The lens of an underwater camera on a mission scans a bleak ocean-bottom landscape. Earth no longer exists. This is another planet. It’s hunting. It’s on a quest, exploring unfamiliar territory in dangerous waters.
The brain requires bearings. Where am I? The ground is an endless beach – sand that reaches to or is it from a sunken ship? The horizon is where the searchlight ends and an endless sky of black water begins.
A white shape emerges from the dark. The illuminated contours of a forehead and the curve of a cheek. Impossible. The brain is intrigued. Could it be? No. It’s not possible. Must investigate. Move position. Look again.
But a different vantage point reveals an astonishing feature… a pair of holes where eyes should be. High alert.
Wired to seek out all things human, the brain automatically searches and is rewarded with a nose and a mouth. Discovery. Recognition. Unmistakably human. Processing. A human face. It can’t be.
Is it a mask? How on earth? But this isn’t earth; it’s a ‘face’ on Mars.
Touchstones. Memories. Child’s laughter at the bottom of the sea. Small arms clutch a beloved dolly and a mother’s hand. Don’t let go. But dolly is left behind. No we can’t go back. It will be all right. Puzzle pieces fall into place. It’s a doll. Unbelievable. The china head of a doll looms into view. A little girl’s doll, so unmistakably human.
A little girl shivers in a lifeboat crying for her lost doll. She has no idea her father is gone forever, but her mother does. She clasps her daughter’s hand. Don’t let go. The doll comes to rest on the seabed. Its glass eyes search the dark like a camera looking for a lost child.
Excerpt from ‘The UNTHINKABLE SHOES’– a TITANIC-inspired novel by V. KNOX *spoken by Lacey Waters, on her fifth birthday.
[ Daisy Paisley is a baby doll but you’d never know it from her sticky-out eyelashes like the bristles of a toothbrush and her painted lips the color of birthday balloons. Her eyes are blue marbles that alarm me because they click when they open and close. Plastic windows clunk down and Daisy cries maaaa maaaah like a goat when I bend her backwards, something I know instinctively never to do with real babies.
I remember babies. Lots of them. My own babies from another place and another time in my dreams – my pretend children who live down the road inside my mind. I don’t remember exactly where, somewhere nearby, but I do remember that none of their eyelids clicked.
“Finish your milk,” Ma says. “You’ve a surprise waiting.” The word finish hits me like a wet Monday. Fin – Fin…ish.
“What?” I call out, but I’m not talking about the surprise. “I’m Finn,” I say.
“You’ll have to wait and see. Unless you FIN-ish that milk.”
“My name’s Finn.” I repeat.
Ma laughs and wipes the syrup from my face and fingers. “Finish as in drink all your milk, not Finish as in Finland. Run along you silly girl. It’s in the sitting room.”
“My friend’s name is Finn. He says hello.”
“I’m Irish,” Finn says.
“He says hello and he’s Irish.”
“Well that’s very nice but don’t be letting your Pa hear such nonsense,” Ma says. She goes back to her stirring and humming –a little grey bee in a world of abstract busyness. ]
‘THE UNTHINKABLE SHOES’ by V. KNOX will be launched on or before April 15, 2016, the 104th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic – GENRE: Literary Fiction / Magical Realism.