To this day, I haven’t told anyone this story. My loved ones all think that I had a decompression accident during a routine diving trip, but, heh, that couldn’t be any farther from the truth. I guess I should give you a little background before getting into the meat of the story.
I don’t dive anymore, but back when I was in Mormon Scouts, it was basically all I did. We even had an inside joke where they would call me “Holy Diver” in reference to the 1983 Dio song of the same name, it’s not like I was being bullied or anything, I quite liked the name and the song as well, since I still listen to it regularly to this day. Well, to get to the point, I had convinced our Scoutmaster that we should go camping near the shore of the Great Salt Lake, and even though he many times said no, saying it would be too dangerous, he eventually buckled, under the condition that I was not allowed to dive. Heh, at the time I had no idea what could be so dangerous about that lake, but now, I think I know better than anyone.
The bus ride to the campsite was uneventful, save for my best friend at the time throwing up. We all had a good laugh about it, but he seemed to be in genuine pain so we apologized for laughing and he had to be picked up by his mom’s boyfriend, since his mom didn’t have a driver’s license and his dad was at work in the tire factory. To this day, I still think about how he was the luckier one of the two of us, despite it not seeming like that was the case at the time.
I mentioned earlier that my Scoutmaster (his name was Evan), made me promise I wouldn’t dive on the trip. As you may be able to guess, I didn’t heed his advice. I had smuggled all my diving gear with me in my big brother’s sports bag, which was bigger than my sports bag and thus was the only one that could carry all my gear. To this day, I still don’t know why Scoutmaster Evan was so afraid of going into the lake. Maybe he knew something lurked down there, but didn’t have the courage to tell anyone. That’s definitely a feeling I can relate to. I never got to ask him, because he died violently not long after this story.
It was in the middle of the night, everyone else had gone to sleep. Since I had brought my diving light, the darkness didn’t serve a problem to me. I snuck out to the shore and geared up. I can still remember the dark reflection of my wetsuited teenage body in the waterside to this day. Somehow I felt like I had done something wrong. Like I had sinned by breaking my promise to Scoutmaster Evan, but I had come so far, so I decided to jump in anyway.
It was beautiful down there. To this day, I still believe that’s why the monster inhabited these waters. Even inside the cruelest beasts, there must be some semblance of beauty, as is true for all of God’s creatures, heh, at least that’s what I tell myself. I was examining a cool rock when suddenly I felt a pressure on my back. My first thought was “this must be some kind of sea turtle”, I realize now how silly that was, since sea turtles don’t live in lakes first of all, and second of all, because I suddenly felt claws.
I didn’t get a good look at it, but I saw scales and bright red eyes, almost like a demon. I don’t know any naturally occuring animals with red eyes, leading me to believe that’s what it was. Maybe it was a punishment for my sins, maybe I was just unlucky enough to be the one in it’s territory during lunch time, all I know is I was lucky to get out of there alive, and to this day, I still thank God for that every single day. I slammed my light into its face, disorienting it for a second and then I swam like heck. The waters were dark, but suddenly I saw a light emanating from above. It was Scoutmaster Evan in a row boat. He had discovered that I was gone and went out to look for me. Knowing the monster wouldn’t dare near the surface, I had a second wind and swam faster than I ever had before.
I jumped into the boat, blood gushing from the claw wound in my back. I told him I accidentally swam into some rocks, but he didn’t believe me. To this day, I don’t know if it’s because he knew about the demon or if I was just a bad liar, but back then, I didn’t care. I just wanted to get back to shore ASAP (as soon as possible). Soon after I sold all my diving gear, except for the clawed wet suit, and to this day, I haven’t dived since.