He~y!

This happened when I went to the beach with a friend when I was a university student. All names are aliases.

On this particular day, I went to the beach with two of my friends, Tanaka and Sato. We hadn’t decided on anywhere concrete to go, but we ended up by the water and when we found a nice sandy beach, we decided to stop there.

“Hey, this place is nice, don’t you think?”

“Idiot, look how packed it is. Let’s find somewhere with fewer people.”

We kept driving until we got away from the crowds and found a nice isolated part of the beach. The place was empty other than a few windsurfers, so it seemed like a nice little hidden gem. We stopped the car and got out to play.

We pumped up our swimming rings and boards before jumping in. To be honest, I’m not a very good swimming, so the swimming ring was my lifeline. Same went with Tanaka and Sato too.

We enjoyed ourselves playing around in the water. Both the weather and empty beach were pleasant and comfortable; a perfect day for swimming. We played with the beach ball and then floated on our swimming mats, and as we were lying there, Tanaka said he had to go to the toilet.

“If you’re gonna pee, then you can just do it over there.”

“Shut up. I need to go number two. I saw toilets at the beach back there, so I’m gonna go check it out.”

After he left, we got out of the water to take a break and lay down on our swimming mats in the sand.

Perhaps 10 minutes passed, and as I was dozing on the mat, a voice from the water woke me up.

“He~y!”

I sat up to see where the voice was coming from, and saw someone that looked like Sato in the water a short distance away and waving.

“He~y!”

“What? What happened?”

“He~y!”

He didn’t seem to be able to hear me and continued waving. Annoyed, I got up and put my mat back into the water.

“He~y!”

“What on earth are you doing? You know you can’t swim!”

“He~y!”

I yelled as I got closer, but all he said was “he~y!” over and over. ‘What the hell was going on?’ I thought, and then I realised something.

‘Huh? Who the hell is that?’

He was roughly the same height as Sato, so I thought it was him, but looking closer, it was someone else entirely. Not only that, but he didn’t have a swimming ring with him. Sato was worse at swimming than me, so there’s no way he could have gone so far without one.

At some point he stopped yelling and stared at me, his face expressionless. I panicked and turned back, heading towards the beach, but the current was too fast, and no matter how much I kicked, I wasn’t getting anywhere. Then, something suddenly grabbed my right ankle. It forcefully pulled me down into the water, and I struggled as hard as I could, but in the end it dragged me off the mat.

‘Shit, I’m gonna die! Help me!’

Water filled my mouth. It was over…

Just as I thought I was about to die, a passing surfer saved me. If he’d been just a second later, I would have died. He put me on his board, and barely breathing, he took me back to shore.

Tanaka and Sato came running over, shocked.

“Hey, are you okay?”

“We’re so sorry he troubled you, thank you for saving him!”

“Not at all, I’m glad I reached him in time. But…”

“What happened?”

Then the surfer answered Tanaka’s question.

“…You shouldn’t swim here anymore. I saw something when I pulled your friend up onto my board. There was… a man, clinging to his legs. I don’t think that was a person. I was so scared I almost let go of him myself.”

There was an imprint on my right ankle of a human hand. Of course, none of us wanted to swim anymore, so we got the hell outta there as quickly as we could.

I later heard that rip currents were frequent in that area, so it was off limits for swimming. The locals made sure never to go swimming there.

When I think about the voice that called out to me that day, I still get chills…

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