Blood Moon Lake
I’ve heard the ghost story of Eclipse Lake, or as the locals refer to it “Blood Moon Lake”, so many times now that I’m pretty much sick of hearing it. It’s all the town ever seems to talk about. I mean ever since that little girl drowned, or as the story went “Got pulled in”, back in the forties, there’s been all sorts of stories from witnesses saying, “The Girl comes out during the lunar eclipse and walks along the shores, looking for victims.” I always rolled my eyes about it since…well, come on? Who believes in that sort of stuff besides the ghost hunters and gullible? (And to be honest, I think the only reason these so called ghost hunters do "believe" in it, is so they can make money) And of course ever since that mayor’s intelligence manager back in 1990, published that article about meeting the girl…there’s been all sorts of buzzing around town. Ghost hunters, daredevils, and all sorts of people flock to the shores of the lake during lunar eclipses, hoping to see the girl. But not once, has anyone seen her. And it’s been like that for years.
So now, people have stopped coming.
They all know there’s nothing there.
There’s no girl in the lake, no legend of the lake.
It’s been sixty five years since the lake's creation. The lake is practically barren of visitors. The ghost hunters, tourists and daring have stopped coming to the lake. Since they’ve all come to the conclusion that the girl is a “No-show”.
But I know differently.
October 8th was the date the next lunar eclipse was supposed to occur. I was visiting my friend Alice at the time. She’d told me again and again that same old story about the legend of the lake that day, as much as it was to my dismay. As I’ve said before, I’d heard it too many times to count and wouldn’t make it for another hour if I had to hear the story again. So it was then that I decided to do something that I had done only three times before with a couple dozen of people: go to Blood Moon Lake.
So that night, I left the house around 7:45 p.m. just as the sun was making its final descent. I had decided to go alone because I didn’t want to hear the constant nagging from Alice saying, “You’ll see the girl tonight!” and then finish the sentence with her impression of an evil laugh. So I left without a word of where I was going. I was wearing my army jacket at the time with a black hoodie beneath it along with a pair of blue jeans. It was in the middle of October so it was cold.
It was about 8:00 when I made it to the lake. The sky had finally gotten dark and the moon was shining bright. The eclipse was supposed to start around 8:17 so I had a few minutes to spare. I started walking around and taking in the scenery of the lake. And I’ll admit, it was beautiful. The lake was dark but reflected the night sky perfectly and was as smooth as glass. There was a large willow tree at the far and darkest end of the lake, just before the tree line of the forest. The moss on the tree was so long and so low that it touched the top of the lake. It was a sight to admire.
Knowing the lunar eclipse would begin soon, I took a seat on the sandy bank, with my shoes just touching the edge of the lake and checked my phone to see if it was time for the eclipse. It’d start in about a minute. I slid the phone back into my pocket. It was starting to get a bit chilly so I pulled on my hood just as I started looking towards the night sky. I waited for the moon’s ivory surface to slowly transition into its bloodlike color.
That’s when I heard it. A large splash erupted from the end of the lake, right beneath the willow tree. My head snapped in its direction. The water beneath the tree looked smoothed except for the few small ripples that had just reached my feet. When nothing appeared I shrugged and resumed gazing at the moon. I figured it had to be a fish that had jumped or maybe a branch that had snapped and fallen in. Nothing to worry about. I smiled as I finally saw red tint begin to slowly emerge from moon’s edge.
Without warning another splash came from the lake only this time it sounded closer. A lot closer. I glanced down to see ripples reach my feet yet again, only larger this time. So whatever it was that had caused it must have been maybe about three yards away, max.
I peered at the water to see if there was anything, but with darkness beneath and the moon’s ivory and blood red color covering the surface, I couldn’t see anything.
Again I shrugged and figured it had to be a fish. I resumed looking back at the moon. A very small portion of it had turned red now. Amazing, I thought just as a chilling wind carried in. I shivered. The jacket didn’t seem to help much. I bent down to make sure my hoodie’s zipper was up when I noticed large ripples reaching my feet, again. I hadn’t even the heard a splash this time.
I looked towards the lake and shook my head. I couldn’t understand how any fish would ever want to start jumping out of the water with it being this cold. I went to look back up at the moon, but froze. I suddenly recalled something.
The lake was manmade and didn’t have any rivers or streams connecting to it. There shouldn’t be any fish in the lake, I realized.
