As children we knew long before the waters receded that there was a church at the bottom of the lake. The water would lap against the shore to the haunting sound of bells ringing deep under the water.
We would dare each other to spend the night, but no one stayed past 11pm. Whether there was a breeze or not the waters would sing to us; some people reported hearing singing too; from a congregation long forgotten.
It was a warm June night when Billy Franklin made his way to the lake; he was new in town and desperate to join our gang before we broke for the summer. We sent him off with a blanket and a bag of snacks. The moon was high in the night sky, I remember because me and the others camped out in my garden waiting to see if Billy would make it. I’m not sure at what point we all fell asleep I just remember being woken early the next day by Billy’s dad. Billy had never made it home.
His body was recovered not far from the sunken church some 3 days later. No one could understand what had made Billy enter the water that night, least of all his parents, because you see Billy couldn’t swim…