This one is a little different – I wrote a new story for one of the old photo prompts. I hope you enjoy
Becky stared at the reflection on the water without seeing. Her mind had wandered to its own place, a place in the past.
She had discovered over the last two weeks of living with her uncle that the lakeside was the one place she could find shelter, to be truly alone for a short time. Alone. Away from him.
In the two weeks she had been there he had barely said a word, and when he did talk it was brusque, harsh. He rarely put more than three words together, and most of those phrases had the word “time” in them: “Time for dinner.” “Time to go.” “Time for bed.” The few others were just as bad: “Brush your teeth.” “Get ready.” “Wash up.”
And he didn’t even look at her most of the time! He might point his face at her when giving his orders, but she could tell that his eyes weren’t seeing her. Except when he did look, usually when she was doing something else. She would see him out of the corner of her eye just staring at her, a deep frown on his face.
She hated the place. She hated that she had to be there. Above all, she hated him.
He was just mean. Mean, and cold, like the mountain lake water.
Becky stuck a finger into the water and watched the ripples spread across the smooth surface. After a moment she found herself looking below the surface, at what lay beneath.
The water was as clear as glass, something she had only half noticed since she typically just looked at the reflections. She was told it was deep and cold, so she needed to be careful when around it, but it seemed so shallow! Were there fish down there?
She carefully stepped out to a large rock out in the lake. The water still seemed shallow. If there were fish, she bet they’d be in deeper water.
A boulder was just out of reach a little farther out. If she jumped, she could get a better look into the water.
The leap was long, but she easily made it. Unfortunately, her momentum unbalanced her enough so she was in the water.
Becky froze in shock at the frigid water. Her feet didn’t touch bottom, as it was far above her head. The last thing she was aware of was her name being screamed as she slipped beneath the crystal-clear surface.
Grandmother Grace slowly came into focus. Becky sat up in the bed.
“Hello, little one, glad you could be here.”
“You somehow fell into the lake. You almost drowned, but your uncle saved you.”
Becky frowned. Her uncle?
“What’s wrong little one?”
“I’m surprised he saved me. He hates me and thinks I’m a burden.”
“Did he say that?”
“No, but I know. He’s mean.”
Grandmother smiled, but it was sad expression, not happy.
“Do you know anything about your uncle?”
Becky shook her head. The first time she had met him was when the emergency came up and she was sent to stay with him.
“He once had a little girl, a daughter, just like you.” She stared off into space, as if visualizing the girl, Becky’s unknown cousin. Grandmother put her attention back on Becky. There were tears in her eyes. “Little Carey died when she was about your age. Carey’s mother passed away just a few months later, leaving your uncle alone.” Becky could only stare at Grandmother, who gave her the sad smile again. “You look a lot like her, like your cousin, Carey.”
There was a knock at the open door. Uncle entered. There were tears in his eyes as well, but his smile was one of care, not sad, like Grandmother’s.
“How is the little one?” he asked.
Grandmother smiled at her son. “She’s doing much better. Why don’t you take my seat and talk to her while I get some tea ready?”
Uncle sat and stared at the floor.
Looking at the man she had lived with for the past two weeks, Becky started to reinterpret his word and actions.
He looked up at her. She had rarely called on him
“Thank you. Not just for saving me from drowning, but for everything.”
She reached over and hugged him. She could feel him melt, that last bit of mountain lake coldness leaving.
They talked for the rest of the afternoon. The more she knew him, the more Becky liked him.
It wasn’t that he had changed in any way, it was that she had learned to look beneath that surface.
This was written for an old writephoto prompt of Sue’s. The image at the top was taken by Sue Vincent and was used as a prompt in 2018. She is not posting new prompts, so Willow had the great idea to repost old stories. I decided to actually use the post to create a new one :) My original story was part of my “Of Wind and Wings” serial story. It was posted on December 13, 2018. The original prompt was here.