Jemma sat on the edge of the dock and kicked her flip flops off her feet. Sitting down, she dangled them in the brownish-green waters of Old Pond. The heat of the day had leeched much of the soothing coolness from the liquid, leaving it tepid at best. But it was still better than nothing.
The air felt thick and heavy, and a misty haze made Jemma's vision feel blurry. She hunched her shoulders and peered into the brackish water. Curious sun fish hovered around her feet, and a hungrier one took curious a nip at her toes.
"Ow, you little booger," she said with half a grin. She chased the bigger fish with her foot when she saw the glint of something shiny deeper in the pond. Jemma squinted, trying to make out what it was. Despite the haze of the summer day, whatever was down there caught the liquid sunshine and sent it back through the murky waters in little blades of amber light.
She considered taking off her clothes, but then with a shrug heaved herself into the water with her shirts and t-shirt, and the fish that had gathered close to the dock, scattered into the murk.
It'll feel cooler when I get out, she thought.
The water slithered over her, and rather than refreshing, the liquid covered her skin with a film that was revolting and warm. The smell of decomposing vegetation and pond scum filled her nose and she frowned and tried not to gag.
"I want a pool. This is nasty," she muttered. But the light slanted up from the bottom. It seemed brighter. Jemma took a deep breath and dove down into the water, pushing with her arms and kicking with her feet. She opened her eyes, which stung more than normal, the world was a blurry mess, but she could see the light danging down below and moved towards it.
Crooked branches, and tangles of water-weeds snagged at her arms and legs as she drew closer to the light. She could feel her pulse beating in her chest and head as she moved deeper, the water seemed to grow even warmer. Jemma remembered the time she had fallen into Mr. Cabbras' compost pit when she and Bill Compton had been horsing around in the neighborhood, sinking up to her elbows in the warm rot. She'd screamed, and could still remember the stink of rotten vegetables and decomposing grass - but it was the warmth of it that had terrified her so - so alive. Bubbles broke from her nose and mouth.
But then the light was right before her. She reached out and curled her fingers around it - it was soft, and pliable - like a bulb of flesh, but it glowed like a small star.
She barely registered the muck at the bottom of the pond yawning open beneath her, the sudden movement sucking her into a maw. The pressure was sudden and crushing, and Jemma felt herself pressed against a wall that was both bony and slick with mucus. The air that was in her lungs exploded out and then drifted up.
Jemma breathed water, choked and tried to find the sky, desperately trying to follow her bubbles towards air. She managed to get her arms and legs to move together to swim backwards. Out of the darkness - she could see the world closing around her - and even though it was blurry, she could see the teeth.
I'm hardly a mouthful, she thought, trying to ignore the burning in her lungs. Bright spots began to swim in her vision. And she kicked hard, aiming for where the last of her bubbles were floating. Her hand broke the surface, but there was nothing to grab onto. The jaws closed around her waist - and she tried to scream, but drew in only water.
Prompt: A Glint of Something Shiny
Written: Feb. 23, 2017