The thing I saw at the bottom of the river
My parents’ home is out in the middle of nowhere.
There are few places for kids to play when summer holidays roll around.
Collecting insects, reading manga at friends’ houses, going to play in the mountains or rivers…
So, there was this river I often went swimming in.
The current there was slow but it was still dangerous so swimming was forbidden, but we ignored it and went swimming anyway.
Then one day something happened.
With nothing else to do we went to go play in the river.
Myself and my friend A went fishing that day, while B and C went swimming in the upper stream.
Close to where B and C were swimming was a concrete barrier (like a dam).
There was a deep, huge hole underneath it so it was often used as a diving spot.
Myself and A fished for a while but when we looked over at B and C they were trying to climb the dam.
“Ah, they’re gonna dive in huh,” I said to A and we watched them together.
B and C noticed and waved at us, so we waved back.
B and C reached the top of the dam and dived in together. There were two large splashes, and A and I cheered them on.
But when they came back up their actions were strange. They rushed up onto the bank and were screaming about something.
Both of them were crying their eyes out.
We asked them “what’s wrong?” and they kept screaming “the hole, in the hole!”
There was nothing we could do so A and I jumped into the river, put on goggles and looked into the hole.
It was dark so we couldn’t see very well, but we saw something that looked like a clump of seaweed.
When we looked again and understood what it was, I felt like I was going to pass out.
It was a person.
The person with their back to us was just swaying in the water like they had grown out of the hole.
What looked like seaweed was their hair.
We quickly got out of the river and ran to tell some adults.
According to what I heard later, the person had jumped off the dam and gotten their foot stuck under a rock in the hole and drowned.
It wasn’t anyone we knew.
Since then jumping off the dam has been completed prohibited, and swimming in the river even more off limits.
The four of us have never swum in a river again.