It’s at night and there are three of us discovering the edge of a large pool of water. It’s a waterfall and at the bottom glows a far off white light – an artificial light. It’s dark up here but everything is a deep blue. The water is as cool as it is blue and everything excites me. It comes up to our torsos.
I jump down the edge and find it’s actually a large step of water before the long drop down the waterfall. Here, the water reminds me of jelly. My two friends think I’m cray for my recklessness – but it’s so fun – and colder now. They are apprehensive but as excited as I, and slip down after me and break the jelly surface of the water. The water underneath has the consistency of runny syrup.
Now they slide down the waterfall drop and this time, I’m the last to go. I think they’re mad because it’s a long drop. Who knows how the water will change on the way down? How would I even know it’s water at the bottom? Well there were other kids swimming. It gets brighter the further down we go and the drop is light blue like the plastic beach mats. My friends slide. They do this amazing thing. The water itself is like a large sheet of plastic. It’s water yet you can grab onto it like a plastic sheet. I squeeze my hands loosely around it and slide down fast. Wheeeeeeee this is fun! No rope burn as the cool water runs around my hands as I slide. Halfway down, I lower myself more slowly.
And at the bottom of this waterfall you finally have real water. Very cold now. Here, at the surface of the bottom of the waterfall is a large light blue plastic float. This is where other kids play. I separate from my friends and jump off the float to see how bright it is from underwater, under the float. This is when real water, cold water engulfs me. I love this. There is a boy beside me and I hide under the plastic float underwater with him. I realize the lights are from far off stadium spotlights. This is strange and somewhat discomforting. Is someone watching? Somehow I can hold my breath forever. And that’s when the evil man comes. To tap your shoulder.
He tapped everyone from the top of the waterfall. He was coming down. I couldn’t see from where I hid but I knew up there was dead. Were they killed or only tapped by this point? I don’t know I can’t see. But it felt like they were dead.
A shadow flashes across the float – his. I wonder if he’ll notice movement if I shift without breaking the surface of the water. After all, I’m underneath the float. I shift closer to the boy I do not know and the float lifts. He’s found us. His palm rests on the boy’s shoulder surely and briefly. He taps mine. Land, he says. Land meaning I am grouped with the rest above, implying, I am to be massacred bloody. There are nine left with us. They’re not even hidden. They are dry. They wear Victorian dresses.
A few he kept alive for breeding or for play, I do not know. Three and three alive. He said, travel. You will read about Life and you will read about love. Three to stay in a horse carriage to read about thick books about Life. The other chosen three are less important and will read about Love. They will travel on foot.
He circles back to me. I never actually see his face. Only his white suit.
And I wake up.