In Deep Water

Submitted into Contest #43 in response to: Write a story about transformation.... view prompt



She picked up her pen and then dropped it back down on the desk. Her forehead followed shortly after it. She didn't know how to write without seeming uncaring or emotionless. Whenever she tried to think of words "Impact", "Disruption", "Unfortunate", and variations of the 3, were the only ones that came up. This is what she deserved for writing police reports for half of her life. Speaking of which, she needed to finish writing this letter and get back to work. She had so many backed up cases to read and people to talk to. But first, she needed water. She picked herself up from her desk and walked to the kitchen, which was a very short distance away since she was seated at the dining table. She picked up a half-wet glass from the drying rack near the sink and put it under the faucet. It gave out a little hiss as it poured out water. The window above the sink showed a gloomy, cloudy day. No people were strolling around and it looked like it was going to rain. It set her mood just fine. Just as she was about to return to her desk, there was a soft knock at the door. She stopped and listened. It came again a few seconds later. Perhaps it was her neighbor, Jerry. He liked to sit and chat every week or two. She didn't mind or enjoy his company. He was just there. Perhaps he took pity on her since she was 40 years old, unmarried, and childless. She made her way to the door and opened it. Outside stood a little boy about the age of 6. He had cropped blonde hair, dark brown eyes, and a bright red, blue, and yellow hoody on. Her eyes and mouth went wide as she looked at the boy. All the salvia in her mouth seemed to have evaporated. The boy didn't seem to notice any of this. In fact, he started to smile.

"Miss Mackenzie is that you?" He said. "I was only 30% sure this was your house."

"Michael Haynes?

"Yes ma'am?"

She looked at him up and down. There was no doubt in her mind it was him. 

"What on earth are you doing here?"

Michaels's face fell.

"Well you see Miss Mackenzie" he started. "I was swimming in the big lake at Crater Park having a good time. Afterward, I just started walking around but soon realized I was lost. I looked around where I was and thought, Hey! Miss Mackenzie lives somewhere near here. I remembered since I sold you that popcorn for the boy scouts last week. Anyway, that's how I'm here."

By the end of Michaels's speech his face was pink from speaking, Mackenzie's face was stark white. 

"So." Mackenzie managed to whisper out. Her hands were shaking but she held them behind her back so Michael couldn't see. "You need somebody to take you home?"

Michael fidgeted a bit from foot to foot. He looked like he was making a decision.

"Sure thing Miss M." He said. "Mom'll kill me if I'm not back for dinner." Mackenzie nodded absentmindedly.

"Alright." She said. "Let me go get the keys."

Mackenzie got as far in the house as the front door. She shut it carefully behind her before crumpling to the ground. There was no possible way that she was speaking with Michael Haynes. There was no way that it could be him. This was some other foolish boy playing a prank on her. But it simply couldn't be anyone else. No other child would play a prank like that. Michael Haynes was dead. He'd been dead for 2 days. He drowned in Crater Lake, Tuesday at 2:09 pm. She wrote the police report herself. Just 5 minutes ago she was writing a letter of consolation for Mrs. Haynes. She must just be a bad dream. She hadn't slept too well that past couple of days. Maybe she was fast asleep right now and didn't know it. She laid huddled on the floor until a soft knock sounded from the door. 

"Miss M?" Said Michael's voice. "Is everything alright? Should I come in?" 

She slowly peeled herself off the ground and grabbed her keys from a little key holder next to the door. 

"Just one moment" She called to him. She took 3 deep breaths in and out, grabbed the doorknob, and stepped outside. Michael was standing there casually and she motioned for him to walk towards the car. Mackenzie didn't know if she was in the right mind to drive. She didn't even know if she was awake. Had anyone ever been sleep-driving before? She unlocked the car and they both got in. She pulled out of her driveway and started driving towards his house, which was a good 10 minutes away. Her mind was racing. She was driving with a dead boy in the car. A very much alive looking dead boy. 5 minutes later on the highway, she remembered the Haynes' weren't home. They left to stay with relatives and to be consoled on the loss of their only child. Mackenzie quickly pulled over on the side of the road. She laid her forehead down on the steering wheel. She felt like throwing up. 

"Why don't I tell you why I'm here," Michael said in the passenger seat. She looked over at him. His voice was completely calm when he spoke. His face looked stern and determined.

"We're here to return you to your parents," Mackenzie said blankly. Maybe there was a mistake. Maybe Michael Haynes didn't drown in the lake. Perhaps the dead boy in the lake was someone else and they identified him wrong. There were plenty of other 6-year-old, blonde boys around.  

"Turn the car around."


"Miss M," Michael said calmly "Please turn the car around."

"Michael. We're going to bring you to your parents. They must be worried sic-"

"You know just as well as I do that I'm dead."

That made her silent. She stared at the little boy's face. He was completely serious. She felt like a ball of yarn slowly unraveling. Her mind was fraying at the edges.

"If you know that I know you're dead why are we in this car right now? Why are we driving to your parent's house." She half-screamed at the boy. 

"I needed you to get away from your house." He said plainly. Her eyebrows knit together into a single line.

"Why would I need to leave my house?"

"Miss M, please turn around."

The 5 minutes back was almost in complete silence. Mackenzie was in jittered anxiety. What could possibly be going on? Right when Mackenzie saw the sign she had to turn on to get to her street Michael spoke. 

"Do you remember Mrs. Harriet Limbo?" he asked.

"Yes." Mackenzie said, "She died a week ago from heart complications."

"She took me away from the lake?"


"She brought me to shore and made me walk towards the park. Nobody wants to see their death immediately."

"Excus-" Before she could say anymore she saw it. The windows of her house were completely shattered, the roof had a massive hole in it. It looked like a bomb went off. She stopped the car in the middle of the street.


"Water heater exploded," Michael said calmly. She glanced over her hands, then started patting herself down. 


"Dead" Michael finished for her. Her whole body felt like it was vibrating with shock. 

"And you're-"

"The carrier of the bad news," Michael said. " Mrs. Limbo told me, I told you, and you will tell the next dead person in this town. You'll know who it is" Without any other formalities, Michael exited the car and started walking down the street in the direction opposite of Mackenzie's house. She sat in the car dumbfounded as police cars came whirring by. Somebody had called them and informed them about her house, no doubt it was Jerry. She watched as her colleagues stepped out of their cars and took a look at her house. Pure shock was on all of their faces. Mackenzie watched stupidly as they went in and came out. She turned around to see Michaels's retreating figure down the street. He turned around as if he knew she was looking at him, and waved.  

May 26, 2020 14:27

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