Burning up, part six
Dom stared, open-mouth, not believing it at first. He felt his whole body turn numb. “Bills?” he shouted. He lowered himself on his board and swam out, back down to Billy’s board. He grabbed it and felt his heart beating fast.
“Billy!” he shouted.
He slid off his board and scanned the shoreline, not seeing anyone. He looked back and saw the mouth of the wave arching up. It wouldn’t be long before it crashed down on him. He pushed away all his feelings of fear, upset, and dread-all those things. He took a deep breath, let go of his board and dove under. He franticly searched for any signs of Billy, narrowing his eyes, trying to see against the salt water. He felt himself panic when he saw nothing. He felt the current shift, the wave had passed. He came back to the surface and caught his breath.
“Billy! Where are you?!” He cried.
Billy’s board had been carried back to shore by the wave but had broken in two by the sheer force of it. Dom’s heart sunk. Broken in two like something so weak. He felt tears burn the back of his eyes. He whimpered a little, not quite knowing what to do. He watched as another wave rose upwards, took in a breath and dived under again. He swam around, searching franticly, looking for any signs of his Billy.
His mind was buzzing. Flashing images whirred in his mind. A sunset, a sunrise, a mountain. A plane, somewhere he’d never been. A forest, costumes, swords, the countryside. New Zealand, on set. Laughter, a drink, a birthday, Elijah, Sean. Tall buildings, wizards, Elven music, another language, his first day. A script, a trailer, a scene, leaves, a tree, a wooden door, a party, a horse and cart, a kingdom.
All of these images, all the things of New Zealand he’d forgotten but suddenly remembered. Everything that showed him what it was to be an actor. Everything that provided him to have his big break. He saw it, suddenly, burning right in his mind. Pippin. Billy. His Pippin. His Billy. Next to him, holding him, telling him it would be alright. Under the water, Dom twisted round and screamed Billy’s name. He saw something below the current. Below the shift of the tide, he saw something. It wasn’t just an image in his mind. It was real. He saw Billy, lifeless on the bottom of the ocean.
Dom rose to the surface, taking another deep breath and swimming under quickly. Suddenly, his body felt as though it was on fire. Emotions ripped through him, heating up his heart and mind. His heart pounded in his chest as he swam against the current he pushed downwards, finding it hard to swim down as the waves pushed on him. He felt heat surge through him and saw Billy again. His eyes were closed. Dom got closer and saw Billy’s foot was caught on something.
Something inside Dom, suddenly clicked. Within the surf, under the weight of the sea, his depression was burning up, burning away. Shifting. The weight on his chest was moving. The person that had bought him here was trapped and Dom needed to be himself to free him again. He pushed against the changing tide, forced himself to go down and reached Billy’s side.
“You’re not leaving me, Pippin,” he thought, moving downward to Billy’s foot.
He found the seaweed; saw how tightly it had wound itself around Billy. Frustrated, Dom fought with loosening it, finding it harder to breath as his air ran out. He worked faster, trying to free Billy, suddenly realising he had know idea how long Billy had been under. He broke it loose, ripping the weed off him and throwing it aside. He swam round and grabbed Billy under the arms and began to swim upwards.
He bought them back to the surface, coughing as gasping for air, as he struggled to hull Billy up. Billy was still lifeless in his arms, but Dom began swimming back to shore. Another wave thundered behind him, Dom looked back, fear filling his whole body.
“Stay with me, Bills,” he shouted, tightening his grasp on Billy.
Dom braced himself, waiting for the wave to come. He couldn’t take them back under. Not if Billy had been down for so long. He began to swim hard against the waves, trying to beat the current. He held Billy tightly and pushed himself to go forwards. He glanced back, seeing the wave getting closer. Before he knew it, the wave crashed down on them both. The force of it, knocking Dom downwards. He let go of Billy as he was pushed down, struggling to get back to the surface.
He swam upwards, trying to get his breath back and spluttered as he came back up. He searched for Billy and saw his friend being carried lifelessly on the wave.
“Billy!” Dom screamed.
He followed after as fast as he was able. He reached Billy, feeling nothing but wanting Billy. Nothing but needing to get back to the shore. Nothing but everything that made him who he was. He gasped and reached out for Billy finally reached the edge of the shore, dragging Billy with him. The depression had burned up. Withered away into nothing but ashes.
Dom pulled Billy onto the beach and ripped open his wetsuit. “Come on, Billy,” Dom panted.
Dom pushed down on Billy’s chest, counting to five and then, going to his mouth and breathing down.
“Come on, man,” he begged, repeting the process over and over. He wasn’t going to give up on Billy.
Almost seven minutes passed. It seemed like three days. Dom sighed, sensing now, it was too late. Billy had been under for too long. Dom felt the tears well up inside him and felt the burning his eyes. He knelt down and rested his head on Billy’s chest.
“Don’t go.” He whimpered. “Please don’t leave me on my own.”
Suddenly, Billy wretched upwards, coughing and spluttering, gasping for air. Dom looked up, shocked but relived and wrapped his arms strongly around Billy’s shoulders.
“Billy!” he cried. “Billy, you’re alright. It’s ok.” He said, rubbing his back as Billy coughed some more.
Billy spent a good five minutes coughing, gasping and spluttering before he finally got his breath back.
“You…saved me.” He whispered.
Dom held him close, resting Billy’s head against his own chest. He ran his hands through Billy’s hair and kissed the top of his head.
“I didn’t.” Dom whispered.
Billy was silent, he breathed deeply, inhaling and exhaling like it was his first time breathing.
Looking out to the ocean as the waves washed in and out, Dom felt his weight, the thing he’d been carrying with him, the depression, everything wash way with the tide. He could see the sun-spots making millions of shattered diamonds on the sea. The clouds lining the sky like wisps of candy-floss. The sun rising over the ocean, casting deep colours and such warmth. He saw the beauty and the nature. He could finally see the magic.
“You did.” He told Billy, hugging him close and tight. “You saved me. And you carried me all along.”
Billy rested up against Dom and looked out to the ocean. He’d never stopped seeing it. He smiled now, knowing as they stayed there, getting their breath back, holding onto each other, everything, he smiled knowing that finally, Dom could see it again too.
The birds flew across the sky, flitting back and fourth. Billy looked up to Dom, seeing his friend’s familiar face. A soft tear fell from Billy’s eye and down his cheek. He saw Dom was crying those same, happy tears. There was no need for words.
The cloud had lifted.