Black Pool

She and her husband had purchased the three-acre farm in the early Spring, and she was still exploring its features the morning after the first heavy rain swept through the area. With her dog, she set off towards a large tree with a newly formed pool of water next to it.

The water filled a rather large divot in the land, and she found it interesting as she looked at it from her kitchen window while doing the breakfast dishes. Less than 10 feet from the edge, the dog started barking and refused to go any farther.

The water was a deep inky blackness that left her somehow transfixed as she knelt next to it. Gently she laid her hand upon its smoky-glass-like surface and swept it back and forth.

A memory rushed into her mind with a violent jolt, and she quickly stood up and stepped back. It was a recollection she had forgotten about until that moment.

She was six and riding her princess bike in the open parking lot of the big red building that rose beyond the small water-filled gully in front of her home. She saw the older boy who always teased and tormented her, crossing the field.

She turned her bike up the nearby hill and tried to ride away but had to abandon it because it was muddy and steep. To escape, she ran around the back of the red building and, using the jutting edge of the foundation, started across the gully to safety.

She moved slowly. She was near the footpath and safety when the boy appeared at the corner and started after her.

A year before, she had been playing near the water in the gully when her mother caught her. Her parents had told her not to go there, but she disobeyed.

“But the lady in the water said she would always keep me safe,” she cried as she received a spanking for her disobedience.

Still, the memory persisted of that long-ago chase.

Frightened, she jumped and raced up the slope to the flatter ground and home. She turned to look at the following boy, but he was not there.

On the side of the red building was a life-sized splash mark revealing the outline of her pursuer but nothing else.

Once again, she heard a female voice whisper, “I will always keep you safe.”


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