The lake was always still on Sundays. Almost like God had commanded it, just in time for his baptisms (or so my father would say.) I didn’t like to watch. The Church left a bad taste in my mouth, even then. The grape juice stained my teeth, and the cracker felt stuck in my throat. I choked it down like I would the hymns I sang with my sisters. “How great is our God, sing to me how great is our God.” (In my experience, never that great.)
The girl that day was tall and blonde and ready to be ruined. She didn’t know it yet, but she would be. Her white dress trailed the sand by the lake; I could see sand clinging to the hem, her ankles, working its way between her toes. My father led her there. He led all of them there. I wanted to scream or shout, but I left my voice behind in the pews. Instead, I stood there quietly. I didn’t like to watch, but I did. Someone had to.
The girl smiled. She had the look of a lamb unknowingly climbing into a lion’s mouth. My father guided her into the lake. I imagined his hands felt like battery acid. She didn’t know. They never knew. He gently dragged her in, shoulders first. He pushed her down until she was in the lake up to her neck. Then, slowly, joyously, he shoved her face underneath. He didn’t stop until she was still. No one had ever survived a baptism.
FLASH GLASS: A MONTHLY PUBLICATION OF FLASH FICTION, PROSE POETRY, & MICRO ESSAYS