BENEATH THE SURFACE
The childish settlement immediately began to swarm with people, some joining in clusters. They gathered, here and there, from as far as the eye could see across the borders of the land, then scatter all at once to be voluntarily swallowed up by imaginative activities. The older, more serene teenagers were less reluctant to affix themselves, so instead they waited for the opportune moment to lazily exit the bus and stretch their impeding muscles.
They waved the dust from their eyes while struggling to find their luggage through an increasingly large pile of suitcases. It was more than entertaining for the adults of the voyage to watch their offspring pick fusses over what belonged to them. The shoving and nagging continued for a relatively long half-hour before they began to wonder off alone in their own groups to find the cabin farthest away from parent-headquarters.
Jason studied them closely. He was particularly fixed on a few morsels jogging to the bank of the lake. He noted that the others trudged towards the mess hall. His eyes moved frantically from one face to another, ignoring superfluous details. His instincts that determined their delinquent-like flaws were at its peek. He stepped away from the pine that lay unmoved on the ground. He was careful not to make even the slightest clamor.
Sure enough, his presence remained concealed from the young eyes of those so easily corrupted. Retracting a few steps, gripping the stout machete in his right hand, Jason braced himself. His ears perked when they caught a tiny perch of rustling leaves.
Adrenaline pumping through his spoiled veins, the killer's tainted blood began to boil. A groan escaped his cold lips as a child approached. A female, he thought; a long-awaited smirk surfacing. Disappearing into the brush, he fixated his gaze. Perhaps she would be the first of many victims. He swallowed as she slowly came to a halt in her steady pace through the dense forest. Instantly, she traced her skinny fingers across the rough bark of the pine tree planted beside her.
She glanced from one direction to another; all which were accompanied with a blank expression. He observed her as she passed a trimmer of light that shined through a canopy of leaves overhead. She paid absolutely no attention to him.
Walking a few more steps, the girl approached a small patch of moss. It was then that he realized she wasn't wearing any shoes to protect her feet. He mentally noted that she was careless and naive, concluding that she would be the easiest to kill. Satisfied, Jason began to walk away.
Arrogance taking its toll, a thin twig gave way beneath his weight and snapped just as he began to retreat. He froze and waited for her reaction; readying his blade if needed to silence her. An alert expression spread across her face between gazes. She left her haven of the hovering trees and walked toward the sound she had heard; closer to Jason.
"Hello?" she called out. Smirking, she added, "Dan, is that you?"
Jason watched as the girl inched nearer to where he stood stationary. The maturity in her voice revealed to him that she was no child, but a growing woman. He dared not move, for instead he watched with surprise as she never faltered between steps. Her feet were seemingly immune to the rough surfaces of the forest ground.
Careless, naive and bold. With a sly grin, the woman groped one tree and then another for guidance. He was momentarily puzzled by this odd gesture. He could not recall another human having ever acted as she had before. He vaguely remembered her continued prance as she practically stood face to face with him.
Finally coming to a halt, the woman extended her left hand out in front of her. Luck cleaved between Jason and the woman by only a few inches. Her fingertips fluttered as they poised for a brief moment in the air, having touched nothing. The brim of his worn tunic was just out of her reach, close enough to make him solidify his breath. A gust of wind threw back the trees and aroused the leaves in a swaying ruffle. Through the thick canopy above them, rays of light danced across the forest floor. A wind chime whistled its melody beyond the lake.
When a single beam flashed across her face, he caught a glimpse of her features however isolating one in particular. Her expression was vacant and her movements were mechanical. Her skin was strangely lurid compared to her dull, grey eyes. He suddenly came to realize why she had heard him with acute perception, however exclusively ignorant to his visual presence. The woman tilted her chin up as if she were looking into the man's face, however only reacting to thin air.
"Oh, come on," the woman scorned, leaning to the right with her arms crossed. "I know you're there."
Moments ago, Jason craved murder and concocted future scenarios of demise and agony. She had briefly become the most suitable candidate for the cardinal victim. He lusted after the thought of her skin transforming into a suffocating hue of indigo. But now, he pondered over whether or not she was as corrupted as her peers. She had something to her advantage that every other child on campus lacked. See no evil. No, he would have no choice but to kill her. The earth remained a happier place when the blood of the impure was spent across its tainted surface. She was a teenager. It was relevant to believe that she was equally disobedient like the others.
But she's blind..
Jason frantically shook his head; prior thoughts throbbing inside of his mind. He commenced another retreat, this time slipping away with another careless mistake. He had come too close this time to revealing his presence to her; a killer and a legend still very much alive. Putting a great distance between him and the clearing where the girl stood idle, Jason gripped a thick branch between his gloved hands. He flexed his muscles to elevate his weight. Once surrounded by the density of pine, he sat in silence. There he received a much more informative view of the camp and the people occupying it.
