“You think they want to drown you?”
“I don’t just think so,” He said. “I’m sure of it.”
His arm jerked to the side.
“Okay, Steve, when exactly do they try to drown you?”
“All the time.”
“Even right now?”
Steve nodded; his whitish-yellow face seemed to reflect the light.
“Yes, right now. They are pulling on my arms.”
“I can’t see anyone.” I said.
“No one else can see them. It’s only me.”
“And you can feel them pulling on your body?”
“Yes, and when I am close to home I can sometimes smell them too. That’s when they are also the strongest.”
“How many are there?”
“Twelve. Eight men and four women.”
“And they just stand around here, right now, and pull on your body to try and drown you?”
“Not all of them,” he said. “There’s always at least two, sometimes three or four, but never all at once.”
“And since when do those figures attack you?”
Steve jerked sidewards; his chair leant to the side. Steve grabbed the table just in time to catch himself.
“See?” He said.
It seemed as if there were tears in his eyes, but otherwise Steve was composed.
“Okay.” I said. “Since when do those figures appear?”
“Since I’m eight, I think.”
“Did something unusual happen that caused them to appear?”
“I was playing with my friends next to a lake.” Steve said. “And my friends dared me to swim to the island in the middle.”
“And you did?”
“I wanted to be cool.”
“So you did?”
“Yes, I did, and I made it to the island. But I was exhausted and couldn’t go back; so I stayed on the island for about an hour and then, when it began to get dark, I tried to swim back.”
“You tried? So you didn’t manage to get back on land?”
“I’m not sure what went wrong.” Steve said. “I was swimming towards where the others were sitting; I was already halfway there, but then either my leg cramped or maybe something pulled my leg down. I screamed for help, but the others didn’t do anything; or maybe they just were too slow. I sank and I couldn’t breathe anymore and then I felt this immense pain in my lungs.”
“So you nearly drowned?”
“I’m not sure.”
“How did you get out?”
“I don’t really know. I remember that I was struggling and then suddenly I had ground under my feet and I pushed myself out of the lake. My parents were there and everything was dark already. But my friends were gone.”
Steve leaned his head backwards.
“Sorry,” he said. “That’s not me.”
“And since then the figures appear?”
His head first leaned further back, and then quickly returned into a normal position.
“Yes,” Steve said. “They started attacking me while dad carried me home. Mom was walking next to dad, crying, and then one of them grabbed my leg and pulled. Dad told me to stop struggling; I told him that it wasn’t me – and he said that I should stop making silly excuses. But mom cried even worse and said ‘Maybe God wants that we leave him.’”
“And your dad still brought you home?”
“Yes. But since then they kept me at home. They didn’t allow me outside at all and they didn’t invite any friends over. I thought they were just scared of the figures pulling me back in the water; but it stayed like that all the time – the figures kept pulling and dad made me stay inside.”
“And your mother?”
“She wanted to bring me to the lake.”
“Your mother wanted to drown you?”
“I don’t know what she meant. But whenever I told them about the figures mom said that maybe it was the right thing and that it was the way things should be.”
“So your mom agreed with the figures.”
Steve lowered his head.
“I think so. I don’t know whether she really wanted to drown me; I guess she just wanted it all to stop.”
“So your parents kept you inside and the figures kept pulling on your body to try to drown you?”
“So you didn’t go to school or anything?”
“No, my parents didn’t allow me to. They said I would harm the other kids. I mean, it makes sense now, but back then it made me cry. I was so incredibly lonely. That’s why I ran away when I was fourteen. I couldn’t take it anymore”
“And your parents found you?”
“I don’t think they were even looking for me. I think they were happy I was gone. Dad was happy when I called and he asked whether I was okay, but mom didn’t even want to talk to me.”
“Sorry to hear that.”
“It’s fine,” Steve said. “It hurts, but I understand her. I’m a freak, with those things and everything.”
“Those people I mean; the ones that want to drown me. It’s hard to hide that when they keep pulling on my body.”
“They never leave you?”
“Never.” He said. “But at least they are weaker here, when I’m far away from the lake.”
“So you don’t go home anymore?”
“I don’t, but it’s not because of them. I think they aren’t strong enough as long as I don’t get too close to the lake where I drowned. I just don’t want to meet my mom. I think she is scared of me.”
“Your mother is scared of you?”
“Yes. It took me long to accept that, but it’s true. She is scared of me and thinks that I might harm her or others.”
Steve pushed his body forcefully to the right. The chair moved with him.
“Why would she think that?” I asked.
“Well, I think she thinks I’m one of them. She thinks I’m one of the figures and now I also understand why.”
“Please, just tell me how to get the figures away.”
“I’m not sure how to do that, Steve. We can try some medication, but –“
“I tried medication. They don’t go.”
“Then what do you want me to do?”
“I don’t know, maybe you can talk to them, tell them to go away, tell them I’m alive and that they have to find somebody else. They don’t listen to me and when I talk to them they always get stronger. It feels as if every time I talk to them part of my strength goes over to them.”
“So your strength is feeding them?”
“I don’t know,” Steve said. “I think it’s more my soul or something. I think they have my soul.”
“Why would you think that?”
“I don’t really remember any of this, but a few weeks ago I tried to look for articles about other people drowning in the lake; I thought that maybe if I knew what they wanted I could make them go away.”
“And you found them?”
“I found a few articles,” Steve said. “And one of the articles had a picture that looks like one of them.”
“And it helped?”
“No,” Steve said. “But he also died while swimming back from the island. And they never found his body.”
“So you think the figure that’s pulling you is this other guy that drowned?”
“One of them,” Steve said. “But my point is that while I was looking for these articles I found articles about myself.”
“My own drowning.” Steve said.
“I thought your parents saved you?”
“That’s what I thought too,” Steve said. “But the newspapers said that I had drowned and that they looked for me for a week and couldn’t find my body.”
“I don’t follow.” I said.
“I was down there for a week.” Steve said. “They sent divers and everything but they couldn’t find me.”
“You mean –”
“I think I died.” Steve said. “And I’m still dead, but somehow I got out of the lake, and now those things try to pull me back down where I should be.”
This is my story, originally I published it on Reddit.