My Guardian- Chapter One- City Boy

Posted on Friday, April 29th, 2011 at 2:07 pm

It looked safe enough. Mom would’ve had a fit if she knew I was this close to the water, but there was nothing to do in this dumb little town.

Gray weathered boards creaked as I walked down the center of the wooden dock. When I was halfway out I stood, feet wide apart. I leaned to one side and then the other, and watched as the water splashed higher and higher. I stopped moving and let myself be slowly rocked to a stop.

Not a sound, not a car honking, not a kid yelling, nothing. Even the air smelled different here; like trees and wet stuff.

Lying on my back I closed my eyes. Sharp slivers pierced my shirt and jabbed into my skin. I pretended I was floating on an inner tube, somewhere else, anywhere else.

I missed my friends and my old neighborhood.

We didn’t live by a lake, or have a whole lot of trees, but we could skateboard. We rolled every inch of pavement on our block and went to all the skate parks we could get to by bus. We even made a couple of awesome ramps.

John, Riley and I had spent afternoons screaming up the sides of those jumps and flying through the air.

We could have become professionals if Riley hadn’t broken his arm. After that, all the moms banded together and made us get rid of the ramps, but we still found things to jump off.

Just as I was starting to feel relaxed a hard stomp to my gut put an end to my daydreaming.

Gasping and curling into a ball I looked up and saw Bruce Danville smiling down at me.

I met Bruce the first day we came here. His mom was all, “so happy to have new neighbors.”

Bruce squeezed my hand hard when she told him to “be nice and welcome your new friend.” Right then I knew we weren’t going to be friends.

“Whatcha doing city boy, sun tannin?” Bruce kicked my feet.

I tried to think of an insult to spit back at him but I couldn’t breathe. He motioned to some kids on the beach to come and join him.

Great, I thought, one I could handle… maybe.

I recognized a few of them from around town, two girls and three boys. They looked like normal kids; bathing suits, bare feet.

I stood hunched over hugging my stomach

The smallest boy came forward and said “hi” all friendly like.

Bruce turned and stared at him. The kid’s smile disappeared and he stopped in his tracks.

“Hey guys, do you think city boy would like to go for a ride?”

No one answered.

Bruce started rocking the dock, like I had been doing.

Everyone fell to one side and then the other. The girls squealed and hung on to each other.

My stomach sloshed with every dip, but I kept perfect balance, moving my weight at the right time, like I was back home on my skateboard.

Bruce grunted as he leaned his large body down with each drop. The others screamed and yelled at him to stop, and one by one they fell off. The small boy was the first to go.

It was down to Bruce and me.

“That’s enough Bruce,” one of the girls spoke up. Her long brown hair was in a braid. The skin on her face glowed pink beneath a summer tan.

“What’s the matter, can’t ya swim city boy? Are you getting scared?” Bruce leaned forward and gave me a hard push.

I fell back, but put my arms out and got my balance. “Oh I can swim alright.” I hoped he didn’t notice my shaking legs.

Well I could swim, a little. I had taken lessons. I just never seemed to be able to get past the second level. Back home we had a wave pool, but all I ever did was mess around on the inner tubes, so I guess you could say my swimming skills were a little weak.

“Oh ya, well why don’t you give us a demonstration?” He shoved me again and I stumbled closer to the edge.

“Leave him alone Bruce.”

“What’s the matter Leslie? You got the hots for city boy?”

Leslie’s face turned pinker.

I looked at Bruce, and standing right next to him like that I realized something. He had to look up, to stare me in the eyes, and for a second I felt a little brave. But he wasn’t skinny like me. The muscles in his arms went hard when he lifted his hands to his head. He laughed and ran fat fingers through black bristled hair.

“Okay, okay,” he said smiling, “I’m just kidding around.”

He stopped moving and we waited for the dock to level. I never took my eyes off him. I tried desperately to think of something to say back at him, but in my trembling body, my brain was empty.

He walked towards me with his hand out.

Did he think I wanted to shake his hand? My heart pounded. I put out my hand.

That’s when he grabbed me, and started to push.

I leaned against him but he was strong. I shoved and felt him slip back a bit. I smiled. But that only made him madder and more determined.

“Knock………off!” I grunted.

“Look out everyone city boy’s going for a swim.”

As I fell off the dock I reached out to grab his shirt, but it tore in my hand and my head smacked the edge.

I felt the cool water, held my breath, and when I closed my eyes I saw flashes of light. I told my legs to kick but they wouldn’t listen. My lungs grew hot and my stomach rolled.

Dear God, please help me.

I thought about mom and dad, and my baby sister Tara; the new house, the move. Was this it? Surely someone was going to help me.

Please somebody, help. Help me out of this, I don’t want to die. I’ll do what ever it takes. I won’t complain anymore.

I opened my eyes. The water was swirling and murky. I squinted and saw something move. Somebody was coming to help. Yes, I knew it.

It was a big bulky shape. Even if it was Bruce I didn’t care.

Arms and legs moved above me in a blur as it got closer. But something wasn’t right, the shape, it wasn’t human. It wasn’t a fish, it was partially above the water, but it seemed to have black seaweed flowing from it.

I back-pedaled and pushed away with my arms.

I went nowhere.

It dove towards me.

A long snout, strange large ears, claws scratched my skin. A large jaw opened and jagged white teeth clamped down.

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