The Mourning

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic


Five friends mourn their lost companion. They come back together one more time to express their loss only to find it may not be what they think....

Submitted: May 11, 2018

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Submitted: May 11, 2018

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It had been a great year, the best. The six of them had been friends since high school and, together, they had made it through their first year of College. Afterwards, they had each went home to celebrate with their families for the summer break. But, as the way too short summer came to a close, they were eager to come back together for one last adventure before hitting the books again in the fall. They had it all planned out; they would meet at a little campground just outside of the crowded college town in which they’d be spending the rest of the year. It was called “The Cross-eyed Cricket Campground” and had a man-sized cricket with overalls, a fishing pole, and crossed eyes standing at the entry gate to welcome guests as they pulled in. They had spent a weekend there during spring break the year before; it had a great open space for camping and had a secluded lake that was perfect for swimming. At the far end of the lake was a large grotto with stones that must have risen forty feet or more above the surface of the water below. It had been where they had spent most of their time on the previous trip and they couldn’t think of a better way to end the summer.

When the weekend finally arrived, all six said their goodbyes quickly and got on the road early. They had enjoyed their time with their family, but they couldn’t wait to meet up and kick start their last big weekend before the semester started. By the time the sun started its decent behind the trees, they had made camp, eaten some dinner, and were ready for a night time swim. It was the perfect way to start the weekend, so they each grabbed a towel and made their way up the narrow path to the lagoon.

It was a night to remember, if the amount of alcohol they consumed would allow it. They had shared stories of the summer break and let themselves drink freely since none of them were getting back in a car that night. As the evening drew to a close one of the friends decided he was going to be the first one of the little band to dive off the highest point of the stone grotto overlooking the lagoon. He was called foolish and taunted; it was way too dark, and the dive was daunting in the day light, let alone at night. But, the taunting just cemented his intent and up the path he went. It wasn’t long before he came out of the trees at the very top overlooking his friends, and the cool water below.

“You’ll never do it!” they yelled. He’d show them, he thought as he jumped from the ledge and disappeared into the dark water below. The friends shouted and cheered for a few minutes before they realized that he was not coming up. Perhaps it was the alcohol they’d had or because they had seen their friend pull this kind of prank several times before, he was known to be a great swimmer. Either way, they wasted far too many crucial minutes before diving in after him. All at once, they jumped into the cloudy water to find their friend. They struggled to see and to even move around due to the reeds and plant life in the lagoon and on several occasions, they had to fight to disentangled themselves to come up for air. They searched hopelessly for him, diving again and again for over an hour before the tearful reality set in…they would never see their friend again.

Heartbroken, the five remaining friends had moved through the motions that night. They called the police, then the family. A few weeks later, after taking as much time as they could to mourn, they returned to Campus. The school, the semester, and even the city itself seemed strange and lonely as the time passed by; their only solace was that they had planned to come back together at that little campground at the end of the semester to honor the loss of their friend.

The time passed and it became easier, as the pain of losing someone dear to you often does. But over the months that followed, the five friends found it hard to find the time to come together, each spent more and more time away from the group until they had not seen each other in months. Regardless, when the time came, they reunited and made their way back to pay their respects. Somberly, they hiked up the trail to the little grotto that had claimed their innocence that summer as well as their friend. At the top of the trail, they saw someone standing at the edge of the water. In disbelief, they recognized their friend standing there with his head bowed. Excitedly, they rushed up the rest of the trail and called out to him. He did not turn to face them, or even acknowledge he saw or heard them. They called out again and again with desperation as they got closer. Still there was no response. It was no use; he couldn’t hear them even though they were only a few feet away.  Their joy at seeing their friend there, alive, faded as they came to the top of the trail. In front of their friend stood five solemn wooden crosses, each carefully placed at the water’s edge.

 


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