The River

Luke didn’t have many friends, but he was happy; he loved his parents, they loved him and all was well. They lived in a little cottage made of red brick walls and a beautiful tile roof, in a small village in the Welsh countryside. After school, Luke would always go and have a walk in the wild, running through fields and blossoming meadows, forgetting any problems and just being as happy as can be. But one day, something turned things round…

It was a Wednesday afternoon the sun was shining, and the birds were singing in the trees. Luke came home from school as usual, sat down to eat an apple and did a little bit of work. Then, as always, he went out through the back door and into the fields. He ran. The village was now quite far away; Luke stopped, and lay down. He closed his eyes, breathing in the freshness of the Spring air, listening to the same familiar sounds: tweeting birds, buzzing bees, the long grass swaying in the breeze; a natural humming orchestra… But he re-opened them with a start. There was a new sound, one that hadn’t been there before: the sound of water, a little river. So Luke got up, intrigued, and walked towards the sweet sound. There it was, a small, crystal-clear stream slithering amongst the grass. Luke took off his muddy shoes and sat down, dipping his feet in the cool, fresh water.

Suddenly he heard: “Luke?”

Luke turned around in shock; no one was there!

“Here, in the river. Look, don’t be afraid.”

Luke turned his head back to the river and gazed at it. At first he didn’t see anything but then he could see two people fading in to the reflection of the river, a man and a woman.

“W-Who are you?” stuttered Luke, not sure what to say.

“Luke, there is something you have probably never been told.”


“When we were at home with you, you must have been a few months old we had a fatal car accident and both died. The person responsible for the accident threw us into a river to get rid of any proof of our death. As you were still at home, the neighbour realised, after one whole day, that we weren’t coming home, so he called the police and we were thought to have abandoned you. You were put into orphanage but nearly immediately afterwards placed with your adoptive parents. I’m sorry Luke, so sorry.”

Luke didn’t answer, he was stunned, he just got up and ran home as fast as he could.

The next day, he came back to the river, not willingly, but because his curiosity forced him to. Had he just dreamed the whole thing or was it real? It was real, his “parents” were still there, both looking at him with the river’s tears in their eyes.

“Why did no one tell me this before?” murmured Luke.

“Because no one knew what had really happened”

“But why? I don’t understand!”

Luke and his parents continued talking on and on until late that afternoon when Luke went back home. Every day he came back to see his real parents, the need to see them was growing stronger; an addiction, a compulsion, an obligation. He stayed longer and longer. He even got so desperate to speak to them that he would miss school and spend all day by the river. Still the urge to see them was growing in him and devouring him up from the inside.

Months went by, Spring was long gone, Summer had left and Autumn was leaving. The air was colder, the wind was stronger and still Luke stayed longer and longer by the river. He didn’t speak to his “other” parents any more and his excuse for all the going out was “I just need to think”.

By now, seeing was not enough; Luke wanted to touch, he wanted to be with his parents and never leave this place. He didn’t.

Luke’s need to be with them had gone too far. That day, in mid-winter, he pulled off his clothes and kneeling, crawled into the river.

He died of cold and happiness. He had succeeded; Luke was with his parents, in the warmth of their arms but the cold of the river.

If you ever find the river, sit by it and look carefully at the reflections on its surface; you might be able to see three people; a mother, a father and a son, together, united by love and death.

Steven T.
(8th grade)