Keep Fighting Until The End

2nd in the 'Beyond Words 2015' competition

I jump into battle. A cold hand suddenly wraps around my face and then envelopes the rest of my body. I feel the iciness wash over me like a tsunami. I move my hips back and forth, beating at the coldness. My lungs are closing together, I can hardly breathe, but I quickly reach the surface. Finally I get a breath of fresh, life-giving air, only to be pulled down again into the world of blue.
There is an iron-hard clutch on my head, gripping me like steel. I feel the urge to pull it off. It is pressing on my eyes, making it foggy and hard to see. I am aching to get away from this sensation.
I beat my arms against the coldness. I kick my legs, even though I can hardly feel them. I’m losing strength every second. I am constricted at either side by barriers that are persistent to keep me away from them. I continue the battle to get breaths of air, but I am always being drawn back down again.
There seem to be reflections on either side of me, some are ahead of me and some are behind. I race to keep up with them. Suddenly, there is a sensation that comes over me. I struggle to get my last breath. I twist and turn, battling for purchase. I beat my hips back and forth, trying to get away. I'm struggling to persist with this battle. My arms surge above the coming danger, I breathe again. Relief rushes through me, giving me renewed energy, but I know I haven’t finished yet. My eyes blur. My arms are thrashing, my heart is racing. My body is screaming for mercy. I’m fighting for the chance to win this race, I’m trying my hardest, but I’m still falling behind.
I am nearing the end, I can feel it, but I am weakening by the second, thrashing my arms for the chance to end this battle and survive. I push all of my energy into the final strokes. I fight to the end. I touch a hard surface and suddenly the battle stops, the whirlwind of cold dies down and I breathe in the cool winter air. The wind blows across my face and energy starts to creep back into my body. I see my reflections touch the swimming pool wall after me. They weren’t my reflections; they were people. I exit the treacherous waters. A band is draped over my head. I look down to see a welcoming gold ring on my chest. I won; I won this swimming race! It was all worth it, every last bit of energy I put into the race had paid off. I had survived.

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