I Come From The Lake
I walked along a path, a path of pebbles, the path to the lake. Lake of Marie, where I loved to fish, and swim. There are all manners of creatures in the lake, fish and otherwise. Some magical, some not. Some aggressive, some not. It depends. They all look different, too-some are big and scaly while others resemble jelly flobbering around in the water.
But I don't go there anymore.
The interesting thing about Lake of Marie was that all around its beach is a band of oak trees, created by something unknown, according to the history books. I'd always loved the Trees, they would always get me excited, for the day. But something was different, that day, something that I couldn't see; but I could tell something was going to happen.
My fishing pole was in my hand, as I passed through the Trees. Attached to my belt was a small bucket, full of bugs and worms and such, for bait. I was ready for a day of fishing.
I broke through the Trees, onto the sand of the beach. But I was right. Something was different. There was someone else there. See, most people don't visit the Lake because of the ghost stories. Fortunately, then, I didn't believe in them.
As I was saying, someone else was there. She was young, only about six or seven years old. And pale. She was very pale. She had long blonde hair, almost past her waist, and it was tangled. I looked for a parent, anybody, but there was nobody. "Hello, there, little girl? Where are your parents?" I foolishly called, Walking down the beach, towards her. I felt a concern in my heart for this random girl that I only learned later could have been fatal. she could have dragged me down with her. "They're gone," she called back, simply. She wore the normal clothes that village girls wore then, except they were all white. "You shouldn't be here alone. You should go home. They're probably worried sick about you." Her eyes wide, she smiles, an enigma. "I am home." "Where do you come from?" "I come from the lake." I smiled. The little girl was obviously playing some sort of game, I thought. She wasn't. "Watch your back," She said, then ran away, down the beach. I decided not to chase after her, let her have her fun, and I settled down for a day of fishing.
I caught only one interesting thing (besides the usual salmon)-an old, purple boot.
The next day I decided to go back and see if the girl was there again. She was. I smiled. "What's your name, little girl?" "People used to call me Maria," She replies. Her feet were bare, today, and her dress was torn in one area, and smudged with dirt. "But now they run away." I grinned. "I wonder why?" "Because I come from the lake." She sat down, picking up pebbles and throwing them into the lake. I fish, again, and that time something more interesting happened. I felt a tug on my line, something stronger then anything, and it caused me to sprawl on my front. I almost lost my fishing rod. The girl-Maria?-giggles. "He likes you." "Who's he?" "Oh, he doesn't have a name, But he comes from the lake." "Oh." To be honest, she was starting to freak me out with the "I come from the lake" thing. I decided to let it pass.
She stayed with me the entire day.
When the sun started to set, I decided to go home. "I'll be here tomorrow," She said, and stood up. I nodded. We left it at that.
Surprise, surprise, she was there the next day. This time I didn't bring my fishing rod, just a small basket and a blanket to spread out on the sand. I did so, inviting her to sit. I opened the basket. "I got you sweets. Kids seem to like sweets. Do you like them?" She nods, and I hand her a box of them. After a while I noticed she was leaving behind one specific type of sweet, saltwater taffy. "Who don't you like those?" "They aren't like the lake." "Oh." I watched her eat. She ate slowly, enjoying the candy.
After awhile the box was empty, leave the taffies. "Glad you liked them," I said, taking the box back. "I did. Nobody brings me sweets anymore. They all run away." "Why?" "Oh, a little while ago, I drowned. And now I live in the lake." I was taken aback, understandably. She stands up. "I have to go. I have to go home. Back to the lake. It was nice to meet you." I stood up, concerned. "No, don't go! Hey wait! Come back!" I tried to chase after her, but she ran, down the beach, into the water, not stopping to look back, going deeper until her head went under. I scramble, running, getting atop a rock pile for higher ground.
All I could see of her was a smudge of white, her dress and such. She seemed to be deeper than she could have been, running in a dress in the water, and such. She was lying on the bottom. Just lying there. All around her I saw shadows, presumably the fish that get scarier the deeper you go. But the shadows ignored her. I watched, breathless, helpless, for a while and I was about to go home when something caught my eye.
A huge shadow. The size of fifty houses or more. It swam towards her, moving its great head, taking her in its gaping mouth, a tiny white dot compared to its bulk. But instead of devouring her it gently held her there, taking her downstream. I watched the shadow of its tail until it disappeared, into the distance.
Then I realize-the box of sweets. I was nice to her, and that was why she didn't take me down with her. I would have been eaten by that thing.
Safe to say, I don't fish there anymore.
And now, I believe in ghosts.