Writing Prompt: Day 204

204.jpgDay 204 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: Write about swimming.

Shannon: He pulled me under the water and I attempted to slip past his side, but his arms engulfed me and drew me into him for weightless kiss. If only I could live in that moment a little longer, but I needed air. I broke his hold and kicked my way to the surface, which might as well have been a different world. I immediately wanted to go back down to him, but he’d be up soon too, and that was where I really wanted to be, in whichever world contained him.

Erin: Swimming was one of my favorite things to do. The constant sensation of the water on my skin made me fully aware of my existence at every moment. My weightlessness was freeing. The waves rocked me back and forth. When I was under the water I couldn’t think of a place I would rather be.

Put your character in the water.

2 thoughts on “Writing Prompt: Day 204

  1. It wasn’t on any known maps, or in any scrap of writing from the birth of our town, but there it was, shimmering in the noonday sun. With water clear and still as crystal and a depth we could only guess at, the pond stood like a gem in the middle of the overgrown forest. On one end was a tiny stone jetty that would have been perfect for diving off of and the other end boasted a slight sheer-faced hill that was broken up with a fast-flowing waterfall in the middle. If ever there was a more idyllic place on earth, I wouldn’t believe you; even the birdsongs sounded more peaceful and perfect in the picturesque setting.
    We’d been hiking for several hours with little more to go on than an hour-old GPS coordinate sent to my boyfriend, Jake, by a questionably knowledgeable guy online and I was starting to think we’d never make it home. Of course, as we’d been traipsing through years-worth of rotting undergrowth, there was a furious tension taking hold in the silence. But as we broke through a particularly stiff blockade of branches and moss, seeing the hidden sanctuary in the middle of nowhere had melted any residual, lingering tension and turned the pain of having to walk further to childlike delight. It took us a few minutes of stunned silence to truly understand and digest our change of luck.
    Taking a few steps to the water’s edge, I dropped my pack heavily on the stony ground, falling to my knees to peer into the clear depths for a while. Behind me, Jake followed, slinging his bag onto the grass a little ways away and leaning down to stroke the perfectly pristine surface of the water. Waves rippled away from his touch, glittering in the sunlight and licking up on the opposite shore as the waterfall rushed forth into the pond. With one hand bracing him on the edge, Jake sat down and viciously pried his shoes and socks off, rolled up his pant legs and dipped his aching feet up to the knees in the water. Sighing deeply, he closed his eyes and leaned back comfortably.
    I followed his lead and ditched my own suffocating hiking boots and sports socks, practically able to hear my burning skin sizzle as it hit the crisp water. As we relaxed there for what could have been forever, I realized I could fill my water bottle since I was here, and in dire need of drinking water. After a further few minutes, I rolled over and went in search of my bottle, sifting through camera gear, empty snack bags, sketching supplies and other essentials. In frustration, I tossed everything into a messy pile on the grass in an effort to find my canister until I realized I’d given it to Jake. His bag was even harder to navigate, with speakers, other seemingly random electronic equipment, more snacks, two bottles full of ice-cold water and my own flowery container.
    “I found my water bottle,” I called over my shoulder to Jake, as he nodded off to sleep with his legs in the water. Sighing at him, I submerged my canister in the pond, leaning so far over the mirrored surface that I could see myself in minute detail, before lifting it up to admire the liquid; it seemed safe enough and I would definitely need it for the hellish trek back to the trail. With a clatter, I threw it toward my bag and listened as the container rolled away without really caring about it.

    By the time we both woke up, the sun had been long gone from the sky and the only light we could see clearly was cast by an ominous blue shadow under water near the falls. With a start, I jumped back a few feet, rubbing my prickling feet and shivering terribly as the wind whispered through the trees. “Jake,” I shouted, shaking his shoulder violently until he came to, blinking the sleep from his eyes, “we gotta go, Jake. It’s way too late for us to be out here without anyone knowing where we were heading or any camping gear or anything. Come on,” I pleaded, getting to my feet and feeling around for my pack with numb fingers. I brushed against one of the bags and began searching it for a flashlight I distinctly remembered packing.
    Flicking it on, I shined it at the ground and began repacking my things as I waited for my cold feet to dry a bit more so I could put my shoes and socks back on. “Jan, can you pass me my boots? They’re just near your right hand there.” I grabbed his boots by the lip and tossed them blindly, hearing a satisfying clink as they hit the stone. Silently slipping my own shoes back on, I drew out the light jacket I’d brought in case it was a little nippy in the shade and pulled it on over my t-shirt, zipping it all the way to my neck against the freezing night air. Though Jake was still getting his boots laced up, I stood and headed toward the pitch woods, trying to recall which direction we’d come from without much luck.
    “Come on Jake, I wanna get going. It’s,” I started, checking my watch for accuracy, “nine o’clock and I told Kady we’d be back by at least five to have dinner.” As he got to his feet, rubbing his arms feverishly, I shined the light on his pack and he quickly threw it on his back, stepping over some small rocky shards to join me. Leaning down, he planted a light kiss on my cheek and went through the wall of trees without a glance back.
    Struggling through behind him, I almost ran into a trunk in my clumsy attempt to not lose him, laughing nervously at myself. Up the path, I could see his shadow moving quickly and I sprinted just to keep my eyes on his slim figure. As we went through trees on an unfamiliar path, I shouted occasionally, but he never turned back to me or slowed his pace; I thought I’d lost him a few times, only to see him moving in a shard of moonlight through the whispering trees. We finally made it to the truck after a couple hours of straight hustle and I gratefully slid into the passenger’s seat, wrapping our extra blanket around me and falling asleep before Jake had even started the car.

