The following story is fictional and derived by choosing the following numbers:
6, 8, 2, 5
Found at the Lake
The early evening sky shook from the boom of the thunder clap. He knew it was a warning; a noise telling people miles away about the destruction below. He knew it was meant for him as the way the sky communicated its thoughts. He knew it was the world telling him to seek shelter. The only problem was finding a place to hide.
He looked over at the deserted picnic area. Long ago the patrons had all left. They packed up their left-over food, footballs and frisbees, and drove to the safety of their own homes. But Dan didn’t have a home to drive to, a place with a tv and a solid roof, with lights to burn in the night and a kitchen for hot food.
‘Whatever’, he scoffed to the thoughts in his head. He didn’t need those distractions in his life. He had Nature. He had the morning sun to heat him and the nightly moon to light his night. He had nuts with the squirrels for breakfast and fish from the lake for dinner. He was a real man, not a pansy who needed a house to feel good about himself.
He also shivered at nights and swatted away the bugs. He saved up donations for a good pair of tennis shoes to run from the cops when they came shining their lights around his Nature. He’d be damned if they were to put him in a cell with it’s cold silver bars and hard benches or even worse a ‘shelter’ with sappy sweet people who did not understand; who could not understand.
The darkening sky screamed another warning with a louder thundering clap. The boom reverberated in his ears, faintly bringing back a memory from a time ago. A song rang in his ears; a man crooning with a twang; lyrics about thunder rolling. He shook his head to clear the memories, but they came anyway.
Mostly dull moments flooded his mind. The alcohol had helped to dull the pain, as had the drugs supplied by friends for favors. Favors that were now the reason he knew that the bars of a jail cell were cold and the toilet paper rough. Behind the dull moments he may be able to glimpse a glance of happiness, but he didn’t try.
He remembered the life changing events as blurs of colors. He remembered the multiple doctors’ offices with chairs akin to the beds in jail. He remembered the somber looks on their faces, the day they gave him the news of her passing. Not that day, no, that day was meant to be the happiest in his life; in their lives.
“Fuck!” He cussed to the thundering sky as his tears mixed with the rain falling down. He ran out of the rain to the nearest shelter. He ran pounded his tennis shoes into the mudding ground. He ran with his belongings thrown over his shoulder. He ran past the closest shelter because of the glint of a car in his peripherally. He ran the way he had run the night the doctor’s told him. He tried to outrun the rain the way he tried to outrun the guilt of leaving that brand new baby girl in the hospital bed.
He slowed to a stop as he reached the welcoming cover of the trees outside the parking area. He felt welcomed into nature. This was where he belonged with the trees, the squirrels and the nuts. He did not need, no; he did not want those memories.
Turning away from the parking area was the same as turning away from the past. The storm was not nearly as bad when he was under the cover of his Nature. He walked slowly now, his tennis shoes sucking down with each step into the thoroughly soaked ground. He walked to the shore line desperate for a drink to quench his thirst.
By the time he reached the shore, the worst of the storm had passed. He settled down on the rocky abandoned beach and unlaced his precious tennis shoes. He waded into the shallow lake and scooped the delicious water into his parched throat. As he ducked down for a second helping he noticed the glint of something shiny in the water. Instead of scooping more water he reached into the sand and pulled out a gold locket.
The look of the locket felt familiar. Something about the weight of the clasped heart in his hand made him think that some memory should be rushing back to him. Perhaps it was something from the past; perhaps it was just an imagination from a hallucination. Before he could ponder the meaning of this new treasure he saw something else in the water, or rather someone else. A girl, her hair floating around her head, was brought up to his leg by the current; the same current that had brought him the locket.
With horror, he lifted the girl out of the water. She was heavy, a deadweight in his arms. She was young, possibly in her late teens or early twenties. He knew there was nothing he could do to help her, so he laid her on the shore at mercy to Nature. He wasn’t shocked. Living in nature had lead him into this same conclusion a time or two before, but something in him was different this time.
He remembered the smiling family that dreaded day; the smiles that quickly turned to frowns. He knew the family of this girl would be worried. Something in him needed to somehow let this girl’s family know what had happened to her. Her family needed to know she was now in Nature’s hands.
He risked everything he usually ran from, laced up his tennis shoes and found the nearest police officer to relay the location of the young girl.
The next day he woke up dry in the soft comfort of a bed in the nearest shelter. It was alright. Maybe this time would be different. Maybe this time he would not run away. Maybe this time someone would understand.
As he laced up his tennis shoes to head towards breakfast the local paper ran a story about a young girl who had lost her life. A young girl, orphaned at birth by the death of her mother and the disappearance of her father who searched in vain to find that man, keeping the locket of her mother close to her heart.