It was at that moment I felt it. The sharp stinging gaze of something eyeing me. Slowly, I lowered my head back to the lake to see a small slick-like head protruding out of the water no more than six feet away from me. My blood ran cold and my eyes grew wide. I suddenly regretted coming here.
It looked human but yet it wasn’t. Its skin was gray with a green tint as was its long wavy hair, only darker. The pupils of its eyes were slits much like a reptile’s but they were as dark as the lake’s.
It obviously found my look of fear very amusing since it grinned at me, revealing two rows of very sharp razor-like teeth.
“Hello there,” it said to me quietly. Its voice was obviously feminine and sounded like a loud whisper.
It wasn’t natural.
I immediately scrambled back from the lake’s edge in horror.
I knew what this was and I couldn’t believe it…I just couldn’t believe it! It was real…She was real! “You’re the... The…” My tongue tripped over the words, “You’re the legend of the lake.”
It cocked its head to the side in thought, “Legend…,” it whispered before suddenly grinning,” I like that name.”
I stared at it, too numb to say more as the moon’s red light began to cover everything around us.
She drew closer, “Would you like to see the Blood Moon?” She asked in a cooing voice.
My body trembled and my jaw shook, “N-no…I mean yes…I mean uh…that’s why I came here. To see it.”
She began to rise from the water, “How about from underwater?”
I crawled back even further. “Um….” I tried to calm myself down, but was failing, “No thanks.” Her face turned sad, “Aww, are you sure? I promise I won’t let you drown.”
Like, I’m gonna buy that, “Uh… No,” I replied as calmly as I could, “I think, I’ll be fine watching it from up-” My eyes slid over hers, then stopped. Something within those eyes grabbed me, stole me. “Yes.” I said suddenly surprising myself, “I’d love to.”
Her smile turned back into a grin so wide, it reached ear to ear. “Good,” she fully raised herself out of the water. My fear intensified tenfold. I was tall for my age, about 6’2’. Legend, as it wanted to be called now, was ten feet at the most. She rose and towered above me. Her face looked terrifying in the red moon’s light as she looked down upon me with those reptilian eyes. She slowly extended a webbed hand to me, “Come,” she said.
Against my will, I stood and took it. She continued to smile at me and began to lead me to the lake’s edge.
I was terrified by this point. I knew I did not want to go in there, but I couldn’t move! My limbs refused to obey me. I used every ounce of my will to fight back at this strange trance I was in, but I just couldn’t seem to break free!
The blood moon was three quarters of the way full now. The water was as cold as ever and I knew I would never feel warmth again if I didn’t escape. But fortunately the icy lake jarred my nerves, weakening the trance. Having enough strength to finally fight back, I went to yank my hand away and flee… only to feel Legend’s grip suddenly grow tighter. “No,” She whispered, “Let’s see the moon.”
I should’ve realized then that she wasn’t a fool. The last person she’d led here, had entered the water much like I had and escaped moments before being taken under. She’d learned from her mistakes, however. Legend was not going to allow me to escape as easily.
The water was now up to my neck. She turned and grinned, “You ready?” she purred.
I wanted to shout ‘No!’ with all my being, but again I made the mistake of looking into her eyes. “Yes.” I whispered.
We went under.
The cold was unbearable. It seemed to suck both the warmth and air out of me. I knew within moments I’d drowned and that I was about to become another victim of Legend’s. I closed my eyes and waited for the inevitable.
Nothing happened. I opened my eyes to see Legend merely a few inches away from me holding my hand, still smiling. I wasn’t struggling for air I realized. I could breathe! Before I could express my astonishment, Legend gestured for me to look up.
I slowly raised my head up and gazed at the water’s surface. In all my life…I’d never seen anything like it. The water’s top rippled in a fascinating way as the red light streamed in. I could see the eclipse reach its peak and the moon itself grow fifteen times in size, filling the surface. I won’t lie, it was beautiful.
After I’d seen enough, my gaze returned to Legend who was still staring at me with that wicked grin of hers. She opened her mouth and to my surprise I heard her say, “I told you it was wonderful.” The fear I’d felt before suddenly returned. There was something not right about those words. “I want to go back,” I said to her, somehow.
She shook her head, “I’m sorry, but you can’t.” She let go of my hand.
