Underneath the Surface
Before I close my eyes,
Count my dreams on end.
Put back in that golden key,
Listen to my silent plea.
Until it goes back to the end
His breath appeared as clouds that grey morning. It was so cold that his lips had started to turn purple; the cold even made his chest ache.
The man stopped walking and tilted his head upward, so that he could see the first snow that fell from the sky. The flakes were big and stuck to each other as soon as they touched, covering the whole ground in matter of seconds.
With a silent sigh he started walking again, the town's streets and paths were empty of people as it was so early in the morning. He was relieved, he didn't want anyone to see him walking around like this; surely they would think that he was mad, his grey turtleneck didn't protect him against the cold very well and his jeans weren't especially thick. His hair billowed around his bare head as he glanced at his frozen fingers; he almost wished that he'd put on more clothes.
The man quickly glanced over his shoulder and then changed course, instead of heading towards the centre of the town like he'd planned at first, he got a sudden urge to see the lake.
The snow squeaked under his sturdy boots the only piece of clothing that was warm as he made his way down a secluded path. It was a path that he had taken many times before, but not as often as he'd grown older and he noticed it, his once small childish frame had fitted easily through the greens, but he had grown larger; his shoulder were no longer as narrow and his arms had been much thinner. Then again, maybe the bushes and trees had grown bigger and closer? When he was younger he used to slither trough the thorns and leaves within an instant and when he met the love of his life, they had sometimes walked down there together, hand in hand.
The man made a grimace and tried to erase the picture of their fingers woven together, it was a thing of the past, long before she had gotten sick and weak and no longer could walk great distances.
He stumbled away from the tangled foliage and then froze. The only part of town that he had thought would be completely free of people was not; a few feet away sat a woman with a black coat. She was close to the edge of the snow laid ground, close to the lake that had started to freeze.
She had not yet noticed him and he stood still, holding his breath as he heard her whisper to herself with her arms around something.
The man didn't know if he should stay and watch or just turn around and find his way back up to the street. He slowly took a step backwards.
" shouldn't be here."
He froze, had the woman seen him?
"You are naughty and you do not have a place here".
That couldn't have been angled towards him, she knew nothing of him.
"I am not sorry", her whispers began to grow louder. "You are very, very bad and do not deserve a place here."
What was this woman rambling on about?
"You deserve what is coming to you", as the woman spoke with a voice as cold as the winter morning the man went truly cold.
"I shall press you underneath the surface and watch you scream for air and I shall make sure your soulless body drifts away", as she finished her sentence, the man looked in awe as she folded her black coat away from her chest and held out something with careless hands.
The man's heart started to beat rapidly as he heard the sound of a baby's voice. It didn't scream, but it made small noises and wearing nothing but a small white sheet around its hips it quivered in the winter air. Its pale body squirmed in the woman's forceful grip as she lowered it down towards the freezing water. The infant's feet touched the water and it started to moan from the pain.
The man was in shock as he watched the woman slowly drowning the small child that could be no more than a few days old.
The woman jolted and looked at the man with wide eyes, but only for a second. Her eyebrows went down over her eyes and she instantly pressed the infant underneath the surface.
The man lurched forward and shoved his body on her, making her tilt over. The baby landed close to the edge and started to scream franticly.
"What are you doing? Let go of me!" the woman screamed and pushed, shoved and
punched the man that had his weight pressed onto her. With a shriek she started to kick around herself and with a gasp, the screams of the baby stopped.
The man spun around, the baby was nowhere to be seen on land.
"No!" he shouted and crawled towards the water. Small bubbles rose towards the surface. "No!" He stood up and jerked his turtleneck off before he dove into the water, it was much colder than he had thought, so cold that his legs froze up in cramp and that his head exploded into a splitting headache; the water was pitch black because of the lack of light and his lungs screamed for air.
His hand brushed against something and he turned his head upwards, the soft body was completely still but he pressed it against his own body and kicked his aching legs to get up to the surface.
The man tossed himself onto the edge and spat out water, the woman was gone.
His teeth rattled against each other and he tried to keep himself from shaking as he looked at the infant boy that lay in his arms. The baby was completely still. Its entire body was drained from all normal color except for its neck that was red with something that looked like a burn.
The man started to rub the boy's chest, desperately pressing down on it. The baby's pale cheeks went red and it suddenly coughed. Water flooded past the boy's bluish lips but it didn't start to scream. Instead he lay in the man's arms and shook horribly; its dark hair and eyelashes had started to freeze.
The man grabbed the turtleneck that he had tossed to the side and wrapped up the baby in it, holding him close to his own body.
"Don't worry", he whispered, not sure of what to do, other than to go to the hospital. "Don't worry."