    It was a few days later that I began having the urges. They were so strong at first that I feared food poisoning or hallucinogenic mushrooms, but I quickly dismissed those in favour of simply wanting to be close to the pond again. After a day of horrible panic at being at home, not in the middle of a dangerous forest, I confronted Jake and he admitted to feeling the same way.
    “You know, Jan, I don’t even remember leaving that place. You said I led the way, but I don’t remember any of that,” he claimed, adding that he didn’t think we should ever go back, despite feeling the urge to return growing daily. With an agreement to never return, we let it go and didn’t speak of it again.

    A week later I was packing up for a solo hike to a well-travelled lookout while Jake was at work when I found my water bottle, still full of water from the strange pond. Ignoring it, I continued gathering my camera equipment, sketching supplies, some light snacks and an extra pair of socks, just in case. Without meaning to, I shoved the canister with the tainted water into the pack and headed out the door into the brilliant sunshine.
    Once in the truck, I headed out onto the highway and was soon speeding down the road on the way to the lookout with all thought of the pond completely forgotten. With the wind gushing through the cab, I screamed along to some heavy metal noise and pretended I had not a care in the world. I don’t even remember taking the wrong exit, turning around and heading in the wrong direction. All I know is that I came upon the same dirt road we’d been on a week earlier, parked on the side of it at a tiny break in the treeline. Then, I was in the middle of hundreds of trees without any sign of a path or living thing in sight. Staring around me, trailing my fingers in the low bushes, I heard the distinct sound of branches cracking off to the right and decided to follow them. For the next half hour I was merely searchingly blindly through a warm, shadowy forest for any minute rustle that may lead me anywhere.
    When I suddenly broke through the last line of trees, this time, I was immediately pulled to the edge, dropping my pack in the same manner as before to dip my fingers in the calm pool. As though it had missed me, the water rippled happily even as I drew back to snatch up my sketchpad and started drawing the pristine oasis in the middle of nowhere. I got the light glinting off the falls and the way the water sparkled in every angle, but there was a kind of softness that I just couldn’t get right in the picture. Near the deepest part of the lake, I kept accidentally smudging a dark shape into the rocks below the surface, which forced me to start over.
    After a while, and several dozen vain attempts at a perfect sketch, I looked deep into the clear abyss with one thought in my mind. Obviously, I’d had this thought somewhere in my packing process because I was prepared for it to take hold; I tossed the sketchpad aside and stripped to my bathing suit, leaving my clothes strewn haphazardly at the edge. I stood on the end of the little jetty with the sun beating down on my pale, bare back, psyching myself up to dive into the strange waters.
    When I was hanging in the air for a fraction of a second, a thought occurred to me as though it were the most important thing in the world; there was a waterfall rushing at one end of the tiny pond, yet the surface was practically undisturbed by the addition of gallons of water a minute. As soon as my head broke the crystalline surface, though, I forgot everything other than relaxing and how comfortably cool the water felt against my skin. I shot back up and gasped happily for oxygen, treading water for a minute as I got my bearings. After the world stopped spinning and the calm had completely saturated me, I swam leisurely toward the middle of the pond, feeling the weightlessness.
    I was almost at the center when I felt something tug me down, as though a drain had been pulled at the bottom, and I gagged and gasped as I fought against the current. There were fleeting moments when I could see the perfectly calm edge of the waters as I managed to get a breath of air before I had to fight again. Kicking and screaming and clawing for my life, I grew tired and my muscles ached, but I kept trying to get away, flailing about.
    After taking a deep, stuttering breath, I let go of my escape and felt the water close above my head, sealing me in to the underwater world. Everything around me was fuzzy and difficult to see through the water, but as I was dragged down, I watched blue lights dancing around me. Still kicking as my lungs started to burn, I felt the life leaving my body and fought hard against its absence. There were slimy things brushing up against my bare skin and I couldn’t see anything in the brilliant blue gloom. As I passed out, I could have sworn I heard something laughing in a pitching, horrible tone.


  2. The guys didn’t understand why they needed their swimsuits on a camping trip, until they came at the end of the long foot trail and saw the lake. Finn thrust his backpack at Josh, quickly rifling through it for his shorts. He then sprints to the trees closest to the water to change. The rest follow Noah to the dirt campsite. Finn whoops as he runs for the water. August is about to yell for him to come back.
    “Let him be, August. We could all use a dip,” the grandfather says. August sighs, setting his bag down. He reaches for a tent to start setting it up. “…You’ve helped a lot these past months, August.”
    August hums, taking out the tarps. Josh takes them out of his hands.
    “Meaning, go have fun.” His brother tosses his swim shorts in his face.
    “There’s a small shack over there to get changed in,” Noah points to the woods. August nods.
    “What!?” Finn yells from the water, “there’s a shack! I didn’t see it!”
    Everyone laughs, and August feels a little less bad about not helping with set up. He changes and then joins Finn in the water. He looks out at the lake. He sees a sloping area of grass that looks familiar across the lake.


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