A Bedtime Story

The following story was published as "A Bedtime Story" on Dale's website a few years back.

It`s nearing dusk, and you're airborn on takeoff, drifting down the
face of a newly discovered secret wave. As your craft finally touches
the surface and begins to find its line, you roll into a long, smooth
fade to the left, toward the strange, angled base of this thickening
maul. At the outer edge of your vision you see the peak thrusting
itself skyward. As the shadow of the lip passes overhead, you quickly
straighten and aim deep for the bottom. 

There is silence in the moment before impact, and then heavy thunder
lands close to your left. But looking away, your focus is on the oddly
swirling water just ahead. The surface pulls tight, pouring off the
rock shelf to meet the incoming wave. At the last possible second you
twist completely over on the inside rail, banking so far to the right
that you can`t see much of anything, straining to raise your head as a
great unseen force drives you firmly into the deck, and the tightening
arc of your turn throws you over the watery glaze of the reef and back
up across the face.

Your grip relaxes as you level out, skimming across the vertical upper
third of the inward-bending wall. Far ahead, the inside bowl rises
ominously, stretching out, the wave growing larger and thicker than it
was when you first caught it. 

Now is the time to let go, pressing down, unwinding at full power, the
soft chattering of your craft changes to a whispering hiss, as you
strain into the highest possible line. As your velocity increases you
wonder if this is what a seabird might feel as it soars across a wave
sensing invisible pathways to maximum speed.

Fast approaching the inside section, turbid boils and broken kelp hint
the end is near. Without prompting, your vehicle accelerates,
descending toward the surging base, falling deeper into the coiling
hole. Lightly textured backlit bluegreen hues become dark oily slick
and the water feels hard. 

As if trapped in a slow motion dream, you watch the massive roof of
the tube heave itself outward and far ahead. Racing higher again you
flatten, leaning closer to the uprushing wall. Surprised and amazed
by the mysterious pull of the building momentum your grip tightens
instinctively. You`ve never ridden anything, anywhere this fast. 

Streaking toward your wave's last escape portal time finally slows to
a single moment. And just before the opening winks shut you look back
at your spiralling, shimmering track, swallowed up by the swirling
darkness, and surrender to the unnerving suspicion that this mat of
yours is somehow... surfing itself!


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