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Swimmer, by Merkin


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Hallowe'en getting close...


by James Merkin

Troy liked not knowing which way was up, which down, as he swam in the dark. Air and water had no separation in the darkness, except that the air was breathable, the water not. He planned to test that distinction when he was tired enough. It was why he was here tonight.

Ben had followed Troy from the cabin to the pool, puzzled as to why Troy had come out so late with only his swim trunks on. Ben admired Troy, his cabin counselor, and his eyes and thoughts had followed him everywhere since the first day of camp. Unseen in the dark, Ben kept silent and still as he watched. He saw only the occasional flash of an arm, heard only the random splash. But this was enough for him to keep tracking the swimmer as he lapped back and forth, back and forth.

The sounds were irregular, the splashes few. Ben thought Troy must be getting very tired. Soon there was nothing to hear except for the occasional gasp. Then, nothing. Ben waited. After ten minutes there was no water moving, no sound to be heard.

As Ben walked slowly back to the cabin he wondered if he would be able to take that swim himself tomorrow night. He hoped the night would be just as dark. Somehow that would make it easier.


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Thank you all for your encouraging comments. What's their story? Well, I wanted to write about hero worship -- especially when we are young and wouldn't dream of approaching the object of our admiration. It's a form of puppy love, I guess, and I'd guess most of us have experienced a harmless form of it at some point. But imagine what might occur in a worst-case scenario. Swimmer is the result, and I sincerely believe it could happen that way.

James Merkin

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