I was a ghost.
Well, that's a lie. I wasn't sure what I was. All I knew was that I was trapped here, along this lake, unable to leave, for quite some time now. About four thousand and fifty seven days.
So a ghost would make sense, right?
(more) Except I couldn't stop skipping stones.
Winding up and twisting to the side and jerking my hand forward, the rocks I held flying free and dancing across the surface of the water. A constant soft 'thuk' was heard, because as soon as one smooth, flat, brown stone left my hand another one replaced it, and try as I might I couldn't help but wind up and and throw it as hard as I could.
I wanted to stop so badly.
The stone skittered across the top of the water, the ripples fanning out in an ever-growing circle, the fog that had come down from the mountains clouding the air and blocking just how far I was able to throw it.
I had been doing this for hundreds of years.
I wanted to stop.
I wound up again, and tossed a stone.(less)
I remember when I first learned how to skip stones on the water. It was at Lake Tahoe, and my dad was teaching my sister and I. He was able to get up to fourteen in a row, and I could barely manage two. Such a simple and carefree(more) way to pass time. A nice distraction. Throwing rocks without a care in the world. Caring about nothing. I just don't care about anything anymore. Nothing. I don't care what you think. I don't care what anyone else thinks. I don't care what happens anymore. All I want to do is just skip some more stones on the surface of the lake.(less)
She finds it while ambling along the river's edge, leisurely scouting for various rocks and pebbles perfect for the age-old tradition of hurling them at bodies of water under the pretense of knowing the art of skipping stones.
(more) 'It' was a corpse. Fairly fresh too, from the looks of it. No signs of decay, not even of nature's garbage disposal doing its job. Couldn't have been left more than an hour or two ago, especially in this secluded thicket. There was a half-hearted attempt at concealing the victim's identity, the use of a corrosive compound evident on his face. Well, the body looked somewhat kind-of mostly male, though she couldn't really tell from so far away.
She lets out a sigh, and trudges back the way she came.
"Moooooooooooooooom! Another dead thing showed up in the backyard!"
A few hours and police officers later, she gets a careful lecture about the difference between the significance of a dead deer and a dead man.(less)
Ripple, ripple, ripple. Every time the stone flies away from my hands and the lake water below waiting for it just barely touching the water it ripples. You can gingerly place a leaf on the calming water, it will ripple too. You can kick the water, it too will(more) ripple. But what I love about skipping stones that it creates multiple rings of distortion to the water. The water's reflection of the world changes and morphs every time a ring passes through. I always liked to see how much my face changes as the ripples of the skipping stones passed through. It sometimes makes me feel I am at the fair with those funny looking mirrors that make me feel way thinner, taller, or bigger than I actually am.
The smooth and flat stones looked the prettiest to me. It makes it hard for me to let it go as I flick my wrist into the abyss of the water. Only to sink down into the ground to never see the yellow sunlight again. When it's down in the lake's murky depths it perceives sunlight differently. No more it's yellow. The water tinges it to a soft green. I wonder what the stone likes better. But I guess it's just a stone and merrily soaks up any light it can it. (less)
The rise is exhilarating; pure energy that fuels paintings and sculptures, a magnum opus created in bursts. Light that burns in the best way possible and nights untarnished by sleep. He loves the flight, the arc, the sight of surface smooth as glass and dark beneath from his perch(more) high above it.
It's the falling that he despises. The icy, gnawing feeling in his stomach that whispers he might not be so lucky this time. His work going untouched, unfinished, gathering dust for days and days as he falls and falls...
Until he awakens, the sun finding him through drawn curtains in a room littered with styrofoam and empty bottles. And he picks up his brush again, full to the brim and bursting, desperate to spill it all before the dark thing inside sinks him for good. (less)
the edge of the stone pressed to the side of my middle finger, the pad of my thumb holding it to the curve of my fore finger, the water licking sloppy and cool at my calves and i tilt my wrist and feel it in my shoulder when there(more) it goes -
tchiff tchiff thiff plunk.
i don't want to forgive this.
plunge my hand into the water, find another one, white-grey with a mar, a twisted drag of melted wax. i don't want to.
tchiff tchiff tchiff tchiff plunk.
circles rippling across the sky and the mountains on the lake. the edge of the stone, spinning, hitting the water, small blinks of motion.
tchiff tchiff plunk.
my sleeve is soaked and sucked to my skin and it will itch soon, drops of water with teeth and squirming legs, glassy little insects rolling down my forearm
i don't want to forgive this i don't i don't want to but i have to forgive it before i can forget it, and so i'm at the lake asking the lake: how do you do it how can i break you so many times, bruise you with skipping stones and kick the shore open with my knees to look for more, how can you let me hurt you like this and why won't you hurt me back why and how, how and why, the water rolls across the stones in short gasps of bubbles going faah, faah, faah
but the lake doesn't break, it swallows. consumes. i fill it with stones at the speed of a loose wrist and tight fingers and it takes them all and does not drag me into the water, drown me in spite as i turn to go. a good lake, forgiving; but will it forget(less)
I remember when summer meant long days by the lake, when the smooth curve of blue stones pressed against my fingers felt like home. Those were the days when I mistook muffled screams for laughter (because Daddy told me so).
