The Swimming Hole

2 May

swimming

 

Terry was an eccentric man. He inherited a very large estate when his grandfather died. It was a sprawling piece of land with a main house, a beautiful mansion that was a sixties take on modernism and a garage with a two bedroom apartment above it. He made the apartment his home while letting nature retake the mansion. He only entered it to get tools from the basement. The mansion always made him feel uneasy. When he did go in, he always felt he could not get out fast enough.

His grandfather was a self made man. A Greek immigrant, he went from cleaning the floors of restaurants to building a restaurant supply empire. His name was on the donor list of every major building back in town. The mansion was the location of the most extravagant parties that the local society enjoyed for two decades. His grandfather fell ill and the parties stopped. Then the guests stopped. When people wanted to feel alive, they came from all around to drink and dance until the early hours of the morning. When he was sick, nobody wanted to go and be reminded of their own frailties.

It took over two more decades for the illness to finally claim Terry´s grandfather. The estate fell into disrepair. Terry didn´t mind. When he got the news that he had inherited the estate, the timing was perfect. He was being evicted from yet another flop house for his strange behavior and not to mention, heavy drinking.

Terry didn´t work. He didn´t have too. Along with the estate he inherited a few bonds. These mere pieces of paper were worth more than a few million dollars. He cashed them in and with the help of an advisor, invested them in a way where the principle was never touched and he could live off the interest.

To keep himself busy, Terry would come up with projects around the estate. Some that made sense and some that didn´t. An example of the former was a vegetable garden which was quite productive considering Terry´s agricultural education came from a few borrowed library books. An example of the latter would be when he tried to build a mirror system on the top of a hill that would send beams of light into outer space trying to make contact with aliens.

With the news of an impending heat wave, Terry got the idea to dig out a swimming pool. There was a back hoe in the garage that he became quite proficient in its use. He surveyed his land and found the perfect spot. It was at the foot of the hill where his alien communication system stood in decay.

Terry marked out a twenty food by eight foot rectangle and started digging. For more than three days, a few hours a day, his hole in the ground started to take the shape of a proper swimming pool. At the deep end he got to almost six feet deep while maintaining a somewhat perfect rectangle shape. On the fourth day as he started digging out the deep end, he noticed the earth was getting a little muddy. He felt it odd as it hadn´t rained in weeks. The more he dug, the muddier the earth. He got to a point where water started to bubble up. He dug a little further and more water started seeping up. It started making digging difficult and now Terry was getting frustrated. If he struck water, how was he ever going to finish the pool with cement as he planned.

Terry decided to call it a day. He put the back hoe back in the garage cursing as he removed mud from the shovel. The cursing grew harsher with every sip of rye he took, thinking the rye would calm him down a little.

He woke up the next day, feeling a little rough, with an empty liter of rye on his bed stand. He decided to walk over to the pool. To his surprise, it was completely full of water. At first, Terry cursed his fate. Then he thought to himself, he was not going to receive guests so who cares how rough the pool is. It is a swimming hole now. And he would not have to fill it. He never even took into consideration the plumbing aspect of this job so this was a blessing in disguise.

It was unusually hot so Terry got down to his underwear and decided to test the water. The first thing he noticed was that the water was cool to the touch but absolutely refreshing in a way he had never felt before. The next thing he noticed was that his hangover was completely gone. In fact, he had not been without a hangover in so long that the feeling was foreign to him. He lived his life in a constant cycle of being hung over or drunk.

Terry suffered from a terrible skin rash that when it flared up, it oozed puss and blood. He wanted to be careful not to get it wet as water sometimes led to an outbreak. Due to the viscosity of the mud below his feet, he slipped and was submerged to his neck. He sprang back up and immediately examined his should to see how the rash would react to the water. To his surprise, there was no reaction. Terry felt relieved. He sat down waist deep in the water and felt the cool refreshing water on his legs. He looked back to his shoulder to make sure the rash was not getting wet. To his surprise, the rash was completely gone.

Terry jumped up and cried “What the…..?”

Terry ran back to his house not even caring that he was tracking mud foot prints all over the floor as he made his way to the bathroom, the only room with a mirror. He confirmed what he had seen. The rash was completely gone.

