The forgotten river

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic

Henry went down to the water. It was cold. He stood on the shore and looked in all directions, but he did not see little Etelka anywhere. This is the first time in many years that she has not come to him. It was still dark, and he had a suffocating feeling that he would never see her again. Something must have happened ?! He fell into fear and was overcome by remorse for not helping an abandoned child. The darkness of the soul is sometimes worse than the darkness around us. The abandoned child and his frightened eyes suffocate Henry for years. But he was helpless and didn't know how to help Etelka. It was not until the day that fate brought Henry to the riverbank early in the morning. By the river, they often met Etelka from the day of the tragedy. But this time something must have happened, since little Etelka did not come and hold Henry's hand as it had always been before. The sad story of the story is a reflection of the endless suffering and loneliness of little Etelka, but also of Henry, who never came to terms with his fate. The story of the story takes place on the banks of an unnamed river, where a little seven-year-old girl named Etelka has lived for many years. Someone will have to save her from her suffering and loneliness!

Mining of the past cannot be erased. An empty city, a street ... Sometimes this emptiness falls through me and everything happens again and again before my eyes. When will it end ?! Maybe never. It started to rain, so I stood under the roof of the department store in the square. I watched the ground flood with rainwater. The city is usually as empty as every Sunday. At least I can dive into myself and try to process even a small percentage of my difficult past. September represents the end of summer, but also the breeze of autumn. The days are still hot and I can never guess if I should take an umbrella with me when there are smaller clouds on the horizon. It is still a work of God and cannot be estimated or influenced. The rain is fascinating to me. It falls on this whole world and washes away all visible dirt from it. But he can't wash away the inner dirt that many of us carry inside us. Someone blamed it on their own, and fate brought it to someone without asking. I leaned against the wall of the store and stared ahead. Although it was only three o'clock in the afternoon, it still darkened as if it were night. This is the purification of heaven. The rain healed and the water got more and more, the more. The roar of rain could be heard and I was immersed inside somewhere in the past. I remembered that carefree summer day and I wanted to influence the time with my thoughts in order to bring it all back. Maybe ... I'm getting paranoid and I've gone the wrong way? Should I slow down and take things as they are?

But I find I can't do it. Man's life stands on different pillars. If they are incorrectly built, certain parts of life will fall apart. Like a brick house. Everything has its basis, but how solid is it? The rain didn't stop and I kept looking far ahead. It seemed to me that a figure flickered in the distance ... but it was probably just an illusion. The pain inside will often show things that do not really exist. They are a reflection of the self. And our self can lead us in the wrong direction. The wrong steps in life are a reflection of our unhappy being when we cannot come to terms with realities as they are. As the rain slowly subsided, I walked through the city toward our river. The sky was still cloudy, so it was dark. It doesn't really add to a person's mood. I didn't meet anyone on the way, only occasionally a car passed along the way. The bridge that connects the city and our housing estate was also empty. I stopped at it for a moment and watched the water flowing on one side of it and then on the other side as it drained. I sighed and remembered how much water had passed since the day it happened. For many years, I thought that the longer it took, the less it would hurt. I just stared at the water below, and then I thought of going down the panel road down to the water. I walked slowly to hear all the sounds coming from the gloom and the trees that line the hill around our river. There was nothing to hear but the roar of water. I got to the shore, where I stopped and I looked aimlessly at the water. Scenes from that day were playing in my head. Well, it's awful just to think about it. It's been exactly 35 years. The quiet and calm flowing water creates the impression that nothing has ever happened here. I was absorbed in my thoughts when suddenly someone grabbed my left hand. I got scared. When I looked to the left, I noticed little Etelka standing next to me. She gripped my hand tighter and tighter. She was dressed lightly, in shorts and a red T-shirt with short sleeves, even though it was already September. She was very sad in her eyes and she could see that she didn't understand anything. She couldn't even, poor little. What could be understood by a seven-year-old child who was left alone without parents. She stared into my eyes and pressed my left palm. She filled me with questions, as she always did when I met her.

 

"Will you be here with me?"

 

"Yes, I will definitely be here with you for a while."

 

"Why have I been here so long and can't go to see Mom?"

 

"Get out of here. "

 

" No one's here and I have no one to play with. I'm still here alone. Where are Roman and Beny? ”

 

“Nooo, they're both big and have children. They do not live in our city, they even left Slovakia somewhere away. Maybe you wouldn't even know them if you saw them somewhere. "

 

"Please stay here with me forever, I'm afraid here! Why do you always go away?”

