Short Stories....

***Winner of the Clayton County Library System's Adult Summer Reading Program Award- 2012***

Genre: Young Adult
Word Count: 495

The Deep End

“Kira, it’s not skinny dipping if you have clothes on.”
The sound of Taylor’s voice in near my ear caused me to lose focus. My body stiffened and I sank to the bottom of the pool. “You scared the crap out of me, Taylor!” I wiped water from my eyes after regaining my footing. “Besides, bra and panties are like wearing a bikini.”
“Skinny dipping means you’re naked…like me,” he grinned.
“Not about to happen.” I splashed water in his face and resumed floated on my back to observe the twinkling lights in the sky.
“I bet I can beat you to the end of the pool,” he challenged.
I laughed hysterically, before losing my concentration and slipping beneath the water. “In your dreams.”
“I’m serious. If I beat you, you have to get completely naked.”
I rolled my eyes. Even though Taylor worked as the pools lifeguard, he would never outswim me. I held several gold metals under my belt. “If I win?”
“You get to keep your underwear on.”
I smirked as he grinned.  Boys. “This is going to be a no brainer.”
We lined up against the wall of the shallow end of the pool.
“On your mark, get set….go!” I dived under water. Since I wasn’t wearing swim goggles, my eyes remained closed. After hundreds of competitions, this pool was a second home.
My lungs tightened as the need for oxygen forced me to turn my head to inhale. Keeping my eyes shut, I strained to hear the sound of Taylor’s strokes breaking the surface. He was nowhere near me.
My lungs full, I pushed harder. This was just a warm up. The bet was stupid. Why did Taylor feel he would win?
It wasn’t long before, my fingers touched the side of the pool; I gripped the edge. Surfacing, I spit out water and rubbed stinging chlorine from my eyes. Seconds later, I felt Taylor’s hand reach for me. It should have taken him longer to catch up. He must have gotten out and dived in the deep end of the pool.
“Taylor, you can’t cheat.” I shoved his arm away. Cheating would not get me naked.
“What are you talking about? I’m down here.” His voice floated from the opposite end of the pool.
I froze. If he was there and I was here…we were not alone.
To make matters worse, I was nearly naked in the public pool we broke into in the middle of the night. My dad, the cop, would not be pleased.
“I’m sorry,” I sputtered, feeling my face flush, unwilling to open my eyes to the stranger beside me.
I cringed and then forced myself to peek.
Long, blond hair floated inches away from my face. Lifeless blue eyes stared up at the night sky.
My eyes widened and mouth fell open.
My swim team rival, and Taylor’s ex-girlfriend, Bethany’s dead body floated beside me.
I screamed.

(c) 2012 M.J. Kane