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Saturday, 9 March 2013

Blog 104: Judging Depth

The surface of the water glistened like glitter, blue and shimmering in the bright light of the summer of two thousand and nine. He dipped his toes in, wishing the lake was as warm as the air, the wind only serving to blow more of the heat into his face. He wished he'd cut his hair which was too long and working too well as insulation. He waded into the water, shivering while his body baked in the sunlight. The pebbles on the bed were mostly round but here and there they hurt his bare feet as he'd left his shoes, jeans and t shirt above the tide-line.

He saw the destination, half a mile away, right next to the waterfall. Beyond that point the calm water became vicious and swift, twisting and turning for miles downstream.

He thought of the car in the car park, almost out of fuel. He walked deeper and shivered more violently as the water reached his crotch. He gasped, thinking he was past the worst of it and threw himself into the cool water. For a moment he forgot to breathe from the shock and then gasped and floundered in the still shallow water.

Only steely determination kept him in the water, made him swim but swim he did. He stirred the dirt in the shallows and kept his eyes shut beneath the surface, having to course correct until the bed of the lake sank away. He hit his stride there, knowing he could not turn back.

The stolen car parked in and around a tree was being inspected that very moment by police. His blood on the steering wheel proved he had been injured but not enough to stop him kicking his way out of the passenger's window and running off through the woods toward the lake. Drops of blood from his nose punctuated the deep imprints of his footsteps in the mud of the woods and then the sand. Drops swirled in the water as he made waves, swimming for his target.

He heard the sirens but it was too late for them, he'd reached the concrete of the old dam. Beneath the surface he moved the grill of the service panel which led into the disused outlet for a village up the hill. Replacing the panel behind him he hauled himself out of the water into the dark, slimy cavern beneath the public path. He found the torch he'd left there and illuminated the dank space where there was also enough food to last his for two days.

Hours passed, he heard officers on the path above discussing his disappearance and the continuing search downstream. He waited until the voices had stopped before taking a nap, it wasn't comfortable but he wanted to wait longer. After waking to complete, extended silence he made his way up the narrow tunnel towards the water works through a horrendously smelly old pipe and exited through hatch into the dark building. There were no workers needed for the facility to run which was why he was shocked to discover the bag of clothes he'd left himself was missing.

He had presumed maintenance workers had removed the bag and quite rightly but not that they would have informed the police who were waiting for him as he left the facility. He was almost grateful for the blanket draped around his shoulders but not the handcuffs as the officers bundled him into a car.

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