“Don’t you hear that, Lessa? It’s coming from over there!”
Lessa watched as her brother disappeared around the edge of the ravine. Gone were the sounds of the busy highway at their backs, it was just Lessa and her brother, Roan.
“Roan, don’t run ahead too far!” she called, “remember we can’t get too muddy before bedtime!”
She pushed back her short cropped hair. Cool gray eyes watching the ground and surrounding grasses. Their mother was going to kill them when she saw their coated shoes.
“Come on!” Roan cried again, his excitement for discovery as contagious as a summer’s evening.
“I’m coming!” Lessa called back and she followed his footprints.
Wind shifted around the young girls body, drawing her deeper into the cool darkness of the ravine.
They had just moved into the neighborhood and spied its entrance just last week and now it was their chance to explore.
“Roan, is that you?” Lessa called, cocking her head to one side. It sounded like someone was singing, but far enough away that she could make out the melody.
“Come on!” echoed Roan’s voice even father away than she thought.
“I’m coming,” she called back, sliding across the ground.
“Come . . .” was all Lessa heard. Beside her the darkened dirt walls teamed with dried and soggy leaves. The nights were just now becoming cool but the mosquitos were still lingering.
Tiny wings brushed against her face and she smacked a bug against her cheek.
“Roam, we’ve got to get home sooner rather than later, mom said not long past sunset.”
She looked at the now purple and blue bruised sky between high sloping walls around her.
Someone spoke ahead of her, but again she couldn’t explain it.
“Roan? Where are you?” Her foot slipped on a piece of wood and Lessa watched as her tennis shoe slipped beneath the surface of murky water.
“Oh man! Roam come on, we’ve gone too far! Let’s go home!”
There was no answer, just a gentle buzzing sound and the breeze. Lessa looked around herself once more, suddenly self-conscious of her predicament and uneasy.
Coolness crept up her damp leg, causing. Her to shiver. Before her, Roans footsteps disappeared into the water where the ravine bent to one side. She thought he wouldn’t have gone so far.
“Roan?” She said unto the evening air feeling the cold from her leg deep upward into her stomach.
Lessa took another step deeper into the water, trying to follow the bend. Her feet felt like dead weight as she rounded the corner and came stopped short, pinwheeling her arms through the air to keep from falling.
“Roan! What are you-“ Lessa’s voice faded out at the sight of her brother standing nearly knee deep in brackish water. He stood stalk, his body tempting slightly with what appeared to be cold.
“Roan-“ she tried to say, but felt the cold now filling her throat and mouth.
Roan slowly turned his head at the sound of her voice. He moved as if under water.
“What’s happening-“ he tried to say as darkness fell from his mouth.
Lessa tried to scream as dark liquid spilled down his now chalk white skin. But only a moan escaped her mouth.
He fell forward, head lolling to one side and quietly squelched beneath the surface.
Lessa tried to scream, tried to move but all came out of her mouth was braking water.
Numbness crawled over her as she felt her body sway. Darkness closed in around her eyes as the world pitched forward.
Lessa’s last conscious thought winked out before she could acknowledge it. Her body smacked into the mud.