Rite of Passage
With no hesitation, Claire ran to the edge and jumped. Plummeting twenty six feet to the cerulean surface (a reflection off the sky), toes pointed down, like her father had taught her. “From this height it shouldn’t be too painful to go in flat footed, but higher distances can break your ankles. Hard to swim with busted ankles.” The water was cooler than she remembered, and the bubbles forming around her as she continued down reminded her of swimming in soda. Everything like her memory of this place.
Her descent slowed, almost motionless, then up, up towards the shimmer of the surface, like breaking though sugar glass. He would be so proud. Not one second of delay. She remembered so many times standing up on that cliff, looking down at the water that seemed to zoom in and out, like a cheap movie effect, making her dizzy, sweaty, almost wishing she’d pass out and just fall. Then it would be over. So patient, her father standing behind her, calm, speaking in a low, even voice. “Count to three, silently, slowly in your head, then throw yourself off.” One (in her head). Two minutes. Two (she mouthed the word). One minute. Three. It was never as terrifying as she imagined.
She couldn’t help a small, self satisfied smile, but this wasn’t the time for congratulations. He was still following her and though he was quite dimwitted, it wouldn’t take long before he figured she had jumped. He would be determined, a better, stronger and faster swimmer. He would catch her then kill her. Whatever lead she had now would not be enough if she lingered. Looking back towards the top of the cliff, she kicked with her unbroken ankles and swam towards the opposite shore.