Blue Pool by Belinda Rimmer
The blue pool looked pretty from a distance. It started just left of the apple tree, wound its way across the lawn and right up to the front door. Nancy had glimpsed a pool like this before when she'd visited the lakes – a sort of crystal blue that took her breath away. The problem was, she didn't live near a lake, and, as far as she could remember, it hadn't rained for days.
She flung open her bedroom window. Something sharp and rusty tasted in her mouth. From the air? The nearby waste dump? You couldn't be too careful these days. She slammed the window, not caring about the rattle of glass. In the crevices of her cheeks she felt sores. Her head felt cool; she hadn't succumbed to a fever, nor did she feel sick or faint. She must be run down, in need of extra vitamins.
A helicopter circled then vanished.
Nancy was running late. She'd never get to work unless things took a turn for the better. She headed downstairs. The fridge contained a few limp mushrooms, a bag of celery, the last dregs of milk. She'd intended to go shopping before a long stretch of nights and would still go if the blue pool outside subsidised.
But what of the blue pool?
In coat and boots, she got ready to investigate. The water had reached halfway up her front door. The drive was impassable. Even if she'd owned a car, it wouldn't have managed the water.
The house phone rang. As soon as she answered, the line went dead.
By torchlight, with a few friends and a bottle of wine, this might have felt like an adventure, but not on her own in the full glare of a Friday morning. Nancy reached for her mobile. She'd be the first to admit mobiles were great in an emergency. And this was rapidly turning into one. She'd phone someone, tell them what was happening. Except she had no idea what was happening. Who should she call? The police? Adam? Adam would be no help. They were on a break and she'd said some horrible things, even if most of them were true. She didn't even like him. No. The police would be preferable. Her mobile was dead too. No signal. Nothing. Then the kitchen grew dimmer, vaguely out of focus. The water had reached the window. Nancy felt a strong urge to vomit.
Snow had begun to fall, at least something was tumbling from the sky in great white flakes. Snow in May? Not unheard of, but unlikely. Everyone would laugh their socks off when she told them she'd been afraid of some rancid air, a flurry of snow and a flood.
Nancy raced back upstairs and eased the window. An acrid stench tore at her nose, stung her throat. Instinct told her to stay put. But a bit of flood water couldn't be worse than being stuck with no company and no food. Here was a plan. Simple. She'd wade to the road, flag down a passing car or bus or taxi and go to the… police? She'd debated that already. She ought to stop wasting time.
But how to get out?
Nancy sat on the window-ledge and let her booted legs dangle from the open window. Maybe she'd jump – the water would soften her landing. If it was too deep for wading, she'd swim across. It couldn't be more than fifty strokes to the road. If only she had some food, a high protein snack for strength and energy.
In the cloudless sky, not a bird stirred. She glimpsed it then, the water beyond her garden, for as far as the eye could see. To calm herself, she hummed a tune, something from her school days. Why had this particular tune popped into her head – Some enchanted evening? Still humming, she arched her back as though rehearsing for a trapeze act and made ready to jump. At the last second, she pulled back. The inertia sent her boot flying. As her boot hit the water, it suddenly and completely disappeared.
On a tree in front of the window was a lone seagull. It tilted its head this way and that as if asking for a titbit. Finally, sensing no morsel of food was imminent, it tried its luck in the blue water. Seconds later all that remained of the bird was its beak and claws, floating like toenails, until they, like the boot, had vanished.
For all Nancy knew the order of things had shifted. The world had turned upside down and poured the contents of its guts all over her garden. She'd read somewhere silicon could be found in the earth's core. Was silicone blue? Some enchanted evening, she sang the words now, heartily, as if she was that girl in the back row chorus just longing to be noticed. Some enchanted evening, over and over again.
Belinda is a poet and short story writer. Her poems and stories are widely published. She is a joint winner of the Indigo-First Pamphlet Competition, 2018, with her poetry pamphlet, Touching Sharks in Monaco. One of her flashes made it into bestmicrofiction 2019, and the TSS Publishing list for Best British and Irish Flash Fiction 2018-2019.