The end of two lives begins a journey not to be forgotten.
|(Dear Reader, Please note: this is a prologue to a novel that's nearing completion. You will have many unanswered questions that are later revealed in the novel. The intention is to hopefully hook the reader and have them turn to chapter 1. Would appreciate good, honest feedback. The main question being...did it hook you? Thanks for looking.)
It felt like they had been struggling for hours, yet it had only been minutes. Their limbs were failing them. The young man thought he might go for the shore one more time, but it was too late for that; his body wouldn’t cooperate now, it had been through enough already. Even if he was, somehow, able to summon the strength, it didn't matter. The threat that awaited them on the shore was just as fatal. He knew death was upon them.
It almost seemed funny to him, but it wasn’t his life that flashed before his eyes as he’d always heard. It was his sister, his little sister. Though she’d always made it a point to be a pain in his ass, he thought how she would be the first to learn of his death; she would be the one to break the news to his parents; and he ached for her.
His date started to go under first. Unlike the young man, she didn’t think about anyone in particular, just that God was being unfair to her. Punishing her even though she didn’t deserve such a punishment. Did she? People had whole lifetimes to make up for their transgressions, why wasn’t she allowed that? Instead it would all end so quickly. No…she didn’t deserve her life to end, not like this.
As her lungs began to burn, she felt it couldn’t end quickly enough. The pain was insurmountable. Her brain was confused and begged for air, but found only water. Her hands clawed madly toward the surface, searching for something concrete to anchor onto. Anything to deliver her body from such a hellish end. But the water offered no refuge and merely slipped through her fingers as her body continued its downward spiral.
An enormous full moon reflected radiantly on the lake as if spotlighting the tragedy. The dense woodland safely concealed another young man hiding amongst the brush as he watched the affair unfold. He wasn’t sure what he should do. One thing he was sure of; if he did try to help them, he would surely meet the same fate. Two people were about to die, why make it three?
"Please! Help us!" the young man screamed out, sacrificing his final breaths in hope of salvation. His thunderous voice echoed around the lake and startled the man in the brush to his knees.
He dared not move for fear they find out, even in their last moments alive, that someone was there who could possibly save them. As his heartbeat echoed up into his head, he prayed for it to settle down before his skull exploded. Surely his ribcage couldn’t hold it back much longer.
Although the late spring air was cool, he sweated uncontrollably. The voice in his head berated him for ever coming to this place. He came looking for a little adventure in his otherwise mundane life, but this was more than he bargained for. He would be haunted for the rest of his life.
He continued to watch as the splashing began to subside. It was nearly over. He thanked God the couple's suffering was about to end; and then cursed Him that his suffering was merely beginning. His life would never be the same. He sat in terror as the lake regained its tranquil beauty.
As the heaviness of his breath overtook the sound of his heartbeat, and he felt it safe enough to make noise, he vomited in the patch of ferns beside him. He felt a bit better, until he imagined the bloated faces of the bodies at the bottom of the lake. Before he had a chance to react, he vomited again, ruining his shoes. He tried to cover up the vomit the best he could for fear that police would later be looking around the area and discover that he was there.
He took off his shoes and held them in his hand as he didn't want to leave traces of bile along the path. He quietly made his way out of the woods and back to the gravel road that brought him to this unfortunate place. He briefly looked at the car that the couple had driven in, then promptly turned to make his way down toward his own car.
He walked on the road and around a bend for about three minutes with only the moon for light, careful to watch for any cars that might happen by. The gravel didn’t bother his feet. He was used to going barefoot often, and in fact preferred it to shoes. As the back of his car came into view off the side of the road, he fished his keys out of his pocket and headed for the trunk.
He thought he was calmer when he reached his car, but then noticed his right hand shaking violently as he worked the key into the lock. He carefully placed the vomit covered shoes on some rags he had in the trunk and pushed it closed until the latch clicked, rather than slamming it. He made his way over to the driver's side and got in.
He was dazed and exhausted: mentally and physically. But when he started the engine he would drive twelve straight hours, stopping only for gas and to relieve himself, until he reached home. Twelve hours between his home and this place he would never mention to anyone. Only he and God knew what he had seen, and he swore that’s the way it would stay.