The Rope Swing (Day 6)

“Whee,” exclaimed Tony as he landed with a loud splash, tucking into a tight ball before slamming into the water. The waves rippled in all directions, splashing the shore with a spray of cloudy water. All of the kids standing on the small island were laughing and screaming; all except Devon, quietly standing ten feet behind his friends.

Tony popped his head above the water, a giant grin stretched across the width of his face. He charged through the water toward the shore, deftly pulling himself over the exposed tree roots and onto the wet dirt. He stood up quickly, with his board shorts draining onto the ground below. “That was awesome! Who’s next?”

Devon’s eyes got wide and tried not to move, hoping that Tony wouldn’t notice him. “Hey Devon, you haven’t gone, why don’t you go next,” said Tony, staring directly towards Devon’s thin, dry body. The call echoed through the group of boys like a human megaphone. “Yeah, Devon, you go!” “Devon, Devon, Devon!”

This was his chance he thought, amid all of the cheering he could finally prove himself in front of Tony and the gang, and maybe they would stop picking on him. He thought this, but his body wasn’t making any motions towards the large tree at the edge of the shore.

Tony cut through the cheering with his confident tone, “You’re not chicken, are ya?” Tony lead the band of merry boys with his taunting, and the human echo continued as the rest of the boys picked up the jeering. “Are you scared Devon?” “Scaredy Cat Devon.” “He’s too chicken.”

Devon started towards the rope that dangled from a large branch extended over the water. “He’s really going to do it,” exclaimed one of the boys as a hush came over most of the group; everyone but Tony. “Maybe the chicken shouldn’t do it. He’ll just hurt himself, and I don’t want to have to carry his body back.” The cruel tone cut deep, quickening Devon’s pace.

Devon grabbed the rope with both hands, giving it a quick tug. He looked at the ripples still bouncing off of the shore from Tony’s cannonball and took a deep breath.

He grabbed on tightly, took two steps back as Tony had done, and jumped up in the air, pulling his legs up off the ground. He swung out towards the water quickly until he slowed at the edge of the arc under gravity’s force. “Let go,” came the screams from all the boys staring in awe at Devon hanging on for dear life at the end of the rope. Devon didn’t hear them at first, as his body rotated as it swung back towards the shore and the rock and dirt covered ground. “Devon!”

Devon swung his feet in the other direction, to try and get more momentum, barely missing the edge of a large rock with his feet as he swung to the other end of the arc, his back facing the water. As his body swung back the other direction and passed over the edge again, Devon dropped his legs quickly behind him, but the force was too much for his grip as he flipped his body head over heals as he let go of the rope. He did a full rotation before landing feet first into the water with a gentle splash. The shore was silent.

Devon popped out, spitting out a mouthful of water as he emerged. The boys erupted with cheers as they rushed into the water to surround him. Only Tony was left on the shore, standing alone in disbelief.

This is part of a 30 day series of 2-3 minute short stories written for the 30 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, 2011. You can view all the stories in the Short Story A Day category.

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