From Chapter 1, LET THE GAME BEGIN
I had not been swimming in a week. The whole week had been one continuous thunderstorm. Today, it was bright, already warm. And it was July 4th; crowds were showing up
already. Cherry Bombs, Firecrackers, Smoke bombs, and other Independence Day “Necessities” were now starting to go off regularly, the sounds echoing around the lake. Tonight, there was the big fireworks display on the south side of the lake. I didn’t have any fireworks, but tomorrow morning I’d search the beach. I was sure there would be leftovers. I grabbed my “Raft Master” goggles and fins and went out the door. I hoped the lake was warm. And I hoped that fish weren’t biting. At least, I hoped that they weren’t biting on me. I would soon find that I wasn’t the hunter, but the hunted. At least that is what it would appear to be.
The sand was surprisingly cool, but full of cockle-burrs. I had to watch my step, but glanced out at the raft. There was Steve, doing battle with his brother. Steve had the advantage. He was 3 years older than Adam, and 10 inches taller. Both had the same deep red hair, and the freckles to match. Kelly, neighbor to the east was there, assisting Adam. To no avail, however. Kelly, also a redhead, was handled as easily as Adam, both of them getting pushed into the water at once. Kelly was more boy-like than Adam was. Linda, Kelly’s sister, was just a year younger, and more voluptuous than Kelly. A complete contrast to her sister, Linda was the girl of the family. Raven-black hair, certainly more feminine in appearance but a lot stronger than she appeared, Linda simply sat on the raft taking a break from the game.
Suddenly, I heard a voice. Just a whisper, but it caught my attention. “Let’s go for a walk, Mike. I’d like for you to get to know me better.” I looked around for the source of the voice. Nobody was even close to me. Nobody was looking at me, or anyone else. I concluded that my imagination was playing tricks on me.
Checking the water temperature with my toe, I found it warm. I dived in, and did a breast stroke out to the 10-foot deep water where the raft was anchored. But my speed was that of a baby who was just learning to crawl. I took it slow on the short swim out, just observing the bottom and the fish. As I took hold of the ladder, I thought Let the game begin. It did. And my life would never be the same.