It was the spring of 2014 when I first realized I could breathe underwater. I never knew until I was stranded in a lake, and I didn’t know how to swim. Don’t ask how I got there.
Now, I’m sitting on the docks of that same lake, three years later. It’s noon, and my family decided to take a vacation here now that I know how to swim.
I saw something shine before, and it had been in my head for awhile, ever since I fell in three years ago. I know it, but I’ve never found it. I dove in, entering the depths of the water.
An hour or two pass, and I’m lost. It’s a decent sized lake, just enough for several people to fish. I can’t see the sky anymore, and any direction could be my original entrance. It’s decently murky, a dark green-brown color. I continue traveling around, when I finally see the gold.
It wasn’t very large, just around the size of a small cookie, but it’s enough. My family is incredibly poor, you see, and every small bit helps.
I glide towards it, and wrap my hands around it.
It wouldn’t budge.
I yank harder and harder, all my strength focused into it. I know gold was heavy, but I never expected it to be this hard to grab. I put my feet down onto the rocks and sand, pushing away as hard as possible
I keep pulling when something grabs my ankle. I panic, my heart beating harder and harder. I try to swim away, I let go of this creature’s gold, but now it won’t stop.
First my feet go down, sinking through the sand.
Next go my legs.
Then my waist.
My head’s the only thing left above the sand when I’m pulled down completely. I’m being yanked through sand, my arms and legs being cut by the small, jagged rocks. Suddenly I’m in water again, it’s just a water deposit underneath the lake.
I look around, and panic. I see the creature… creatures, that had pulled me down. They were gruesome, some without heads, with claws instead of hands. They were almost similar to mermaids, although they had two fish tails for legs. They had long, snake-like tongues, and eyes without eyelids. Bright red, bloodshot eyes staring into me.
I screamed, and then the realization hit me. I couldn’t breathe. Why couldn’t I breathe? I’ve been able to breath in that lake, I could breathe in my pool, what was going on? My heart picks up in speed, the creatures were staring as if waiting for my suffocation.
My head began to hurt, my lungs aching. I thrash around, trying to reach a surface of some sort, to reach oxygen once more.
Finally, I realize something. When the water enters my mouth, there’s one flavor that was much too potent in a freshwater lake, the water I’ve been able to breathe in for three years, possibly even more.