Jeslyn Brouwers


Ahmed Mahin Fayaz

Her eyes closed. Her hot breath fogged up the glass which clicked into place beneath my palm. She looked up at me, eyes gleaming with fear. I examined her as a scientist would to a panicked animal in a test tube, immersed in its own tortured trepidation. Music boomed through the speakers as water began trickling down the side of the glass. The slow trickle became a downpour from the hose as if it had been aching to escape. Her eyes now radiated excitement and lunacy. The chaos had begun.

The water began rising up from the ground, seeping into her socks. The cold water visibly sending a shiver down her spine as the man dressed in suit and tie sat. Balancing at the edge of his seat. Motionless. The water rose faster, gripping onto her skin, pulling her into its wrath. Her thudding heart was drawn out by the eerie music surrounding her. She wiggled her toes, to keep them from going numb from the icy water. The water rose and rose, creeping its way up to her neck.  She stands on her tiptoes, like a child peering over the kitchen counter, fighting for her final breath. As if holding oxygen in her lungs was now an accomplishment. The man in black sat attentively, a smirk sneaking its way across his thin lips. His eyes are calm, as he takes a sip of his drink — admiring the show before him.

She felt so alive the first time that her head submerged into the ruthless waters. She sank to the bottom of the glass box. She kept calm as she began looking for the hidden key to escape, to prove her skill, her worth to the man. But the key had seemingly disappeared. When the water stopped rising, she became frantic. With the sliver of oxygen, teasing her desperate lungs at the top of the box, she coughed and coughed. The h sound echoed, help! help! help! until her cries were nothing but jumbled sounds immersed in the crashing waves of water.

The water invades her nose, brushes lightly against her lips as she exhales loudly to blow the water out. She fights with her body, as the urge to breathe becomes unbearable. Her body is weighted, heavy, exhausted. Her body squirms as her lungs begin to burn, her chest feeling as though it’s going to explode. Bubbles spew out of her, stealing with them her precious air. The icy monster put its hand over her pale mouth, welcoming her back into its welcoming arms. Kissed her, where her breath had once been.

Like the good kind of drowning, she accepted the offer to partake in the dangerous dance. The fragile balance of power between her strength and the waters around her. The two dance, as her hips swirl and hair dances in the ripples of water. The water demands her attention, mocks her naive innocence, pushing her body against the side of the glass as she attempts once more to plead for some distance apart. The water snags the rhythm, controlling her arms and legs, pulling her down, filling her lungs with passion and song. “save the last dance for me” it whispers into her ears.

She punches the glass with all her might. The vision of the man now becoming blurred and distorted. His suit, bright lights, and music spiraling into sensory overload. She bangs on the glass once more, but the thick glass box barely vibrates. Her knuckles bleed, staining her vision and the water a dark red. The water is no longer entertained by her poor efforts. Her show, merely a disappointment. It scoffs when she desperately searches for air, when her face turns a blue-ish purple, distorts her vision and sense of direction just for the fun of it. Their innocent dance transformed into a dance of death as the audience cheers in awe. The icy water chokes her, turns her face a light blue, her slowing heart rate placed so nicely in the palm of its hand. It could, at that moment, end it. Leave her dancing alone in the box as had been done to others, but hell, the death of anything is only good the first time around.

She goes calm, her blood barely pulsating through her veins, her brain buzzing with thrill. The man is intrigued, impressed, by her gallant efforts to prove herself. However, as expected, she was nothing but a failure, a failed act.

The glass shatters, as her weakened, bloody fists force themselves for the last time through the glass. Water spills onto the floor, moving slowly towards the man’s polished black shoes. Her exhausted body collapsing before him. Shock radiates through the room as the music stops. Quiet. The man stands up, adjusts his tie, and claps. A bright light shines on the girl’s weary eyelids, as she lays seemingly unconscious on the stage. The man’s applause is followed by a swarm of cheers. The girl pushes herself off the ground and looks at the judges before her, the man now smiling from ear to ear. Her vision gradually turning into an abyss of darkness and exhaustion. The man’s deep voice booms through the auditorium, “And that everyone, has been our final contestant of America’s Got Talent!”