Campbell Road

Submitted into Contest #205 in response to: Make your protagonist go through a rite of passage.... view prompt

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Mark: “GUESS WHAT! Cold front is coming this Saturday!”

Rachel: “OMG I SAW THAT! Guess what that means?!” Initiation Time!!”

Mark: “I’d bet you the electric is on. You think?”

Rachel: “I’d bet it is too. I saw the realtor last night; she was doing a walk-through and she tested all the lights in the rooms. Nobody is living there yet though!”

Mark: “That’s literally PERFECT!”

Robin: “Wdym by that, what are you talking about?”

Rachel: "You aren’t getting out of this; you know what we are talking about. We told you we would complete the initiation when the time was right… that time is now!”

Robin: “I remember ig… but what am I even doing?”

Rachel: “Just meet us at 659 Campbell Rd, we will be in the backyard. Wear something you can get wet. Be there by 5:00 AM tomorrow morning. Be there or BE SQUARE! OOOHHH and say goodbye to everyone you’ve ever loved… HaHa!”

Mark: “Gosh Rachel don’t scare her. Robin, you’ll be fine. Just wear a bathing suit or something and bring a towel unless you like to freeze, that is. Be on time though it only works if it’s at the right time. You’ll understand when you see it and don’t worry, I won’t let anything bad happen to you.”

Rachel: “BROO, don’t tell her she’s safe. You and I both know what could happen…”

Robin: “WHATTT guys I’m not going to die right?”

Mark: “You are gonna be just fine, the chances of anything happening is like one in a billion chance and plus we don’t even know if what might happen is true.”

Robin: “OOO thanks a lot I’m sure I’m gonna get some GREAT sleep after hearing all that…gosh. Don’t worry I’ll be there but if I get hurt or die, you’re paying my medical bills.”

Saturday Morning

Robin turned the corner onto Campbell Road. She was wearing her bathing suit from the swim team with an orange hoodie and gray shorts on top. She had wrapped her towel around her waist to try to keep her legs warm in the cool air. She could see Mark and Rachel standing by the chain link fence surrounding the yard of the vacant house. Mark waved to her as she approached and motioned for her to be quiet. Rachel didn’t say a word, but she had a mischievous smile on her face.

Mark pulled up a portion of the fence that was sticking out a little bit and Rachel slid underneath it and scampered into the backyard with the agility of a cat.  Robin then handed her towel to Mark and slid underneath the fence herself. Mark then tossed her towel over the fence to her and stealthily climbed the fence and jumped into the backyard himself. The three of them were huddled together in a small circle. In a whispered voice Mark said, “I got here like an hour ago and turned on the heat in the pool. The temperature should be just right.” Rachel whispered in response, “You two go fix yourselves; I’ll turn on the lights in the pool!”

Robin: “So did you guys’ plan on telling me what I’m supposed to be doing?”

Mark & Rachel “Shh!”

Rachel then dashed away towards the house. Robin turned to Mark and whispered, “Tell me what we’re doing”. Mark then winked at her and quietly said, “You have to see it believe it!”. With that Mark grabbed her hand and they walked in the direction of the pool. 

Mark slowed to a stop in the grass about 3 feet before the pool deck. While still holding Robin’s hand, he laid down in the grass on his stomach and motioned for her to do the same. The lights inside the pool turned on and Robin saw Rachel heading towards them. Mark nudged her to look back in the direction of the pool. With the lights turned on, she could see the steam rising from the heated pool. Rachel then laid down next to them and looked in her direction. She could see that Rachel’s mischievous grin had returned to her face. 

The Boy

Mark: “So the story is that there was a young family that used to live here in this house. A mom, a dad, and a young boy. One day, the boy managed to get out of the house, and he jumped into the pool. Sadly, he didn’t know how to swim and he drowned. Ever since then, his ghost has been trapped in the pool looking for a way to get out. 

Lots of people have said that, if you keep your eyes open while swimming underwater, you could see the ghost swimming around with them.  We’ve both seen him! Also you can feel a rush of cold water go through you while you’re swimming. That’s what happens when he swims through while you are in the pool!” 

Robin: “Ghosts aren’t even real! You guys are liars.”

Rachel: “They are real, I swear!  Mark and I both felt him! I swear its true!”

Robin looked at Mark. He looked her directly in her eyes and nodded his head “It’s true.”

Mark: “So the boy is trapped and all that he ever gets to see is the walls of the pool. But, if the heat is turned on in the pool at just the right time of year, and the right time of day, the steam will rise from the pool, and he can rise with it and he’ll get the rare chance to see around the backyard!”

