Lost Souls

The Creature in the Lake

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The Creature in the Lake

by David Barton

‘Some people have seen it,’ said Janet looking out across the lake.

‘There was a report in the paper, it said it came out of the water and frightened some children who were out here camping,’ Mike added to her comment.

Janet’s attention shifted to the shore, which was some distance away now. ‘They made that up,’ she said, ‘you know what kids are like.’

‘What is it, a pike or something?’ Mike asked.

‘Some say it’s half-human,’ Jeff said, putting his two-penneth into the conversation. He’d been quietly observing his friends with some amusement up until now, as they talked about the creature.

‘Stop it!’ It was Kathleen, emerging from her daydream. She had been quiet ever since they’d made the journey out onto the lake, in the small boat that she and her friends had hired for the weekend.

‘You’re not scared, are you?’ Jeff teased, a grin breaking over his face. ‘It might creep onto the boat in the middle of the night and take a shine to you!’ Jeff was always in his element when he could tease one of the women about something. He seemed to derive a great deal of pleasure out of scaring them.

‘Stop it!’ Kath repeated.

‘Leave her alone,’ Mike intervened. ‘Can’t you see you’re upsetting her?’

‘It was only a joke,’ Jeff said, trying to keep his grin from widening again. ‘Can’t she take a joke? Stupid cow!’ he added.

‘That’s enough!’ shouted Mike rising to his feet and racing across the deck towards Jeff.

Jeff rose to his feet to meet him as he approached. ‘What you gonna do?’ he asked sneering. ‘Come on, if you think you’re hard enough!’

‘Have you forgotten Pete drowned here?’ Mike asked him.

Jeff’s sneer vanished. ‘Sorry, Kath,’ he said turning to her. ‘Just forgot, that’s all, was only teasing you.’

‘I’d forgotten too, that Pete drowned out here,’ said Janet putting a comforting arm around her upset friend.

‘I can’t forget,’ Kathleen sobbed.

‘I know, love,’ said Janet pulling her closer to her.

‘It’s the first time she’s been back here since … it happened,’ Mike stated.

‘Well, this is going to be fun,’ said Jeff sarcastically. Mike shot him a glance. Jeff just glared back.

That night, Kathleen couldn’t sleep. They’d anchored the boat on the lake and the friends had all gone to bed some hours earlier. Kath just kept thinking about Pete. She finally did manage to get some sleep, but he was there in her dreams too and she awoke. She was beginning to think it hadn’t been such a good idea going out there. What with what had happened earlier with Jeff, and now her uneasy slumber. The therapy of returning to the lake, to confront her fears, was not working too well.

She decided to get up and take in some air up on deck. The rest of her friends were asleep, so quietly she made her way up.

Kathleen stood and looked out across the water. After a few minutes of gazing across the expanse of the lake, she saw a disturbance in the darkness of it.

At first she’d thought it was her imagination. But now, something was definitely out there, something rising from the depths.

Fear struck her, as she realised that is could be the creature everyone was talking about.

But that thing didn’t exist, did it?

Lots of people had seen it of course. Or at least claimed to have seen it. Could there really be a creature like that – which had been described in all those many accounts – at large in this lake?

Kath laughed to herself. She was being ridiculous even to think such a thing. Nevertheless, something was emerging from the water and she couldn’t help but give a shudder as it did so. It was probably just a large fish, a pike, as Mike had pondered.

As the shape surfaced into sight, however, she saw to her surprise that it was not a pike at all, but a man. And as he climbed up onto the boat, and Kath saw his face in the moonlight, she realised that she recognised him.

Was she still dreaming? Was she asleep below deck in her cabin?

‘Hello … Kath,’ the familiar voice said.

‘Pete? Is it really you?’ she asked.

‘In the flesh,’ he replied.

Kath gazed at him, slack-jawed for a few seconds. Taking in the image of him stood there like a ghost.

‘But … how?’ she questioned.

Suddenly his own gaze became distant, and he frowned. ‘I dunno …’ Then Pete glanced up to her again and smiled. ‘But who wants to question it? I’m here … with you … that’s all that matters, isn’t it?’