This was cause for celebration so Terry went to town and bought a more sophisticated drink than his usual rye. It was gone in no time and there was little time before the liquor store closed. He set off for town once again. To avoid another DUI he took his bike. Night was falling fast.

Terry was on the dirt road leading back to his house taking nips along the way. He could have sworn he heard music in the near distance but that would have been impossible. He hadn´t a neighbor for miles around him in any direction. He was feeling pretty good and he knew that when he felt pretty good, his mind had a tendency to play tricks on him. As he approached his home, the music grew louder. It sounded like jazz. He heard the murmur of a crowd. He took another nip and shrugged it off. It would not have been the strangest aural hallucination he has had in the near past.

As he came to the hill that led down to part of the property where the structures stood, Terry froze dead in his tracks. The mansion was completely lit up. There were people going in and out the front door smoking cigarettes, with drinks in their hands. The men wearing thin ties and neat suits. The women wore skimpy dresses with collars and ironed straight hair. There was laughing and dancing.

To his ultimate shock, through the huge glass window of the great room he saw none other than his grandfather with a martini glass in one hand and a cigarette in the other. He was entertaining two beautiful young ladies who were laughing hysterically at every utterance he made. Terry was paralyzed. Thoughts were going round and round in his head but not one would stop long enough for him to focus on it.

His gaze wandered over to the makeshift swimming pool. It was gushing water. It was bubbling from the point where he had first seen the water with the force of a broken water main. He followed the small stream that came out of the shallow end with his eyes. It made its ways right up to the house. It seemed to touch the walls and run all the way to the other side of the house and ran off at the far end.

Terry turned his bike around and started peddling furiously for town. He didn’t make it too far. His front tire hit a rock and it sent him flying over the handle bars. He tried to brace himself as he fell but a fallen tree branch had gotten between his head and the ground. Terry was out cold. He slightly came to, dragged himself towards the bushes and laid down. He mustered all his available strength to bring the bottle to his lips. The whole night Terry slipped in and out of consciousness. A few times when he was awake he heard cars roll by with big band music playing and people hanging out the windows letting the world know they were at that moment having the time of their lives.

At sunrise, Terry came to. He felt awful. His head was pounding. His mouth felt as though he had been chewing sand the night before. He vomited where he laid a few times. He then remembered the pool. He thought that it could make him feel better again. He also remembered the scene from the night before so he was a little anxious to return to that part of the property as he had no idea what was in store from him. With the strength of an invalid, and the movements of one, Terry made his was back home. He left his bicycle lay. He didn´t have the strength to roll it back.

When he got to the apex of the hill that over looked the house he let out an audible gasp. The mansion was back in its dilapidated state. There was no sign of a grand ball. There was no sign that merriment and mirth had transpired there for years, decades even. Then his gaze went over to the pool.

The crooked rectangle, not much more than two feet deep at one end and four feet at the deep end was completely dry.

 

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7 Responses to “The Swimming Hole”

  1. Priceless Joy May 2, 2015 at 10:53 pm #

    I enjoyed reading this story!

    • Ryan May 2, 2015 at 10:54 pm #

      I thank you for taking the time to do so! We can say we do it for us as much as we want, and to an extent be true, but let´s face it. We want others to read and hopefully enjoy our words. Thank you very much.

      • Priceless Joy May 2, 2015 at 11:02 pm #

        I enjoy reading your stories. You haven’t been on the blogs, or on this blog, in a very long time.

      • Ryan May 2, 2015 at 11:07 pm #

        No, I haven´t. I am in the midst of starting a company in another country and that has been all consuming. But, the bug has bitten me so I found the time! Whenever I can, I´ll throw a story up here.

      • Priceless Joy May 2, 2015 at 11:14 pm #

        Ok! I’ll be here to read it. Good luck and best wishes with your company.

  2. Bruce Goodman May 2, 2015 at 11:49 pm #

    That was riveting and spooky! I enjoyed it.

    • Ryan May 3, 2015 at 12:25 am #

      Thanks Bruce. There were parts that gave me the chills while writing it. I am glad it got transmitted.

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