Blood and Water

Prompt Day #162: Drown a character who is hydrophobic


Blood and Water


My brother almost drown when he was a kid. He fell onto the pool liner and sunk, it wrapped around him like a sack and he was trapped, drowning in the dark. My dad was mowing the lawn and just happened to see the liner moving out of the corner of his eye and went to see what was up. He had my brother out and breathing again before the paramedics got there. But he still spent three nights in the hospital with a billion visitors and presents enough to make us jealous. For the rest of his life he was “the little miracle boy” the one “we almost lost”. And what Jon wanted, Jonny got.

While Jonny’s accident affected me and our brother Mikey in so many ways, the only lasting effect it had on him was his intense fear of water. He was petrified and because of his stupidity our parents had the pool bulldozed over and Mikey and I had to be happy with the lawn sprinkler after that. We hated Jon for that.

I don’t know when Mike and I decided to kill Jon but at some point, we’d just had enough. Jon was the golden boy our entire childhood. The kid could do no wrong, meanwhile Mikey and I were always held to a different standard. Jon slept with our girlfriends, Jon wrecked our cars, Jon flunked out of college and moved back in with Mom and Dad.

Jon’s thirtieth birthday was to be a big affair. Mom and Dad planned it with the fervor they’d never even put into our graduations or weddings for that matter. There were hand printed invitations, a huge rented tent, and caterers. Mike and I knew that would be the night. And we knew his death would be dark and wet. We went out back by the spring and dug. We dug a deep hole until the bottom began to swell with water and the hole slowly filled with muck; dark, wet muck that would wrap itself around him like a pool cover and swaddle him gently as he drifts into the afterlife.

The problem was, we had a summer draught for two weeks before his birthday party, so when we checked on the hole that morning it was fairly dry. It was a nice deep hole, but with just a little mud at the bottom. We decided to hold off on the murder plot, maybe think it over. We decided the worst we’d do was get plastered and ruin his little soirée. Once it started, we thought a better idea would be to get Jon plastered and let him ruin our parents’ birthday tribute to their favorite son.

We had him rightly pickled when the rain started, a downpour prayed for by everyone in town. We’d moved on to a bong Mikey had always kept out in the shed, Jonny following his oldest siblings like a stupid puppy. He was on his third bong hit when he said I don’t like all this rain, the driveway floods and I’m scared to drive through the puddles. Then he cracked up laughing. We laughed too but we knew he was serious. Then Mikey looked at me and raised his eyebrows. We were thinking about the hole we’d dug just a short walk from this very shed, the hole that was, as we stood there getting high, filling up with water.

“Hey, you guys want to try something stronger?” I said, suddenly deciding that the dates on Jon’s tombstone should match in all but one number. The guys nodded excitedly. “Grab a flashlight and come on” I said. Mikey grabbed the light, knowing what I was up to and making sure Jon walked right where we wanted him. We walked a ways, Jon stumbling, trying with some difficulty to stay upright.

I’d like to believe that had we been sober, we would never have gone through with it, but the hole was dug was before weed and alcohol had anything to do with it. When Jon fell in, the water was only up to his waist but the rain was coming down hard and the spring was filling up fast, so the water surrounding Jon was filling from both the bottom as well as the top.

Mike and I stood there watching him with the flashlight. He screamed and screamed, panic setting in. The more he struggled, the more the clay textured walls closed in around his flailing appendages. We stood there watching, not saying a word, all the childhood memories flooding into our brains. He called out to us to help get him out, we turned off the flashlight and left him there. The sound of the rain drowned out the sound of his screams until by the time we got back to the tent, his voice was only a memory.

We told Mom that he got mad at us and took off. We said we assumed he’d come here and came looking for him. The party ended immediately as Mom and Dad went looking for their most precious little gift from God. Mike and I went back to the shed and finished the weed. We knew where he was, we didn’t need to look.

His body was never found. It was assumed he’d wandered drunk down to the river that had risen dramatically in the rain and had been swept away. Having never learned to swim it seemed reasonable. But in the field between the river and she shed, there is an uneven patch of ground about six feet in diameter. It marks the spot where the earth wrapped itself around a boy like a pool cover and took back what had been rightfully stolen thirty years previously.