Inside the darkness is a pool. The water is black, thick ink, utterly still. Nothing moves at all in the room. No air. No breath. No sound. The walls are far flung but somehow close, suffocating with peeled-paint nearness. I can’t see anything. But I feel trapped in the yawning space of the room. The pool I can see. Placid. Terrifying.
A single ripple shimmies across the pool surface.
I can see myself a thousand times, curled up on the barest crest then drowned. My reflection, wide-eyed, curving up and smothering under, again and again, cascading out. The ripple stops. The darkness, silent, is total. But that pool, I can see it, I can see the water though there is nothing to see. No stirring. No light. No clarity through the wavering depths to the plunged bottom.
Then I hear a breath. Drawn sharp off to my right. It is not repeated.
My own breaths stagger-trip over each other in their rush to get to safety in my lungs.
I creep nearer to the pool. My fingers dip into the water. Cold. Thick somehow. I can’t see them but I feel the wet. I stare into the pool. I stare back up out of the pool. Twins, horror-eyed, panting, locked in each other’s eyes in the dark.
My twin blinks.
I scream. The room sears into garish brilliance, like a lurid flashbulb a thousand times over. And then stutters. Flash dark scream dark flash dark fingers tighten around my wrist. Wet and dragging. Darkness rushes over everything again. I am ragged gasping. I pull at my hand but fingers drag me in. My twin screams. I am silent.
My twin’s eyes fill with water. And mine do too.
* * *
In the abandoned house a corpse was found. A girl. Drowned, somehow, in a bone-dry room. She had no eyes, only gaping sockets where the eyes once were. Nobody asked why.
Copyright Corinne Simpson