mommy and daddy to look the other way so they can sneak a cookie.  I would have been one of those kids that technically passed the marshmallow test, but still stuck it in my mouth and then just spat it back out so I could eat it without technically eating it.

Check out The Llama’s answer and give your own in the comments.  Do you have strong willpower?  Or do you have impulse control problems?

Q&A: Prizes

What is the best thing you have ever won as a prize?

I won a tshirt once through work, that was nice.  Was a shitty tshirt, but free is free.  I used it for sleeping in.  And once I won $100 on a lottery ticket I had gotten for free.  That was pretty awesome!  Aside from that I don’t really win things much.

Check out The Llama’s answer and post your own in the comments!  Someone out there has to have something more interesting than me…

Q&A: You’ve Got Mail

What are the best and worst letters you have ever received in the mail?

Worst is obviously bills.  Bills suck. Especially if it’s a tax bill.

Best?  Uhh… Hmm… well, I used to get pay cheques in the mail, does that count?  I’m gonna go with that.

Check out The Llama’s answer and write your own in the comments!  Anyone got a funny mail story?

Lack of Focus

Last week I talked about how my anger had affected me in the past.  I have also talked about how that doesn’t really affect me anymore.  I still get mad, but only when there’s something to be unquestionably mad about, like when I learn about someone getting away with abusing their own child.  And I’ve talked about how after I got rid of the anger, I gained a problem with severe fatigue.  Well, I’ve mostly dealt with that, but now I have a new problem, because god forbid I cure one problem without gaining a new one to replace it.

The new problem, as I’m sure you’ve guessed thanks to the title, is that I struggle with focus.  Things that I used to have no problem focusing on for hours on end, I can focus on for about 5 minutes before getting distracted.  And this isn’t just work things, this is trouble reading books, trouble watching TV shows, trouble focusing on games that I used to start playing and then not stop until I realized I hadn’t slept in two days… My level of focus is basically that of an over stimulated toddler.

Obviously this is incredibly problematic.  It makes it nearly impossible to get anything done.  It makes it difficult to even TRY to get things done.  I have to force myself to do just about everything, including microwaving left over pizza so I can get something to eat.  I’m pretty sure I was more productive when I was sleeping 18 hours a day.

So, what am I trying to do about this?  Well, I have three different ‘to do’ lists that I keep posted around my apartment, I have multiple alarms set on my phone to remind me to do things as simple as taking the pills I need to fight the fatigue, I’ve tried denying myself things I want until I get things done, I’ve tried promising myself rewards for success and punishments for failing, I’ve tried meditation, I’ve tried omega 3’s which are supposed to be good for focus, and lately I have been trying the ‘pomodoro method’ of getting shit done.  Which is basically just setting a time frame that you shut off everything but what you need to get something done for 10 minutes then an alarm goes off and tells you to switch to take a break for 5 minutes.  So far this has been the most successful thing I’ve tried.

So far this is the most obnoxious result of my battle with depression.  Even writing this post has been way more difficult than it has any right to be.  My apartment is messier than it normally would be, I’ve been late paying bills because I get distracted and forget, even when I write myself lists I get distracted in the store and forget I have a list telling me what I need to get and so forget things I needed… It’s frankly massively frustrating.  It took me almost a week just to pick up the omega 3 pills and I had that in my phone in three different places and had reminders all over my apartment.  I would have just ordered them online but I kept telling myself ‘no, I’ll remember it today!’  And then promptly forget the second I got to the store.

I had been doing better at focusing when I was exercising every day, but frankly I have been getting distracted from doing that lately too!  Not quite sure what changed, it’s not a lack of motivation, I still enjoy working out, I still enjoy writing, I still enjoy making things, I just keep getting distracted and then forget to get back to what I was doing…  Which is why the pomodoro method has  been working so well for me I think.  There’s a bunch of free apps that set off a series of alarms telling you ‘it’s time to work’, ‘it’s time for a break’, ‘okay, stop being distracted and get back to work.’  It gets you in a rhythm.  Or at least it has been me anyway.

Have any of you had to deal with this? Any suggestions that aren’t ADHD meds?  I’m still very much struggling with this one so if you’ve been there and gotten through it, any suggestions would be fantastic.