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What Really Happened to Billy Johnson?

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The rain water ran on both sides of the cobbled road. The children stood on the sidewalks and stared at their warped reflections. None dared to step into the water or to splash on the surface. That water was deep. Really deep.

It was rumored that Billy Johnson, the strongest swimmer on the swim team, had disappeared into the gloomy stream. Some of the older kids had dared each other to balance on the curb, laughing when the younger ones ran screaming for their parents. They say that’s how Billy went. They say he got too cocky.

I sauntered across the yard keeping my eyes glued on the cobblestone. Behind me, my challenger was undoubtedly waiting for my courage to fail; just one flinch was all he needed to label me “coward” for life.

One foot in front of the other, I stepped onto the concrete that separated yard from street. This wasn’t so hard. Slowly, and with my arms out for balance, I turned to face the audience on the sidewalk. My shoe caught on a crack. I pulled it free with some force, but that knocked my balance off. I teetered; now toward the grass and safety, then back toward a watery grave.

It went on like this for a few sickening moments before I regained my poise. I smirked at the fiend who had triple dog dared me. But my success was short lived.

An overweight SUV sped around the corner and torpedoed down our street, music blaring and the bass turned all the way up. It took me by surprise. I didn’t have to look down to know my feet were no longer firmly planted on the ground.

I glanced over my shoulder. This was it. I was going the way Billy Johnson had. At least I had witnesses, someone to tell my mother. I had always pictured my final moment differently, more pink and fluffy.

PLOP! I opened my eyes. The rumors had been wrong. Billy Johnson couldn’t have disappeared in that water. My sneakers didn’t even disappear! I looked up at my witnesses. They stared back at my wet feet. There would be no need to tell my mother. The only thing that needed to be said now was;

“So what really happened to Billy Johnson?”





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