My childhood was one spent exploring the wooded areas around my home. Hiking and fishing were my entertainment, a time before cellphones were common and the best video game graphics were square dots moving at a snail’s pace across the screen. I will never forget my day’s fishing in the creek just a short walk from my childhood home, nor could I forget the one day I did not come home before dark.
The day already started out odd. I managed to catch a water moccasin on my line. Catching the black snake was something of a rarity, despite being venomous they rather avoid humans and are more interested in fish than any lure. The incident scared me, I ended up cutting my line and running the other direction before the snake had time to react. Looking back the snake feels like an ill omen of what was to come.
While settling further down the creek I heard a large splash and a girl cry out for help. Without even dropping my fishing rod I rushed to see who had called out, but found nobody. However a large mass downstream had caught my attention. In the water sat some kind of animal stuck on a broken branch. Fishermen trash had been tangled and caught with the mass. Discarded fishing wire, hooks, beer cans and other trash had all tangled together with it.
Curiosity had gotten the better of me and I went to investigate the heap, stepping into the water with shoes and socks still on. The image of what I had seen still haunts me to this day. A girl younger than me floated tangled in trash. She was bloated from sitting in the water for what would’ve been days, causing me to think her some animal at first. I reeled back in horror to find a loose hook jab into my pants. I struggled with it in a panic before freeing myself and rushing back to land.
I was ready to run away from the creek, to seek my parents or someone else to tell what I had found. However I heard a voice that stopped me cold. “Please don’t leave me alone” A young girl’s voice had said. I turned towards the bloated corpse in shock, however the only further sound’s I heard was of the running water. Almost as if hypnotized I sat on the side of the creek and waited. Time had passed quickly, I spent hours silently keeping the corpse company. I can’t say why I did it, it’s all so hazy now, my parent’s would later call it shock, but too me I just did not want to leave her alone. Before I know it the sun was gone, and my father was shaking me out of a daze.
Thing’s happened so quickly after that. My father said he went to find me after not returning home. He came upon me at the side of the creek near the body crying silently and unresponsive to his calls. Am sure I scared him a great deal. Police were called, and soon the whole town seemed to be aware of what happened. I would find out later that the young girl did not live too far from me. Her father had killed her, drowned her in the creek one day in a drunken rage. Her mother did not even file a missing person report. The girl was unwanted and left as trash in the creek, just like the bits of fishing line and empty beer cans that gathered with her.
The incident soon passed from the mind’s of the small town. Life moved on but I could not forget the girl. Her spirit had called out to me allowing me to find her, I had kept her company till sundown as well. However I still worry if that alone was enough to calm her spirit, and what would’ve happened if my father had not found me.