We found an eel.
The creek was only twenty feet into the woods. Just off of a rarely used track that followed the pipeline, a four-foot circular pipe that ran for miles. As we followed the creek we discovered a small pond with a two-foot long eel in it. The more attention we paid it the deeper under a small rock ledge the eel hid.
As we walked out of the woods and made our way back along the pipeline we came across a group of boys about our age on pushbikes. “We just found a eel.” “How big was it?” “Where ‘bouts.” “Come on, show us.” “Show us.”
We took them down the barely marked track to the creek, then following the creek we made our way to the pond. The eel had come out of hiding and was calmly swimming around in its small fish bowl. Its mouth sucking in water like it had just run a marathon.
The other group of kids stood on top of the hill overlooking the pond as we showed them the eel. The leader of the other group said. “Lets throw rocks at it.” “Why?” I asked. He didn’t answer before throwing a rock the size of a brick into the pond. Everyone began throwing these rocks into the pond until the water was muddy.
The rocks were a mixture of soil and rubble that you could break up in your hands. We all stood around waiting for the water to clear to see if the eel had survived. I put my head down close to the water to see if I could see any signs of life.
A rock twice the size of the one thrown at the eel hit me on the top of my head. Surprisingly it didn’t hurt. The rock exploded and crumbled onto my shoulders and down my back. I felt the hot blood run down my head and face. “What ya do that for?” I think he said something about it being an accident.
I can still see that little boy’s face. The sneer that ran across his lips and turned into a smirk. At the time I believed it was an accident, even though my friends said it wasn’t. But now as an adult I can see that face as vividly as though it had happened yesterday. He meant to do it, in fact he took great pleasure in the blood that gushed from my head and saturated the top half of my t-shirt. By the time I got home I looked like Carrie.
I can’t help but wonder if this nasty little man with a taste for inflicting pain went on to be a serial killer; because it’s the face of a serial killer that I see in my memory.