 

I bowed my head and found it difficult to absorb these urges from Etelka. It must be really awful, wandering alone along the banks of our river. I knelt down and tried to explain things to her as much as I could.

 

"Etel, I can't always be here with you, I have to go to work and I have to go home. I can't live any other way. And you know very well that whenever I have some time, I will come and see you, as I do now.”

 

Etelka hugged me around the neck like a small tick and did not want to let me go. I explained to her for a while how one day an adult would come after her and take her to her mother. She was completely silent ... after a while she whispered for me to take her to her mom. She is afraid of herself here and she is very sad. I had a hard time thinking about it again. Even that day became a utopia from which one can go crazy. Maybe it was even harder for me when I spent time with Etelka, because all the memories were so alive and they didn't want to pass away or at least change for the better.

 

"Oh, Etel, I promise I will not leave you here alone. One day I will take you to your mother. "

 

"Really?! Take me to her now! Please! Please! Please! Don't go away today! Stay here and we'll go to my mother's together!”

 

My heart pounded at these desires, and even more so when I perceived how much Etelka wanted to be with her mother. I tried to calm her down a little more and hugged her. She kept urging me not to go away because she was afraid of herself. Meeting Etelka was the worst for me. I haven't been able to recover from them for a really long time.

 

"Etel, I still have some things to do, and then I can come for you and we'll go see your mom. Hold on a few more days, I'll fix my life a few more things and I'll come.”

I saw the disappointment in her eyes again. She began to lament how appropriate it was for a seven-year-old child.

 

"I know you'll leave me here and we're not going anywhere, you still promise me that, but then you leave. Why are you still leaving me here alone? I'm scared here!”

 

“God, Etel, I can't take this anymore, you can't live like this! I really still have to leave today because I have to finish some things. And then I'll come again!”

 

I stood up and stroked her pale hair, walking slowly up the hill to the panel path. Etelka just stood and cried. I glanced around. She was still on the shore, watching me go upstairs. I heard her crying up the panel road. Farewell and my departure is the most touching part of our whole meeting with Etelka. Her frightened look and the wail that can be heard all around to the main road, where the panel one ends. I walked slowly, suffocating in my throat, breathing hard. When I was already in our housing estate, I tried to collect somehow, but it didn't work. This time I was completely disgusted and full of remorse. I still had little Etelka in front of my eyes and the frightened look of a child when he doesn't understand anything, but feels threatened by unknown things and people.

 

A new week has begun. Day went by day, and I handled various official matters related to my book business. I was tired on Friday, but I still didn't have peace in myself and I was even worse off than a week ago. I kept seeing Etelka in front of me and I heard her crying and crying all the way to my apartment. What kind of person am I? How can I leave such a small child alone on the bank of our river? What if someone hurts her there, a bad person or a dog ...? And I sit at home in the heat. Is it even possible to live with such a burden? Sometimes I wonder if it's good to go see Etelka at all. On the one hand, I'm glad to see her, and on the other hand, it decimates my whole personality. Well, I can't leave such a defenseless child there by the water, what if someone hurts him? I can't allow that!

By the end of September of that year, I had arranged all official matters regarding my trade and I also closed it. I couldn't leave anything open or unfinished. Terrible tug-of-war over offices and nervous people with bureaucracy will not miss anyone in this mess. But it should always be done and never given up. If a person sees that he is starting to be loss-making in his business, there is no need to stretch it further into the assumption - after all, it will work out one day. In such circumstances, it is better to suspend or close the trade altogether. And this is also my case. And then just figure out what to do next. It started in October. It was Saturday. I had absolutely nothing to do, so I decided to go to the cemetery and light candles. After all, I haven't gotten there in a long time due to many worries and problems. There were quite a few people in the cemetery, each immersed in himself and in the memories of his loved ones. I also met some acquaintances there and we exchanged a few words about the complexity of life. For the most part, each of them has a problem with employment, as we have been hit again by the global crisis. But it's nothing compared to the pain I've been carrying in myself since the day it happened. For exactly 35 years, my life remained in the dark. When I think about it for a long time, it all seems like one day to me. As if it happened today. And these are all the days of my life. Stuck in time and can't be escaped. I don't know how I can handle it all. But I try to live on and be beneficial to the environment and society. Well, there is emptiness in me.