Robin: “You guys are literally making this up! No little boy is gonna look around in the steam of the pool!”

Rachel: “If you wave to him, maybe he’ll wave back…”

Robin: “Whatever!  You guys are terrible people!”

Mark squeezed her hand and said, “Just watch the steam. If we lay here quietly and don’t scare him, you’ll see that we’re not joking”. Robin looked him in the eyes once more. Again, he looked back at her. He nodded his head and pointed his eyes in the direction of the steam. With that, she laced her fingers together and placed her chin on top of them. She could feel the damp grass on the palms of her hand. They all laid motionless and settled their eyes on the rising mist from the pool. 

The Initiation

Even though she was lying motionless, Robin’s heart was beating fast, and her pulse was quickening. The sun had still not risen, and the darkness and cold air felt like it was starting to envelope her. “Could this be true? Could this ghost be real?” Time seemed to be moving in slow motion. The minutes felt like hours. Then she thought that she could see something forming in the mist. Her whole body tremored, and she let out a gasp. This wasn’t a joke. She could see him! Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Rachel waving to the boy. Then, to her disbelief, she saw the boy wave back to her. Then, Mark did the same thing and, once again, the boy waved back. Mark then took his elbow and nudged her to do it too. Robin took a deep breath and then waved hello to him too. A moment passed and then another. Then, she saw what looked like a smile on his face and he waved back. Robin suddenly realized that she was smiling too. This was incredible! Rachel and Mark then got up from laying in the grass and sat crossed-legged. Robin couldn’t seem to take her eyes away from the pool. How was this real?  

The sun was now starting to rise, and the darkness was being replaced with beams of sunlight. Looking at the boy, she saw what looked like him giggling as he suddenly began darting in all directions within the steam taking in all that he could see. 

Robin: “O-M-GOSH! You guys weren’t lying! It really is true! I would not have believed you for a second if I hadn’t seen it for myself.”

Rachel: “Well, now the real fun begins!”

Robin took a deep breath in. She looked first at Rachel and then at Mark. “Huh?”

Rachel: “There are two options. Option one gets you into the “you’re cool, I guess” category. Option two gets you fully initiated into the club.”

Mark reached out and grabbed Robin’s hand once more. “Don’t feel like you have to do anything. You’re good no matter what.”

Rachel: “That’s some BS! Everyone that wants in has to do it! You had to do it and so did I! She’s no different!”

Robin’s hands were shaking even with Mark holding them and caressing them with his thumb.

Mark: “Option one is that you have to go swimming in the pool. You have to keep swimming until you feel the cold rush of him swimming through you. Then there’s option two. After a long pause, Mark began speaking again. The legend is that the boy can be set free if one extraordinary event takes place. If someone were to enter the water with just enough force, like if they were to dive into the pool, and their heart and the boys heart connected at that exact moment, then the boy could be set free from his captivity and the other person would take their place.”

Robin’s eye got wide, and she blurted out, “Are you serious?!”

Mark: “We don’t know if the legend is true or not. The both of us went into the pool and we’ve seen others do it too, but nothing has ever happened.”

Rachel: “But, that doesn't mean that it can’t happen. He just wasn’t swimming nearby at those times.”

Mark: “Like I said, it’s like a one in a billion chance and, even then, we don’t even know if it’s true.

Robin sat there for a moment and didn’t say anything. She then looked at Mark and then Rachel and then back at Mark once more. With that, she stood up and took off her shoes, her hoodie, and her shorts. Mark and Rachel then looked at each other and then back in Robin’s direction as she walked in the direction of the other side of the pool.

She walked to the opposite side of the pool and she could see that Mark and Robin were now standing and watching. She stood there for a moment. She still wasn’t sure what she would do. The palm of her hands were suddenly sweaty and she wiped them on her bathing suit. 

The steam from the pool was impacting Mark’s ability to see Robin on the other side of the pool. He could see the red from her one-piece bathing suit, but he wasn’t able to clearly see her face. His heart was racing and he put his hands on the back of head and laced his fingers together as he looked towards her. Suddenly she began running towards the water and he saw this blur of red launch into the pool and then disappear. 

The world suddenly seemed to stand still. It felt like an eternity was passing, but there was nothing. The water in the pool was completely still. Then Mark heard Rachel gasp! He looked towards the steps of the pool. He watched in shock as a little boy climbed up out the pool…  

July 03, 2023 21:05

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1 comment

Ela Mikh
21:31 Jul 12, 2023

Wow, spooky! Interesting format of the story - thank you for sharing!


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