Accidental drowning

(edited and reposted)

Stacy walked through the gate into the backyard of her boyfriend’s parent’s house, wondering if this was going to be her last stop on her treasure hunt. For the better part of the afternoon she’d found little notes in various places – in her car, her mailbox, even in a book of love poems at the college library. Each one had sent her to and fro with the promise of something special at the end of her journey.

She’d been enjoying the hunt for clues, going from one location to the next. Now a part of her was going to be sorry when it came to an end. It had been so much fun; he was so clever.

She found the most recent one in his mailbox, the words Allow me to express the DEPTHS of my love for you – backyard written in black magic marker. The word “depths” had been capitalized; clearly it meant something.

The first thing that came to her when she read the note was a mental image of his family’s in-ground pool. Was this finally it? Did she have to get wet before this finally came to an end?

She placed the note in her car along with all the others she had discovered. Then she headed for the gate to the backyard, eager for the next clue. Would this one be the last? Or would there be more?

She passed through the gate and rounded the corner, only to discover the pool cover was partially open. That had to be another clue in and of itself. She gasped excitedly, her heart racing with excitement.

She walked up to the edge and looked down into the shallow end of the water where the cover was still open. “He would have to leave the next one underwater,” she sighed. “I don’t have my swimsuit with me.” She had on her sun dress – his favorite outfit. But there was no way she was going to get it wet.

“Crap!” she muttered under her breath as she looked down into the water. “I should’ve known you were going to do this to me.” He always did enjoy seeing her in the pool, especially without her swimsuit.

She looked down into the water, trying to see what might be waiting for her down there. There was nothing in the shallow end. He must have hidden it in the deep end.

She slowly walked around the edge of the pool, trying to peer through the cover. But it was a dark, bubbly material, hard to see through. It looked like something might be down there but she couldn’t be sure.

She walked over to the pool house and flipped the switch next to the door. There; that ought to do it. But the cover remained in place.

“Hunh??”

She flipped the switch on and off but the cover didn’t budge. She flipped it several times but that didn’t help either. It appeared to be stuck or jammed or something, exposing barely a quarter of the pool’s surface. Unfortunately what she was interested in seemed to be in the deep end directly under the bulk of the material.

“Is it broken?” she muttered under her breath. “How the hell am I supposed to find out what he left for me down there if the cover is broken?” Now she was disgusted at the way her treasure hunt had been interrupted.

Stacy walked back to the pool and peered down into the deep end. But she was unable to discern anything more than a shadow down at the bottom of the pool. This really sucked!

She slowly made her way back along the side of the pool to the shallow end. She bent down and tried once more to peer into the water at an angle in an attempt to see the pool floor in the deep end. She thought she saw an object down on the bottom. But she couldn’t see it very well and it was in 12 feet of water.

What was it… a box maybe? Was it a chest… or some sort of package? Hell, for all she knew it was nothing more than a brick or some other stupid object. There was only one way to find out what was down there.

It occurred to her he’d done this deliberately. She had to smile at his ingenuity. “You did this on purpose, didn’t you!” she said aloud. “You probably guessed I didn’t keep a suit in my car. You were counting on me telling you how I had to get naked in order to go down to get the prize you left for me down there, weren’t you!”

She sighed as she slipped out of her dress shoes. She looked all around, confirming the privacy fence was high enough to prevent anyone from watching her. Then she pulled her dress up over her head, leaving her in her black underwear.

The bra came off next; there was no use getting it wet. She stood there with her breasts exposed, wondering if she should go all the way. She was alone but she just didn’t want to do it fully nude. After all, she half expected him to come out somewhere laughing his damn head off at having successfully gotten her naked.

“This better be worth it!” she muttered, shaking her head as she slowly waded down the steps into the cool water. Even if it turned out to be less that she was hoping for she couldn’t be angry with him. She’d been having fun all day following the clues he’d left behind. If she came out of the water with nothing more than another clue she could always tease the hell out of him by giving him a detailed description of how he’d missed seeing her in his parent’s pool wearing nothing but her panties.

She waded out to where the cover came to an abrupt stop. She looked down as the water lapped just below her breasts. Even this far out she couldn’t tell for sure what the hell was down there. She would have to swim down just to get a closer look.

Stacy sighed in resignation; she was going to have to do this. She hoped there was a towel nearby to dry her hair. She took a deep breath to fill her lungs. Then she submerged, a trickle of bubbles coming out of her nose.

At first she simply peered down toward the bottom of the pool. There was a box or chest or something down there. She would have to go all the way down if she was going to check it out.

Stacy swam forward, nervously slipping under the pool cover. She paused near the 5 foot section where the floor angled down, unwilling to go any farther. She felt a little claustrophobic with the cover over much of the water.

