Friday, December 15, 2006

Ty's Dream Girl (The End)

A story written in three very-short sections for a friend's newsletter.

The Beggining

The Middle

The End
His panic began to smother him now, his chest constricting painfully as his legs grew leaden. After a panicked glance over his shoulder and to his left and right, he began a frantic, broken stroke for his own shore. As poorly as his limbs served him, he quickly grew convinced that he would weary and drown long before he even reached water shallow enough to stand.

He tried to deny his insistent urge to look back, but his will only held for a few strokes. Slowing briefly, he turned onto his back, continued with a clumsy, inefficient stroke and craned his neck to see if he could still spot the floating hair. At first, there was nothing but his own turbulent wake, but then he caught a glimpse of something...something very clearly not long strands of hair.

What he saw, instead, was a wispy curl in the water, a living, purposeful curl, a curl that was there and then gone. In nearly the same instant, he sensed as much as saw a large, fast-moving shadow in the deeper water to his left. With a terrified, choked grunt, he rolled back into a breast stroke and began to swim for his life.

The breaths came tight and shallow, his panic threatening to smother him. The shadow was faster than he was, looming, it seemed, on all sides, and--he knew without being told--lethal.

Finally, when his efforts at swimming had degenerated to simple thrashing, his toes struck bottom. With great effort, he forced himself to his feet and slogged through the shallows until the water was only ankle-deep. Turning there, he watched the shadow moving toward him with evident strength and purpose. But then it was at the periphery of the unreachable shallows and turning with wave-making speed to parallel the shoreline.

As the small breaker rolled across his legs, he raised a hand to wipe the water from his eyes. But before his trembling fingers reached his face, he froze. The hand, dripping water and shaking, was an old man's hand. He stared with terrified wonder at it for a moment, turning it slowly for inspection.

Suddenly, a voice intruded, making him start in his tracks.

"Grandpa? You alright?"

Ty turned to face a familiar young boy--how old was he, anyway?--standing a few yards away on the sand. There was an awkward silence before, "You thinking about Gram?"

The boy's name was Aaron. Ty could remember that now. With a faint nod, he said, "I suppose I am."

Aaron stepped into the shallows and moved to his grandfather's side, where he stared out at the deeper water. "She loved this place, didn't she?"

Barely aware that tears were coursing down his face, Ty said, "We both did, Aaron."

There was a long moment of silence as they both stared out at the water. "Did you really meet her here when you were a kid?"

Ty put a wrinkled hand on his grandson's shoulder and pulled him close. "I sure did, Aaron. Indeed, I did."

"Will we still keep coming? Even without her?"

Ty looked out at the water again, the lake now forming a huge indistinct shadow. "We're not without her, Aaron. She's still here. And as long as I'm still upright, we'll keep coming."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Amazing, Trevor. I applaud you. The first and second parts filled me with fear that I was reading some morose fantastic tragedy. I was nearly sickened by the outcome I had premeditated.

And then, it twists. Life's beauties explode from your writing. What was frightening mere seconds before suddenly becomes beautiful and comforting. For an instant I lived vicariously through a tide-befuddled old man, and experienced memories of a first meeting, a long relationship, and a bittersweet ending.

Though none of these memories are described, or even implied, their existence proclaim themselves from your details. Your writing is very well done.