Busily about in the unpacking process, the children, organized by their age groups, fled to each cabin, widely distributed across the territory. Grimacing, Jason snarled at the adults, pampering themselves with foolish procrastination; holding a cigarette in one hand, while a large cup of ale engrossed in the other hand. He gagged at the foul stench of the mixed odors. There was no question that they were listed to fall beneath his sharp blade. Besides, without parental control, the others would quickly collapse into beautiful chaos. It was then that his attention was torn toward the previous group of kids near the lake. Jason felt a twinge of longing that one of them would unfortunately misplace their footing and slip into the unforgiving waters of the lake; suffering as he had. However, that is also when he caught sight of the same girl, pathetically blind. He hadn't even noticed her leaving the woods. Shrugging off the earlier encounter, Jason watched with a pair of keen eyes.
Behind his feeble mask, Jason pursed his lips while the teenagers began to fling their clothes from their bodies and, one after another, jump into the lake. Leaving the blind girl behind, she stood there with a smile on her face at the banks of the water. He could hear her laugh, as loud as it was, while the others carelessly splashed water into her face; a sick, practical joke. Leisurely collapsing, the girl crossed her legs, digging her fingers into the soft soil around her. Jason had seen enough of child interaction to assume that she wished she was able to join them. Descending from the pine tree, Jason landed firmly onto the ground, impaling two large footprints into the muddy dirt. He shuffled through the brush until he reached the border of the forest, only a few yards away from the shore, his discomfort increasing while the water rippled as if it were taunting him. Jason omitted an annoyed groan as their rowdiness intensified against his liking.
"Come on, Avril! What's life without a little risk?" a giddy girl laughed, her blond curls bouncing off of her shoulders as she disappeared underneath the water. Avril retaliated, peering toward the sound of their voices. She politely shook her head.
"Chicken!" came another voice.
"You know I can't, Danny," Avril reminded. He shrugged then pulled himself up from the water to see on the deck. Dripping with water, he trudged over to Avril and sat beside her in the dirt.
"Yeah, I know. You could let us be your eyes?" he teased.
"No way," Avril's smile began to fade.
"Cheer up," he said, nudging her shoulder, "Before camp ends, we'll find something for you to do. I brought you here, so, naturally, I promise it'll be fun! You never know, it might even be life changing!"
"I seriously dou-" before Avril could finish her reply, he was running toward the lake again; plummeting into the water with a mighty splash.
Sighing, Avril smiled. She understood why it was completely necessary for all of her friends to submit to the many activities of summer fun. Besides, with her setback, it was better for her to sojourn to the background and enjoy the laughter. It was better to be invisible than a burden. Between thoughts, an obnoxiousness bell began to drone throughout the camp. With rumbling stomachs, everyone heeded to its call and ran to the signal of food. Following the rustling clothing and the pattering feet, Avril eyed the direction of her friends while they galloped past her, sloshing water about in the process.
"Are you coming?" came a sympathetic voice. Sweet Tami, Avril thought.
"I'm right behind you," Avril nodded.
It was true; Avril planned to catch up with her friends, but, this time, she deliberately lagged behind. For the moment being, Avril had a bitter appetite for food. It was disappointing to lack the ability to see what she was putting in her mouth. However, her mouth waters considerably more than others when she smells a sweet or strong aroma of her favorite meals; so, considering all things, it wasn't a complete loss when it came to food.
Disgusted by the fact that she was making herself depressed, she stood. Rolling her shoulders back and cracking her neck, she headed towards the deck. Scuffing her feet, she cautiously paced the edge of the shore until the tip of her toes bumped into the wooden planks. Smiling, the teenager took long, slow strides across the platform. Near the drop off, Avril bent her knees to scoop up a hand-full of murky water; one hand gripping the post, while the other breaking the surface of the lake. With a violent surge of excitement, Avril recalled that this was the first time she had ever been thisclose to water. Taking comfort in what freedom she had, Avril remained oblivious to the others enclosing around her.
Suddenly, Avril cringed when she felt the vibrations of a heavy boot against the wood. No, Avril corrected her thoughts, a pair of boots. A gust off wind ruffled Avril's brunette hair, letting it dangle in front of her face; along with the loose articles of clothing that belonged to her intruders. As she felt the presence intensify behind her, she whirled around, stilling gripping onto the wooden post of the deck.
"What d'we have here?" A sinister voice directed his question towards the other members of his pathetic posy.
Immediately recognizing the voice, Avril gritted her teeth, "Why don't you and your little dweebs leave me along, okay?" Avril had a sick desire to run, but she knew it would be to no avail. They would catch her, leaving her helpless and unable to defend herself.
"I heard that Daniel and Tami were having trouble gettin' you into the lake." From the sound of his tone, Avril could sense a diabolical grin on his face.
"I'm sure we could find a solution to that problem," came another voice with an equally mischievous tone.
Avril squealed when two warm clutched onto her shoulders, forcing her to turn towards the water. Avril trembled as his voice tickled the back of her neck, "It's time we taught you how to swim."
