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My lungs were full of water. There was no escape. As I lay there, looking at the boulders that prevented me from gaining air, my only thought was of revenge. Somehow. Someday. Somewhere. Sometime. For now, though, I needed to focus on the darkness enveloping my sight. Revenge.
* * *
“Okay,” said Anthony, who was almost six feet tall despite the fact that he was only fourteen. “We’ve only got two days to do this and I’ve been counting on this trip for months, so I hope y’all remember the plan.”
The others nodded, Locksley’s blond curls bobbing in rhythm with his head. He’d only known the others for a year, but he knew the crazy things Mia and Anthony often came up with. This idea, however, was his. He just hoped that Anthony wouldn’t put too much of a spin on it.
Anthony glanced over at Mia, his dark eyes seeking the freedom her own parents allowed her. She caught him staring, so he cracked a smile, his teeth looking extra white in contrast with his dark skin.
* * *
It was almost completely dark by the time they’d pitched their tents at the Golden Gate Park, owing to the fact that there wasn’t enough natural light left to read the instructions and all their flashlights had somehow disappeared.
“Who wants to go fishing?” Anthony called, shaking his rod for emphasis.
Mia looked at her best friend. “What do you wanna do, Bea?”
“I don’t really want to go,” she muttered.
Mia shrugged. “If she’s not going, I’m not going.”
Anthony looked to Locksley. “How ‘bout you?”
Locksley’s eyes flashed green, which must have been a trick of the light, since his eyes were definitely blue. “Sure.”
“Alright, I’ll come.” Mia stated abruptly, then looked back at Beatrice apologetically.
She grabbed her fishing rod out of the boat, handing one to Beatrice, who was too creeped out at the prospect of being alone to stay behind.
They fell in step behind the boys, who were heading to a river further into the trees.
As they got closer, they could hear the roar of a waterfall.
“Does it even make sense to fish near a waterfall?” Mia asked.
“It’s perfect,” Anthony declared, his eyes reflecting the green of the leaves in the last light of day. He cast his line, Locksley did the same. Mia, however, was staring out the across the water.
“Look!” she cried. “There’s someone over there.”
Beatrice gasped. Locksley who had been reeling in his line, stopped when he saw what Mia was pointing at.
Coming to them across the water was the figure of a man. He was glowing- almost transparent-, and no boat or raft was visible to explain how he was staying afloat.
“He’s-” Locksley choked. “He’s walking on water.”
“Oh for the love of-” Anthony exclaimed. “The river’s shallow, that’s all.”
“But we were just fishing-”
“Yeah, well I bet that fish you caught was just a bunch of seaweed, Locksley,” Anthony said. “Come on. That guy’s probably lost. We should go help him.”
“But he’s glowing,” Beatrice pointed out.
“It’s just a flashlight. And let’s be honest, we could use one of those.”
“Anthony, we don’t know this guy,” Mia said worriedly, but Anthony was already splashing his way across the river.
He made it to the middle of the river before looking back. His friends were following, sloshing through the water to get to him and the figure they had seen. Except that it was no longer there.
Anthony looked around. The current was strong, and he realised now that the river was definitely not shallow. The water was up to his collarbone, and he was worried that the others might get pulled away by the current, since they were all shorter.
A thought struck him: maybe the man had been pulled under. If so, Anthony doubted he would survive. Making a split-second decision, he stuck his head underwater. He could see no light indicating a flashlight and could feel nothing but rocks and sand. He came back up seeking air.
“I think the person’s in trouble,” he called to his friends. “We should notify the police.”
“What?” Mia cried in answer.
“Look!” Beatrice exclaimed. “There he is.”
The others looked to where she was pointing. The figure had appeared at the base of the waterfall.
“Let’s follow him,” cried Mia.
No longer feeling the compelling urge to meet this character, Anthony let Mia lead them to the falling sheets of water.
The sound of the waterfall was a roar in his ears. Drops of it sprayed in every direction. He was so focused on the noise and the spray that he barely noticed the glowing figure slip between two rocks.
Anthony watched as Mia followed, dragging Beatrice with her. Locksley squeezed through and Anthony brought up the rear.
They were in a small cave. The walls were lined with hollowed-out shelves stacked with boxes- no, not boxes. These were vaults.
“This place is full of money,” Anthony said incredulously. At least, he thought it was money.
They heard a sharp laugh echo off the stone walls. It was Locksley.
“I led you here,” he admitted, and his eyes were no longer blue, but a venomous green. His voice was sharper too. “I placed the idea of a camping trip into your heads. I whispered to you in your sleep about getting revenge, revenge, revenge.”
“Locksley, stop,” chided Mia. “This place is creepy enough without you doing that.”
“That’s not Locksley,” Beatrice whispered.
Anthony whipped his head around. “So what are you saying? That he’s being possessed?”
“It makes sense,” consented Mia. I mean, that guy we saw- first of all, he was shining.” She caught Anthony’s look. “It was not a flashlight,” she snapped. “Anyway, he was shining, he was walking on the water, and he disappeared. Yes, I agree with Mia: Locksley’s being possessed.”
“No, I’m not.”
Mia spun on her heel. Locksley’s eyes were unmistakingly blue.
Beatrice let out a high-pitched laugh so unlike herself that Mia knew instantly where the spirit had gone. Her eyes, green instead of grey, proved it beyond a doubt.
“What’s happening?” asked Locksley, his voice shaking.
“Bea’s being possessed by that spirit we saw. You did too,” Mia explained hastily.
“But whose?” demanded Locksley.
Just then, there was a clap of thunder and lightning brightened the darkness. Anthony could suddenly see the back of the cave. There, lying in a mangled heap, was a body.
Anthony ran over to it, flicking open the remains of a jacket with the name R. Locksley written across the breast pocket. Underneath, there was nothing but bones.
He stumbled away, bile rising in his throat.
“I know whose,” he blurted, shouting over the sound of rain and wind. “It was a thief. His last name was Locksley.”
Upon hearing his name, Locksley turned.
“That was my mom’s maiden name.” He looked at the walls. “My relatives use to own a family bank. One of them disappeared during the earthquake in 1906.”
“Yes.” It was Mia talking now, her eyes hideously green. “And now that I have shared my secret, you will not escape. I will finally get revenge” She laughed hysterically.
“And how are you going to prevent our escape?” asked Anthony, trying for bravery.
In answer, Mia’s eyes began to glow and the wind picked up.
Anthony felt drops splatter his forehead, and realised that the roof of the cave was leaking. Looking past his friends, he saw water beginning to lap at the entrance.
“We have to get out of here,” he cried, heading for the river.
“No!” Mia jumped in front of him, blocking his path. Her eyes were still green.
“Mia, please. I-” he broke off, his eyes widening. Behind Mia, the water was rushing in, already soaking his ankles.
“Come on.” He pushed her lightly. “We have to go.”
“Mia, we’re gonna drown!”
“I’m already dead,” Mia spat.
Her eyes suddenly returned to their normal dark blue. She clutched his arms.
“Anthony, what’s happening?” she gasped.
Before he could answer, the ground shook violently. A moment later, an impossibly big wave of water knocked him down. Rocks tumbled around them as the shaking intensified, and the entrance sealed itself off.
Anthony looked up at the ceiling, hoping that the water would stop flooding in; that the cave would please, please, please hold up just a little bit longer.
Then the roof fell in.