Still Waters Run Deep

Poison fascinates many. It stores itself in nature’s most mesmerizing creatures. The red mushrooms spotted white, resting in the center of the meadow, their tops posing in the sunlight; a single taste seems plausible to anyone. Gut curiosity will veto the risks.
So it was with the swamp. Halloween nights and harmless campfire stories told of the black waters the swamp hoarded from probing eyes. The swamp seemed placid. But anyone who had lived in the town for long enough remembered the virulent stories, and gave the cursed place its distance. For one thing, gangs dumped all kinds of heinous trash in the water. In time, all of it would slowly and casually make its way to the bottom, a graveyard of past atrocities.
The bottom was probably squishy and a murky brown. Travelling upwards, clouds of livid earth rising around you, the darkness eventually evaporated until reaching green blankets huddled around the swamp’s surface.
If you were daring enough to venture into the swamp, the last place you wanted to be was treading water. Below, who knew what would decide to give in to curiosity? Everyone knew that if the police never found a body, it was rotting on the bottom. Either that, or the gators got you. Gators always developed an appetite for human flesh. It wasn’t only the gators that gave the swamp its understood dominion. Kids were more terrified that those bodies weren’t completely dead.
The tranquil water was such an eerie illusion. Beneath, the deceased laid stomach-side up, peering angrily at the disturbing, flapping feet. Their eyes were always exposed. The murdered had wide-open, surprised eyes. Eyes of sorrow and disbelief. Then, with the calmness of a dove taking flight, a single, foul corpse gazing through empty sockets would rise from the bottom, pluck you from the surface and suck your warm blood like a strawberry until you ran cold.
BOOOOOO! WHAH! And then there was the familiar high-pitched screaming, and the heavy guffaws of the older ones. They never quite let the ending linger enough, but at least one kid would pee up a storm immediately after. Another 20 wouldn’t sleep for weeks.
Peirce Fleming drove down the highway frantically that night. There was a box in the backseat that held something illegal. Peirce didn’t give a damn what was taped up in that box; all he knew was that Boss wanted it dumped. If Boss said so, than there was no questioning. He knew that the contents were heavy enough to sink down into the swamp almost immediately. He didn’t know if that knowledge should ease his conscious or not. The heavier, the more likely it was a body, or something even more illegal.
The moon wasn’t even full; it was a crescent. Tonight, it appeared faded and yellowing, resembling Peirce’s big toenail. He wore leather sandals as he pressed his foot sternly against the gas, flouring the car forward. This trip was urgent. The box needed dumping in the swamp, and nobody outside of the gang was to know about it. That was his knowledge. Being the underdog made him depressed, yet, he only wanted to do more and elevate his position. More important guys got better jobs. Guys far from the inner trustworthy circle got menial and grimy jobs. In this case, it was confronting the swamp head on.
There’s the exit. It loomed, becoming closer, more terrifying to Peirce than a full moon. That exit sign had anxiety and apprehension screwed in each metal bolt. It was the first horrible step towards the swamp. As Peirce drove, knives seemed to pulverize and scoop at his heart like a grapefruit. McDonalds stood by the side of the road up ahead, and for once, Peirce was reassured by the rise of the golden arches. He pulled closer, and realized that it had been abandoned. A long time, by the look of it. There were remnants of cheerfulness here, based on the yellow, plastic Play Place. The swamp’s presence extinguished any flame of joy.
A Ronald McDonald poster was hung inside the window. Ronald kept smiling, and someone had drawn graffiti on the windows next to him. The smile seemed forced now, like the clown was trapped inside the window, banging his white gloves against the glass, those red-caked eyes mocking him. For some reason, this sight made Peirce want to screech to a stop and fly back to the highway. Beyond these few streetlights, some side streets with run-down homes and a mini mart, a black hole led to the swamp. Reluctant, Peirce drove the truck down, already feeling the effect of the dark water. But it had to be done. Protesting, the truck floured on. Peirce turned on his high beams, the spookiness only becoming more visible. Long branches festooned the path. He felt as if the trees breathed. He felt as if the humidity was a solid blanket encompassing the truck. He felt as if he had already drowned.





Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback