The Midnight Society – a wonderful collection of horror and paranormal writers and literary folk – is hosting #SpookyAllYear, a blog hop to add a little horror and spooky fun through the year. And today is the first day! Folks posting creepy stuff on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of each month will be linking to their site. They like their books a little bloody.
I’m by the lake again today, the lake that I keep returning to. It’s sunlit and lovely, but the rays only go so far into the water, because it is also deep.
Crows are flying over the lake today and calling to each other. You don’t expect to see crows along a lakeshore. This one should be the backdrop for majestic wading birds, frozen as they watch the water for fish. If you’ve watched a blue heron hunt, you know they spear their prey with their sharp beaks, and then gulp them down whole. If you watch closely enough, you’ll see the creature moving in the bird’s neck as it slowly makes its way down. What must the bird feel with something alive wriggling in its throat? What must the prey feel, bleeding to death, as they are swallowed?
The flock of crows means something is dead in the water, just past where I can see. It’s drifted in, and the crows are cawing to warn me away from their meal. If I walk a little further down the shore, I will be able to see it.
I imagine seeing a form, long hair trailing around it, turned so I can’t see its face. Only the head is visible, and an arm, reaching in front of it, the hand floating limply in the water. The form looks vaguely human, but it’s not. There’s something wrong with the shape of the head, and the long fingers extending from too small a hand. Once I see it, I won’t be able to ignore it.
Once I see it, I could walk out into the water to investigate what’s floating there. The water is shallow, and still warm enough to wade in. I would be able to see my feet most of the way, until I got close to the floating thing. But that far from shore, I wouldn’t be able to pull away if something curled around my ankles and pulled me in deeper. Then there would be two things with long, trailing hair floating in the water.
The crows are warning me away, and I understand that it will only be a mystery until they reach it. Once they’ve eaten, once all the creatures that eat the dead have eaten, the thing will be gone.
So there is my choice. Do I walk further down the shore? Or, do I listen to the crows?