The mist had long since burned off the lake when Charlie gave up the pretense of fishing. He pulled in his rods and stowed them away. Leaning back, he opened his book and stared at the page. The water lapping against the boat was relaxing. He closed his eyes and slowly lowered the book.
A hard thud against the hull woke him. When the boat bobbled, he grabbed for a side. The spray of water helped him wake up amid confusion. He looked over the side, ignoring what his senses told him. The water rushed over and between rocks, batting his narrow boat down an impossible river.
When his boat slammed against a boulder jutting up through the water, Charlie fell back in. He was soaked by water sloshing over the edge of the craft. He winced at the screech of metal against stone as the boat took a hard turn around another huge rock. Buffeted about, he shouted at the sight ahead. Rough water, white with speed, careened through a canyon. He heard himself praying as he held on tightly. The tackle box and cooler flew off in different directions.
The roar of the water became deafening. The speed increased rapidly. Charlie knew what lay ahead and his heart hammered in his ears. At least the end would come soon. As he sped toward the waterfall, he wondered idly what would kill him: the fall or the landing. He somehow felt the bow of the boat squeeze out of the rapids and into the air before the rest of the boat was pushed free. Defying gravity for a long second, the boat was propelled into the air before tipping forward and falling. Charlie held on, helpless to do anything but try to survive. It was pointless, but he was only human.
With a great splash, he landed. Caught in the wonder of life continuing, he peered over the side of the boat as silence crept into his awareness. He nearly fell over the cooler and into the placid water of the lake. A dream? A dream, certainly. Had he kicked the tackle box overboard?
And why was he dripping wet?