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My legs coil and push off the wall. Streamlined, I zip through the water like a skin clad torpedo. I propel myself by dolphin kicking until the surface. My arms emerge first and the momentum I’ve gained from my turn keeps me going as I ease into a moderate pace. Staring at the bottom of the pool I think about every entry and every pull. Turning my head I gaze out the giant glass window that is a wall of our public pool. It has stopped snowing and the evergreens are white with the January precipitation. The swimming pool is located on the edge of the residential area of our tiny municipality. The sun still hasn’t risen as I plunge my head back into the water. Swimming relaxes me. Three more strokes and I turn to face the other, walled in, side of the pool deck. The lifeguard chair is empty. Pool toys are scattered in disarray and the plain blue wall is flaking paint chips. No one swims with me. I am alone.
I often swim in solitude. It is where the girl visits me. She was the one who told me how to get the keys for the pool and how to kill the owner afterwards. It was a clean affair. She told me to wait. Be the last one to leave the pool after the nine o’clock lane swim, hide behind the outside door and when he took out his key I had only to push. He smashed his head off the sidewalk. His neck broke and he asphyxiated on his own blood. She told me what happened. My stomach had rolled but I love to swim, and I love her.
I unfolded his fist which was clasped around the key and I put it into my coat pocket. I inhaled a breath of fresh air and I felt better than I had since moving to our little bungalow in Scarborough. Night had fallen and the moon shone brightly through the cold evening air. I shivered and by the light of the moon I managed to pick through the forest path back to my home. This happened a week ago.
I pause at the wall. My breathing increases and I feel the pulse pound in my brain. It feels good to swim. I suppose its endorphins or something. I’m not sure. I swim every day before the city wakes. My parents smell the chlorine but say little. The police think the guard’s death was an accident, a tragic accident, a premature death. I chuckle. Only I know better. Well the girl knows too.
She is nameless, a specter. She appears below me as I tread water by the wall of the pool. The lane ropes lie coiled on the deck. She swims, sleek and beautiful, upwards. Water cascades down her face as she rises up to the top of her breasts out of the water. She is my friend, and my lover. She gazes deep into my soul with her sea green eyes. Her short blond hair and long slender nose are familiar to me from long nights just being together. From within her slender lips she murmurs and opens her mouth as if yawning. Her sharp miniature bone white teeth lined perfectly in a row part slightly. She is gorgeous, like a flame among ashes. She wears a yellow one piece bathing suit as brilliant as the sun. She is sixteen but her perception of the world is far greater then a schoolgirl’s. She was there when God made the world. She even critiqued. Or so she tells me.
“My love,” I tense slightly as I hear these words in my head. Her voice is a pixie’s falsetto playing harmony to a cello bass line. Her voice is a river that is full of the most inviting drink but freezing to the touch. She moves closer to me as I tread water near the middle of the pool. She wraps her slender pale arms around my neck. “You are cold,” She projects simply, her words echoing in my head.
“A bit,” I admit. My voice sounds like a walrus who had taken up smoking. She moves in close and I can smell her scent. A summer day flirting with a winter night. She presses her lips against mine as I go under. Her kiss blossoms warmth in me that spreads from my heart into every orifice in my body and I feel inexplicably good. Damn good. She can do that to me. We surface and our faces part. Even as we do the heat fades and I feel my head start to hurt. I move in to kiss her again but she puts her pinkie finger to my lips.
“Not so fast,” she purrs. “I need a favor” She speaks in my head. She pulls her finger away but as she does her nails nicks my lower lip. A single bead of blood forms. I feel her shudder.
“What kind of favor?” I ask licking the blood from my lips. My head worsens, the pain escalading to the point where I can hardly focus on the woman clinging to my person.
“I need you to be with me. Kill your parents and you can be with me. Forever.” She thinks to me again in her angelic voice. This time however I pick up some anger in her heavenly pitch. My head begins to thump. A white spot appears at the center of my vision. I start to have trouble catching my breath and I go under. She pushes off my body as I begin to thrash about. I cough and blood and bile spurt out. I’m going to drown I think when she catches me and begins to drag me to the shallow end of the pool.
“Thanks,” I manage to cough out. “You saved me,” I spit the foul acidic taste out of my mouth. The pain is dull needles now. Suddenly she takes my face in her hands and looks me in the eyes. We are nose to nose. Her pupils seem endless as I gaze into them. I feel like I’m in a trance.
“I love you,” she says and I feel it in my head and my heart. “Kill them and I will take you with me,” She projects into my tender brain and I hear only ice as I wake a bit from her spell.
“I can’t kill them,” I say “A stranger is one thing my parents are another,” She stares at me even deeper now. She is silent. An eternity goes by. We are both standing in the shallow end now and I notice that she is taller than I am by two or three inches. Her hands have fallen to my shoulders. She moves her face closer, slowly and delicately. She passes my head and her lips rest on my earlobes.
“Do as I say,” she whispers aloud. For the first time I hear her real voice. It is hell. “Now,” she screams and with those words my body starts to arc and pitch. I feel like an ant under a magnifying glass. It is as if she had opened up hell and poured it inside my skull.
“I... don’t… think… so,” I sputter meekly. It is taking me a herculean effort to keep myself from screeching. She has taken several steps backwards away from me.
“I thought you loved me?” she says, sounding disappointed. Her voice adds to the apocalypse going on inside my head. It feels like a dam of searing heat building up to the point of explosion. I need to let it out. I start to scratch at my scalp, my eyes, anything to let the agony out.
“Make… it… stop. I... do… love… you,” my words are garbled and there is blood flowing freely down my eyes into the water but, she understands.
“Kill them and I’ll make it stop and you can come live with me. You will never feel pain again,” I see her smile as she says this. Like vulture watching some prey die. Her voice is worse now. Along with the anger I hear impatience. She pushes me with inhuman strength into the pool wall. I climb out to escape. I lie convulsing on the ground. My nails did into my eyes as I try to let out the burning cramp in my brain. It only adds to the pain. “I’m done with you,” she screams. She turns to swim away. Then she pauses. She turns back and she looks more beautiful than ever before. I force myself to stop moving. I am drenched with sweat and pool water. Blood if flowing down my bare chest. Her image is blurred now as I notice my left eye hanging against my cheek.
“Don’t leave,” I wheeze. “Save…” I choke out, spraying the deck with blood.
“I’m sorry,” She says calmly now as she approaches the side of the pool. “You’ve done this yourself, you’ve killed yourself. I loved you but I can’t help you now.” With those last words she rips me open. A fissure of pain runs through my insides. It’s like a giant tapeworm trying to eat its way out. Like a modern artist using arc welding to paint my insides. I rip at my stomach trying to let the supernova out but to no avail. I weaken and I feel myself lose consciousness. I hear a splash.
Lying on my back I vaguely see her coming. She pulls her torso out of the water and leans over me. She presses her lips once softly against mine but this time I feel no relief. Another splash as she lowers her short blond hair and slender pale figure back into the water. She turns and wades away.
“gnuhh,” I force out.
“Yes?” She speaks, not slowing but turning her head.
Now all I know is darkness.
“A young teenage boy was found dead yesterday at the Frank Norris memorial swimming pool. Laying in his own blood his body was mangled from multiple scratch wounds to the abdomen and face. Police are reluctant to release details as to the identity of the boy but family and relatives are devastated. Reports say that the boy was on medicine for severe schizophrenia. More on this story as it develops,”
“It’s sad really”
The two reporters will never know what really happened.