Harlow

United States

A human that does stuff with words among other humans who do other stuff with words

DEEP THOUGHT WINNERS: Zalma and MarSan!!

Message to Readers

I think this was an attempt to write a thriller and reference the figurative snapping of one's mind. Enjoy if you can.

When the Rope Broke

April 11, 2019

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In the scorching, boiling heat of the Sun here in the South, any pool is an oasis in a 6-month long desert. While most love the refreshing mood of wading in the cold, crisp water, some, like me, have a fear; A fear of what lies beyond the rope that divides the pool in two.
The rope is a safety symbol that ensures those who can’t swim don’t veer too far from the shallow end in which they dwell. But in some scenarios, the rope has broken.
In many pools, ropes have broken, but they were tied back together or repurchased. Seeing as we live in Pinefield, Georgia, which is a relatively small town, the rope broke and wasn’t replaced until an unfathomable tragedy occurred.
A group of children laughing and splashing in the safe, untouchable shallow end were seemingly swept away when the rope broke. A looming and eerie silence erupted amongst me and my fellow bystanders the children’s belongings floated up to the surface.
Mothers and siblings were wailing, calling out to those who had vanished; Fathers were searching violently for their children. Dogs barked seemingly sniffing for the missing kids.
For months that felt like decades, police and us bystanders were searching the poolside for even a lead on why these children had disappeared. I’d taken photos for the local paper at which I worked and noticed a man. He’d draped himself in a looming black cloak that ran across the damp concrete by the pool.
At the time, the pool was the place where all of my photos were taken for the paper, so any anomalies were noticeable; I pondered over one particular photo that was taken minutes before the rope broke. The man had walked through the metal bars that lead to the pool and just as he entered the rope had broken; It just snapped.
Alas, the police had found not a trace of the man, calling me but all but a fool, which is a compliment in some respects. The pool had reopened, and by now my eyes were always on the lookout for this strange man.
As I sat on the bench across the park one “cool” morning, I noticed that the man had returned to the pool; I ran across the bustling risking my life to stop this dangerous, lethal, suspicious, horrible man and stopped when I heard the rope break. There were sixteen children in the pool that day; four boys who dared to veer into the deep end escaped, but twelve more weren’t as lucky.
For two years, I returned to that bench every morning for photos. I’d lost my job at the paper after neglecting my duties to pursue that man. The police, as well as the town, had called me crazy for thinking this man could have any connection. Some had told there was no man, but I refused to believe them.
It was gruelingly, unbearably, unbelievably hot today, so as usual, the pool was open. The man had returned after two years of unnaturally cold summers striking Pinefield. I’d rushed to him and caught him by the hood of his cloak. He turned around and, for a moment, there was nothing. There was no one underneath the cloak. I waited a few seconds and looked at the man, who revealed himself to be me.
I’d been wondering for years, searching for months, spending hours researching what this man was, who he would’ve been. Those children’s deaths were on my hands, and I learned to come to terms with what I’d done.
The mourning and unfathomable sadness so many families had gone through, the torment I’d faced for believing something that could’ve been true. It all could’ve been avoided if that spark wasn’t ignited or if that switch wasn’t flipped. This all began when the rope broke.

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  • April 11, 2019 - 7:57pm (Now Viewing)

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