October was quite warm, as was September. In the evening at home, I looked into space. I turned on the TV, but I wasn't interested in anything at all. So I turned it off and lay down in the corner of my couch. I compared my thoughts, I asked my conscience, I wanted it all to end once and for all. I closed my eyes and I don't even know how I fell asleep. In my dream, I suddenly heard a child's voice screaming for help.

 

“Help! Mother! Help!”

 

I slipped away from the dream so much that I almost fell off the couch. I sat down and rested my head. There was a scream and a call for help in my head. It must have been Etelka. Poor little. She's scared again and she's afraid of everything on our river. I can't take it anymore! I can't take my pain anymore! I looked at the clock on the wall, it was only half past four in the morning. I sat for a while, exhaling my unbearable condition. I haven't even gotten over it yet and I'm already haunted by bad thoughts and feelings. I knew something weird was going on. After a while, I started getting dressed because I decided to go see Etelka. I could not leave her there just at the mercy of fate and the very anger that is destroying this world. I washed myself and began to put my shoes on slowly in the hallway. Every minute, the distress grew louder, filling the space around me. I started to have trouble breathing, but I had to overcome it. I left the apartment building and headed for our river. On the way to her, such a strong distress came upon me that my legs began to break. I had a small one in front of my eyes frightened Etelka, how she is afraid of everything and how she still calls to her mother. What kind of person am I that I can't save her or help her in any way? For so many years, this little child has been wandering the banks of our river. And I'm always worried about her not being hurt. But this time, my fear was a hundred times stronger than before. It was still basically dark when I reached the bridge. I looked at both sides, but I didn't see anyone. Only then did I realize the helplessness that Etelka had to go through every day. There was silence and only the water rumbled softly. It was beating me in the chest. I was worried about my little friend. I felt that something was wrong. I went down the hill to the river bank. There was almost nothing to see in the dark. Not even the branch moved anywhere. I sat and waited on which side Etelka would appear. But she didn't come. I decided to go along the bank to the wooded part of our river to look for Etelka. Even as I walked along the shore deep into the woods, no one was still visible. I was scared and asked myself, “Where is the little girl in the shorts and the red T-shirt? What if someone hurt him because I can't protect him?”

 

As I walked back along the shore, I heard a scream.

 

"Help! Mom!”

 

It was Etelka's voice. She moaned sadly for her mother. I turned quickly and ran back to the wooded part of the river. I shouted, “Etééél! Where are you!”

 

After a while, I heard a pitiful scream from the other shore again.

 

"Mom!"

 

Well, I didn't see Etelka. The screams kept coming on the other side of the shore, but no one was seen. Probably the biggest drama of my whole life took place in me. Unfortunately, I suffocated again and again with remorse for not being able to help little Etelka for the second time. At certain intervals I shouted at Etelka, but I didn't catch any response. The water is deep in those sections, I would not cross to the other bank, I would only have to swim through it. As I stood helplessly on the shore, a scream suddenly came out of nowhere. But I didn't see anyone. I've already panicked. My heart was pounding. I ran along the shore scared, watching the whole area, but still no one anywhere. And suddenly a scream again!

 

"My mother, where are you ?!"

 

The child's cry cut through the heavy air again.

 

"Here I am, drowning!"

 

I looked in all directions, following the river, but I still didn't see anyone. I am overwhelmed with remorse. What a horrible person I can't help little Etelka again ?! Suddenly I saw some movement in the distance in the water. At first I didn't see exactly what it was, but there was a scream again.

 

"I'm drowning!"

 

I didn't hesitate for a second. I jumped into the water. I had to save little Etelka, because there was no one else to save her. At first the water was knee deep and very cold. I waded upstream towards the forest. I screamed, but I didn't get an answer anymore.

 

“Etééél! Where are you! I can't see you!”

 

Fear suffocated me with grief at the same time, and I kept calling out her name. I was already quite far from the city part of the river. I no longer felt the coldness of the water. I kept going upstream. And it was still dark. Occasionally, branches and other clutter floated around me, which were thrown into the river by irresponsible people in another city lying above the river. The water was already quite deep, above the belt. I could no longer hear Etelkin scared, just the roar of dark water. And yet I kept going and fighting the strong current. I already had my mind focused on one thing: "I have to save Etelka!"

