Someone in the Water
Spring Lewis knew death. As a nurse in the ICU, she had experienced more than her fair share of it. The difference was, unlike most people, she was acutely aware not everyone who died stayed in the afterlife, including the eight kids calling to her from the river.
Vince Roundtree had devoted his life to one thing, music. As the tuba professor at the University of Hedgeford, he spent his days shaping the lives of young people, and his nights walking along the river on a journey to find true peace.
On a rainy spring evening, in a darkened Hedgeford Park, their paths intersected in an unexpected way. Their chance meeting set them on a path of forgiveness, understanding, acceptance, and love. Blinded by their rose-colored glasses, neither could foresee how much they’d need all of those, and more, to survive what was to come.
A mother’s anguish, and eight determined souls, convince Spring to break her silence about the people in the water. While the scandal burns, death comes calling, and it will be up to Vince to save her from certain death before time runs out.
My phone rang and I grabbed for it, nearly dropping it on the floor before I got a firm grip. “Hello,” I said, keeping my head down to avoid being overheard. “Madison?”
“Hi, Spring. Sorry to get back to you so late, but I think I might have the answer to your question.”
I held my breath as she spoke, wanting to know and at the same time, not wanting to know.
“Spring, are you still there?” she asked.
I sucked in a breath. “I’m here. Sorry, I’m at a concert and trying to hear you over the din. Thanks for the information, Madison. I appreciate you looking into it for me.”
“Anytime, Spring, you know that. Are you okay? You sound…off.”
I forced my voice to sound jovial when I spoke. “I’m great, but I better head out of here. Thanks for calling.”
We said goodbye, and when I hung up I couldn’t force air into my lungs. It was as if I was suffocating under a blanket of sadness. I jumped from the chair and headed for the exit, no longer willing to wait for Vince to make an appearance. I would wait in the park if I had to, but I wanted out of the building now. Head down, I excused myself as I scooted between people who stood in groups, discussing scholarly things.
There was a tug on my arm and then he called my name. “Spring, are you leaving?” I glanced up, straight into Vince’s eyes. He held my arm steady. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
I dropped my gaze to the floor instantly and he loosened his hold on me. “I’m an idiot. I’m sorry.”
“I have to get air,” I stuttered.
He released my arm. “No, don’t apologize. I have to put the tuba away and lock up.”
I nodded and pointed toward the door, taking a few steps backward. “I’ll meet you outside by the park entrance.”
I fled the hall before he agreed or disagreed. The cool spring air hit me in the face as soon as I left the hall, and I bent over, sucking up a breath of air that didn’t feel dead. People milled about outside the Fine Arts Building. College kids and parents took pictures while bored teenagers texted on their phones. Elderly couples walked arm-in-arm to their cars front and center in the handicapped parking. The same scene played out in cities all over the country, except for one difference. A difference only I could see. No one noticed my torment, or the torment of the spirits, as they carried on with their own lives. It always made me feel completely alone in the world. When others blissfully stroll through their lives oblivious to what’s going on around them, I’m able to see the people they can’t.
The man and woman walking to their car had a small child following along behind them. The boy held a blue blanket and kept crying out for the woman who didn’t see him. Wherever the woman went, the little boy followed, which meant he was trapped here because she wouldn’t let him go. A college student wrapped his arm around his girl as they left the Fine Arts Center, but next to her schlepped another boy, his face held in an expression of despair and anger. He was trapped here because there was unfinished business between him and the girl. To be honest, I’m always torn between wanting to help those poor souls, both the living and the dead, or ignoring all of them to protect my own emotions. I’ve seen over a dozen therapists in my life, but only one said anything remotely helpful. She told me I can’t save them all. It’s a common statement, but in my case, there was no doubt she was right. If I tried to help every dead person I encountered, I would be emotionally exhausted. I would probably end up hospitalized, or dead.
I lowered myself to the bench near the entrance to the park we walked through every night. To be fair, it was more of a path, which led to the dorms on one side of the campus, and the park on the other. The difference being which fork you took when you came to the middle of the path. Life was basically the same.
About The Author
Katie Mettner writes romance and romantic suspense from a little house in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. After suffering an especially bad spill on the bunny hill in 1989, Katie became an amputee in 2011, giving her the time to pen her first novel, Sugar's Dance. With the release of Sugar's story, Katie discovered the unfilled need for disabled heroes and heroines. As the author of over two dozen romance novels, her stories are about empowering people with special circumstances to find the one person who will love them because of their abilities, not their inabilities.
Katie lives with her soulmate, whom she met online at Thanksgiving and married in April. Almost nineteen years later her love story is a true case of instalove. She and her husband share their lives with their three children, and one very special leopard gecko named Gibbs. When not busy being a band mom, Katie has a slight addiction to Twitter and blogging, with a lessening aversion to Pinterest now that she quit trying to make the things she pinned.
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