I’m working on a new project, and I thought that since people have requested more fiction in 2012, I’d post the first few hundred words here. I’d love to know what you think.
I am standing at the edge of the pond. It’s midnight, and I am absolutely naked. The moon is waning, a crescent that seems as small as the white of my fingernail, hardly bright enough to be reflected off of the water. I’m not illuminated enough for anyone to see me.
My mother would call tonight “jacket weather,” just cool enough that I would be shivering just in my tee shirt and too hot in a coat. But as I stand there naked and ankle-deep in the water, feet sucked into the mud, it feels even colder, and the breeze touches me in places that should be covered up. I don’t have a bathing suit to wear.
I feel as if each gust of wind that wraps itself around me knows all of my secrets. It knows about December fourteenth, and that it is T minus 61 days. For a moment, I worry that as it whisks along, it will share all of my private thoughts and plans. But I reassure myself that the air is just air, a mixture of a thousand million trillion elements that thankfully lack the ability to speak words, even if the rustle of the tree branches behind me does sound a little bit like my classmates softly talking about last Friday’s party and who got drunk and hooked up with whom. I can’t help glancing back. I’m still alone.
George is waiting for me in the car, so I can’t stand naked on the shore forever. I take another step until the water hits mid-calf, frigid and biting. The pond may have been quite warm in August and even early September, but it’s October 1st now, and no sane person would attempt to go swimming. But I have to do this. Tonight I need to go in deep enough that it will cover my head when I kneel or sit down on the bottom. I only have 61 days left to prepare.
I can’t feel my toes at all now and my legs suddenly feel very hot. I try to run forward until I’m in up to my waist. The water pulls at me, and I move as if I have weights strapped to my legs. But then the water is deep enough, and I sink down. I feel my hair rise up as I try to get as close as I can to the muddy bottom, and I have to dig my hands into the mud to prevent my all too buoyant body from floating up as well. I hold my breath and count until my lungs and throat burn and my head throbs. Seventy.
I jump back up, spitting water and gasping for air. I am done. I did it.
Now that this new layout has been around for close to five days, please participate in the poll or leave your opinion of the design in the comments. I’m worried that the vintage wallpaper makes the blog look like a sheet of white paper on the wall of a powder room.
The reader-selected post will be up tomorrow. Feel free to vote in that poll as well.