Drowning – a short story

Part of Month of the Macabre

click HERE for the content warning and about Month of the Macabre

“Drowning”
a short story by Jeremy C Kester (All Rights Reserved)
[note: this is an early draft and may not reflect the final product]

Screams came from the water. Niel was out in the water. He thrashed as he tried to keep his head above the water. Blood sprayed from his nose as he did so. Hit after hit from the water came at him. 

I stood at the shore, unable to do anything. I froze right when it all went wrong. 

A horse had been standing near the edge of the water when we saw it. It looked like a damn mess, kelp and seaweed all over the damn thing, like it had just gotten done a swim in a shitty part of the ocean. Thought it’d be fun to mount the damn thing. Niel agreed and jumped out after it. Should’ve known that something was wrong when it looked at him. Horses couldn’t smile, right? I swear that’s what I saw just then. A knowing smile. Like fucking horses could smile, right? That’s what I kept telling myself in the eternity of those few seconds. I swear it did, though.

Right as Niel got on its back, the thing turned and leapt into the water. As soon as it hit the water, Niel suddenly got sucked under the tide right as the damn thing vanished.

I was shocked. For the first few seconds, I struggled to even call out after him, much less even move. It wasn’t until he popped out of the water screaming that I even said anything. 

“Niel!” I yelled.

“Help me! Please!”

Then the horse erupted out of the water. At least it looked like the horse. It was part water and seaweed and just the shape. It was like whatever the horse dissolved into the water and — well, I couldn’t believe what I was looking at.

The damn thing made some kindof tinny sound — like a scream or something — damn my ears hurt. I bent over and held my hands over them, trying to block it out before I realized in was like it was in my head. My hands did nothing to muffle the sound. 

I stared at it as it smashed Niel with its hooves. Again. Again. It kept doing it over and over with that terrible screaming sound in my head, drowning out my friend’s own screams. 

The water filled with red, reminding me of how the water turned bright red when I threw a packet of Kool-aid into a pitcher when I was younger. Strange how the mind snaps to those memories, like it was trying to push out the horror of what was happening in front of me. The fact that my friend was screaming for help mattered little right then to my thoughts. Then, right then, another terrible thought crossed my mind. I was almost happy that it wasn’t me in the mess, that he ran so much faster than me to the beast. But I wanted to help. I didn’t want him to die.

Before long, the water settled. Screams died out to the cool quiet of the evening. Niel was gone. The only thing left was the red color of blood that washed up along the shoreline. 

Story written and owned exclusively by Jeremy C Kester. Do not reprint, copy, or anything other than sharing direct links to this page without written permission from there author.

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