The Deep End

In the neighborhood where I lived growing up, there was a pool at the community rec center.  As kids, we would spend a good portion of the summer there playing diving games and Marco Polo and having chicken fights, but no matter how good we got at swimming, we never went to the deep end.

I had a friend once, his name was Andrew, and one summer he actually DID go into the deep end.  Before that summer, it was just an unspoken rule that no kid went over there – sort of like how kids will hold their breaths when passing by the creepy house in the neighborhood.  It was just in our nature to avoid it, even though we were all adequate swimmers.

That summer, with our eyes all glued to his back as he paddled his way over to the end of the pool to retrieve the diving toy that had gone just a little too far, Andrew went to the deep end.

His arms carried him past the nine feet, then the ten, then the steep drop into the thirteen foot end of the pool.  He turned around to wave at us, but he never saw us again.  Instead, what he saw was something, a hand perhaps or a tentacle, reaching up for his leg and pulling him under.

His hands flailed as he went down, then his fingertips disappeared against the mirror-like surface of the pool.

We screamed and swam toward him, calling for the lifeguard, but we never passed the ten-foot section of the pool – we never went over the drop.

We were thrown out of the pool then, for worrying the lifeguard and “crying wolf.”  Andrew’s parents put together a search party, but they never found his body, and we never went swimming again.

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