May 23rd, 2019

Sunset Key, Florida

His family wouldn’t find him here, they hardly ever came out to this part of the island since it was considered too dangerous at high tide. But he knew how to navigate the coastline and had done it more than once even after his mother and father had told him not too. Sunset had come only a few minutes ago, and he knew very well that his father was likely out combing the island for him by now. There was usually no worry that he would come back, they knew that he couldn’t swim all the way back to the mainland and they also knew that he would calm down eventually.

But not this time.

This time he was fired up in a way that he couldn’t explain. Something had happened when his mother had demanded that he stay away from the gate, but he couldn’t explain it. The underwater ring was something that their whole family knew about, it wasn’t much of a secret really, but it was also something that a lot of those that lived on the island didn’t bother talking about for their own reasons. For his mother it was because she’d lost someone down there.

Her father had perished near the ring, though to this day no one knew how, or why. He had simply never come up the last time he’d gone down, though their grandmother, before she’d passed away, had told them all that he had changed somehow, becoming distant and even different in the weeks before his ‘accident’. No one had ever been able to believe that it had been an accidental drowning since his grandfather had been a strong swimmer and just as knowledgeable as anyone about the island and how to navigate the tides.

He perked up slightly as he could just barely hear his father’s voice over the lapping of the waves as they met the shoreline. The ring was just a little ways out and down, near the base of the island. He knew it was ridiculous but he could have sworn that he felt it pulling at him somehow, especially given that he knew right where it was. As his father called again though his voice seemed to grow distant, and something else seemed to call to him, forcing him to blink as he rose from his place of seclusion near an embankment that led down to the shore and into the crystal clear waters.

Before he knew what he was doing he was on his feet, and in the next few seconds he was in the water, moving forward without hesitation.

(to be continued)

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