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Myles had never seen anyone but his parents in his entire life. The chickens and cows grew quiet, like always, as the sun was going down. Myles was asked by his parents to go get a bucket of water from the river next to their house, which was no more than twenty feet away. Having nothing else to do, Myles silently sulked away to the river. It was growing dark fast, so he walked at a quicker pace once he was outside. Although it was midsummer, Myles felt a sharp chill, the hairs on his neck stood up straight. Almost at a run, he reached the river’s edge, clutching a bucket in his small hand.
While letting water flow into the bucket, Myles observed the bottom of the river. It had almost turned black, but he thought nothing of it. The water ran silently, and with no wind, it was nearly silent. On the over side of the river, Myles suddenly heard rustling, jerking the bucket out of the water, he jumped to his feet, but then stood frozen. It seemed to have settled down, as the grass stood still. Waiting, Myles then heard a raspy, high pitched voice, almost in a whisper. “Come play in the river.” Without hesitating, Myles sprinted back to his front door. Bursting in, he told his parents what had happened, but they told him he was simply tired, and disregarded his story, since they were so secluded from anyone else
Myles tried to tell himself it was all his imagination, but his mind could not escape the torment. He tried to see what kind of face could possibly make such a voice that sounded so in humane, or at least he thought, having never met anyone but his parents.
That night he climbed into his bed, curled tight into a ball. However, his eyes stayed the size of saucers, as his room was right next to the river. The night grew old, and his room grew darker than it ever had. Pure silence built a wall he though could not be penetrated, as he could not even hear his own breathing, but then, the wall was shattered. Myles heard a sudden splashing, it sounded like a struggle, and Myles was finally terrified. Almost at his breaking point, the sound stopped. The silence returned, but it was different this time. All was not as it had once been, this time, it was like the silence before the storm.
The whole time, Myles had been facing away from the window facing the river, and he had no intention of turning. Eyes closed tight, Myles clenched his teeth. He waited, and waited, not knowing what to expect, but then he heard a clicking noise. Click. Click. Click. Myles nearly had to pry his own eyes open, and as slowly as possible, turned towards the window. As his eyes became set upon the window panes, he saw a ghostly white finger tapping on it. Then, as before, in the same voice, Myles heard, “Come play in the river.”
He sprinted to his parent’s room, knocking things over as he went. Bursting through the door, the sat up straight, not knowing what was going on. “What’s the problem Myles?” Asked his mother, in an irritated voice. Myles, again, explained what had happened, so his parents just let him sleep in their room, still claiming it was his imagination.
Then, like always, the sun rose, and the day slowly passed by, but Myles was far from relieved. He knew his parents would ask him again to go get water, so he spent the day in the fear. Trying to convince himself he was dreaming or imagining had not worked, and the voice was more real than ever to him.
That night, as expected, his parents asked him to get a bucket of water from the river. He resisted, begging them to not make him go, but he lost the fight, and reluctantly left, leaving the front door open behind him for comfort, only for it to be closed by his parents. Walking as fast as possible, almost a sprint, Myles went to grab the bucket, but it was not where it normally was, next to the house.
Looking around, ready to flee at the tiniest noise, he saw it sitting by the river. Myles did not even think about why it was there, and just went to fill it up quickly. The sky was still growing dark, but tonight, a full moon illuminated the river, however, River it still looked black. He fit his hand around the handle, but quickly through it back. The handle was wet and slippery.
Jumping back, he looked into the bucket to see a dark velvet pool of blood in the bucket. Completely frozen by fear, Myles stood there looking not at the bucket, but at the long grass that flowed without the wind. Whiter than the moon, and long, wet hair darker than the water. Pieces of skin were missing in some places, looking soggy and worn. Her eyes were set on Myles, pure white, shoulders hunched over. Myles had never seen anyone other than his parents, but he knew this was not what they were like.
She moved silently through the water, which had stopped flowing. Myles then heard for the third time, “Come play in the river.” She reached his side of the river, and he opened his mouth to shout for help, but it did him no good, for as her cold hands wrapped around his shoulders, he could not utter a sound. She pulled him in without a word, making a splash, much like the one Myles had heard the night before.
Later that night, Myles parents went looking for him, but only found an empty bucket by the river. They assumed he must have fallen in, but there was nothing they could do now, so they returned to their lives as if nothing happened, never even considering Myles story. Every day, the sun would pass over their heads and roll down behind the tree tops, as it has done everyday since.