The River - Short Fiction

United States
November 16, 2006 12:32pm CST
I wrote this story for a little monthly short story writing contest we have on an online community with which I am involved. This month was suppose to have a scary or paranormal or supernatural theme of some sort. I wrote this fast and is kind of a stupid story..but thought I would put it here anyway. I dont write much fiction...definatly need practice!! Anyway... As she walked down that same sidewalk the soles of her feet knew so well, she smelled the autumn in the brisk air. It was windy and her long dark hair kept blanketing her eyes. She rummaged through her bag searching for a hair tie annoyed with her lack of organization. And just at that moment she heard a sudden siren that about stopped her heart. It was as if the engine came out of nowhere and whizzed by her on the street. April didn’t have much planned that day and was only heading for the coffee shop for a quiet decaf. For some reason, one she could not explain, her curiosity overwhelmed her thirst for that hot drink in a quiet shop. She noticed that the sirens had stopped just up the road on the other side of the river. So she continued her path across the bridge. She walked slowly as the apprehension weighed on her like cement shoes. There was no reason for her to fear yet the anxiety was rumbling in her stomach. As she made strides closer to the scene, she subconsciously decided to stop at the side of the bridge. She leaned against the four and a half foot high brick barrier as she peered below. A cool chill ran through her as though the temperature had suddenly dropped 10 degrees. And just then a woman approached her. “It’s a very windy day,” the woman pronounced. April looked up startled as she did not hear the woman approach. Catching her breath April simply replies, “Oh, I sure wish I had worn a hat!” Without wanting to be rude, April glanced at the woman who stood before her. She was about her same age, 24. Beautiful red, full hair. And her make up looked as though it was professionally applied. She was quite striking. But even more striking was the fact that the woman was unseasonably dressed and April couldn’t help but wonder how she could not be freezing to death. “I am very warm blooded as they say. I could always stand the cold, much more so than the heat,” the woman chuckled. They both looked back towards the river. And that is when April realized what exactly was happening. There were two men in scuba gear popping in and out of the murky water. The buzz of the police radios echoed in the river’s valley. “I wonder what they are looking for,” April asked without looking away, “who would be swimming on such a cold day?” “You know, you have gorgeous skin. Just like my daughter. Face like a porcelain doll. These wrinkles have been on my face so long…” she touched her cheek and starred off without finishing her thought. April didn’t notice a single wrinkle on the remarkable woman’s face as she peered over her features as though through a microscope. The woman suddenly continued as though a new burst of energy awoken her gaze, “Don’t let the world age you my dear. Don’t let them shatter who you see in that mirror. That reflection belongs to you and only you. Cherish it, April.” “We got her!!” one of the divers yelled to the others below. With her mouth partially open and unintentionally holding her breath April starred at the bank of the murky, cold river. They pulled the body out slowly by one arm as the divers made their way to shore. The body was face down and all April could see was this wet bright red hair. Gasping and with a lump in her throat, “Wait, how did you know my…” and as she turned toward the woman she realized she was no longer there. She looked all around. She ran into the road to look down the street. There was no woman in sight. She was simply…gone. Confused, scared and feeling emotions she never knew existed, she raced her eyes back to the river. By this time the body was covered and the somber faces who had worked so hard on her discovery were standing there in exhaustion. April sat on the curb for what had to be a good twenty minutes just attempting to calm herself, gain composure and make some sense out of what has occurred. She realized she should return home where she could feel safe and at the very least, warm. She wiped the tears from her face and as the wind began to once again bluster, she tried to get the hair from in front of her eyes. At that moment she noticed a beautiful red hair tie around her wrist. Blanked faced, she just starred at it for a moment. And as she began to walk she tied her hair back with that red tie. With a long brown ponytail bouncing with every step, she simply walked back to where she started that day. Only now, her eyes were free to see.
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