Tiny fish darted around my fingers as I pressed them into Darmbow Lake, which lay calm in the slowly dying light of summer's sun. As my fingers wiggled, the fish darted away, tracing new paths in the water, trying to find new hands to dance around; but there were none.

   The sky was a cocktail of bright pinks and sandy oranges, peering down on me as I studied my distorted self in the shimmering water.

   Brown eyes. Not an interesting brown. Not a nearly hazel kind of brown, or a really light brown, or a brown so dark it almost looked black. Just brown. I had goldenish hair, ending just beneath my shoulder blades, predominantly straight with choppy layers and a side fringe swept over one eye. My nose, which had often been described as 'buttony', peered out only slightly, like a barrier between my two rosy cheeks.

   The pretty, youthful me had been stolen by adolescence, which left me with a curvy figure and a face that was, in societal terms, neither pretty nor ugly. As the sky darkened, my reflection darkened too, and I moved only when it had faded away into the depths of the quiet water.

   Before my hands turned numb in the cold, I scrambled to my feet, brushed the dirt from my legs, and made my way back home. Though there was only the light of the moon to lead me, it needn't have been there since the journey both to and from Darmbow Lake was engrained into my mind like roads on a map. I walked with my palm outstretched infront of me, tickled by branches as I ducked under a barely noticable clearing in the trees. A few steps later, I leapt forwards into a black abyss and was soon caught by the smooth rock that sat on the opposite side of the small stream. I wasn't scared of falling in any more- I knew the rock would be there to stop me.

   I shifted my weight forwards as I crawled up the fairly steep hill that followed the rock, before my body met with the rough stone of a wall. I swung one leg over, then let my weight pull me until both feet were planted on the other side. As silently as I could, I sqeezed through the gap I'd made in my neighbour's fence, and felt my eyes adjust to the light as I crept in through the back door to my home.

   The clock on the kitchen wall read 21:47, much later than I'd expected it to be. I slid up the stairs with tentative steps so as to avoid waking my father, who lay asleep on the couch. I smelled like sweat, combined with the stench of soil and leaves. Before I had time to convince myself I could wake up early enough to have one in the morning, I stripped off and got into the shower.

   Each droplet of water calmed me. The waves of panic I had begun to feel subsided as my body was cleansed of the dirt it had acquired over too many days of sitting alone at the lake. I feared the coming day- the first day at high school. The water rushing down my back controlled the worry, because I could control the water. I could make it warmer or colder. I could push it away into a lake as easily as I could splash it towards me. The real fear came when I'd removed myself from the shower.

   I perched on the end of my bed. Drops of water fell from the ends of my hair, wettening the bedsheets beside me. They fell without rhythm, without order. I could not cotrol them. The drops became less frequent as I sat for longer, eyes blurred with tears. Deep down in the oceans of my being, I knew I could cope with high school, knew my faked confidence and fairly good judgement would bag me at least a few acquaintances.

   What I feared is that they would grow to like me for my alter ego, but when a wave of my insecurities came out, they would all drown in the flood.

PentagramRead this story for FREE!