Then Violet screamed. The sound was high and sharp, severing my connection to the others like a doctor cutting an umbilical cord. My eyes snapped open and I saw Violet struggling with Tim, dangerously close to the edge of the waterfall.
“Let go, this isn’t fucking funny,” Violet cried. Tim held both her wrists tight.
“C’mon Violet, seriously give it back,” Tim said, snatching at his baseball cap that Violet had been wearing all night.
“Get your hands off me first asshole. Or else.”
“Or else what? Don’t make me hurl you over the side.” I could tell he meant it to sound playful, like he was just fooling around, but standing so close to the edge made it come off menacing.
“Like you have the guts,” Violet snarled.
“Hey guys,” I called. “Maybe you should step back from—“
Everything that happened next happened in slow motion. I watched Tim lose his footing on a wet rock and fall forward, his huge frame forcing Violet backward. She struggled to stay upright, fighting a losing battle against gravity until she was falling, her body twisting and spiraling down, down, down.
The moonlight shone through her raven hair as she fell, the angel no longer drifting up to heaven but sinking into darkness. She stared back at me, or at least I think she did; her eyes full of all the love and pain we had shared.
And then she disappeared.
For a moment there was nothing. No screams, no cries for help, just complete and perfect silence,—broken by the agonizing sound of a loud thud at the bottom of the falls.
I dashed over to the side of the cliff and looked down. A small pink dot lay motionless like a slab of meat on the rocks below, its limbs contorted like a marionette crumpled up at the bottom of a toy chest. The doll’s head looked like it had cracked wide open and blood was seeping out….
I sprinted down the path as fast as I could. I arrived at the bottom of the falls to find Tim, Landon, and the others huddled together at the edge of the pool, mouths agape. Everyone stood perfectly still, not wanting to disturb what was happening. I squeezed through the crowd and held back a gasp when I saw what was so shocking.
A black, formless shadow slogged through the dark, murky water. As it approached, I began to make out features: the small button nose, the long, black hair, the glassy hazel eyes, unfocused but most definitely alive.
“Jesus Christ,” someone gasped.
“Violet!” I screamed.
She trudged slowly and deliberately through the water. Her clothes were torn and soaking wet, clinging tightly to her body. You could see the outline of a nipple through her drenched shirt and I desperately hoped no one else noticed. Nicks and scrapes covered most of her skin, but nothing too severe—the only exception being a huge bloody gash across her forehead, slowly dribbling blood down around her eyes.
Her skin was a pale white, as if something had sucked the blood from it, which only served to accentuate her full lips and hazel eyes. Her long black hair, which should have been a bloody, tangled mess clinging to her face, instead ran straight down her back like an oil slick as if it had been styled that way. In fact, the closer she got, the more I realized how good she actually looked. If not for the gnarly red gash across her forehead, she could have been a sexy model climbing out of the pool in a men’s magazine.
“Damn, I hope I look that fine the next time I have a near-death experience,” I heard someone say.