There was just enough light working its way down through the bubble cover to reveal some sort of chest. She burbled excitedly; there just had to be something in there for her! Then she turned around and swam back, moving just past the edge of the cover to be able to stand upright and pant for breath.

“Something’s down there all right,” she muttered under her breath as her excitement ratcheted up another notch. None of the other clues she’d found had been in anything nearly as large as that chest down there. She was almost certain her prize was waiting inside. But what could it be?

Stacy’s mind went back to their time at the mall together the other day. She’d went all gaga over that bracelet the two of them had looked at in the jewelry store. When he hadn’t bought it for her she’d pouted.

Could that be it? Had he gone back and bought it for her, only to come up with this elaborate treasure hunt just to tease and tantalize her? Surely that was the answer, wasn’t it?

So what was the deal with this pool cover being stuck open the way it was? Was he just being ornery, getting back at her for pouting and making him miserable? Had she manipulated him into buying it for her, only for him to get back at her by forcing her to go for a naked swim just to retrieve it? Yes… that had to be it!

The more she considered it the more likely it seemed. This was probably his way of taunting her, letting her know she would have to work for it. Knowing him he wasn’t going to make it easy on her.

The swim was obvious; he loved seeing her in and underwater. This was probably his plan all along, hoping she had to strip naked to retrieve it. He was probably expecting her to regale him with how she’d been forced to take her clothes off and then swim down to fetch it.

That had to mean whatever was waiting for her in the chest was going to be wonderful, didn’t it? It just had to be that bracelet! Besides, hadn’t that sales clerk mentioned the bracelet could be worn while swimming? She was sure that had been the final selling point when he’d gone back to buy it for her.

Stacy gasped excitedly as her heart rate increased. She was almost certain that bracelet was down there waiting for her. After all, what else could it be?

The only task she had left was the swim. And it wasn’t going to be all that easy, not with the cover mostly closed over the surface of the pool. She had a swim on her hands, a swim she knew he would want to hear all the juicy details about once she proudly displayed it to him on her wrist.

But why did he have to leave the damned cover closed over so much water?

She looked down again in dismay, suddenly hesitant about swimming all the way down to retrieve her treasure. It was darker down there in the deep end. The cover was making it more claustrophobic than she would have liked.

She’d already tried the switch at the pool shed and nothing had happened. Either the mechanism was broken or he’d turned the power off, rigging it to jam open at its current position. It didn’t matter how he’d done it. She was going to be forced to hold her breath long enough to swim down and retrieve her bracelet.

For a moment she thought about trying to find another way to open the cover completely. Then she decided against it. She was wasting time; she wanted her prize right now.

Obviously he’d set this up on purpose. He certainly wouldn’t have made it impossible for her… a challenge maybe, but not impossible. He knew she could swim the entire length of the pool and back on one breath. So this was something she was capable of doing.

“He’ll want me to tell him all about it,” she said to herself. “He’ll want to know every little detail about my swim, especially what I wasn’t wearing and how long it took. Besides, he’s timed me a few times and he knows I can hold my breath two minutes when I’m trying hard. So I’m sure I can do this.”

A flicker of doubt tickled the back of her mind but she brushed it aside. If it really was the bracelet waiting for her down there then she wanted it on her wrist as soon as possible. And some partly covered pool wasn’t going to stop her, not when she could hold her breath long enough to get the job done.

She began taking deep breaths to prepare herself for her swim. It wasn’t like it was going to be a full swim to the end of the pool and back or anything like that. All she was going to do was swim down to the deep end, pick up the chest and bring it back.

She felt a quiver of uncertainty as she looked at the pool cover. “Oh for heaven’s sake; go get it!” she said aloud. She took a deep breath, submerged and started down for the chest before she could change her mind.

Stacy released little bubbles out of her nose as she pulled herself down into the deep end with her arms. She used long, easy strokes as the cool water brushed sensuously over her nearly naked body. “Stay calm,” she told herself. “It’s nothing more than a nice afternoon swim in your boyfriend’s parent’s backyard pool… with nothing on but your panties and a mostly closed pool cover to deal with!”

She smiled inwardly, wondering if somewhere her boyfriend was already picturing in his mind the swim she was making. Was he imagining her making the swim nude? She highly suspected as much. Maybe she would tell him how she swam down after her prize wearing nothing but her black panties and a smile. That should get his heart pumping.

As she drew closer she could see tell it was definitely some kind of chest. What she hadn’t counted on was all that rope and twine wrapped around it. She frowned as she swam up to it, grabbing onto it as her legs curled up underneath her to carry it back with her to the…

What the…??

It wouldn’t move!

She tugged on the chest but it didn’t do any good. She got down on her knees and tugged again, air bubbling out of her nose as she grunted. The chest gave a little but not enough for her to bring it back up with her.

