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Deep Black

Dread In The Dark

By T.D. ZummackPublished 2 years ago 5 min read

The water lay calm and still. It was a dark night, no moon in the sky and low cloud banks overhead. It gave an eerie feeling to anyone staring out over the shore. An owl spoke out in the distance and the branches of a nearby tree scratched plaintively in the breeze at the roof of a boathouse. There was a feeling in the air, a feeling of loneliness and melancholy, it made the little hairs on your arms and the back of your neck stand at attention. With the night so dark the water appeared to be black, so black that looking into it made you feel like you were staring deep into the abyss, almost to the soul of the lake. If you looked into it long enough it was as if you could feel the water staring into you.

The faint breeze stirred the air and lent a chill to the gloom of the evening. The water moved now, the slightest of waves reaching for the shore. Each new pulse slowly reaching up the shoreline like fingers from the dark stretching to free itself from its’ murky confines. On the sand there was a boat, a child’s toy, standing guard over its domain. The fingers crept slowly closer as the breeze became stronger, each new flutter reaching further out of the dark. The water lapped at the base of the boat slowly eroding the sand underneath. The toy stood helpless as closer and closer the fingers crept, the water collecting its’ treasure. Finally, there was nothing left to grip and the fingers grabbed what they were after. Not content to simply possess its prey, it teased freedom, pulling it out and then placing it back on the sand. Over and over until the deep had had enough and the boat was brought to the water for good.

The boat sat afloat the dark blackness, a lone beacon against a backdrop of shadow and gloom, rocking back and forth between the waves. With each crest the sand was visible and with each fall hope was replaced with despair. It rocked, back and forth, until the water had filled its base and then slowly it sank, sinking further and further into the deep until it disappeared from sight and the water had claimed another prize for its collection. With the toy firmly held in its watery tomb the breeze vanished and the water was once again calm, still, and dark. There the water stayed, waiting.

The clouds dropped lower still and now formed a fog above the still, black, lake. A rowboat rested on the sands; it was wanted. The breeze picked up and again the water stretched its waves towards the shore like tentacles. The wind grew stronger, the waves grew higher, and the fingers reached with all their will. The boat stood firm, clinging to its’ towline anchored in the sand. The fingers were relentless, they came one after another, pulling at the boat. The towline stretched, a last vestige of security. The boat held on with all its strength, wishing desperately to stay on the safety of shore, and not to be abducted by the waves. The towline snapped and, as before, the fight against the deep was moot and the rowboat slowly succumbed, floating aimlessly on the water. The wind and the waves grew in size, the boat was knocked around, defenseless against its foe. The boat held strong as it was pounded unmercifully by the lake until it finally buckled under the assault. It slowly filled with water and inch by inch began the slow descent to its underwater crypt. The deep kept pulling and silently and deliberately the vessel slipped under the surface. Another trophy for the hoard. Again the breeze subsided, the lake became calm, but the fog remained.

A woman came upon the lake, removed her shoes, and walked the sand. The night was gloomy, she shivered slightly under the eeriness of her surroundings. The sand felt nice between her toes. As she stood on the shore the breeze picked up, her long dress fluttered around her ankles as the thin material wafted in the draft. She paused, mesmerized by the beauty that was the tranquility of the lake in the dark as the water suddenly lapped at her feet. Surrounded by darkness, it felt like a metaphor for her life. Everywhere she looked she felt surrounded by shadow, sometimes it was hard just to get out of bed. Here, in the darkness, surrounded by nothing but empty space, the thoughts came back. They whirled in her head, always the same, always questions. She stared out at the blackness and then slipped off her dress, letting it fall casually to the sand. The water felt soothing on her naked skin. The waves had become a little larger now as she steadily waded into the deep. The water had a slight chill which awakened each new section of skin as she waded further out. It was a brisk sensation, one that made her feel alive.

As she tread water she looked down at the murky darkness, her white limbs almost luminescent under the surface of the shadowy deep. She stared longer, slowly moving each glowing limb under the surface and admiring the contrast. The water had calmed again now and she stared deep into the abyss, seeing nothing but blackness below her feet. A feeling came over her, as though she were being watched. She felt she was being pulled, pulled further into the darkness. As she stared at the black, she suddenly had a feeling of fright come over her. Panic hit and she turned to head for the shore, but it was too late. The waves grew again, pulling her under and letting her up, like a cat toying with a mouse. Each time she appeared she stared towards the shore, trying to will herself closer, and each time she failed and fell under the surface again. The water frothed around her as she struggled but it would not loosen its grip. She was getting tired now, her limbs feeling thick and heavy. A single tear slid down her cheek as she looked into the darkness below her one last time, closed her eyes, took a breath, and slowly slipped below the surface. A momentary ripple marked her last position as the lake once again calmed itself.

The breeze came again, the fingers slowly reached, and a long, thin dress washed from the shore to the water. It floated for a brief second before it too disappeared into the darkness. There was no sign of the woman nor any trace she had been there. One last souvenir for the trove.

The wind ceased and the darkness was calm. Still once more.

Short Story

About the Creator

T.D. Zummack

I'm a 48 year old aspiring writer who has finally taken the time and put in effort to make the dream come true instead of just keep wishing it. I currently have 2 books available on Amazon, 'Amazing Grace' & 'The Brand of Brotherhood.'

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