Cold water suddenly begin to fill my mouth and enter my lungs. My need for oxygen had returned. I frantically swam for the surface but Legend had other plans. She grabbed my foot and yanked me deeper into the darkness of the lake. I tried to fight back, but I had swallowed too much water and was weak.
I was going to drown.
I was going to die.
“No!” I tried to scream, only to have more water rush in. My vision began to darken and the moon began to grow smaller as I was dragged deeper.
I kicked out a few more times hoping for some miracle that I might break free, but it was futile.
I couldn’t fight anymore.
My eyes closed.
I sputtered and coughed as the water exited my lungs. I didn’t know how or why I was suddenly able to breathe but I didn’t care. I was more than happy to be able to drain my lungs of water. After several more coughs, the last of the water left my body. I laid back, closing my eyes and allowed my lungs to practically drink the oxygen as I breathed in and out. When I opened them, I was greeted by the sight of the red moon slowly returning to its ivory color. I blinked a few more times unsure if what I was seeing was real. I thought I’d drowned… How was I alive? I slowly sat up and looked around. I was back on the shoreline of the lake. How could that be? I’d been dragged to the lake’s bottom! I had the air and life sucked out of me! So how on earth had I escaped Legend?
Wait…Legend. My eyes snapped back to the center of the lake, in search for her. The surface was flat and smooth as glass. I didn’t relax though. Just because I didn’t see her didn’t mean she wasn’t hiding somewhere beneath the water. I immediately rose to my feet and bolted in the direction of Alice's house. I did not want to be anywhere near that lake.
When I arrived, I was assaulted by an onslaught of questions from Alice. She began firing questions like: “Where did you go?”, “Why didn’t you answer your cell phone?”, and “Why are you soaking wet?” But I remained quiet that night. I didn’t want to tell her what I’d seen.
The next day I left for home. I said my goodbyes to her and apologized for having to leave so suddenly. She was still wanting to know why exactly I had to go, but I refused to answer. On the long drive home, my mind constantly replayed the night over and over. Had it been real? Had I really seen Legend? Had I really been taken to the bottom of the lake?
It all seemed crazy and I knew that the only logical answer for it would that it was all one big hallucination. But in my heart, I knew differently. I really had seen the legendary girl that lurked beneath Blood Moon Lake.
It wasn’t until six months later, just two nights before the next lunar eclipse that I got a call from Alice. “Hey,” I heard her cheerful voice say to me, “I just called to let you know that I have off for the next two weeks, starting today and wondered if you’d maybe, like to come and visit for a few days. Maybe even come and see the lunar eclipse with me.”
I remembered what happened that night the last time I’d been there, and as much as I hated to say it…I really wanted to go back. And just couldn’t seem to understand why. But I said something else, “I’m sorry, Alice I can’t.” It took all my willpower to say those words.
“Aww…Ryan.” I heard her moan, “Come on. Why not?”
“I just don’t want to go…that’s all. I’m sorry if that sounds rude, it’s just that…I need some time away from that place.”
“Huh? Wait…is this about what happened that night with the lunar eclipse? When you came back soaked?”
I didn’t answer.
I heard her sigh, “It is… Oh, please just come Ryan! I promise it won’t be like the last time you visited the lake.”
I didn’t know what to tell her. I didn’t want to hurt her feelings but I certainly didn’t want to risk seeing Legend again. I sighed. Maybe it was time I told her, “Alice, let me be frank with you.” I said before taking in a deep breath, “The real reason why I don’t want to go is because of the legend-”. The words suddenly died in my throat as I realized something. I hadn’t told her I gone to the lake that night…how did she know that?
“Ryan?” I heard her say, “You still there?”
“I…uh...” I stuttered, not knowing how to reply.
“Oh, drat!” I heard her sigh in exasperation, “Looks like I gotta go… Sorry. Oh, by the way, I can understand why you don’t want to go. And it’s fine. I’m pretty sure I can find someone else to watch the Blood Moon with me.” She paused and for the second time since the night Legend drowned me, my blood ran cold. “Legend…I like that name.” she whispered. The line went dead.
I continued to stand quietly with the phone in hand, frozen in shock and realization. In all my years of knowing Alice, not once had I ever questioned why she lived alone or why her house was so close to the lake away from everyone else in town. Nor had I ever seen her hang out with anyone besides me when I visited.
But what bothered me more than anything else was this:
Why hadn’t I realized that night that Alice’s voice, sounded exactly like Legend’s?