Damn! What did you do to my prize down here??

Stacy looked up and watched her bubbles bounce off the pool cover above. She felt an anxious thrill knowing she had to make the swim back on the breath in her lungs. There was an erotic shiver at the thought this could get dangerous if something went wrong.

She felt a burn in her lungs; she was running low on air. But she was sure she had enough to make it back to the opening in the pool cover. At any rate this pool wasn’t all that long. But why wasn’t the chest coming free?

She tugged insistently before taking a closer look. She discovered to her chagrin that her rat of a boyfriend had deliberately secured it to the drain with the twine. She would need to untie it first.

Stacy started fumbling with the knots before losing another burst of air. That’s when she decided to head back for a fresh breath before trying it again. There was no need to push herself down here.

She launched herself up off the bottom, pulling hard for the opening in the shallow end of the pool. Her lungs heaved gently but she was getting close to the opening in the cover. She finally stood up gasping for breath, standing in chest deep water while shaking her head at the task he’d left behind for her to deal with.

“You bastard!” she panted aloud. “I can’t believe you tied it up to the drain like that! Damn you; you must really want me to work for it!” That indicated to her it simply had to be the bracelet waiting inside.

She smiled, mentally picturing his mischievous grin. It suddenly occurred to her he might not have traveled with the team after all. Maybe he’d stayed behind and was hiding somewhere nearby watching her every move. Maybe he could see her right now!

Her eyes darted all around the backyard, looking for any sign of him. She saw nothing and concluded he was probably with the team like he was supposed to be. Still… for some reason she had the uneasy feeling she was indeed being watched.

She looked around once more before brushing the thought aside. It had to be nothing more than the discomfort of trying to retrieve the chest deep in the pool in a claustrophobic situation. No doubt he would want all the juicy details when he got back.

She looked back down toward the bottom where her prize awaited. “With all that twine, it’s got to be the bracelet!!” she decided. “He’s certainly making me work for it!” Then she began taking long, deep breaths in preparation for her second attempt to go down and fetch the coveted piece of jewelry. But she might need a really good breath in case it took her some time to unravel all that damned twine!

Her first trip down hadn’t been nearly as scary as she’d thought. She was surprised how well she’d handled herself. She hadn’t been forced to hold her breath that long either. Of course she’d been forced to return once she’d discovered what he’d done with the twine.

Once more she thought about that bracelet resting comfortably on her wrist. Her growing excitement was simply too much to overcome. Stacy took a long, deep breath before submerging with a burble and heading back down.

She swam with long, smooth deliberate strokes, working to conserve as much air as possible. She passed the line marking the sudden drop from 5 feet down to 12, confidently angling downward. Air trickled out of her nose, leaving a little trail behind her as she swam right up to the chest.

She was tingling excitedly, her nipples starting to harden as she grabbed the chest. She worked herself onto her knees and then went right to work. It wouldn’t be long now until the bracelet was finally in her possession.

She found a lose thread and began working on it. There was an ungawdly amount of twine; it was taking longer than expected. She kept drifting upwards, her brown hair billowing in front of her face and making her swat it away.

She released a small burst of air through her nose to relieve the growing pressure in her chest. Her lungs began to burn as she started to drift up again. She jerked her head back and released another burst to clear her sinuses and to decrease her buoyancy.

She glanced upward to observe the cover still in place. It gave her a faint twinge of anxiety, spurring her to speed up the process. She knew she could get back to the opening in time, but she really needed to hurry things along.

The twine was being stubborn as hell. Stacy began to wonder if she might be forced back yet again to get another breath. She felt her lungs heave gently in her chest; she was starting to get concerned…

The twine suddenly gave way as the lid came loose. Stacy thought she heard the quiet hum of something. She surmised it might be the pump, but she was too excited to retrieve her prize to investigate.

All thoughts were on what she hoped was the bracelet. Her lungs were beginning to burn, those spasms in her chest increasing. But she figured she had just enough time to reach in, pull out her present and head back.

She opened the lid, reached into the chest and felt around, certain her efforts were about to pay off. What her fingers latched onto did not feel like a bracelet. Instead it felt like another note.

What the hell?? No bracelet?? You mean I’m still not done with this damned treasure hunt yet??

She was more than a little pissed as she clung to the chest with her knees locked around it. Air bubbled out of her mouth as her lungs began to spasm. Instead of taking the note back with her she quickly unfurled the little piece of plastic and read the words written in water-proof black marker…

BANG! YOU’RE DEAD!

WHAT THE HELL WAS THIS??!!

It was getting darker; what the hell was going on?? She abruptly turned to see the light in the shallow end nearly gone. The cover was closing on her, moving inexorably toward the wall at the far end of the pool!

