The water droplets slapped into the decking as her friends whooped and yelled their way off the dock. She took a tentative step forward to observe the ripples spreading from their points of impact, already dying down as they waited underwater. She glanced at the piles of clothing around her, Mikhael’s garishly printed boxer shorts the crowning glory atop the small heap of discarded apparel. She sighed and grasped the hem of her t-shirt firmly with both hands. She breathed in sharply and held the breath, pausing for a moment before her friends burst through the surface.
“Come on, Hanna! The water is lovely!” They were all shouting at her and she blinked behind the thick glass. She forced air out between pursed lips and pulled the tee over her head, revealing her lime green bikini top. To her friends’ encouragement, she reached for the button of the shorts and began to slide them over her hips. Her friends, swimming in small circles around the end of the dock continued to holler and yell as Mikhael splashes them, the occasional insult and profanity escaping around the shrieks of joy. Hanna smiles, then folds her shorts delicately in half. Her tee follows, meticulously folded and placed perfectly in line with the straight edge of the cut off jean shorts. She takes a step forward toward the inviting water but pauses, leaning onto her right foot. Her upper canines peek above her lip, then she takes her glasses off and puts them on top of her small pile of clothing.
“You aren’t joining me all the way? That’s very upsetting,” Mikhael shouts, gesturing downwards as his powerful legs kick below the surface. His shaggy surfer blond hair has collapsed over his eyes and he has to keep pushing it back. Hanna grins nervously, squeezing here eyes and fists tightly closed, then takes a flying leap off the edge of the dock.
Her world changes in an instant. The bright colours immediately became muted into a blurry patchwork of greys and greens. Mikhael’s legs drew up clouds of silt and she fought the urge to gasp as the cold water made itself known against her skin. She peered out through the murk, just about making out a dark shape accelerating toward her through the gloom. Bubbles streamed from her mouth, a scream given physical shape. She kicked her way upwards to where her friends were still playing. The shape moved below her kicking feet.
“Something is in the water.”
They all ignored her. She kicked for the dock, reaching out to take the wooden planks in her hands. Mikhael wrapped strong arms around her waist and pulled her back again. “Come on, stay in the water!”
She shouts at him to get off, fighting to get to the dock before the shape, whatever it may be, came back. It had been big, whatever it was, but she thought she’d be safe back on dry land.
She got a hand against the strut, splinters digging into her slender fingers as she felt Mikhael get torn away from her. She closed her eyes tight and pulled herself up, heaving herself onto the wet wood planks. She stopped, breathing heavily, waiting for her friends to join her.
Nobody came. She was alone. She began to cry, then felt something wrap around her left ankle. Her eyes snapped open as she was dragged back into the grey gloom of the lake.
The Idiot in Tin Foil