What lurks beneath
I lay on my back in the warm sand, staring up at the sky. It was a brilliant blue, with not a cloud in it. It was an incredible day to be at the lake. I could hear a dozen sunscreen bottles squirting out sunscreen. All around me there were shouts of, "Kids! Time for lunch!" and "Jeremy, slow down, honey!" For some reason, when I heard that last shout, my stomach gave a sudden lurch.
I knew something was going to happen. Something huge that was beyond me. I sat up straight, stiff as a board. I watched as the child named Jeremy raced into the water with his mother not far behind. He looked about 8 years old. He swam out a couple of yards while his mom stood at the water's edge screeching at him to come back and put on sun-block. Jeremy didn't listen. He just dove under the water and pretended not to hear.
Then it happened.
Jeremy stopped swimming with the intention to go back to shore. Too late. It happened so fast. First, I saw him bobbing up and down as he swam. Then he stopped. He splashed around for a moment, his arms flailing. I stood up.
"Jeremy?! JEREMY!" his mother screamed, "YOU GET BACK HERE THIS INSTANT! I AM SICK AND TIRED OF YOUR..."
She was cut off that moment by a scream.
"MONSTER!" said a frightened voice coming from the water. Jeremy's mother turned pale. We could no longer see her son playing in the gentle waves. He was under and something was holding him there. The water thrashed and turned as if something huge were under it, lifting it up and down like a storm. People ran out of
the water as fast as they could, then crowded to the edge again to get a glimpse of the 'monster.' I heard the murmurs of the frightened people.
"It's not a shark...sharks live in saltwater, don't they?" overlapped with, "Is everybody out of there?" and finally, "Jeremy! JEREMY!"
All of a sudden, the thrashing in the water stopped. All was still. Everyone was quiet. Silently, they turned and sat on their towels, not wanting to go back in.
A half an hour passed. Everyone still sat in the same position, gazing out into the lake. Suddenly, a little girl stood up and said, "Look! Something washed up on to shore!" Everyone gasped and ran over to take a look. As I pushed through the crowd, what I saw brought tears to my eyes. A small, ripped, arm floatation device lay on the wet sand. It looked exactly like one of the ones Jeremy had worn. His mother was white as a ghost. She let out a shrill scream, then fainted.
Everybody stood and looked at the tiny floatie. Someone called an ambulance, and they carried away Jeremy's mother on a stretcher. The crowd of people began to disperse. Everyone walked back to their cars and drove away as quickly as they had come. Finally, I was the only one left. I stood watching the lake and the small, gentle waves that drifted in occasionally. After an uneventful hour, I got into my car, and left. I never went back.
Over the next couple of months, 12 other deaths occured at that lake. The lake that had once looked so peaceful and inviting was now being closed off for the sake of others' lives. No-one ever knew what it was down there.