SHIT!

She burbled in alarm as she started kicking toward the shallow end as hard as she could, her arms pulling frantically. Her chest spasmed sharply, her lungs crying out for air. She realized she wasn’t going to get there before the cover reached the end of the pool.

She watched in horror as it thumped against the far wall before she even reached the 5 foot line in the floor of the pool. Now she was trapped underneath the cover. How the hell had it managed to close on her? Had she activated it by mistake when she’d tripped the switch several times??

Stacy bubbled in growing panic, her lungs on fire as she swam the rest of the way to the shallow end of the pool. She reached the steps, grabbed for the edge of the cover and tried to pull it back open. All she needed was enough to stick her head up!

The cover wouldn’t give. It was as though it was welded to the edge of the pool. There was nowhere to stick an arm up, no opening big enough to stick her head through. She was trapped underneath!

She grabbed onto the end of the cover, planted her feet against the wall and pulled with all her might, her lungs heaving desperately. The cover refused to budge as she lost little bursts of air. Her lungs felt like they were on fire as she almost screamed in panic, instinctively clamping a hand over her mouth as though that would keep her from drowning.

Stacy looked upward, only to see a very distinct shadow up there. It looked as though someone was up there standing on the edge of the pool looking down at her. Gawd; she was saved!!

She rolled over onto her back and began beating against the cover with her fists, kicking at it with her feet in a desperate attempt to get their attention up there. Her chest was heaving insistently; she couldn’t hold her breath much longer. Gawd; didn’t they see her beating on the cover down here??

‘HURRY…… I’M DOWN HERE….. GET ME OUT….. I’M TRAPPED….. PLEASE HURRY…….. ALMOST……… OUT OF BREATH……….. Her lungs screamed in agony but the shadow remained in place, unmoving.

CAN’T THEY SEE ME? ……..OHMYGAWD! ……….CAN’T HOLD IT …………..ANY ………………LONGER!

Stacy screamed as air spewed out of her mouth, bursting up against the cover. She inhaled reflexively, gurgling as she sucked down a huge lungful of water. Then she went into spasms, her eyes flying open in horror.

She began to thrash about, coughing up fluid and air only to suck down more pool water. She spasmed sharply, doubling over as she lost her ability to pound away at the cover. She finally drifted up against it, her head and breasts pressing up against the material as her body painfully jerked and spasmed.

She stared upward in shock, wondering what the hell had just happened. Her mouth gaped open from her last attempt to breathe. She blinked in surprise before letting out a little sigh of bubbles as the life flicked out of her eyes.

Her last conscious thought was trying to decipher what the message meant. Had her boyfriend tried to murder her? It was too horrible to contempl…

—–

“I’m really sorry,” she said, reaching out and patting him on the arm as they sat across from each other in a booth at the soda shop. “You must feel terrible.”

“I do,” he replied softly. There was a haunted look in his eyes. “I don’t know what she was doing in my parent’s pool while I was away. I don’t know how she got trapped under the cover. If only I would have been there to save her.” Tears welled up in his eyes as he sipped on his soda.

“You mustn’t blame yourself,” she told him encouragingly.

“But it was my family’s pool. My folks were away; I was out of town with the team. No one was home when it happened. If only I would have been there. What the hell was she doing there?” He blinked the tears out of his eyes and nursed his soda.

“Did the police investigate? What did they say?”

“At first they wanted to blame me… me of all people!” …and he choked back a sob. “I was away with the team; my folks were out of town. I have no idea what she was doing there. All they found lying on the ground was her dress, shoes and bra. There was nothing in the pool to indicate why she was in the water. And there was nothing in her car telling them why she might’ve gone to the house.”

“Maybe she went for a swim. Was the pool cover broken or something?”

He shook his head, obviously in great pain over the loss of his girlfriend. “They checked the motor to the pool cover; it works fine! They don’t know how in the world she could have gotten trapped like that… unless someone was out trying to kill her! But who would want to kill Stacy?? They have no suspects and no evidence anyone was there, other than the theory someone had to have closed the cover on her. They’re calling it an accidental drowning, although I really don’t think they believe that. I think they think I had something to do with it. But I didn’t!”

“I believe you,” she said supportively, patting him on the arm again. “I’ll help you in any way I can. I’m here for you day or night.” She smiled warmly.

“Thanks, Brittany! You don’t know what I’ve been through these past few days.”

‘You don’t know what I went through to get you alone like this,’ she thought, smiling inwardly as she stroked his arm in sympathy. ‘After I set up her treasure hunt and drowned her I had to go down and remove all the evidence before taking all those notes out of her car. Now you’re going to be mine…’

© 2006; 2016  (written for JQpublic Apr 29 ’06; ed. May 18 ‘16 by riwa)

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