Kath advanced towards him and Pete took her in his arms, and they hugged each other. ’I’ve missed you sooo much,’ she told him as they embraced.

‘I know, and I’ve missed you.’

As they pulled apart from their embrace, Kath peered into his eyes. Whether this was ghost or not, a reanimated memory, or whatever it was, it was very lifelike. And those familiar twin black orbs of his stared back at her for real.

Suddenly Kath was filled with yearning for him again. She wanted him once more! His naked body against hers, the two of them together like the old days.

‘Shall we go down to my cabin?’ she asked, trying to make the idea sound as suggestive as she could.

Pete nodded and smiled.

Kath led him down to her cabin, careful not to wake the others. Then the two of them made love.

It was just like old times. He had always been a great lover. The best she’d ever had! He was gentle, gentler than most men she’d known, but nevertheless – passionate!

Afterwards, Pete jumped suddenly up out of bed and reached out his hand towards her. ‘Let’s go for a swim!’

‘You’re crazy! You always were!’ she said leaping out of bed to join him.

They made their way up to the deck, not bothering to dress of course. In fact, Kathleen didn’t even think of it until she got to the deck and realised that she hadn’t a stitch on. But there was no one around to see, just the two of them.

‘Come on,’ urged Pete, holding out his hand once more.

Kath hesitated and scanned the dark waters of the lake ominously. ‘There’s something out there,’ Kath said. ‘Some thing.

‘You don’t believe all those stories, do you? About something half-human swimming around out there? Like the Creature from the Black Lagoon?’ She heard him give a laugh behind her.

‘No,’ Kath said, ‘of course not.’ She spun to face him, placing a smile on her face. ‘At least, not when I’m with you. When I’m with you I can face anything!’

‘Good girl.’ He took her hand and urged her to the edge of the deck ‘Come on!’

‘What, naked?

He widened his eyes. ‘Yes!’

Pete took a run and leaped into the lake. Once in the water, he turned to her and beckoned for her to follow him in.

She got up her nerve and did just that.

The water wasn’t as cold as Kath thought it would be, in fact, it was quite warm. The two of them embraced each other once more and kissed.

Then Pete did something that caused her heart to race with fear, he tried to pull her under!

‘What are you doing?’ Kath asked him, panicking and struggling to break free.

‘I’m taking you with me, you want to come with me, don’t you?’ he said.

She thought about this for a moment. About how her life had been without Pete and how miserable she‘d been. About how she couldn’t really live without him.

‘Yes, I do!’ Kath said. ‘I can’t bear life without you!’

‘Let me take you under with me, we’ll be together forever then!’

Kath let him take hold of her again, and this time she let him pull her under.

His face began to change as they plunged into the depths, undergoing some kind of metamorphosis. And then Kath saw the creature that had been masquerading as her dead lover.

It was too late by then, of course; the life was going from her, and the last thing Kath saw was the creature staring at her with hungry eyes. Not hungry for her flesh – she understood in her final moments – but hungry for her soul! It was the last thing she saw before life passed from her.

There was a report that the creature in the lake had been sighted again. But that this time it had had a mate with it. Half creature, half woman. The pair of them had been witnessed swimming together in the water as if they were lovers.

Some observers had claimed that the two creatures had been seen kissing. While some had even claimed they’d seen the creatures making love!

Kathleen’s friends came to the conclusion that their friend had fallen overboard in the night and drowned. And just as in the case of her dead lover, Kathleen’s body had never been found. No one made any connection between this fact and the sightings of the creatures that were said to have been spotted in the lake. To even suggest such a connection would have been seen as ludicrous.

Copyright David Barton 2007

David Barton is the editor of Lost Souls Magazine, his fiction has appeared in the "fan fiction" section of the website for American horror author, Nicholas Grabowsky  http://www.downwarden.com and in the now defunct 31 Eyes ezine.  More info can be found at: http://chainsawhell.tripod.com/homepage

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