The Lake

Through the Spanish moss and the black silhouettes of the trees Anna watched the lake. The water was a soft purple and was so still it looked frozen. A dragonfly shot across the sky. She sat on the hammock in her silky, layered dress cradling a large kitchen knife on her lap. She rocked slightly as the insects started up their evening chant. Now and then her eyes flickered from the lake to the trees to the knife. The hammock ropes creaked with each sway. By the bank a small animal disturbed the water’s surface and splashed with little hands. Anna rose with the knife and walked slowly to the path to the water, her dress dragging in the mud. The house now loomed behind her, dark and Victorian, but she didn’t look back. The animal scampered off, creating a ruckus in the low bushes.

When she reached the water’s edge she could see them in the water, white, puffy faces staring up at her, gnarled fingers, dark suits green with algae. She stepped into the water, her bare feet sliding on the mossy rocks, dress floating, and then stabbed Marlo again and again, water splashing everywhere. What little blood that was left in his body was released, making clouds in the water. Furiously she stabbed away but he seemed to sink with each blow so she reached in and took hold of his arm and began stabbing upward into his stomach and chest.

“Anna! Anna!” Anna turned and saw Brandon coming down the path, white as a ghost, in pale swimming trunks, his surgery scars like an inscription down his side. She looked up at him, through her hair, Marlo’s entrails still hanging off her knife. “Oh, the poster boy came back,” she said, her voice hoarse. He stopped and he stared at her angrily, jaw clenching under his crazy red beard. Then he turned and sprinted back toward the house, running like a crazy man, stumbling on roots but not stopping. Anna stared after him, puzzled.

Then everything fell into shadow and Anna spun around and saw the beast rising up out of the water, huge gaping mouth, a thousand eyes, two stories tall. It let out a terrible, ripping sound and she screamed, raising up her knife. The arms with their spikes and thorns reached toward her, the eyes rolling and dripping. She turned and tried to get away, slipped on the slimy rocks, falling and scraping up the muddy bank. But the waves from the monster came and crashed over her, washing her back onto the bodies.

Sputtering and flailing in the bloody water she tried to swim back to shore. The next wave took her up over the bank and toward the house and she grabbed onto a tree trunk, hugging it. The creature’s claw scraped her back but her knife was gone and she just held tight as the next wave came in, drawing the monster closer still. She clawed her way up the tree now, the bark cutting her skin as she pulled herself up. The monster clawed one of her legs and opened a long wound. Blood rushed down her leg as she inched up the tree.

Then Brandon was back with the harpoon gun and he fired it at the thing’s eyes, lodging into one of them and he took a hold of the rope and forcibly pulled the eye towards him, out of the socket, so it hung by a thick, ropey nerve. The monster let out a high-pitched screech and pulled Brandon into the water by the harpoon rope. It grabbed him and bit at his flesh as it sunk slowly back into the lake, chewing on his body as it went down.

Soon the lake was still again and looked like glass. Anna lowered herself slowly down the tree trunk, bleeding and hurt, until she was down on the mud again. She lay there, shuddering. Then crawled towards the house on her hands and knees, muddy and dripping with blood, stopping occasionally to catch her breath. She made it to the back porch where she rested on the steps before crawling all the way back through the open door into the dark house.

Copyright © 2008. All Rights Reserved.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *