I just wanted to be alone and still. I didn’t like the voices in my head. I walked around the edge of the village, following old rights of way across farmland. In my hand, I held a long thick stick. I waved it back and forth like a blind man or a child bored at play.
When the stick hit things, nice sounds of thunking and thudding echoed which broke up the birdsong and faint tractor noises. The rest of the countryside village was quiet as if a sleep spell had been cast over the place. I hated the silence, it allowed the voices to come through more loudly.
Walking by the edge of a large pond, I threw the stick as far as I could. It splashed into the water, sending waves and ripples back towards me. The sound was loud and shocked some birds out of a tree. I watched them wheel away in the dull blue, late winter sky which was strangely warm today.
I sat down under a mossy tree. My back against the rough, cold bark. I could smell the coming spring and around me nature was awaking from her months of sleep. There were buds of green leaves on the tree. Shoots of flowers in the grass and hints of purple, white and yellow colours popping up.
In the field across the pond, sheep were grazing. They were fat with their winter wool and also pregnant with their lambs. I had passed cows and horses on my way here but I liked watching sheep better. They looked like fluffy clouds skimming the grass and I could dream alongside them.
The voices in my head were constantly whispering and they weren’t nice. They made me doubt things, give me anxiety and fear, made me think there was no reason to go on. They took the form of the girls who had bullied me when we were teenagers, tapping into weakness from my past.
Doing things to myself sometimes helped. The voices eased when I give them pain or blood. It was even better after the times I had given into them and given up. I had been saved from myself and for a few days, there had been no voices but then they had returned and continued haunting me.
I looked around and saw I was alone. A stillness had settled over things again. I took off my clothes and folded them in between two tree roots. Naked, I stepped to the edge of the pond. I shivered, goosebumps rose on my skin. My toes brushed the water then my feet were underneath.
Chills wrapped around me, warning me away. I went in further, up to my knees, my hips, my stomach. The pond bed was muddy and the hardness of rocks and branches half buried. I felt the drop and slightly panicked. Starting to swim, I went into the centre of the pond, trying to ignore the sensation of an icy layer across my skin.
I took a deep breath and dived down. The water was semi-clear and I could see weeds and rocks. Was that the stick I had thrown in earlier? There were too many down here to be sure and other things beside. I felt the urge to swim back up, the need for air calling in my brain.
The voices told me not to. They told me stay here and drown.
It was hard though, I had tried once in a bath and the instinct to rise up and breath was too strong to be fought. I twisted about, angling downwards and snatched up some of the weeds. I pulled at them, they were strong. I wrapped them around around my legs and hands, letting them anchor me down.
My lungs burned, I needed to go up but instead I gulped down water.
I looked up and saw the surface of the pond. Up there all was still and soon enough I was too.
(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2020/02/20/thursday-photo-prompt-still-writephoto/ with thanks).