One of my toes dips into the lake. I watch the ripple escape away from me. The mountains and sky warping in waves of expectancy. The coolness in my big toe, rushes to my head with a shiver. I sit back on the bank and wait.
Is a small ripple enough to disturb her?
I’ve been coming here for months. Dipping my toes, throwing rocks, waiting for a shift behind the mirrored surface of the lake. I know she’s there.
Is she a monster? I’ve seen the lengths of her a couple weeks ago. A slick moving tail, or fin, maybe an alien appendage. My first thought was a whale, but Ithis lake is completely locked in by a dense forest, how could a whale get here? So it’s a monster then. Or the lochness. Whatever it is, it’s got to be evil. I’m sure of it.
In fact, I’m not just sure. I’m certain. What else could it be?
I dip my toe again, this time flicking it aggressively. Nothing.
I grab a smooth stone, chucking it to the center of the lake, this time with all my effort. A flock of birds escapes a nearby tree.
As my attention is pulled to the birds, I nearly miss the surface of the water bending. A small bump under the sheets.
I stand slowly and extend my neck forward. I shifted my head slightly hoping to bend the reflection of the lake enough to see what’s underneath, but I only catch a shadowy figure swaying gracefully. I hoist myself onto my very tip toes, dodging the reflection of the mountains, trying to see the figure between the shadow trees.
That’s when I notice it coming for me. What I’m assuming is it’s back peaks again above the surface. Black wet skin. Scales? Spikes? What is this thing.
Just then, a jet of air and water explodes from the surface. The distance blast shocks me cause me to back onto the moist ground. I dig the heels of my palms into the dirt pushing with my feet to distance my self from the edge of the lake.
A wave of water rushes up on the shore before me but nothing emerges. My panting settles with the waves that slap the bank. I can see it lingering in the shallows, looking for me, the source of the disturbance. She doesn’t leave. She smells me.
I lean myself forward onto my palms and knees and crawl to the edge of the water. I hold my breath hoping to catch moment I see the monster. Or the scale-y, spike-y whale alien? That’s when I notice it nestled into the bottom of the lake, disguising its dark body amongst the brown sediment.
Two huge blue eyes the size of dinner plates, receding into her flat head, blink at me from below the surface. I catch my reflection glimmering in her gaze. Slowly I move forward, hoping not to disturb her.
“I have been waiting for you…” I whisper.
I stretch my hand out before me, anticipating my whole being torn off for being too curious. The blunt edge of her nose tilts up towards me, trying to capture my smells, or just feel my energy. Right as my hope peaks, I dip my hand below the surface of the water. Her claws grip into the bottom of the lake and she pushes herself back away from me. A giant tail whips through the air above my head, being careful not to hit me and knock me into the water. I spring up to my feet, desperate for her not to go away.
As the last of her tail disappears back into the mirror, I know what I must do.
I have to go in after her.