WHAT REMAINS - YA psych thriller Jul 14, 2022 10:34:31 GMT -5
Post by christinaf on Jul 14, 2022 10:34:31 GMT -5
Here's my first 500. Thanks for any feedback!
I said I’d never go back to the water again, but the brackish brown muck in front of me isn’t quite the clear blue ocean of death I’d sworn off. There’s a strange beauty to the thickness of the swamp, the way soft green plants float on top of shallow pools at the edge of this expansive place. As if life is a thing to be buoyed up here—instead of dragged down and stolen by the watery depths I’d known.
I turn away from the murky puddle, shutting my eyes until the calming darkness I’d grown to know so well replaces the memories of pale skin and limp limbs and too much perfectly blue water.
I count the seconds, the croaking of frogs keeping time with me until there is only the swamp and me and the humid air filling my lungs.
Cicadas chirp in the fading light as I open my eyes and take one step into the swamp. Strictly speaking, I’m not supposed to go in. Aunt Tilly told me it’s too dangerous to explore—too many hollow spots, too many animals with sharp teeth, too much mud to suck me down. But she also said dinner wouldn’t be ready for another hour and if I sat in my room, staring at the suitcase I should unpack, I would keep obsessing over the reason why my summer is being spent in the oppressive heat of Georgia instead of at home. And anything to get my mind off the reason I’m here is fine with me.
I only meant to walk around the house, to get fresh air, even if it is as hot and thick as someone’s breath right in my face. But when the end of Aunt Tilly’s long yard bordered the miles-wide swamp, I found myself standing on the very edge, where only shallow streams and small pools reach out toward me, beckoning me forward with languid movements so different from the ever-stirring bay I’d grown up knowing.
I pick my way around the muddy water, sticking to the soft clumps of earth that cling together like a patchwork blanket. This far out, there’s more land than water and it makes it easy enough to walk, as if the swamp were inviting me in. I listen to it, letting Aunt Tilly’s house disappear. Because maybe if I go far enough the swamp will swallow me whole and save me from my own unwanted memories.
An earthy scent wafts around with my movements as I make my way farther and farther in, careful to avoid the water as much as possible. Already, my gray sneakers are covered in mud that seeps through to my toes.
Maybe it would be smarter if I went back after all.
I glance the way I’d come from, but only tall trees, roots lifting from the water as if even they didn’t want to get wet, stand behind me. Curtains of Spanish moss sag from their branches, obscuring my path, until I can’t tell which way I came from.