Sorry if it's the wrong category, I wasn't really sure. My entry for a creative writing prize at school. Please read, and enjoy! =)
Their icy splinters tinkled through the air as William trampled them, trudging through the park. It seemed only yesterday he’d been here, clutching his mother’s sundress as they walked their dog Sam. He remembered the party well. Children had tied balloons to the roundabout and the colours blurred as they whirled round and round. There were snacks on a red-checked blanket in the shade of the trees, and bubbles trailed through the vivid blue sky while the others squealed and splashed in various shimmering ponds. He walked past one now, kicking a stone onto it which skittered along the frozen surface, a dull lump in the eerie night. How time had changed things. The months and years had bled the park dry of its gaiety and replaced it with beer cans and rubbish-strewn pathways. Yet somehow, deep in the death that winter brought, it took on new life.
Reaching the shore of the lake he slowed, his feet crunching over the moonlit sand, before stopping beside something. It was an old rowing boat, covered with an old tarpaulin and crystallised with ice, wavering gently as the ripples lapped the shore. William recalled his childhood once more, the earthy smell transporting him back. It was suddenly summer again, and his father was hoisting a big orange sail up the mast. Distracted by the sail, he was unaware of his son leaning over the bow to peer into the sparkling waters. He stuck his head out, as far as his neck would allow, longing for buried treasure and abandoned pirate ships and jewelled swords and all sorts of excitement. But on staring intently down into the lake’s murky depths, he was disappointed to find only mud. Mud and weeds. Having stretched all that way over he made himself comfortable, draped his arms over the edge and let his fingers create tiny jets of water as the boat glided across the lake… before a monster swam right in front of his face. A great silver salmon streaked through the water, showing all its tiny razor-sharp teeth, and causing a terrified William to scream. Before he knew it he had lost his balance and had splashed head-first into the water.
DAD!’ he cried, ‘DAD, GET ME OUT! THERE’S MONSTERS IN HERE!’
All his father did was laugh heartily along with the tourists on the shore, and pull his soaked son back on board, shaking with both cold and fear of the secret underworld. Surely they’d be back to get him soon, maybe in the night. Mermaids and pirates included, bringing their shiny swords with them…
William laughed at himself now, standing by the icy boat, at the thought of an underworld. How naïve he had been. Everyone knew there was no secret underworld with a fishy army. He couldn’t imagine how he’d feel now, if he were still a boy standing by this boat in the dark. In fact he berated himself quietly for being such an idiot. How time had changed things.
Slowly he lifted the corner of the tarpaulin, sliding it off and stowing it away in the bow before climbing in and taking the oars. Quietly he pushed himself out to the middle of the lake, the oars cutting through the waters. Barely a sound could be heard, and William pulled the oars in for a moment, just letting the boat go its own way for a minute as he sat back and took in the cold, cold night. The lake was sacred to him. It was the only place that had never changed, not once, during his lifetime. Everywhere in town roads were springing up, new shops and industries, restaurants, stadiums. Cars crawled everywhere and there was constant noise drifting in through the windows at home. People came and went every year, were born and died. Here, this ordinary lake, was the only place that would never evolve. Even with William’s own changes through the years, here was one place he would still feel the same.
He trailed his fingers in the water again, half expecting a fish to slip past unannounced as he gazed at them. There was nothing but the sound of trickling water, freezing on his fingers… and a sudden flash of silver.