“I had a nightmare the other day, very similar to the ones I had before it. Some details I remember better than others, but more than anything I can remember the smell of silt in the water, and the feeling of my sister gripping me tight upon waking. This is what bothers me most...that feeling. That gripping, grasping tightness against my ribs that will not go away.
My sisters death was not caused by anything malicious. There was no monster, whether man or beast, that caused her to drown. She was simply not as good of a swimmer as I, and that is all. But the burden of her death still rests upon me, and know in my heart that the desperate, clawing feeling that remains attached to my skin is proof of my guilt.
It was warm day. My sister and I decided to take walk near our home. There was a special place for us, a small lake fed by a creek that ran through the grounds. The trees shaded us, as the sun filtered through, making a patchwork out of the soft green grass of the shore. It was warm that day though, and it didn't take much to convince my sister that taking a swim would be nice. We agreed to stay in the shallows, and I laughed when my sister shrieked when the cool water touched her skin.
I knew the cold water would help her limp. Today it was more pronounced than most. We played for a while, splashing each other and building castles out of the silt. But soon the sun began to warm our skins, and we began to get hot again. So slowly we made our way into deeper water, the temperature dropping as we stepped deeper in.
The color of the water darkened as we got deeper. Soon it was at our waists, the normally clear water taking on the color of green. We splashed around some more, and sat upon the bottom, the sand even colder than the water itself. We talked about boys, and my sister blushed when I asked her if she liked anyone. Not that I thought it would lead anywhere. We were children. It was a crush at best. But it was nice all the same. To hear something like that coming from her. She acted like someone her age should, and for once we really felt like sisters. The sun shifted in the sky, as we chatted on and on.
Soon, we began to find more courage. We edged our way even further out, the water above our waists now. We could swim freely, our feet touching the ground as we bounced up and down along the sand, our heads rising and falling through the waves. The water was even colder here, but it did not take long for us to adjust to the temperature. We took turns seeing who could hold their breath the longest, timing each other with a steady rhythm. We did it together, trusting that the other would be honest. We decided to do it once more, only to feel a hard tug of a current. Before we knew what was happening, we realized we were in deep, blackish water, much farther from when we started. We could still dive below the surface if we wanted, but neither of us dared.
All at once, I think both of us began to get the desire to leave the water. I looked at the shore, and it was very far away. I looked at my sister, and I could tell she was scared. My sister and I began to make our way back, but I could feel myself getting tired. I looked over at my sister and realized that she was having trouble. I...I realized that the shallows were still a bit away. I knew that if I didn't do something, neither of us were going to make it. I looked back at the shore, and I saw a man, standing there...I don't know why I thought he was going to help, but I called out to him all the same, screaming and wailing.
I looked back at my sister, and could see her choking on water. I felt...so so helpless. I wanted so badly to help her, but something primal kicked in. I could see the shore, and the man stepping into the water. And so I swam...I swam away from my sister.
I thrashed in water, desperatly trying to keep my eyes on the shore. My mind raced with a whirlwind of thoughts, but nothing more strongly than the fact it had all been my idea, and I was stupid. I was stupid and I was going to die. I felt myself begin to sink, but managed to break the surface again. I was wheezing, my muscles screaming. All along I thought about dying, about drowning. The water entering my lungs.
But at last I made it to shallows again. I looked back, but I couldn't see my sister. Fearfully, I looked around, but could not spot the man from the shore. I screamed for her, I screamed for Emily. A large lump in my throat began to form in my throat, as I considered the idea of trying to swim out and get her. Instead, I got out of the water and ran home to get my parents. By the time I got back Emily was dead. She was found a day later by divers, and was given a proper funeral with a closed casket.
I try not to imagine that day, but somehow it manages to enter my mind when I least expect it. I should have died that day...died saving my sister. But it said that the reason my sister died and I didn't isn't because I was a coward. She died, It said, because I was a better swimmer.
My parents never heard the true story, though I told them something close. They told me that I didn't do anything wrong, that I was just trying to keep my head above the water, that heading back would have been suicide. But since that day I think that is all I have ever been able to do since then. Just stay above the water. And though I feel guilt, and the grip of my sister tightens as we sink together in my dreams, I know there is no shame in that. We all make choices. But I still wish my choice had been different.”
This was delivered to me, from a location on Wellington Street. Only the location is not supposed to exist. It has been a long time since one of her tales were delivered like this, and I fear I have upset her. I have read this piece several times, and it lacks the supernatural elements that many of hers do. She claimed that the piece delivered at around Christmas was truth. Is this one as well? If it is I fear it may be the last I receive from her, and I can't help but wonder why she chose to share it now.