She was playing by the swimming pool on a sunny friday afternoon. Her brother was about to jump in the water and she was chasing him. He was about to escape! No way! He was not going to flee again!
But, truth be told, neither of them cared much about the pursuit, they just wanted an excuse to jump in the water again and again.
The summer was hot in this part of the country but the kids couldn’t notice. You don’t notice this sort of thing at this age.
You don't really pay attention to details. You don't notice the old people complaining among themselves about your loud laughs, you don't even imagine someone could complain. All that matters is if there will be icecream when you leave the pool. Or if you will go to the beach tomorrow? Or if you will be in the same class as Carine next year? Temperatures, wind, rain, sun, slippery ground; a kid doesn’t care about these things.
But what if his parents are looking somewhere else right now? What if the only one paying attention is his 6 years old sister?
Is it her fault then if he falls head first and break his neck?
That’s probably what lesser parents would say:
"You were supposed to look after your brother!", "Why were you running!?", "We can’t trust you", "It’s your fault"
How can a kid explain? "I am running because I’m a little girl, I run, I jump.
My brother is having fun, we are together, we laugh and play and that’s about it."
So when her brother finally slips by the side of the pool and falls head first, it’s a good thing that his skull hits nothing but water.
One of his knees collides with the marble but he hardly notices.
And why should he? He won't lose this leg before many years.
The little girl won’t have to explain anything today. She jumps beside him in the water and they keep on playing.
They are both good swimmers but she is better. Not just because she is older, but because she "trusts" water.
Like she could never drown. Like the sea, the ocean, even the chlorinated water of the pool protect her.
She wishes it could protect her brother too, but she knows it won’t. It won't protect anyone. She knows it.
She sees it in her dreams. The dreams she tells no one about.
The dreams where she is surrounded by cloaked shadows. When water drowns them all. The dreams where she hears the beast.
But tonight, she will have another dream...
A dream of darkness.
She can't see anything but the dark ground and an even darker horizon.
She runs at first. She doesn’t know how, but she knows that she has to.
She searches the darkness for a long time and then, she hears it.