The Bottom of Saylors Lake
How long can you hold your breath? There's only one answer to that question. Long enough. Long enough for what, exactly? Well, that's the real question.
Oliver wanted to hold his breath long enough to make it down to the bottom of Saylors Lake.
Saylors Lake was a lot of things: it was the closest thing Ollie and his friends had to a beach, it was one of the deepest lakes in the state, and it was also home to about a dozen superstitions.
There was one story about a tall, slimy thing that liked to tickle the legs of swimmers after dark. If that wasn't enough, there was another about a six-finned thing, covered in algae, that liked the taste of people who can't swim. However, the one Trevor believed in most, was that at the bottom of Saylors Lake, there was sand.
Most rocky lakes have rocky bottoms too, but not Saylors Lake. Or so they said. Who were they? No one knew. It could've been the people who've reached the bottom, but no one had ever managed to reach it. Not even Ollie.
No matter how deep he swam or how cold the water stung, it was never enough. It was like the floor kept sinking away no matter how close he got.
"You're crazy! You're never gonna reach the bottom Ollie," laughed his friends in between cannonballs.
They were one to talk. All of them tried to visit the bottom at least once before, but they kinda sucked at swimming, and Ollie knew it.
If anyone could reach the bottom of Saylors Lake, it would be him.
Treading above a circle of dark water, Ollie relaxed his body and took a deep breath in. Then... his dive began.
Down... down... down he swam. Ten feet... then twenty... then, as he was about to reach thirty... a cloud blotted out the sun and everything went dark. He could barely see his own hands or the bubbles that left his nose.
Still, he kept swimming. He knew he was getting close to the bottom! He could feel it! And when the sun peaked its way through the water, there it was... he could see it.
It made him scream.
No one above heard him. The only thing they saw was a bouquet of bubbles rising towards the surface and Ollie was right behind it.
Once he broke through the surface of the water, he struggled to scream. Even if he tried, there was no air left in his lungs! His heart slammed against his chest with every beat, and when his friends brought him ashore, he was covered in a cold sweat.
They hovered over him. All of them asked about what was on the bottom of the lake. And when Ollie could finally speak, he only said two words.
That was only half the story. After word got around that there was a hand at the bottom of the lake, they shut it down for the rest of the summer.
Whether or not the police found the hand was a mystery, but Ollie knew what he saw.
A pale bony hand jutted out from the sand. Its fingers yanked themselves back and forth, fighting against the current to call him down to the bottom.
And there, he could join all the others that made him down to the bottom of Saylors Lake.