Water Runs Deep


Rewrite of an old fiction.

Look out the window and you see a vast stretch of green for miles and a rocky patch of the lake along the periphery. I’m told it takes an hour’s trek to reach the lake and the civilisation.

When I was a child, my father used to say that we lived in heaven as we had the best views in the country. My friends agree. They are travellers, they go places. They’ve been to beaches, castles and cities that never sleep.

I’ve never travelled anywhere. I was born in this house, grew up to see a herd of cattle grazing on the plains. I remember waking up to sunlight painting each room with lights and shadows.  I remember the smell of earth in rains, the feel of breeze along these plains. It was beautiful, I remember.

I played games with my two siblings in our vast backyard. Our peals of laughter rang louder each time we played catch. Luke, our seven-year-old brother was a menace ran the fastest and Emily had the most infectious laugh. I was the outsider of the lot, a wanderer.

Together, we were trouble or so said our mother.  It was very common for us to come home with bruises from all our antics. When Emily was eight when she fell into the rocky lake, we saw her broken arm, blood and her tears. We were banned from going to the lake without supervision.

We grew up, we swam, and we didn’t need adult supervision anymore. The lake gave us the best summers and the coldest winters. I remember running off one morning alone, it was dawn, cold and the world was just waking up. I loved such mornings. I remember my feet tickled by dewy blades of grass and then grated against the rough pebbles along the lake. I remember running off the cliff for a dive.  It was exhilarating.

Then I remember nothing, except waking up at home to this extreme headache and my head spinning.

As I saw through the window — everyone was fleeing, the animals, the neighbours, and my family; as if they were chased out. Then Black. Pitch black.

I opened my eyes, and it looked the same just duller. Everything was wrong. Colours leeched out  right before my eyes. Silence hung in the air.

It has been what seems like a hundred years. I am here now, at home. I can’t travel with my friends. I can’t travel like they can. I can’t see ancient castles or climb mountains. I can’t go to the lake. I can’t dive. My world is limited to my doorstep, this house. All I ever cherished of this place has vanished. This house has eroded before my eyes. I don’t see the cattle anymore, I can’t see my family. They fell off. I can only picture these things in my memory.

There is no breeze, there is no air. It’s stifling. The vacuum in this house, my world, entraps me day by day. It is almost like I’ve been shielded from life altogether. Instead, I see only in greys and black.

I try; try every day to get out of here, out that damned door, but it just won’t let me go. This house won’t let me! This trap won’t budge.

Every morning I see my 15-year-old self-staring back in the mirror. She hasn’t aged, whereas my soul has aged 100 years. My only visitors are the shadows – my friends – they see the real me. They talk and seem to know everything. They are travellers, travelling through time and space.

Today I saw someone. Luke.

I saw him looking at me from the backyard.

He says he was waiting for me. All of them were.

He says I had disappeared into the lake. Our parents had warned that the lake wasn’t safe. That still I chose to run away that morning.

Luke looked older and sadder.

He says they had searched for me. That mom and dad missed me every single day. It had been two years since I ran off to the lake.

Two years felt like a hundred to me.

He says he met my friends. They lie.

I laugh, it is ridiculous. My friends have been there for me every time. They kept me from going insane.

He says they are travellers.

I know this.

He says they have magic, dark magic.

I can’t understand. It can’t be.

Luke asked me, how I met them.

They were here when I got here, after that day at the lake. They were here when I couldn’t see.

He said my life now is unreal; reality was my old house that seemed silent every weekend, in which bright sun shone every morning. He says they waited by the lake in hopes to bring me back home. He said that my friends would never let me go, they were my keepers, they stole my life and kept me hostage.

Wait, what was going on?!

He said I was in an alternate world; a parallel reality of some kind, I had dived into the portal at the lake. It was a bad case of dark magic and notorious travellers.

I replied, what he was saying didn’t make any sense. What alternate world…portal?!

He said our parents had warned, not to go to the lake. He said I had to get out of the house, I told him I had tried and nothing worked.

I needed to do hide from travellers, to go to the lake at the exact time of that awful day and dive into the portal. Tomorrow he said, he’ll be waiting at the lake, I had to do it.

I nodded and he looked at me one last time and walked away.

That night when the travellers were no more to be seen, I planned my escape. I didn’t sleep that night; I didn’t want to miss my chance by oversleeping.

As the hint of sun shone along the horizon, I tiptoed to the main door, excited and scared beyond reason. Taking a deep breath I reached for the door knob. The door didn’t budge. With every try, my spirits fell. As the tears marked their arrival, I tried one last time to get the door open with all the strength I had. I fell backwards as the door jerked open. A weird sound emanated from me, I wasn’t sure if it was joy or my cry. I stood up so fast, I was dizzy. I did the one thing I always wanted to more than anything in my life. I ran as fast as I could, I feared that this was some kind of dream and I would be thrown back into this horrific life. Before I knew where I was going, I was at the lake. It was freezing, something that I had failed to notice until I got here. Now that I was, I followed the same steps as before and stood at the cliff’s edge; I dove and landed with a splash into the lake. I swam as deep as my lungs would allow.

As I swam to the shore I felt every inch of me freezing over. I saw something blurry, as I got closer my heart raced, I knew who they were. When my feet touched the shore, my family was there to cushion my collapse. It was the best day of my life.


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  1. Interesting concept, slipping time for a while like a clutch failing to engage. I was sort of grasping at an epiphany of some kind, and I’ll posit that perhaps your solitary escape and purgatory taught you that you had no interest in traveling? Stuff for a reader to think about.

    One thing I wonder: do you think using “travellers” risks a distracting conflation with Romany/Gypsies? It flickered with me for a moment, but I plunged on rather than pursue the thought. Not sure what other word to use.

    Thanks, I enjoyed it!

    Liked by 1 person

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