The boys had been out on the lake for hours without success.
‘You need to hold me under longer if it’s going to work,’ Gerald snapped. ‘That last time I just got inky darkness and nothing more.’
The ten year old pinched his cousin. Brett scowled back and rubbed his arm.
Gerald took a deep breath and nodded that he was ready, but something indefinable held back the usually fearless Brett.
‘Don’t blame me when yer half drowned.’
‘There’s something down there. Help me see it!’
Brett ducked Gerald’s head under and held him firmly when he struggled. The seconds ticked to a minute and beyond.
Near death. Oxygen deprivation. Terrifying visions. But Gerald was determined.
As Gerald stiffed, Brett believed for the first time that this could actually work. That it might be more than his cousin’s fancy and fledgling interest in medicine taking shape down there.
Finally, Brett gripped Gerald’s shoulders and dragged him back out of the water, flinging him onto his back. After a few terrible moments of pale paralysis, he spluttered back to life.
Gerald’s smile unnerved Brett. What had he seen down there?
The silence coiled around them, its poison dripping into Brett’s veins, until he doubted his ability to tell his cousin’s truth from fiction.
Brett shivered. Gerald seemed suddenly very self-contained and insular. Perhaps, if there was something down there, Brett didn’t want to know after all.
‘That’s enough for today,’ he said.
John C Adams is a nonbinary author and critic of horror and fantasy fiction, reviewing for Horror Tree, British Fantasy Society and Schlock! Webzine. They’ve had short fiction, reviews and articles published in many anthologies from independent presses, on the Horror Addicts blogsite and in various magazines including the Horror Zine, Sirens Call Magazine, Lovecraftiana Magazine, Devolution Z Magazine and Blood Moon Rising Magazine.
They have a Postgraduate Certificate in Creative Writing from Newcastle University, and were longlisted for the Aeon Award twice. John’s latest horror novel ‘Blackacre Rising’ is available to preorder now on Amazon and Smashwords.