The riverbank disappeared from view. Day turned to night as quickly as though some celestial entity flipped a switch. The water whipped up tumbling the boat to and fro. An announcement over the loudspeaker ordered everyone inside. Instead, my hand over hand grip on the railing led me to the bow for a better view of what lay ahead.
We were sailing toward a giant waterspout. The engines cut off and the boat drifted nearer, the spout split and took on the appearance of a water cave. The engines restarted in reverse, but it was too little too late. The water cave created a vacuum, drawing the boat forward and into itself. Impossible as it sounds, we were all going into some kind of a black hole. Not me.
Not me. I wasn't going to just float into somewhere unknown. I thought about going below to warn the others, but I wasn't sure I'd be able to make it back out and time was running out. I strained to see the riverbank. A beam. Might have been a flashlight. The light flicked on and then off and then on again. It was enough to make me brave. I jumped over the rail into the raging river and swam in the direction of the flickering light.
The current was stronger than any riptide I escaped on a summer day at the beach. My arms strained to keep me on course, while my lungs struggled to keep me afloat. At some point I passed out, and when I woke I hugged the riverbank while my body from the waist down remained in the water. Someone, two someones- sunlight returned so I saw their shadows on the ground- grabbed my arms and pulled me the rest of the way out of the water. They turned me over. The bright sun made me shield my eyes with my forearms. After my eyes adjusted to the light, I looked up into the faces of my rescuers. I didn't know if I should be grateful or afraid. I never before saw faces such as these. I hope I never do again.