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The River Flows

Chapter 1

By Joshua MaggsPublished 8 months ago 6 min read

The river flowed as it always had. The water calmy drifting along its natural formation while lapping up against the rocks on its sides. Trees adorned the banks of the river with dirt tracks weaving in and out from those who had ventured down to take in its beauty. A gentle breeze blew through the tops of the trees, providing a hustling yet mesmerizing sound. Taylor looked up. It was beautiful. The green, lush leaves on hundred-year-old trees ignited his senses, with the fresh air drifting down onto the forest floor where he stood. He paused for a moment to get a drink of water out of his backpack. He took the bag off his back and knelt down. He pulled out a water bottle and took a few sips, before placing the bottle on the dirt as he looked across the river. He watched for a few minutes as the water moved this way and that, heading down towards a bend in the river that looked strangely eerie. The forest seemed to be darker down there. He felt uncomfortable even looking at it, little lone knowing he had to walk past it to get back home.

He stood back up straight and placed his bag back on his back. He stood with his hands on his hips as he assessed the situation. A few ripples appeared in the centre of the river catching his attention. He looked intently as they rolled towards the edge of the river. The water lapped up on the dirt banks as Taylor walked over to take a closer look. He knelt down and placed one of his fingers in the water. It was cold. He looked over at where he saw the rippling begin just a few moments earlier. He saw nothing but the flowing water. He waited and waited, yet nothing else seemed to happen. No ripples. Nothing unusual. He stood back up and decided to walk a bit further down the track alongside the water. The birds in the trees above went quiet as he walked. The sun dimmed. The air became colder. Something didn’t seem right.

Unexpectedly an almighty boom sounded from within the river. A large explosion seemed to take place as water hurtled up through the air. Taylor jumped with fright at the sound, then noticed the water falling back down to earth as he looked up. The amount of water displaced was as if torrential rains had arrived. The water saturated him from head to toe. He was dripping wet and in shock. What was it? What had just happened?

He ran into the bushes that were a little bit back from the river’s edge. He took his backpack off and hid, watching from his newfound shelter. The water returned to normal, flowing down towards the darkened bend. He could hear something, but he couldn’t quite make out what it was. It was like a clicking sound. It was faint – but in the stillness of the forest and a calmy flowing river, it was as loud as could be. Taylor sat there frightened. He knew he had to keep going but the fear he felt began to take over.

The ground began to tremble. Misplaced stones and debris on the forest floor began to shuffle and vibrate, dancing up and down off the forest floor. Taylor stood up in a flight response. He grabbed his backpack and stumbled backwards onto the dirt track. He didn’t realise what he was doing. He looked around quickly. He looked at the river. At the forest. At the ground and up into the canopy above. There was something about this place that he didn’t like – as if he could tell there was something going on without knowing full well if something was going on.

The trembling began as ripples bubbled up from the centre of the flowing river. This time they were bigger. Taylor was looking directly at the river as they started. BANG! The water exploded out of the river, shooting hundreds of metres high into the air. The ground was now shaking violently as the waters began to rain down. Taylor started to run, jumping over falling sticks and moving boulders. The falling water made it hard to see as another explosion projected more water into the air. Taylor was still running. He could feel his heart beating in his throat as he approached the bend in the river. The sun had disappeared, and the forest was in darkness. He couldn’t see. He could only hear and feel what was happening around him. The ground still shaking as he ran with each step. The water raining down. He could hear the sound of wood splitting and cracking as a large tree came plunging down across the dirt track. He stopped as it hit the ground in front of him.

He crouched down against the tree that blocked the track. The ground still shaking and more explosions coming from within the river. He was trapped. The tree had not only fallen across the dirt path but also across the river itself. He could climb the trunk of the fallen tree and walk across the waters, but he didn’t know what was on the other side. As he pondered what to do in the chaos happening around him, Taylor felt the ground begin to slowly stop shaking. The trembling stopped as the last remaining water rained down and the turbulent waters of the river turned calm once again.

The darkness of the absence of the sun made it feel a lot more uncomfortable than he would have liked it. He got up and climbed the trunk of the large, fallen tree. He reached the top and stood up. He looked back down at the river from where he came from. He had moved quite the distance from where had has stopped earlier. He looked around. Then the realisation hit him. He was at the bend in the river. That’s why it was so dark. Not only was he at the bend, but he was standing on top of the fallen tree directly across the centre of the river.

The clicking sound began again. This time as clear as could be. He turned and faced the direction the sound was coming from. Standing several feet tall from the centre of the river was a creature with silent, swirling water encasing it. The clicking sound came from within the water itself, but he could clearly hear it as if it was next to him. Taylor froze in fear, as the waters began to rise over the fallen tree. His feet now submerged as he stood, almost face to face with this creature.

Water shot up out of the river as he stood there. He could feel the tree breaking apart from under him. The water was now at his waist as it continued to rain down from above as he gasped for air. He was almost submerged completely. His backpack floating in the waters as he tried to swim to the top but couldn’t.

“Welcome…” a voice spoke, ghastly yet powerful. Taylor with his eyes shut underneath the water heard the voice clearly. He didn’t dare open his eyes as he felt something wrap around his hand and begin to pull him through the water. His breath was running low. He needed oxygen. It was over, he thought. Without any expectation, he was suddenly jolted forward quickly as the creature pulled him through the water. He could feel the water around him heat up as the flow of the river began to swirl. Suddenly, he began to fall. He kept his eyes closed as he started to struggle mid-air, gasping for air. He hit the bottom with a thud.

He took a moment to collect himself as he opened his eyes and looked around. He was nowhere near a forest. Nowhere near the river. He was alone with not even the creature in sight. He sat there motionless, trying to work out what to do. Then he heard it. The sound of rushing water. He looked up and could see it. The bottom of the river, with the water flowing above him as if looking through a sheet of glass. Then the ultimate realisation hit – he was trapped underneath the bottom of the river.

Fantasy

About the Creator

Joshua Maggs

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    Joshua MaggsWritten by Joshua Maggs

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