 

Here and there the water got into my mouth, but I was still fighting the river. The last time I heard Etelka scream for help ... I took a few more difficult steps across the river…

 

There was silence everywhere and I was lying on the shore. I don't know how I got to him. I was not cold, I felt normal. It was still dark and I just stared at the dark water. I suddenly felt that someone was close to me. I looked behind my back. Etelka stood there. She was, as always, in shorts and a red T-shirt. She hugged me and hugged me tightly. We didn't say anything for a while. Etelka already had such a calm expression on her face.

 

"So you came to me and will you keep an eye on me?"

 

"Yes, Etelka, I will always be with you, I will not allow anyone to harm you."

 

Her baby eyes laughed and she kept asking me, "Will you come with me and my mother?"

 

"Will you still play with me? I was still so alone."

 

"Yes, I will play hide and seek with you and any other game you want. I will never leave you again, Etelka!”

 

I looked around and everything was the same as before. Except that time stood still. No one was in a hurry, and yet he could stay in a certain space-time forever ... until he decided to leave. I understood. I got here to help Etelka find my mom. That was my job. We both stood looking at the water. Etelka held my left hand and her childish eyes shone with happiness. And that's when I realized I should have done this a long time ago. Anyway, my life had been empty all those years, full of suffering and inner pain. And suddenly everything fell out of me. I am happy that Etelka is with me. I will always support her in this dimension and I will protect her. Well, maybe we decide not to stay here forever, but we go together where her mother is waiting for her. When I did he looked into the distance upstream, a small white light appeared. At first it was only slightly visible - far among the trees. It gradually got a little bigger, but it was still very far away. I looked at Etelka and she also watched the light. I asked her, "Do you know what's in there?"

Etelka looked at me with bright eyes and replied, “Yes, there is my mother! I just couldn't go there alone because I'm still very small. They don't let little kids like me go in there.”

 

I marveled and thought about it. After a while, I asked, "Have you been waiting for me for years before I could go there with you?" he lost me.

 

Then they'll let me go to my mom's with him. The children themselves can't go there. ”I knelt beside her and hugged her again. I said quietly, "My Etelka, I never lost you, I knew you were here, but only now is the time to save you. I'm glad I got this chance! I will never leave you again!”

 

Etelka smiled contentedly, still holding me with her little hand and saying, “I want to go to my mother. Please come with me.”

 

I stood up and continued to hold Etelka by her little hand. We stared at the water for a while and then we slowly set out together for the light in the forest by our river.

 

 

October 2020 - in local newspapers in the central office.

 

The editor-in-chief called a meeting of all journalists in the morning. It was attended by exactly 16 employees from the field. All journalists took their seats. The boss began to say, "At about six o'clock this morning, a drowned man was pulled from our river. This is a local bookseller named Henry. We don't know much about it yet, but it is probably closely related to the case that happened here in the past, exactly in 1985. This case took place at the turn of July and August at a time when many people were still gathering by the river to relax there. and bathed. There were allegedly four children without parental supervision and an unfortunate drowning of a seven-year-old girl named Etelka. The other three boys who were there had nothing to do with this misfortune, they just happened to be present. There was no way they could help this girl, at that time the water in the river was still very high. It was an unfortunate accident. The girl was pulled out of the water in the forest parts of the river, half a kilometer outside the city. She couldn't be helped anymore. The mother was arrested for neglect of child care and within a year died of grief in prison. They never found little Etelka's father, he refused to admit paternity during Etelka's mother's pregnancy. The former regime established the case as resolved. I had to pay to give me at least some information about this case. And from other sources, I learned that today's drowned man in the river was one of three boys who witnessed the event. He allegedly went to the river all his life, still looking for little Etelka. He seemed confused about what had happened before his eyes, and never recovered. My source claims that there is a notebook where this man named Henry recorded conversations and experiences of meeting the deceased Etelka for years. Whether he was confused or all this is true - the bare reality, we must find out, by finding his notebook. That is our main goal of journalism. Thank you for your attention, please use all contacts to help us find the notebook!"

 

 

The last sentence in the found notebook.

 

"Even if everyone forgot about our river, I was still with you. And I know that one day I will be with you forever and I will be happy to be with you!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Submitted: May 11, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Brandon McYntire. All rights reserved.

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