There are pros and cons to growing up on a lake; it’s literally a breeding ground for the worst kinds of insects in existence, but you get to cool off in the water. You can sweat a magazine of bullets on a hot day, but the cool nights by the water are worth it.
Tourists love to go sailing during the summers so you can meet a ton of great looking people and enjoy the water with them, but if you wait until nighttime? It’s like stepping into a new world that doesn’t concern itself with anything except feeling the breeze of the night and enjoying yourselves.
I remember my favorite thing to do though was to grab my grandmother’s old dinghy, sit down in the stern and kick off into the water, and fall asleep until I floated away to the other side of the lake. It was the most relaxing thing in the world, like getting a massage from the water.
This is why I moved away from that lake. And this is why I never go into the water again.
One night I decided to pull out the dinghy like I always did. I was staring up at the stars and the moon, when I spend a night on the water, they’re about the only company I have when I drift into the lake this late at night. When I started to doze off, I heard a small bubbling from the water.
A small heap of what looked like seaweed floated up to the surface. I thought nothing of it as it sat still for a few moments before it grew taller and the seaweed became longer. I realized it was brown, silky hair, as it fell onto pale, porcelain shoulders.
I sat frozen in fear, clutching onto the side of the boat. I had no intention of going near the water. I hadn’t breathed the entire time this entity was greeting me until it lifted it’s head and revealed a beautiful, emerald-eyed woman. Her eyes were so intensely aggressive, staring past my flesh and into my soul. Her hair seemed to dry almost immediately once she exited the water, curling up into beautiful waves of brown. I still couldn’t breathe, not out of fear, but pure awe. How could I have stolen air from this creature? That would have been crueler than any atrocity I could think of.
“Hello.” The woman sang, making my hairs stand up in anticipation to hear her voice more. She raised her arms and placed them in my boat, gesturing me to take them. I held her hands and felt the soft touch of her on my hands, squeezing her fingers together, closing my eyes to better hear the angelic voice soothe me to a state of euphoria. She sang so beautifully. As cold as the air and the water were combined, I had never felt a warmth rush over me like when I heard her voice. In retrospect, I’m not quite sure how long I was out in the water simply listening to her sing.
After what seemed like a perfect eternity, I tried to take a deep breath in, before realizing I couldn’t find the air to do so. I felt the cold water rushing past me, numbing my skin as I opened my eyes to find the dinghy quickly moving further away for me, and the light of the moon being snuffed out as I went down further.
I felt a tug on my ankle and looked down to see that perfect soft hand wrapped around my ankle, pulling down like an anchor. I looked down further to see the woman’s green eyes, burning bright, like green fires of rage. Seeing her eyes flash with light made my stomach curl with fear, as I sunk down further.
I kicked and attempted to free myself from her grip until she let out a shrill wail. Even if the haunting ringing still rings in my ears to this day, I cannot say her voice was anything less than perfectly angelic. It sent a chill of fear down my back, as my body lost any hope of swimming upward, it felt as if I became heavier with each time she pulled me down.
As I continued to fight against her grip, I felt her hand let go of my ankle! I took the opportunity to start swimming upward until a silhouette flashed across the dim light of the moon.
I saw a scaly tail, lengthen the milky torso of an angel, she rushed through the water above me, and the thick scales slapped across my face, immediately forcing me to taste the blood inside my mouth.
The green scales reflected the moonlight beaming through the water in the most beautifully terrifying manner until they disappeared into the darkness below as both of the Mermaid’s hands yanked on my ankles. The cold water rushed into my nose and numbed my skin as I could feel the water fill my lungs as if a weight was being poured into my body.
Her eyes grew brighter before I kicked myself free of her grip and kicked her face. I saw her face was cracked as if a porcelain bust of an angel became damaged. Flakes of her skin chipped away and she started floated down into the abyss below.
I started to swim away, getting closer to the boat when the mermaid sang out a new song. A warmness fell over me and I looked back to see the true image of the mermaid. A grotesque, nightmare-ish, twisted version of an angel. A fanged snarl, her mouth extending up to her ears, her teeth long and needle-like.
Exhausted and sore, I swam up using all the strength I could find left. Pushing against the water weighing down against me, I finally broke the surface and felt the cold air sting my skin as I grasped the boat and pulled myself in, coughing up water and feeling the water inside me attack my nerves and caused me to shiver on the cold wood.
In less than a second, I fell inside the boat and heard a screech, followed by frantic scratching on the outside of the hull. It quickly stopped, and I thought she had left for a few moments before the Mermaid started to sing a new song. Not one to make me warm, or to distract me, but one of hopelessness and agony.
And so with nowhere to go, I waited in this serenading prison. She leaned against the boat, singing and singing all through the night, and the hours merged together into a living nightmare I couldn’t awaken from. At some point due to exhaustion or shock, I fell asleep, lulled to sleep by a monster I fell in love with.
When I woke, I couldn’t feel the currents of the water rocking the boat. I couldn’t feel the cold sting of the night air. I couldn’t hear her song. I felt the sun kiss me with warmth and felt it all through my body.
I raised my body out of the beached dinghy and fell onto the shore. I sighed, relaxed and content. I raced back home and fell into my bed, still exhausted. I still can't tell you if it was just a horrible dream or if I actually saw what I think I saw, but one thing's for sure: I'm never going near that lake again.
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