(more) The water rippled in every direction as the stones broke its surface. Like a slap to the face...or the uneven breath when you feel defeated (in your favorite Sunday dress) and the mirror tells you that you are nothing.
The stones found their home (their resting place) at the bottom of the lake, consumed, engulfed. Mama found hers under the willow tree next to Grandma and a black and blue Lily (they told me she fell down the stairs; she was only 5).
I remember how my body shook as sweat rolled down my baby skin, stones clenched in my tight fist. I made the water scream. The whole time I saw his eyes..the foggy blue slurring in and out of consciousness.
I used to make the water dance, say a prayer for each stone. I believed I would get away, disappear, dissipate, like the ripples.
There was no "away" though. There is still no "away".
I remember when summer meant long days by the lake, when the smooth curve of blue stones pressed against my fingers felt like home. Like home...there, there, gone...(less)
They didn't used to be so heavy, he didn't think. He used to lift them with far greater ease. Now it took effort. Now his body protested as he heaved backwards and threw them. He rarely got the angle right any more. They flew a short way away and(more) then fell into the water, sinking out of sight with a final sounding plopping noise. He couldn't remember if it had been different. Not really. Everything had changed since the accident. He knew he saw things differently now. The doctors had all said so. They told him he upset people with how different his mind worked now. That was why he had moved away, all the way up here. Just him, and the stones for company. He picked up his next stone, and she squirmed a little. He double checked to be sure the binding was tight before winding up and tossing her into the lake. She didn't skip. Just plopped, and sank down. That was okay, though. It was never as final as it sounded. Most of them floated.(less)
He's never been able to do it right - something about the way he flicks his wrist, something he does or maybe doesn't do with his fingers that screws the whole thing up. Tara teases him mercilessly for it, jabs her elbow into his side with a lopsided smile(more) and her eyes full of sky, and the ease with which she pulls her arm back and snaps it forward again - one, two, three, four before he stops paying attention - he could watch her until the lake ran dry.(less)
He picks at the grass with his fingers, idly pulling it from the ground, peeling it apart, fidgeting with it. He's bored. He's been waiting for over an hour.
He's not sure why he keeps waiting, though. He knows that it doesn't matter how long he sits there.(more) He knows that no one is coming.
He sifts through the stones beside him, smooths his fingers over a few. He picks lifts one and examines it; smooth both sides, perfectly round.
He chucks it and it skips across the pond in front of him, six times. He's surprised it skips so far and decides to throw another. And another and another. Twenty minutes later, his high score is eight skips and he's bored again.
He kicks at the water and watches the sky bleed from pink to orange. It's getting darker and darker and he's still alone.
He sighs and stands, looking out over the pond. The sunset shines over it, makes it shimmer. He smiles bitterly at the sight.
It's ironic, he thinks, that something so pretty holds so much death.
He picks up his radio, the one that only plays static. No one called today, or any day before today, and he doubts anyone will in the future, either.
He leaves the pond and turns back toward the city. What's left of the city, that is. He heads back to his home, careful of the rubble, the debris, the carnage. He wouldn't want to trip and hurt himself, after all. He's not too great at patching himself up.
He walks through walls until he reaches what he calls his bedroom. He sets his radio on the floor and lays back on his "bed."
He closes his eyes and wishes that tonight, finally, he might be able sleep.(less)
Flat rocks, skimming over water. The search to find the perfect stone, round and just big enough to fit comfortably in your hand. Flicking your wrist with a flourish and watching them go.
Plip. Plop. Plip. 3 times, a new record. For the last time, your dad yells(more) at you for disturbing the fish, but he's already caught 4. He's only teasing you, of course. Running over, you quickly place a stone in his hand and wait for him to throw it. Dad makes a grand flourish of preparing his stance, his toss, his cheeky glare at the water. He was always a dramatist when it came to showing off.
He gets 5 skips. Then Grandpa comes along, shows him up, and gets 8. Totally unfair. But then again, they're older and have been doing this since they were kids too. Maybe when you're old and sick of fishing you can skip stones like that too. But for now, splashing water at your dad is more interesting than the distant future.(less)
"I just can't do it!" Toki exclaims, tossing his pile of rocks to the ground.
"Just practice," Akiyama says, throwing another stone and watching as it skims lightly over the surface of the water one, two, three, four, five times before sinking into the water.
"I don't want t(more)o. Why are we even at the river? We could be working." Toki tries throwing another rock, slamming his fist into the sand in frustration as it sinks to the ground like all the others.
"Not every day has to be spent working," Akiyama scolds, leaning back and squinting at the sky. "Isn't it nice to be outside and not having to worry about anything?"
"You may not have to worry about anything but I still have to think about bills and how we're even going to pay for this trip. Seriously," Toki sighs, "I don't understand how you can live so carefree."
Akiyama grins, hopping up and jumping on top of Toki's sitting body. The two wrestle for a few moments before suddenly stopping, Aki rolling off the top of Toki onto the sand next to him.
"This is nice," Toki mumbles, reaching for Akiyama's hand.
"I've missed you, you know." Akiyama twines their fingers together, absentmindedly rubbing his thumb over the back of Toki's hand.
"Where've I been?"
"Well I'm here now."
"I love you, you big idiot."
"I love you too, Toki."(less)