The Guardian

Cold Knap Lake: a place with bad memories, bad luck and darkness. Sixteen year old Vee moved through the trees closer to the lake that lay before her. The coldness could be felt in the air now; she had forgotten to grab her jacket when she had left the house. She could taste the salt from her tears on her tongue and started wiping her face, Vee walked to the dock that was over the water and stood at the end. Her long sleeved t-shirt didn't stop the cold breeze getting to her, as she began to tremble and shiver. Standing there for a few moments longer, she looked into the depths of the deep, dark water which would be below freezing by now as winter approached from the darkness of the night. She began to feel as if she was being watched; Vee gave herself a mental shake to get a grip and turned to start her walk home.

A creak under foot and then a breaking sound happened. Before she could think about what was happening she was under water. The cold water filled her mouth and began to slowly fill her lungs; her lungs ached for air and began to feel heavy. Memories flashed before Vee's eyes; her dad teaching her to ride a bike, her mum reading her stories at night and taking her out to buy new clothes, her friends Emily, Jessica and James. Then her worst memory came to her; Tyler, her best friend.

Tyler had been 14 years old when he had disappeared, the police had said he'd drowned but they never found his body. Tyler and all her memories of him appeared in Vee's mind as she went deeper into the dark abyss. Tyler's smiling face with his dimpled cheeks, his dark brown hair which fell in to his blue eyes; not in an emo way but in a cute kind of way. Tyler had always been there for Vee and they had always been joined together at the hip but that day had changed everything; and it will never change back again, Vee had been the last one to see him alive but that was 3 years ago.

Tyler leaned over the edge nearer to the rippling water.

"Tyler!" A thirteen year old Vee called to him with worry in her voice. "Don't get too close in case you fall!"

Tyler turned his head to look at Vee but didn't move back. He just smiled his cheeky smile and leaned a little closer over.

"Don't!" Vee shouted and covered her eyes with her hands.

"You worry too much Vee." Tyler laughed and moved back a little from the edge. "There, happy?"

"Yes." Vee replied as relief filled her. "Don't do that though."

"Yeah, Yeah." Tyler murmured looking back at the water again.

The air had begun to turn cold and the trees started to loom over them a little; their shadows stretching out like long bony finger's and claws, the taste of strawberry ice lollies barely still there in Vee's mouth from hours before.

"Hey, Tyler…" Vee called watching the day begin to turn dark and cold. "Maybe we should go back now. It's starting to get cold."

"Here." Tyler took off his baseball jacket and threw it to Vee, revealing a plain white T-Shirt. "Put it on."

Vee pulled on the jacket over her thin red t-shirt. The jacket was way too big for the both of them; it looked the size of a 20 year old man. Tyler had said that he was fine with it like that and he always wore it, he let Vee wear it as well sometimes when she was cold or just wanted to wear it. The jacket was red like the colour of bright cherries with pale white sleeves, it also always smelled like Tyler, the smell of the forests floor itself.

"Come on Tyler, let's go home." Vee watched him as he put his hand in the dark cold looking water.

"You can start home I'll catch you up," He began before turning his head towards her. "Or you can wait another 5 minutes and we'll go together?"

"I'm going home." Vee scowled turning away and heading back towards her home.

Vee had made it as far as the outline of the trees before she heard Tyler shouting to her, Tyler was too nice to let Vee walk through the woods in the dark on her own and he cared about her too much. Vee turned around smiling at Tyler, as he stood up straight.

"You knew I was going to call after you, didn't you?" Tyler asked even though he already knew the answer.

"Maybe…" Vee replied smiling. "You're too nice to me."

"I know but we are best friends." Tyler rolled his eyes began to walk down the dock towards her.

It happened so fast that neither of them saw it coming, the wood on the dock broke and Tyler fell through with wide blue eyes before going out of sight. Vee could hear herself shouting and running towards where Tyler had disappeared beneath the watery depths, she dropped to her knees beside the hole in the dock and looked in to the dark water below. Vee couldn't see anything in the darkness of the water, and panic began to fill her. She put her hand in to the ice cold water and waved it around, Tyler's head appear above the water and just as he was about to go back under Vee grab his white t-shirt but instead of pulling Tyler upwards the dock gave way under Vee as well and taking her down too.

The cold darkness of the water was almost unbearable; Vee could just barely see the outline of her hand as she started to sink down. Vee felt the air slowly leave her lungs, leaving behind a heavy and desperate feeling as panic began to fill her.

'I'm going to die!' The thought rung through her as she sunk further down in the water. Someone tugged on the back of the jacket she wore and began dragging her upwards; Vee's head came above the surface of the water as she began to cough and gag up water.

"Calm down." A raspy voice whisper in to her ear.

She turned her head to see Tyler holding on to the jacket and pulling her to the dock, he boosted her up and on to a stable part of the dock as she started to have a coughing fit. She laid on her front with her eyes barely open as she watch her best friend lay his head on the dock, his skin had taken on a pale white almost blue colour. His mouth was the same as his skin as his jaw chattered loudly, he was shivering and trembling.

"Ty…" Vee murmured as she watched him.

"I'm f-fine….d-don't worry." Tyler replied as his eyes began to droop low.

She watched him fight to keep his eyes open as darkness took over the edge of her vision, he was still half in the water with only his arms and head on the dock keeping him up. He's eyes finally fell closed as he mumbled her name very quietly.

"Vee…"

Her vision darkened farther as her eyes finally drop, she mumbled back to him. "Ty…"

She opened her eyes again a few days later to her parents by her bed side and was told the news, Tyler must have slipped back off the dock as they couldn't find his body. His parents had wanted them to drain off the lake to find his body but the council wouldn't allow it as they didn't know what might be lurking underneath the watery depths, so instead they'd had the lake blocked off so no one could enter but people always found away. His parents had moved town two years later as they were finding it hard to live there with the constant remind of their son, they couldn't handle the pain and unjustified feelings they felt towards the town. She been able to keep his jacket, his mother had given it to her saying how Tyler would have wanted her to have it.

Vee came back to her senses as after being smothered in the memories of her pain filled past, she'd always missed Tyler as he was like another piece of her very soul. Irreplaceable. She finally gave into the aching feel as the water filled her and her senses dulled, she was going to die like she should have all those years ago. She could feel it, she could feel herself detaching from her body and letting go completely. She heard it, the soft sound of muffled laughter. Tyler's laughter, whenever he tried not to laugh it always came out the same. The nauseatic and yet melodiously familiar sound of Tyler's laughter filled her as her vision darkened and she slowly drifted away.