Unexpected Tragedy

By Audrey W.




This one was going to be hard for Roy DeSoto. Very hard. Not only had he and his partner John Gage been summoned too late to save a young life, but this time it was someone he knew well. It was his children’s babysitter.


Inspired by him, she’d wanted to be a paramedic someday. She’d even talked about her goal of taking lessons for CPR when she turned sixteen. For the time being, the fifteen year old only knew what she’d seen in movies. But her naivety had allowed her to believe that was enough to save a life in a real emergency if need be.


She was babysitting two other children down the street from Roy’s home when one started yelling for help in the back yard in-ground pool. Gripped with sudden fear that the boy was drowning, Denise had come running from the house and dove in to save him. She’d forgotten one important fact. She couldn’t swim.


The boy had just been pretending to be in peril.


A friend of Denise’s had come by to see her and had found the five year old boy standing at the edge of the pool, yelling for Denise to come out. His toddler sister was beside him and echoed his words as best she could. 


When the friend peered into the pool and saw Denise at the bottom, she’d jumped in and fought to bring the unconscious teen to the surface. With a final exhausted effort, she was able to get her to the steps in the shallow end, then drag her body up onto the concrete surface that surrounded the pool. Unable to do anything more, she had run to call for help. 


But Denise had been both underwater and without life-saving efforts for far too long.  There was nothing that could be done for her.


No one but the little boy knew exactly what had transpired before Denise's friend arrived. They didn’t have to. He’d told a police officer enough, the rest of the puzzle pieces fell into place.   




As Roy and John left the scene in their squad, the latter glanced at his somber partner. He knew it was a dumb question, but it was the only thing he could think to say.


“You okay?”


Roy shook his head. “No,” he answered, his voice a near whisper.


Johnny kept his gaze on him a moment, then solemnly looked downward.


He didn’t envy Roy having to tell his wife Joanne. He didn’t envy him having to tell his two kids.


Like with other tragedies, this one would leave an impact on many individuals.    



This story wouldn't leave me alone till I wrote it. We hear on the news all the time about near child drownings and ones who don't survive. It's the leading cause of death among children ages one to four here. But recently, the tragic news took on a twist that sometimes we don't think about. As with previous stories on this subject, writing fiction to get the message out is how I have learned to deal with my emotions. My heart goes out to the families of victims here.


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