Tag Archives: lake

No. 6 – John Takes Mary to the Lake

1 Feb

*Note: my tiny fiction series is a collection of fairly short stories written in stream of consciousness style & completely unedited. Please keep that in mind, and enjoy. 

No. 6 – John Takes Mary to the Lake

I asked her to go down to the lake with me. I didn’t tell her what I saw there the night before, hoping that if she saw the same thing it would be her own experience and not in any way influenced by my telling her about mine. I was still shaking as we emerged from my car, the smell of fish scales and tepid water filled me with dread. The same smells from the night before. I tried to hide my nervous horror by lighting a cigarette, thinking I should do something with my hands. I dropped my lighter onto the ground and didn’t even pretend to look for it. There was no way I was going to start searching around in the dark for anything and give those…things the opportunity to–

“Isn’t this romantic?” Mary sighed as she spoke, interrupting my panic and my thoughts. The simultaneous speak and sigh–as I called it–was a talent she had mastered over 17 years of being an adorable girl. I loved her for it. Nothing seemed strange or out of place to her. The smell, the sounds in the distance that sent shivers down my back, the odd quality of light even though it was nearly 11:30 at night. “Did you bring me out here to kiss me?” she asked, her blonde hair shining in the weird light like a halo of fine, spun gold.

I laughed as much as I could manage.

“Or did you have something more devious in mind?” What a flirt she could be. I wasn’t sure if she meant go to third base or kill her and dump her body in the lake.

Jesus, I thought. Where did that come from?

I had never thought about hurting Mary before. Yet, suddenly the thought flashed through my mind along with an image that so disturbed me it made my entire body freeze. Was I losing my mind? This wasn’t like me.

Mary put her soft little hand in one of mine. I concentrated on walking toward the dock just the way I had the night before. I tried not to squeeze Mary’s hand too hard. I would never hurt her. Not for anything in the world. Unless she deserved it.

Deserved it?! I argued with my own voice inside my own head. How could you say something like that? Think something like that? I would never hurt Mary!

I was afraid.

We sat down on the dock and Mary took her shoes off. Red high heels with little bows at the back. Shoes no one would wear outdoors at the lake, except Mary. She stuck her big toe into the black water and shivered, sending ripples out toward a streak of light where the moon shone eerily on the surface of all that darkness.

“It’s cold!” Mary squealed, laughing. She was always such a happy girl and so fun to be with.

“You’ll get used to it,” I told her with no emotion. It sounded as though my voice were coming from the lake and not from my own throat. I tried to ignore it, tried to stop shaking, tried to let my mind go blank. I was waiting for Mary. Waiting for her to see what I saw the night before. I needed to know I wasn’t crazy. But maybe she wouldn’t see anything at all. Maybe she was too sweet, too innocent for them to get to her. Maybe they got to me because I’m corruptible, dishonest. Maybe they knew that about me, could see inside my brain to all the things I never wanted anyone to find out. And worst of all, I was beginning to think coming back to the lake again was a bad idea. Maybe they knew me well enough now that with each visit they could take a little more.

I should have just taken her to the movies, I thought. She would have enjoyed that. She would have worn those red high heels with the little bow on the back of each one and they would have looked more appropriate there than sitting on this broken down old dock at the lake. It was wrong to bring her here. I really was losing my mind. I glanced at her shoes, which were caked with mud on each spiky heel. It was such a shame, those beautiful shoes all covered in mud.

Something stirred and splashed in the water.

“A fish!” Mary yelled joyfully into the night. “It touched my foot!” she cried, smiling and excited.

A voice rose from the spot where Mary now had both feet submerged to the top of her ankles. You must admit, John, it began. What a beautiful image it will be on the front page of the Tribune two days from now. Those little shoes all alone on the dock and the big, bad lake stretching out all around them. Enormous, beautiful, black capital letters for the headline, spelling out: Local Girl Missing, Feared Drowned.

“No,” I said without being sure if I’d said it out loud or not. “You can’t take her. I didn’t bring her here for you!”

The entire lake began to churn with laughter. Cold, scaly sounds that were meant to terrify. Mary didn’t seem to notice. I closed my eyes, tight. I was going crazy. I was going to end up in one of those white, padded rooms with my arms tied around my back. I squeezed my eyes shut tighter and tried to make my mind go blank to the voices that were calling out for me, for Mary. The voices that wanted me to give her to them. I put my hands over my eyes.

Suddenly a new voice interrupted the hideous, drilling lake voices. It called out sharply, and with a loud banging sound: “Police, open up!”

I opened my eyes. I was in bed, I realized. The police at my door.

And a handful of golden blonde hair tangled and intertwining the sweaty fingers of my right hand.





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