III : An ominous voice.
Henry, Oh Henry…
Frantically, I whipped my head from side to side. Where was the voice coming from? Completely submerged, I’d drifted down into the depths of the quarry, where this deep, resonating voice confronted me. It was omnipresent, vibrating the water all around me with its throbbing bass, my ears ringing as I listened,
Day by day, the end nears
So please, do keep in mind
You’ll have to come to terms
You’re the last of your kind.
No matter where you run
No matter what you try
Give in, and change your ways
Or in these deep, dark depths you’ll-
An outpouring of bubbles erupted from my mouth as I screamed, calling out to the voice. Show yourself, I challenged, dread spectre that calls my name. I slashed at it, clawing with my hands and gnashing my teeth until I took in too much water. My struggle had brought me further into the quarry’s cold, suffocating belly. What was it talking about? Why was this happening to me? Or perhaps, more prudently, what was happening to me?
When at last I broke the surface, the rest of the group had jumped in, minus Thomas who sat upon the ledge, looking over the horizon. I splashed around with the others before climbing back up to join him. He seemed to be lost in reflection, but of course that didn’t exactly stop me from intruding in on his thoughts.
“What’s up, man?” I called out as I came up on his perch by the ledge.
Thomas glanced over, and tilted his head in acknowledgment.
“Watsup,” He muttered as I took a seat next to him. The two of us looked out over the water.
“College starts next week,” said Thomas distractedly.
“Oh. Yeah. It does, doesn’t it.” I shifted around, moving a stick about with my foot, “Y’all be movin’ out of this here countryside fer’ the big ol’ city, won’t cha’?” I said, doing a bit. Thomas blew air out through his nose, granting me a feeble half laugh.
“Yeah. I ‘spose we are.” Silence. Then Thomas spoke up again.
“What are you going to do when we leave?”
I laughed a little under my breath and stood up, “You know, the usual. Maybe pick up a job. And I’ll be taking some classes.”
“Oh, true true.” Said Thomas, getting up as well, “Welp…” He stood at the edge awhile before taking a deep breath and leaping in to join everyone else.
I stood at the edge, waiting to jump. I looked down at all of my friends playing in the water below me. In another week they would all be moving out to college, and I’d be left here in town alone. I’d been made promises of weekly, even daily correspondence from most of them, and I was told that I was welcome to come visit whenever I wanted to. These assurances put me at ease, and as I leapt into the water for a second time, the rush of cool freshwater swept any remaining doubts from my mind.