In one swift motion, he tossed her up into the hair. Before she could scream and hope that someone would hear her, she was enveloped by the cool, yet unforgiving waves of the lake. Overwhelmed, Avril chocked beneath the water, her mouth flooding with raunchy liquid. Her eyes were already blistered from the cold, forcing her to shut them. Uncontrollably quivering and muscles burning, Avril kicked her legs and waved her arms until she was able to breach the surface again.
Screaming, the blind girl gasped for air, but a hand forcibly pushed her head back beneath the water. Conserving what air she'd inhaled, Avril tried again for the surface; however, whenever the top of her head would emerge, a hand was there waiting to push her under again. Already, she could feel the pressure beginning to build up around her.
She sank lower until her bare toes felt the lushes bottom of the lake. It wasn't long until her arms gave out and the rest of her body drifted to the bottom. Her mind racing with panic, Avril began to loose reality of direction. She had no recollection of the depth she had fallen. Unable to hold her breath any longer, Avril submitted to the horrors of unconsciousness.
Jason stared at the posy while they celebrated the success of their seemingly harmless prank. As they began to trudge away, the serial killer emerged from his cover. Loosening his wrist, he swung his machete around before charging against the first and closest pest. Amused at the boy's surprisingly high squeal, Jason tore through his stomach, shredding his skin and organs into fine slices. His blood immediately began to spill from the deep gash, tainting Jason's hands.
Letting his empty body fall to the ground, Jason inverted his attention to the second and last annoyance. The boy attempted to run, however, out of pure clumsiness, he tripped. Jason silently cackled as he stumbled away on all fours like an animal.
Omitting an exasperated yelp, the boy sobbed, "No! No-no please don't- please don't kill me!"
As if the boy's words were foreign to him, Jason shrugged, whipping the blade around. With a clean cut, the boy's head separated from his neck with a slosh of slimy goo. Blood began to squirt from his open throat while his body fell limp. Groaning, Jason sheathed his blade and hauled the body through he brush; he carried the other on his right shoulder. With the stench of blood lingering in the air, Jason lazily slung the bodies onto the shore. He then kicked them deeper until even the brim of their clothes were eaten by the lake. With one boot on the deck, Jason smooth his blade across a post, stripping its edge of any and all crimson.
Jason's body froze as his mind drifted towards the image of the girl. He had watched them throw her into the water just like his so-called 'friends' had shoved him into the lake; years and years ago. He had seen the way her head had bobbed at the surface before they had forced her back under. He had been mesmerized by the sight of the shimmering surface while he waited for her to come back. But with an anxious sensation, she never did. Jason's breath began to quicken as he reclaimed his fear of water.
Save her, came a disembodied hiss in the back of his mind.
Have you lost your damn mind! Why would I do that? Jason quarreled.
Save her, it repeated.
She'll suffer the same fate you had...
I'm not listening to you! I don't care! I don't care what you say!
Save her, Jason.
NO! Get out of my head!
For mother, Jason.
I said, GET OUT OF MY HEAD!
Having blocked out his conscious, Jason took a deep breath; inhaling the satisfying stink of gore. With keen eyes, Jason could see the rippling clothes of the blind girl at the bottom of the lake. There she lay, pale and lifeless. With the sun's light reflecting against the water, Jason cringed as he was lured like innocent bait to the shore. Against his will, he stepped into the water, shivering when it soaked his pants; making contact with his decaying flesh.
She'll feel what I'd felt... She'll fear as I'd feared!
She will suffer the same fate...
Like a machine, his legs took another step deeper into the water. He violently shivered, gripping the butt of his machete like a snake strangling its kill. He tried to fight it, but the voice in the back of his mind willed him to go further. He wanted to scream; he wanted to threaten it to go away, but like a puppet, his legs immersed into the water another foot. His eyes were fastened onto the sight of a dead woman held captive by the lake's cold hands. However, the longer he looked, the more she disappeared. Before long, her figure was replaced with a boy who resembled him as a child. It was like reliving the moment of his infamous death; the death of Jason Voorhees.
Jason couldn't handle it anymore. Like a delirious brute, he went berserk. Unlatching his machete and piercing it into the sand, Jason submerged himself into the water, eyes clenched shut. Without removing a piece of his clothing or his mask, he ducked beneath the surface. He headed for the bottom, counting down the seconds that had passed. He had no fear of blood, entrails, pain, or even the Devil, but his fear of water, as it rushed past his body like a plague, was unbearable.
It was only necessary to open his eyes once. He did so to see where the girl lay. He clutched onto her waist and pulled her back to the surface. He gasped for air and elevated the girl's body onto the deck with a shaking arm. Next, he pulled himself up. Still gasping for air, he stood and ran away from the lake; past the shore, across the brush and through the woods. Only once did he glance back at the lifeless, frozen and soaked body of the blind girl.
Save her... whispered Beelzebub, Save her...
As Jason quivered beneath the demon's voice inside his head, he flashed the most unfamiliar act he could muster; a small, yet visible grin.
For one moment, as if time and space had ceased to exist, he had felt human again.