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The Log and the Lake

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I walked along the stone path. The wind was blowing softly and the air was filled with the scent of lavender and pine. To my left there was a lake which produced a nice sound. A mixture of smooth rushing water and sharp waves crashing against each other in the distance. I went over and stood near it. There was a drop which must have been at least ten feet. When I stood near it, I always felt something push me, or something within me want to jump right in or fall. I’m sure that if I did drop I’d be just fine, seeing how I was a great swimmer. Something that always made me nervous, though, was that the ledge was lined with logs, which I often forgot were not completely stable. Now I know not to stand on them, but the little children didn't know. Luckily no one had ever gotten too badly hurt; kids seem to have good balance after they turn five.

In my right ear I heard some light thudding and a little squeak. I looked over and noticed a little Asian girl who was standing on the logs. She seemed to be about seven or eight, maybe nine. Her feet and legs were still wobbly like a small child’s, much smaller than her age. She was singing what I could assume was either gibberish or her own language. It was high pitched and soothing to hear, though it was a bit eerie with it being the only sound I could hear other than the waves.

She was so small and cute. Her black hair was cut in a bob, with light skin and pink lips. A yellow coat was in her hands and she wore a purple t-shirt. She was wearing a green short skirt and green shoes with purple shoelaces. It seemed that she was Japanese to be more specific of her race, but I didn’t know for sure. Her eyes were black and surrounded by long eyelashes. She had flawless skin and a fragile frame. On her short neck she had a round face with full cheeks, and a small smile with thick lips.

As I studied her, there was a rock in the log and she began to tip towards the lake. An instinct rushed through me and I ran over to her. I was almost too late, but luckily I grabbed her arm and pulled her up. With my free hand I took her small hand in mind, helping her out of her uncomfortable situation.

She climbed up my arm and landed on the ground with a light thump. “Thank you, sir!” she looked up at me with grateful eyes, “I owe you everything!”

“No big deal, dear, I just want to make sure you’re okay.”

“What’s your name?” she asked quickly.

“Oh, Gray, my friends call me Gray.”

“Really? What’s your real name?”

“I don’t talk about it,” I sat down right next to her on the log, “What’s your name?”

“Judy,” she giggled, “No one’s asked me that in so long. I don’t normally like meeting new people. I’ve always been ignored by a lot of them.”

“Well, I’m very sorry about that,” as I bent over myself, “I’ll be your friend if you want. You can talk to me.”

Her body straightened as her face sprung up. “Really?” she exclaimed, “Oh, thank you, Mister Gray!” she jumped around. Her hands were clapping as her feet sprang up and down like a bunny rabbit, but only in one spot.

I couldn’t help but laugh. “This is such a small town, how do you not know everyone?”

“I just don’t. I’m not one for meeting new people anyway, and when you’re young like me, you don’t want to talk to people that are bigger than you.”

“Ah, I get it,” I stood up, “Well, Judy, it was nice meeting you.” I held out a hand for her to shake it, “I have to go now, but will you be here tomorrow?”

“Of course!” she laughed.

“What time?”

“Any time! I’m here all morning through the afternoon and go home at night!” she blurted excitedly.

“Okay, sweetheart, take care,” I walked away, looking back sometimes to see her jumping up and down and waving at me like a sugar high kangaroo. It was hard not to laugh at her charm.

I took the same long walk I normally would until I got to my house. The door’s chimes rang as I entered my home.

“Hey, Pumpkin!” my mom was making dinner, “How was your day?”

“Good, good,” I walked over to the living room and sat down in the couch, “What’s for dinner?”

“Just chicken,” she turned around to me, “I actually need to ask you about something.”

“Am I in trouble?” I asked instantly, being a paranoid teenager that’s the only thing I cared about knowing.

“Oh, no,” she laughed, “I was just told that you were caught, um, talking to yourself today,”

“Well, mom, I do that sometimes,” I told her.

“No, no, not like this,” she informed me, “It sounded like you were having some conversation or something like that.”

“Really?” I tried to distract her a bit. It was probably all just a game that was being played. Everyone in the town knew me and I knew them, so it probably wasn’t too odd that we’d all just prank each other. Or maybe even just one of my friends had told my mom and had her play along. Hell, maybe Judy was in on it as well, or my friends saw me talking to her and took the opportunity. I didn’t want to ruin their joke, though, so I let it slide until tomorrow. If it went on I’d ask Judy about it and see what she knew.

The day came and went very quickly. Before I knew it I was waking up and getting ready to visit my new friend by the lake.

That morning was like all others, but it felt just slightly colder than yesterday. It wasn’t much, most people probably wouldn’t have noticed, or maybe it was just me. I wasn’t sure, but it didn’t matter at the time. The ground seemed greyer where other days it seemed to be a bright white color. My eyes felt like they were covered by a fog although the day seemed clear, much like a layer of tears. But I was happy to see my new friend, so why did I seem so sad, or at least, why was my vision like this? I walked to the lake along the road. Today, the water seemed less smooth and much crisper. Something about it seemed faster than normal and it made me unnerved when walking across it, though I was farther away from it than yesterday. The rushing water made me feel much more panicked than how I am normally at that distance.

Just like yesterday I saw her sitting there on the log, playing with her shoes and the rocks on the gravel road.

She was wearing the same outfit as yesterday, though she had on the yellow raincoat. As I walked over she went from sitting on the log to kneeling on the ground. She looked through the rocks to see if she could find something, but she only seemed interested in what was on it, not under it. Not a single rock was overturned or anything, she just looked to see what was around her, other than the rocks.

With a long smile plastered on my face I walked over to her. “Good morning, Judy.”

“Good morning to you, Gray!” she seemed even happier than before, “How was your sleep?”

“Good, good,” I smiled, “Now, I actually want to ask you something.”

“Yes,” she picked up and played with a beetle on the rock.

“Do you know some of my friends?”

“Don’t think so, I don’t know anyone here.”

“Uh-huh,” as I bent down towards her, “Has anyone asked you about a prank to pull on me?”

“No,” she looked up me with a furrowed brow and slightly opened teeth, “why?”

“Because my mother told me that someone said I was having a conversation with myself. Now, I know my friends, this isn’t anything out of the ordinary, so, the jokes up, who set you up?”

Judy froze. She looked up at me, behind her head and the lake, back to me, and then to the ground. “Oh,” she trembled softly, tears forming in her eyes, “I guess I didn’t make it.”

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